Course Content
Effective Strategies for Preventing Tailgating Incidents: Educating Staff on the Risks and Countermeasures
    About Lesson

    Surprisingly, the success of tailgating often lies more in human psychology than in the intruder’s technical skills. To truly understand and counteract this threat, it’s crucial to delve into the psychological factors at play.

    1. The Human Nature of Trust

    Humans, by nature, are trusting creatures. We are hardwired to form communities, bonds, and to generally give others the benefit of the doubt. An unauthorized person tailgating into a building often capitalizes on this innate trust. When someone wears appropriate attire or carries items that make them seem like they belong, our subconscious registers them as ‘safe’ or ‘one of us’.

    2. Avoidance of Confrontation

    It’s in our nature to avoid confrontation. Challenging someone at an access point might be perceived as rude or hostile. Many people don’t want to be the one to question another individual’s purpose, especially if they seem to be in a rush or display a sense of purpose.

    3. Social Compliance and Pressure

    Societal norms play a pivotal role in successful tailgating. People are conditioned to hold doors open for others, especially if they are carrying items or seem to be struggling. Intruders may exploit these norms by carrying heavy boxes or pretending to be on a phone call, banking on the likelihood that someone will hold the door open for them.

    4. Mimicry and Belonging

    If someone behaves as though they belong and mimics the actions of those around them, they are less likely to be perceived as a threat. This principle, rooted in the psychological concept of mimicry, allows intruders to blend in seamlessly.

    5. Exploitation of Distractions

    Distraction is a powerful psychological tool. People who are distracted are less likely to notice anomalies. Tailgaters may choose moments when a potential target is distracted—be it with their mobile phone, personal worries, or a conversation—to make their move.

    6. Confidence is Key

    An air of confidence can be incredibly deceiving. Someone who walks purposefully and confidently, appearing as if they know where they’re going, is less likely to be questioned. This stems from the psychological notion that if someone appears self-assured, they must have a valid reason for their actions.

    Countering the Psychological Tactics

    To effectively combat tailgating, it’s not enough to just implement security measures. There’s a need for a dual approach: physical security systems combined with awareness campaigns. Training sessions should educate employees about the psychological tactics used by intruders and emphasize the importance of challenging unfamiliar faces or behaviors, even if it feels uncomfortable.

    It’s also beneficial to run drills or role-playing exercises where staff can practice responding to potential tailgating scenarios. By familiarizing them with the situation in a controlled environment, they’ll be better prepared to react in real-life situations.


    The success of tailgating hinges heavily on the intruder’s ability to exploit basic human psychology. By understanding the tricks they employ, organizations can empower their employees to play a crucial role in building security. The human element, combined with robust security systems, will provide a formidable defense against unauthorized access.