Here’s What Crazy Mass Shooters Look Like

Mass shootings. They happen so often these days, they are hardly making headlines, and when they do, they are soon pushed out of the news cycle thanks to what’s going on in the White House or in Russia. There are many red flags that show what crazy mass shooters look like.

Look at this:

According to reports, the Thousand Oaks shooter assaulted his track coach. The Florida high school shooter was accused of threatening, abusing, and stalking people he knew. People say that the Las Vegas shooter was verbally abusing his girlfriend while in public. What do you see here? A pattern.

The FBI is on the case here, but that’s hardly comforting due to the sheer volume of unstable people out there. Earlier this year, the FBI released a report that shows the “pre-attack behaviors” of people accused of or convicted of mass shootings. Here’s another takeaway: 63 percent of them were white, and 94 percent of them were male. The report concludes with a takeaway that shows a very troubling and complex view of the people who have failed to positively handle the stressors in lives. In addition, they all display several concerning behaviors, they plan and prepare, and they often share their intent to attack with others.

It often takes several people to spot every red flag that a potential mass shooter displays, according to the FBI. These flags often include violent behavior, abuse, bullying, and harassment. To get even closer to what a mass shooter looks like, take a look at the following stats:

  • 57% of shooters have shown “concerning” behaviors
  • 48% of shooters have talked about suicide
  • 35% of shooters have made threats
  • 33% of shooters have a history of physical aggression
  • 33% of shooters have anger issues
  • 21% of shooters have used firearms inappropriately
  • 16% of shooters have used violence against their partners
  • 11% of shooters have been accused of stalking

The FBI report also shows that most shooters spent at least a week planning their attacks, and they often give their family and friends some type of “preview” of what’s to come. If people do become concerned about a future mass shooter’s behavior, it’s rare for them to go to the police, and they often become targets of the shooter, themselves.

It’s easy to make a report, however, so if you feel that someone you know might have the makings to be a mass shooter and made threats, you can report this to the FBI online. Finally, there are 13 states where “red flag” gun laws are in place. This means that a person’s guns could be removed if they are showing a high risk of violent behavior. These states are:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

15 Year Old’s Naked Photos Spread Like Wild Fire

You have probably heard the story before. Teenage girl takes some scantily clad photos and sends them to her latest boyfriend. “What could go wrong?,” she thinks. Well, a lot could go wrong, and an article on Vice.com really lays that out. You might think that the boyfriend is to blame for this 15-year old’s photos spreading like wildfire, but the truth is this: he deleted them soon after getting them…the photos got out because the teen kept them on her phone and some classmates took that phone.

Ultimately, the photos got into the hands of the victim’s best friend. At this point, you probably think “Phew…the photos are safe.”  Wrong again. Her “best friend” ended up posting the photos to a blog. Many years later, the victim found out why…her “best friend” was mad that she had sent some angry texts to her the night before, and that her main motivation was to simply hurt her friend because of those texts. That’s all it took for a teen’s life to be effectively ruined for months.

When things like this happen, many women are made to feel guilty that they took these photos, and this is a type of digital violence. In fact, more women are now seeking counseling to help to combat these feelings. The thing is, if you have a nude photo, you are certainly not immune. Teens often become victims here, but so do adult women and celebrities. In most cases, someone else is spreading these photos, but the victim is often blamed.

In late 2017, the EU passed new laws that help to better protect people who find themselves in this situation, and in 2015, the British government made these actions a crime, too. However, in most other countries, no such laws exist.

In this case, the victim ended up forgiving her classmates, but as an adult, she still has not overcome the invasion of her privacy. She also still struggles with the fact that most people in the community blamed her…not the boys who stole her phone, nor her friend, who posted them on the internet. She says that people came up to her for years after the incident and told her they saw those photos, too, and she still has that feeling that she did something wrong.

Finally, as a society, we have to find ways to make sure that victims of these crimes are taken seriously, and ensure that video sites, like YouTube, and social media sites, like Facebook, respond immediately when notified of content like this.

And, please, I’m not blaming the victim here, and a bit of advice, no naked pics of yourself, girlfriend, husband or wife please. It’s a bit too risky and can have significant consequences.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Be aware of all these Confidence Crimes

Criminals have a reliance on tricking victims to get access to account information, like passwords. This is known as social engineering, and is also called a “confidence crime.” These come in many forms:

Do Not Take the Bait of These Phishermen

  • A phishing email that targets a specific person is known as spear-phishing. A spear-phishing email looks like an email that might come from a legitimate company to a specific person. For example, a thief might send a fake email to a company’s employee who handles money or IT. It looks like the email is from the CEO of the company, and it asks the employee for sensitive information, such as the password for a financial account or to transfer funds somewhere.
  • Telephones are used for phishing, too, also called “vishing,” which is a combination of phishing and voicemail.
  • Fake invoices are also popular among hackers and scammers. In this case, a fake invoice is sent to a company that looks like one from a legitimate vendor. Accounting pays the invoice, but the payment actually goes to a hacker.
  • Another scam is when a bad guy leaves a random USB drive around the office or in a parking lot. His hope is that someone will find it, get nosy, and insert it into their computer. When they do, it releases malware onto the network.
  • Cyber criminals also might try to impersonate a vendor or company employee to get access to business information.
  • If someone calls, if you get an email, if the doorbell rings, or if someone enters your office, always look at it with suspicion.

Be thoughtful about security:

  • Set up all bank accounts with two-factor authentication. All web-based email accounts should have two factor authentication. This way, even if a hacker gets your password, they still can’t access your accounts.
  • Train staff to be careful about what they post on social media, such as the nickname the CEO goes by in the office.
  • Do not click any link inside of an email. These often contain viruses that can install themselves on your network.
  • Any requests for money or other sensitive data should be verified over the phone or in-person. Never just give the information in an email.
  • All money transfers should require not one, but two signatures.
  • Make sure all employees are fully trained to recognize a phishing attempt. Also, make sure to stage phishing simulation attempts to make sure they are following protocol.
  • Help people understand the importance of looking out for things like a new email address for the CEO or Kathy in accounting suddenly signing her name Kathi.
  • Also, teach staff to report any uncharacteristic behaviors with long-time vendors or even fellow coworkers.

I once presented a security awareness program to a company that was almost defrauded. They hired me because of an email accounting had received from the CEO. The CEO sent a nice proper letter to accounting requesting payment be made to a specific known vendor.

A number of things were wrong with the email. First and foremost, like I mentioned, the email was nice and proper. Apparently the CEO isn’t all that nice, is somewhat of a bully, and all his communications are laden with profanity. So the red flags, where the fact that the email was nice. Imagine.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Are You Taking Responsibility for Your Personal Safety?

For the most part, the local police department does not prevent most assaults or burglaries. That would require a cop to be everywhere all at once. Not happening. However, they do their best to capture and arrest those who commit these crimes. And, preventing crimes goes way beyond getting a home security system or making sure your doors are locked and your lights are on timers. But this is a start. The truth is, your personal security and preventing crimes starts with you. It begins with taking responsibility for your property and your personal safety.

Civilized Conditioning

You might have heard of civilized conditioning. Civilized conditioning is what mom and dad teach you about being a civilized human in a civilized society. That means not hitting, harming, biting etc. Just be nice and in general, respect authority.

You have probably (hopefully) been taught that it’s not okay to hurt other people, and this, of course, is a great thing. Most of us have been taught this from the time we were small children. This type of conditioning allows each of us to successfully get along with others in a society, but it also causes us to do nothing when we need to.

Civilized conditioning has had a negative impact on our ability to take responsibility for our personal security. This is really a double-edged sword. Sure, it helps to keep us under control when we are tempted to get violent with another person. But, it also prevents us from using a violent stance when we need to.

We are all aware that there are people out there who we could say are uncivilized. These people don’t have the same boundaries as the rest of us. When we come across those people, we have to take responsibility for our own safety. That might mean being violent.

You Are On Your Own

Bad things happen all of the time. Consider, for instance, installing a home security system. This is a great start and helps you to take responsibility for the safety of your property, your family, and yourself. Also, consider a self-defense class. There are several options for these classes from local courses and books to videos and online training. Additionally, teach your children self-defense skills. Even children as young as 5-years- old are definitely capable of learning techniques that can protect them. Finally, teach responsibility. You can’t always rely on the government or the police to protect you. Instead, rely on yourself.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Secret Self-Defense Weapons You Might Not Know About

Do you have a secret self-defense weapon on hand that you don’t even know about?

Here’s a few:

Canes. Might seem obvious…but…

Your first instinct would probably be to swing the cane like a baseball bat. However, this isn’t the best way. An attacker can easily grab it, dodge it, or deflect it. Instead, take a class to learn how to correctly yield your cane.

  • If you use a cane, consider taking a “cane-fu” class.
  • The best cane to use is one with a strong handle.
  • Don’t think that you can’t fight with your cane because you need it to walk.
  • Avoid any cane that has a hidden sword or knife unless you have training with a blade.

Magazines

Trying to hit someone with a magazine that is not rolled up is worthless. Even if you swat with a rolled magazine, you might not get too far. Why? Because aimless swats are NOT the way to use a magazine as your weapon.

  • The best way to use a magazine as a weapon is to use it like you would use a hammer. Think of it this way: your arm is the handle of the hammer, and the rolled-up magazine is the head. Basically, the end of the magazine roll gets struck into the attacker, and it should be perpendicular to whatever it is striking. This gives it a big impact into a small area. Try to aim at the nose, neck, groin, or temple. This stops an assailant long enough for you to escape.
  • Consider carrying around a pre-rolled magazine that is closed with large rubber bands. That way, it’s easy to grab if needed.
  • Magazines are plentiful on airplanes. Just saying.

Flashlights

Some flashlights are designed specifically for self defense with a point bottom end. Others have a grip handle and are weighted specifically as a blunt instrument.

  • You can use a flashlight in the same way that you use up a rolled-up magazine.
  • Since a flashlight is more solid than a magazine, however, it is more effective.
  • The light pointed in someones face can be a temporary blinding deterrent.

Pens

Self defense pens are also known as tactical pens and are designed specifically to debilitate another human. The beauty of a pen is its non-threatening when carried in your hand and doesn’t look like a weapon.

  • You probably think the best place to sick a pen is the eye. It’s great, but there are other places, too.
  • You can also stab a pen into the nose, temple, or neck. Any of these places willdisable your attacker.
  • If you jam the pen into the collarbone, it can also stop someone in their tracks.
  • You can also aim for the cheek, groin, ear, or top of the hand.
  • Just keep jabbing until you can get away from the attacker.

Belts

A leather or nylon belt has more self defense uses than you’d think. You can also purchase a belt with a built in knife. But you really need to know what you are doing to fight with a knife.

  • A belt with a heavy buckle is best
  • The key to using a belt as a weapon is to easily pull it out of your pant belt loops.
  • Once it’s free, you can whip the belt at your assailant. Make sure to use the end with the buckle to strike. Don’t attempt to strangle the attacker with your belt; that only works in a movie.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Self- Defense Options You Might Not Know About

If you are like most people, you probably haven’t done a lot of thinking about what you would do in a situation involving physical assault. Why would you? I mean, it’s unpleasant and scary. Further, depending on your physical makeup, you may think you’d probably lose anyway. However, you don’t have to have an MMA fighter’s body to defend yourself.

Attackers often look for targets who are unsuspecting. One of attackers “tools of the trade” is the element of surprise. So, live like your heads on a swivel which means be aware and do things like park your car or walk only in areas that are well-lit. You should also avoid parking next to a large truck or van where an attacker might pull you in

When you are in a parking lot, keep your largest house or car key poking out between two of your fingers. This makes a good weapon. If a bad guy approaches you and asks for your purse or wallet, give it to them. Your life isn’t worth whatever is in your wallet or purse.

If the attacker grabs you, scream as loud as you can. Tell him to “Get the F— away” as loud and angrily as possible. Profanities are fundamentally offensive and color the way we are viewed by others. This is no time for niceties; you should sound like a thug. This will alert anyone around that you need help.

Running away to a safe place should be your first choice when possible. Otherwise if you are backed into a corner, Do what is necessary to escape. That may mean fight like an alley cat or a junk yard dog.

You should push him, bite, knee, poke, gouge and whatever is necessary to inflict not just pain, but debilitating pain and continue screaming. You should make sure it hurts, so go for the ears, neck, nose, eyes, legs, and of course, his groin.

Don’t move any closer to your attacker unless you have no choice. Try to aim at a place where you can hurt them, but don’t have to get close. For instance, kick him in the knee instead of stepping close to poke him in the eye. If aiming at the upper body, use your hands; the lower body, use your feet.

Here are some specific areas to focus on:

Eyes

  • Gouge, poke, dig, or stab the eyes with your fingers or nails. This is disabling for several moments, especially if you do it several times.

Nose

  • Use your palm, elbow, forearm to push the nose upward, and use all of your body weight.
  • If the attacker is behind you, use your elbows and aim for the nasal bone.

Neck

  • Try to focus on the side of the neck where the body’s major blood vessels are located. If you hit the side of the neck with your hand or elbow, you can even knock someone out.

Throat

  • Blunt force trauma to the larynx or digging into the trachea makes it very difficult for the attacker to breath.

Knee

  • Even the largest, most burley men can be brought down by kicking him in the knees. Try to drive the foot into the side of his knee, which forces him to lose his balance and possibly tear an ACL.

Groin

  • Try to hit the groin with anything you can. Your hands, knees, elbows, feet, or even your head. Do it as hard as you can and do it as often as you can.

Normal people aren’t interested in fighting, for any reason. But in the unlikely event you are confronted by what turns out to be a dangerous person, fight like your life, or the life of a loved one depends on it.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Should You Fight or Take a Flight When Being Attacked?

I am a big believer that people should run away from an attacker. If a bad guy gets into your home and he often wants to cause you pain, RUN as quickly as you can to the nearest door. If you are in a corner or you have to protect a loved one, you might have to fight him.

Most of us are taught to not hurt other people. We teach our children to have manners and to be kind to others. This is a process known as “civilized conditioning,” and it allows us to live in a civilized society.

However, sometimes violence occurs regardless of this civilization. In fact, there are millions of people out there who are uncivilized and fully capable of doing terrible things to other people.

When you think of it, civilized conditioning is a type of double-edged sword. Yes, it helps to prevent us from being violent to each other for no good reason. But, it also prevents us from being violent with another person if we need to. Because of this conditioning, you might panic, stop breathing, or even freeze when someone attacks you.

Do you know what you would do if a bad guy confronts you? Would you freeze? Fight? Run?

If you are a parent and someone attacks your child, you would probably defend your son or daughter with a vengeance. But, what about when it comes to your own safety?

Here are some tools that you can use to overcome civilized conditioning when you need to:

  • Understand that no one has any right to harm you for any reason.
  • Realize that fighting back and resisting is the best way to remove yourself from a situation that is dangerous.
  • Ask yourself “What if” questions, such as “What if, as I walk through this parking lot, there is someone hiding behind that van?” This helps to prepare your body and mind to quickly respond in the face of danger.
  • Practice visualization to try to create potential scenarios in your thoughts, and then think about your response.
  • Take self-defense classes. This helps to give you a different perspective on your situation.
  • Have an awareness of your situation and environment no matter where you are or what you are doing. If you feel like something is wrong, it probably is.
  • If you are attached, run to a safe place, such as to a store, a home, or any other populated area.
  • Install home alarm systems in your home to further protect yourself from the bad guys.

And, when it’s all said and done, don’t worry about any of this. BUT, you need to know your options and you need to do something about it if a bad guy enters your life.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Why You Should Take a Woman’s Self-Defense Class

Many crimes against women are categorized as “crimes of opportunity.” The attacker doesn’t seem to care if the chance to attack comes in a large, busy city or in a small, sleepy town. If he sees a woman and he has intentions of attacking, he’s going to strike…assuming he can get away with it.

Because of this, if you are a woman, you should absolutely not hesitate: take a self-defense class. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how tall, or how much you weigh, big or small or even how prepared you think you are. Just take the class.

There is much more to a good self-defense class than learning how to kick a man in the groin or throw a punch. In fact, sometimes an assailant can be scared and run simply by the tone of a woman’s voice or the look in her eyes. In fact, predators often “interview” a woman before he assaults her. He does this to assess if he can easily overtake her, or not. He usually doesn’t automatically make the assumption that the can have the upper hand because he’s bigger and stronger. Instead, he has to determine if she’s “victim material.”

One way a man does this is by asking his potential victim for directions or for the time. He then pays very close attention to her body language, response, and tone of her voice. Women who take the right self-defense classes know how to hold their bodies in a way that can make a man back away. This doesn’t mean that women who are trained in self-defense don’t get attacked…but, it’s much less likely.

Women must be willing to hurt, harm, and injure their attacker. Good self-defense programs include instruction on how to do this. These programs also give women information about how to get out of an attack, how to fight when pushed to the ground, and even how to deal with a situation when a weapon is involved.

Attackers usually don’t think that a victim will fight back. So, the response of the victim within the first seconds of an attack often determines the outcome. A scratch to the face, for instance, is a step in the right direction, but that won’t scare him or stop him. Instead, punch him in the throat or gouge his eyes.

Seek out programs that include a technique called “adrenal stress self-defense training” which provides a mind body physical and chemical connection. In the real world, if and when a person is attacked, their adrenaline spikes. If you’ve taken an adrenal stress type training, that connection will help to emotionally and physically retain self defense training and automatically react and respond effectively.  

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

Faulty Tire Repair could break your Neck

Roy Chattelle was on a road trip in 2008 and suffered what seemed like a minor tire leak. So he got the tire repaired. Many people think nothing of pulling into the nearest tire shop and getting that little puncture or tear repaired or “plugged.”

7HA few months after this routine repair, the tire blew, causing the vehicle to flip five times. Chattelle and his kids recovered from their injuries, but wife Gwen had a very different outcome: She was rendered permanently paralyzed from the neck down.

An investigation into what caused this tire to blow out revealed that the tire shop was negligent: faulty repair and installation, leading to a thread belt separation. The Chattelles were awarded over $13 million.

According to an article at boston.cbslocal.com, many tire shops repair leaks from the outside of the tire. Glen Wilder of Wilder Brothers Auto is quoted as follows: “They just jam rubber into it until it stops leaking.”

When you take your slowly leaking tire, or tire that has a little nail in it, to the tire shop, do you really know what the employee there will do to ensure that the repair means a perfectly safe tire to drive on?

Wilder explains that the inside of the tire needs to be inspected. Sometimes tire shops won’t do this, upping the risk of a blowout. Repairs should be made with a plug-patch and also with a rubber sealant—and not all tire shops follow this recommendation, which comes from tire manufacturers.

Not only that, but there is no law making it illegal for tire shops to deliver substandard tire repairs. It’s legal to perform a shoddy repair using superglue, for instance.

In fact, bad tire repairs are common, says an article at newyork.cbslocal.com. “This is a dirty little secret,” says Robert Sinclair, AAA spokesman. Anything goes, he says, because there’s just no law that requires a minimum standard of tire repair. He points out that some tires are repaired with spit and tape, sawdust or “whatever is laying around.”

A punctured tire should be removed from the rim and inspected. Al Eisenberg, a tire repair expert for 30 years in Long Island, notes that shoddy repairs are a ticking time bomb. “It’s not a matter of if, but when that tire will blow.”

So what should you do?

Just buy a new tire. Forget worrying about whether or not the punctured or gashed tire was repaired effectively. If your circumstances leave you with no choice but to have the new tire installed at a shop other than the one at your vehicle’s dealership, then as soon as possible after the repair, take your vehicle into its dealership to have the new tire installation inspected to make sure it was done properly.

Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

Don’t mess with this Pint Sized Woman

April Marchessault got attacked just after midnight inside her bathroom. At 5-1, she wasn’t intimidated by the 5-7, 200 pound man. Edgardo Montes, 47, got his clock thoroughly cleaned.

1SDHe was charged with breaking and entering and intent to rape, plus other charges. It all began when April took out the trash, reports eagletribune.com. She left the back door open. What are the odds that this formerly convicted rapist just happened to be out there? Well, it happened. Never leave doors unlocked!

She went into the bathroom to clean the sink. Edgardo crept up from behind and wrapped his arms around her chest so hard she couldn’t turn around. But when he tried to force her face into the sink, she kind of hulked out.

April turned around and pushed him back, but somehow he struck her in the jaw. She pushed him again and pulled his shirt off (which was already partially pulled up to conceal his face). He headed for the back door but April got there first, pushing him out. Then she started beating him, making him fall down some steps.

“I ran down the stairs and I kept hitting him in the face and head with my fist,” says the Massachusetts woman. “I was stomping on his knee.” She “kept hitting him” as he was trying to get up. April then began hitting him in the head repeatedly with a trash can.

Edgardo was so beaten he couldn’t get up, and by then, April’s father stood guard over him while waiting for the police. Amazingly, April’s three young sons slept through everything.

Points of Interest

  • April has no martial arts training; what enabled her was anger and wit.
  • Martial arts training, however, can reprogram a woman’s way of thinking so that if she’s ever assaulted, she could maintain her wits and think tactically rather than in a panicked state.
  • Never leave your doors unlocked even for a moment, especially at night. It takes just seconds to lock the door right behind you after you re-enter your home!

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures