Stalkers are individuals who become obsessed with someone and then do anything they can to get close to that person. In most cases, stalkers are harmless, but there are occasions that prove to be not so pleasant. Why the person is stalking you rests on what they hope to gain. Do they have a crush on you? Are they jealous? Do they want to be like you? The reasons as to why stalking occurs are numerous, but the only one that counts is the one that involves you. Learn how to prevent stalker danger.
Prior to the internet, stalking entailed physically following someone to find out about their lives and what they liked to do. The internet has changed all of that. Now instead of following their prey, stalkers log into social media networks, blog accounts and a host of other websites to discover everything they would ever want to know. An online predator will often harass a person and then make them feel like the connection is their fault and the harassment wouldn’t be occurring if they had only done something different. While this type of behavior happened prior to the internet, using the web made it so much faster and convenient, driving the point home much sooner.
Online predators will often use any means necessary to find out information on the person they are stalking. They will use malware or keylogging software and attach it to a seemingly harmless email. Once the attachment has been downloaded into the person’s computer the bully will be able to discover almost anything he wants to know about his victim.
Keep Profiles Private
- Discover your location
- Determine who your friends are
- Know your favorite activities
- Find your place of employment
Social networking profiles contain vast amounts of information, including a person’s general information as well as an almost complete list of their friends, acquaintances and co-workers. Many people post their daily activities on social networking sites. Celebrities do it to let their fans know what is going on in their lives.
Online predators use social networking sites to gain as much information as possible about their victim. They can often times piece together a person’s entire daily schedule in just a few days, if they monitor their accounts closely enough. Making sure only friends can or relatives can see the details of your page is important if you want to keep stalkers at bay. Most social media networks provide security settings so an account can be almost completely hidden from public view.
Never Disclose Your Location
Never disclose your home address or general location online if you believe you have a stalker. This gives physical access to you. Even if you only post a general location, if they are smart enough to look through your “likes”, they will discover the places you will probably go to at some point. It’s best to let someone know where you will be through a phone call or text message. Disclosing your location ahead of time, gives the predator a chance to be there before you arrive. If you do not post your location, they can only assume where you will be, leaving them at a distinct disadvantage.
Safeguard Your Personal Information
Safeguarding your personal information is important for several reasons. Protecting your confidential information prevents it from falling into the hands of a predator who may attempt to steal your identity. Identity theft can financially ruin you. Your credit can be destroyed and it can cause insurance rates to skyrocket. Keeping your personal information confidential and hidden from public view protects you from unwanted intruders and online predators.
Protecting your personal information also prevents online predators from contacting you personally. Online threats and communications can be turned over to the proper authorities if things begin to get out of hand and threats are made. Once an online predator has your personal information, they can watch your home, your vehicle and your place of employment. They can also follow you without you knowing.
Report Any Questionable Communications or Meetings With the Proper Authorities
Most online predators eventually learn how to manipulate their victims. They can make them afraid to stay in their own homes, move out of their existing neighborhood and doubt their own sanity. Some predators go so far as to make physical threats against their victim’s lives or the safety of their families. All threats of this nature should be reported to the police or other law enforcement agencies. Sending death threats over an electronic device governed by the FCC is a felony offense punishable by prison time and substantial fines.
Individuals who receive any type of threat against themselves or their families should contact law enforcement immediately. This allows the police to take action before the predator knows they have been turned in. If there is any question as to whether or not a message or note is considered threatening, err on the side of caution and contact the police. It is much better to be safe in this type of situation than sorry.