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This chapter is from the book

If You Think You Are Being Cyber Stalked

If you find that you have caught the eye of a cyber stalker, these are some valuable suggestions to stop the unwanted intrusion of the stalker:

  • Make it clear to the other person you do not want any further contact with him or her through one message and save that message. If you send it by email, use the Blind Copy (BC:) feature of your email program and send a copy to yourself for your records.
  • Save everything! Do not delete any emails or text messages. If you can, print out any emails and save them. Do not alter them in anyway. Save the original emails online because they may contain important routing information that can help law enforcement determine the sender.
  • Once you advise the person you want no further contact, do not reply to him or her! Better yet, do not even open the emails or attachments from a suspected stalker. Stalkers often derive pleasure out of provoking someone. If you continue to reply, you continue to provoke.
  • Have your own personal safety network of friends, family, and resources. Always let someone know where you will be and when you are expected to return.
  • Take security measures at home, in your vehicle, and at work in conjunction with your cyber safety measures. Memorize emergency numbers and have them on speed dial on your cell phone. Keep your cell phone charged and with you at all times. Block outgoing Caller ID and do not accept private calls.
  • Do not be afraid to seek counseling if necessary for your well-being.
  • Contact your local law-enforcement agency. Oftentimes, the laws regarding cyber crime and cyber stalking are murky. Only a professional police officer can advise you about the law. Follow the advice and direction you are given. Unfortunately, many victims do not follow through with law-enforcement advice.
  • If it is determined that no law has been broken and the person persists in contacting you, consider notifying his or her Internet service provider and advising them. They may take action depending on their internal policies.
  • Make certain that if the abuser/stalker is an "ex," there is no chance he or she had the opportunity to download any programs that aid in monitoring your online activity. Be aware of spyware and how it can give a stalker the ability to monitor all of your computer use.
  • Seek information on obtaining a stalking order or restraining order. Laws and procedures vary from state to state. However, your local law-enforcement agency can guide you toward the process that best meets your needs.
  • If you find a website that is focused on harassing you, it may violate local harassment laws. Furthermore, becoming familiar with search engines such as www.whois.net can assist you in determining the owner of any malicious website. Again, assistance can be found with your local police department or victim advocacy group.
  • If you can, create a new email account or an additional email account using a free web-based email site. Do not provide detailed information about yourself in the profile.
  • Change your passwords and PIN numbers because email addresses are often used by abusers and stalkers to impersonate their victims or cause them harm. Change your passwords frequently.
  • Search for your name on the Internet on major search engines such as Google and Yahoo!. You will be amazed at what you may find about yourself online. This may show that your contact information is easily accessible. Be sure to search for your full name in quotation marks, as this will give search engine results for your name in its entirety and condense results. If you do not use quotes around your full name, you will likely end up with many results that include your first name and last name somewhere in an article or blog, but not together or even referring to you. For example, searching for Jane Smith (without quotes) could result in an article where Jane Doe and Charlie Smith are mentioned together. Also check out sites that specialize in telephone number, address, or name searches to see what is out there. (See Chapter 2, "Two Bedrooms Up, One Bedroom Down—What Someone Can Find Out About You on the Internet," for more information.)
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