How to Tell If a Stranger Is Dangerous

Updated: Feb 12, 2023
By Happiness Hassan
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Learning how to tell if a stranger is dangerous is a core safety measure everyone needs to know about, including children. This knowledge helps you differentiate whether a stranger is helpful or harmful even at first sight. 

Psychologically, humans are social beings and wouldn’t hesitate to make new friends at the slight opportunity and that includes strangers. However, not everyone is as kind-hearted as you’re, hence, being able to sense danger is necessary to protect you and your children from possible harm.

You don’t have to be a police officer to become conversant with the signs of a dangerous stranger. In this guide, I will be sharing with you practical signs to detect a dangerous stranger. 

Signs to Tell If a Stranger Is Dangerous

1. Asking For Unnecessary Assistance

Someone walking up to you randomly and asking for assistance where help is readily available might be a danger sign you need to observe. 

For instance, someone walks up to you while shopping in a mall to assist with his flat car tyre. That may appear harmless, but he could simply use the help of the store attendance, and mall security officers, or even place a call for help through the mall tel-phone. 

So, before rendering help innocently, you might have to ask yourself, why is this person asking me for help when the right assistance is right where he is? You should direct such a person to where help can be found. 

2. Persistent Asking For Help

How to tell if a stranger is dangerous is by watching out for their reply after you turn down their request. 

A harmless stranger would simply walk away and ask for help from someone else when you turn down their request.

However, a dangerous stranger might get angry at you for refusing to help them. They would become pushy and forceful to convince you into helping.

3. Awkward Appearance

Dangerous strangers are mindful of their appearance and identity. They don’t want people to get their actual looks, so they can get away easily when they commit a crime.  

Therefore, watch out for the dressing of the next stranger you come in contact with. Strangers who put on shades, p-caps, hoods, and nose masks send bad omens.

4. Watch Out For Their Body Language

Learning how to understand body language goes a long way in helping you stay protected. 

A dangerous stranger would appear tense and uncomfortable. He would display sudden erratic movement to things that require less attention.

Also, a stranger with an evil motive would feel uncomfortable maintaining eye contact and would avoid such during a conversation with you. 

Additionally, the facial expressions of a harmful stranger would betray them, as they’re likely to appear distorted at intervals when the conversation isn’t going as expected. 

5. Dangerous Strangers Provide Too Much Information

Excluding formal exchange of pleasantries at first contact with a stranger, any other deep details might be unnecessary. However, if a stranger starts telling you too much about themselves without you asking them to, it’s how to tell if a stranger is dangerous. 

It might sound harmless, but, dangerous strangers give off their details easily to lure you into doing the same thing without knowing it. This way, they get vital information about you for their next harmful action. 

6. Inability to Process Simple Data

You can tell if a stranger is dangerous by their inability to answer simple questions. This is because they have lost their emotional coordination due to their anxiousness to carry out evil aims quickly without being caught. 

Therefore, to confirm a stranger talking to you is harmful, ask simple questions like, “what time is it”? Or “what color shirt are you wearing”? Observe how they respond—immediately or stammering?

7. Try to lure You Away Alone

A stranger who wants to hurt you wouldn’t want to be caught doing so. Hence, how to tell if a stranger is dangerous is by being conscious of strangers who try to lure you alone out of the crowd. 

Dangerous strangers might pretend to want to speak to you privately or show you something that is off sight. 

Be smart not to fall for this trap. Besides, it’s a stranger you barely know anything about, hence, there is nothing wrong with asking the person to speak to you right where you’re or simply ignoring if it gets forceful. 

8. Say Unbelievable Things

In the course of your conversation with a stranger, be observant of their choice of words and the topic of discussion. 

It’s said that dangerous strangers have a bad perspective about life and believe in unreal-weird stuff. Sadly, they might try to force you into believing their way. 

Also, they take interest in negative, criminal, and evil things as though it’s normal. At such moments it’s best if you simply walk out. 

9. Frequent Display of Anger

One key thing to keep in mind when learning how to tell if a stranger is dangerous is the stranger’s reaction to “No”. 

A stranger with the motive to hurt you, easily gets angry and upset if you aren’t responding the way they expect or when you simply ignore them.

10. Watching Out For Backup

Oftentimes, dangerous strangers don’t carry out operations alone, hence, they usually have buddies who are hanging around waiting for a signal. 

Therefore, keep yourself safe by being smart enough to notice the frequent observation of a stranger talking to you. 

If he has got a backup, you’re likely to see him turning around or looking in a specific direction or giving a signal to someone else. 

11. Dangerous Strangers Ask Detailed Questions

It’s awkward for someone you don’t know and who you just met to begin asking detailed questions about you. Well, this might look harmless, besides we make friends every day and he is merely trying to build a connection. 

While this could be the case in certain situations, strangers get to use this medium to get information from you. 

The next time someone walks up to you asking about where you live, your office, or your family, you might want to ignore them, change the topic of discussion, or simply walk out. 

12. Make You Feel Silly

Perhaps the conversation a stranger is having with you is making you feel uncomfortable or suspicious of them. Voicing out your discomfort only makes a dangerous stranger guard their evil motive by making you feel silly or stupid for thinking they could harm you.

However, how to tell if a stranger is dangerous requires you to walk out of a stranger that makes you feel uncomfortable and suspicious of them.

How Does Your Child Behave When He Meets a Stranger?

The behavior of your child around a stranger is dependent on the age of your child. However, you should teach your kids how to tell if a stranger is dangerous, so they can stay protected even while you’re away. 

The following are helpful security measures for kids:

1. Teach Your Kids Basic Body Language

At ages 2-3 your kids should know about basic body language. They are not too young to know the basic terms for their genitals and that it’s wrong for others to touch their genitals. 

2. Define the Concept of a Stranger

You should define the concept of strangers with your kids at 4-5 years. Tell them that a stranger is someone who they don’t know.

3. Tell Your Child Other Adult He Can Trust

In addition to family members, you should tell your kids about other adults they could trust and run to for help if need be. This includes school counselors, authority figures like police, and security guards.

4. Tell Your Child What to do Around Strangers

When approached by a stranger in a park in your absence, they should move closer to the next parent with kids in the park. If in a mall, they should go wait for you at the payment stand. 

Perhaps, a stranger in a car asking for an address, kids should step back and point at the location. If the stranger steps out of the car, your child should take a few steps backward, turn around and walk back into the house to get help.

5. Teach Your Child How To Tell If A Stranger Is Dangerous At Your Absence

Your kids should not let a stranger into your home in your absence. If a stranger comes knocking, they should not say their parents aren’t around, it makes them vulnerable to harm. Instead, they should say, mom or dad, can’t come to the door right now.

If the stranger has got a package to deliver, they should leave it at the door or come back later. If you have got a landline and you don’t want your kids to answer calls from strangers, use a caller ID so your kids can know when you’re the one calling. 


While nobody wishes to be attacked by a dangerous stranger, you should stay prepared by knowing how to differentiate between a harmful and helpful stranger. 

If a stranger walks up to you, and you seem not to be comfortable, it’s safer to walk out. If a stranger needs help desperately, don’t be too kind-hearted to render even when it appears suspicious, direct the stranger to where help can be found.

Also, by applying the practical tips in this guide you and your child can know how to tell if a stranger is dangerous and stay protected.

Frequently Asked Questions And Answers

What are the signs of stranger danger?

The most pronounced signs of a dangerous stranger are in their awkward dressing, unnecessary asking for assistance, ongoing insisting for help, getting angry when requests are rejected, and trying to lure you away alone. 

How can a stranger be dangerous?

Dangerous strangers have different motives that include but are not limited to stealing from you, kidnapping you, and getting your sensitive personal details to commit a criminal offense. The process can result in violence causing physical injuries or even death. 

What are examples of safe strangers?

Two well-known safe strangers are police officers and firefighters. Other safe strangers who kids may trust include teachers, principals, and librarians, who are also noticeable while they are at work.

What should you not do with a stranger?

Never accept candy, cash, or presents from strangers. Never go with a stranger to play a game or help seek a missing pet. Never get into the vehicle of a stranger to go show a location. 

What should you not tell strangers?

You should not disclose vital details about yourself to a stranger such as bank details, national identity, home address, or about your family. Also, never tell a stranger you’re alone at home over the phone.

Can we trust a stranger?

Excluding safe strangers, other strangers shouldn’t be trusted. However, humans are likely to trust a stranger who resembles someone they trust, and wouldn’t trust a stranger who resembles someone they don’t trust. 


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