Workplace Violence: 12 Signs Of A Dangerous Person

Workplace violence is something everyone needs to be educated about. Know the warning signs to protect yourself and your employees.

7HThe Navy Yard shootings were a harsh reminder that, while studies show violence is down overall, workplace violence is a problem that doesn’t seem to be going away.

I appeared on CNBC to discuss the shootings, and addressed what can be done to prevent this from happening in the future. Everyone seems to be looking for a silver bullet to solve these problems, and many think technology will solve the problem. Interestingly, the anchor pointed out that if the NSA monitors people’s chatter online and in the social media sphere, then surely it should be able to step in and thwart a crime.

If it were that easy, there’d be no crime. (And the NSA might only look at less than 1 percent of the data it has access to.)

What can be done to prevent this from happening in the future? Those who study workplace violence know that there is a psychological profile of someone who is likely to commit an act of violence. Every business owner should know and understand the signs. A combination of a few (or more) of the following behaviors should be reason for concern.

  • Difficulty getting along with others: They are unreasonable and often make inappropriate remarks about others. They are never content with the status quo and are always upset by everyone and everything.
  • Controlling behaviors: In their minds, they are superior and everyone else is beneath them. They always force their opinion on others. They are control freaks and can’t deal with change.
  • Clinical paranoia: They may not yet be diagnosed, but they think others—including their friends, family, fellow employees and the government—are out to get them. They are conspiracy theorists.
  • Power obsession: They own firearms, are members of paramilitary groups, and subscribe to numerous military, law enforcement or underground military group chat communities or newsletters.
  • Victim attitudes: They never take responsibility for their behaviors, faults, mistakes or actions. They always blame others; it’s always someone else’s fault. They may have had trouble with the law, even just a minor incident, but it wasn’t their fault.
  • Litigious nature: Taking legal action against neighbors and employers and constantly filing grievances is their way of virtually controlling others. Everything is blown out of proportion.
  • Constant anger: Hate and anger are how they get through the day. Coworkers, family, friends and the government are all the reasons why they are mad, mad, mad.
  • Violent opinions: They see acts of violence in the media, such as shootings, mass murders, racial incidences, domestic violence and executions as reasons to celebrate. They say victims “got what they deserved.”
  • Vindictive references: They say things like, “He will get his someday,” or “What comes around goes around,” or “One of these days I’ll have my say.”
  • Odd behaviors: They might be good at their jobs but lack social skills. Their presence makes others feel uncomfortable. They have an edge to them that makes others not to want to be around them.
  • Unhealthy habits: Sleep disorders, always being tired, dramatic weight loss or gain, or numerous health-related problems issues plague them. They are often addicted to drugs, alcohol or numerous other substances or experiences.
  • Recent layoff: A combination of any of these traits that leads to job loss can set an ex-employee off. As a society, we introduce ourselves by our job description: “Hi, I’m Robert Siciliano, and I’m a personal security and identity theft expert.” But really, I’m also a dad, son, husband, etc.—and if any of these things are taken away, resulting in significant emotional despair, it can sometimes push people over the edge.

Knowing the warning signs is a good start to preventing the unimaginable from happening at your workplace, but you’ll also need to stay vigilant and educated. Preventing active shooters involves multiple layers of security. Make sure all your managers and employees know the warning signs. Workplace violence isn’t a technology problem that can be cured with a fence or a security camera. It’s a serious people problem that can only be fixed with intervention.

On CNBC, when I gave an example of a worker who demonstrated all these behaviors and the necessity of the fellow employees or even a family member to drop a dime, the anchor said, “Yes, but there’s always been a cultural resistance for fear of implicating the wrong person.” My response: “So what!?” My view is that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take precautions to protect yourself, your employees and your business, and if something doesn’t feel right, speak up. It could save lives.

Robert Siciliano CEO of, 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.

Perez Hilton is a Hater and Social Media Suffers

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

I was on CNN this week and CNN also featured Perez Hilton, who was hired by Donald Trump, to judge a beauty contest and Hilton made hateful remarks about Miss Californias beliefs. Perez is a hateful sardonic celebrity critic, and his actions are parallel to others who rant and hate, spew racist comments and even kill. Perez Hilton posts numerous videos of himself in the media, but he hasn’t posted this video on CNN to his site, because he knows he’s wrong. He is right now downgrading the story on his own site because of the heat is he getting.

CNN invited me to discuss the murder of a young woman who was stalked and harassed via social media, specifically YouTube and Facebook. She was eventually shot and killed in her college classroom by her stalker, who then put the gun in his own mouth.

Anyone who reads this blog does so because they are intent on improving their personal safety by way of information security. With almost 50,000 reads a month on a variety of portals, I’ve come to understand the reader a bit. You guys want and need news that’s going to help save you time and money by preventing criminals and scammers from trying to take it.

I got my legs in personal security as it pertains to violence prevention. I started doing this in 1992, teaching self defense. My background as a scrawny, greasy Italian kid growing up in the Boston area, fighting my way though life and meeting other victims along the way brought me to a place where teaching others how to protect themselves gave my life a purpose. As my business grew, I needed more technology. I also needed “merchant status,” which is the ability to accept credit cards, which led to even more technology. In the early 90s, I set up my IBM PS1 Consultant PC, Windows 3.1, 150mb hard drive, and became hooked on technology. Soon after, I was plugged into the Internet. Within weeks, my business was hacked. Thousands of dollars in orders and credit card information went out the window. Now, personal security meant self defense from a different kind of predator: identity thieves and criminal hackers.

My passion is personal security as it relates to violence and fraud prevention. It’s all encompassing. I talk about the things that mom and dad didn’t teach you. Lately, I’ve been discussing broad issues that no parent is prepared to discuss. Really, neither am I. But somebody’s go to do it.

I love technology. But it has a very dark side to it. And predators have rapidly figured that out. I’m not blaming technology for this. Just its users.

Social networking is changing the world. Everybody’s information is everywhere, and access is instant. Predators use these tools more than ever to stalk children online. Stalkers can anonymously harass and harangue women or men, and law enforcement’s hands are tied.

Anyone can post relatively anonymous rants and raves, saying anything they like with little or no repercussions. Simple online newspaper articles meant to provide information about some innocuous issue devolve into hateful rants against the author or the source, thanks to the first few comments on the thread. A single comment can lead people in this dangerous direction. Newspapers need eyeballs, so they rarely police these comments, and the public puts up with them. Hate, racism, sexism and overall ignorance permeate every online newspaper and social network. Not a day goes by that I don’t see something entirely inappropriate for public consumption.

With social media, everyone gets a say. The KKK used to be a bunch of cross burning hillbillies. Terrorists lived in caves. Militias and skinheads were small groups that held an occasional rally. Now, they have an international platform, which they use to promote their agendas and recruit believers. Lots of people have very bad things to say and it’s hurting a lot of people. Words incite. What we say leads to action. We become what we think about. If we are fed hate, we act hatefully.

Most school shooters have read the manifests of what occurred at Columbine. Many serial killers study other serial killers. Every story we read about the Craigslist Killer and others like him reveals a bag with a knife, duct tape, rope, and wire ties. They all consume this information.

Coming from a personal security perspective, I am seeing lots of bad things happening to good people. Bad things are being said and bad things are happening. Totally unacceptable and hateful rants have become acceptable, when 10 years ago those kinds of rants would have been unheard of. Let’s get this straight, I’m no puritan. I’m certainly no saint. I’ve been there, done that, and have plenty of skeletons in my closet. I’m capable of saying anything and doing almost anything, and nothing offends me. I’ve lived a hard life and danced with the devil on plenty of occasions.

The meteoric rise of Perez Hilton is a direct sign of what’s wrong with social media and web 2.0. Web 2.0 can be used for good, or for very bad. Perez Hilton is a hateful person with an agenda. He says horrible things and uses social media as a platform to distribute his agenda no differently than a terrorist. What’s worse is millions of people follow him. For him, its not “all in fun”, its hate.

We all need leaders to take charge. Everyone needs direction on some level. Perez Hilton leads a flock of misguided and lost souls. And he empowers them no differently than Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Saddam, Stalin, David Koresh or Jim Jones did.

Hurtful, hateful ranting isn’t freedom of speech. It’s irresponsible and it’s bad karma. It will only lead to hurt and hate. Its okay to have beliefs, but when those beliefs have a tonality of hate and you express hate in your words, the problem mushrooms.

I spend more energy not saying what I want to say. My mother and father taught me tact. And it’s taken a lifetime to apply it, believe me. I use social media to spread what I hope is a better message, tactfully. I hope you rise against what is happening here and spread a better word. Lead. Don’t be led.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing Hate on CNN