When it comes to the Internet many of us feel that we are safe because we are sitting behind a computer and nobody can see us, but this is not true. If you take a minute to think about it you will see that people who want to hurt others or cause trouble are thinking the same thing. They think that because nobody knows who they are that they can’t get in trouble for harassing or abusing others over the Internet, which leads us to cyberstalking.
Most often cyberstalkers find their victims in some type of online forum, such as chat rooms, bulletin boards, online groups, MySpace, etc. Once the cyberstalker finds their victim there are numerous things that they can do to them, but the key to cyberstalking is that the behavior is repeated. Cyberstalkers, like physical stalkers, will harass and abuse their victims because they enjoy scaring and harassing other people. But something to keep in mind is that cyberstalking, like stalking, is not always done by someone you know; the person stalking you can be a complete stranger that has suddenly fixed on you for some reason.
Here are some signs that you are a victim of online stalking and harassment.
One thing that you are going to need to look for is to see if the person is following you online. Most stalkers tend to follow their victims wherever they go, which in the physical world this is easy enough to determine, but not everybody knows how to figure this out online. One way to tell if the person is following you online is if they are visiting the same message boards that you are and they didn’t belong to the message board until after they met you. Or they follow you around from chat room to chat room no matter how hard you try to avoid them.
You are receiving numerous emails from the same person after you have already told that person you don’t wish to talk with them. The person basically ignores your one letter of communication and repeatedly sends you email covering all sorts of different topics. Most of the time the emails are a personal nature rather than forwards, but you need to realize that even forwards can count when it comes to unwanted emails.
Something else that you can look for when it comes to online stalking and harassment is the person not stopping the behavior. What this means is that they are constantly insulting you or threatening you regardless of what is going on. Or they can also be super nice to you and offer to help you. It doesn’t matter what it is they are doing but when they are stalking you online they are going to be repeating the unwanted behavior.
Something else that you need to look for is people who are directing things, such as comments or suggestions, directly to you. Basically you are feeling singled out because this person always comments on what you have said or makes some kind of remark in response to what you have posted. The posts can be verbally abusive, but they can also just give you a bad feeling. Either way you should take notice and be aware of what is going on because it can mean they are stalking you.
Keep in mind that just because it starts off as innocent behavior or online stalking that doesn’t mean that it will end there. You never know when the online stalker might take it to the next level. Therefore, it behooves you to be cautious and careful in all of your online dealings.
Elizabeth Gallagher says
I had over three years of online stalking which at one point spilt over into real life telephone calls and emailing my business associates with “warnings” about me which were 90% fabrication.
I run an online business so reputation is paramount.
Some of the things she did was;
Contact my customers and tell them part truths and 100% lies.
Troll me on forums calling me a thief and a liar at every opportunity.
Send me IMs making threats and being generally abusive and angry.
Send her business details to my customers to try and “steal them”
Blackmail me (I gave her $200 once in the hope she would go away and leave me alone. I have heard she has done this to others too stating she would report them for “abc” and they would go to prison unless they paid her X amount)
Telephone me (I did not give her my number) once to demand I stayed out of the forums and on other occasions in a false friendly manner to get information from me of my business and earnings. But once I wrote and explained I was not comfortable with her telephoning me she went back to being the angry stalker again.
She would gather “followers” by telling them exaggerated or sometimes absolute fabricated stories about what I had done or hadn’t done, and they would also attack me verbally both directly and indirectly in forums and even on their own blogs.
I ended up on beta blockers and anti depressants after 3 years of this along side the breakdown of my 12 yr relationship and death of my sister during the same time period.
I was afraid to go online which affected my work.
I was anxious and scared for no reason and when I thought of this person I would get this panicky feeling in my chest area.
Eventually, I found others who had experienced similar things with this person and we decided to seek legal council.
We counted and screen shot over 315 different cases of defamation towards me and my online business and a further 230 towards the four other people who had been targeted by her.
She eventually removed every single forum and blog post off the internet not just about and to me and my business, but in general and those aimed at other people I am not associated with.
We have not heard anything from her since.
No amount of money or justice will make up for the emotional trauma this person caused me.
There is still one person who behaves this way towards and about me who was her side kick. But I don’t visit the forums much so I can
I have to say, it was the worst 3 years of my life and many people told me they do not know how I coped with the stress.
stephanie dunford says
I met a man on Mate 1 and this was over a year ago and I corresponded wqith him awhile. In December 2110 , I went to a hotel in Houston,Tx where I resided, he ended up at the motel I was at I thought he looked familiar aftere a few days AND HE SAID THAT WAS HIS FIRST TIME IN TX.
He lived in Tennesse, he had me FOOLED ! His jop had relocated him to various Cities as a cell phone tower person, we traveled and EVENTUALLY ended up in Dallas,TX. thats where I found out he had been LYING ! He has’nt completed divorce he had me falselt ARRESTED , when he realized that I was’nt GOING any further ! He has taken me to different counties,now thanks to LAW ENFORCEMENT i was able to retrieve my PERSONAL items. He did STALK me and somehow kept me AWAY from his lies. He has already MOVED on to another unsuspecting WOMAN !
Yes, this has happened to me at work.