1. What is cyberstalking?
The definition of cyberstalking is as follows: “The use of the internet or other electronic methods to harass and intimidate a chosen victim.”
Common traits include, but are not limited to, traditional “stalking” behavior—tracking someone’s whereabouts and keeping tabs on their online and offline activities. Cyberstalkers have been known to install GPS tracking devices in their victims’ vehicles, install geolocation software on their phones, and obsessively follow their victims’ movements on social media.
Other behaviors that are meant to scare victims or make their lives miserable may also be included in cyberstalking. Cyberstalkers may, for example, stalk and threaten their victims on social media; they may even hack emails to contact the victim’s connections, including friends and even employers. Posing as someone else in images or sending ominous private messages are examples of social media stalking. Cyberstalkers frequently disseminate damaging rumors, level unfounded charges, or even produce and distribute retaliation porn. Additionally, they could fabricate blogs or bogus social media pages about their victim while committing identity theft.
We are aware of what cyberstalking is now. Who are its victims, though? You might be taken aback. Despite the fact that women are the majority of victims of cyberstalking, 20 to 40% of victims are men. Following someone on social media is only one aspect of cyberstalking. The distinguishing feature of cyberstalking is the desire to intimidate.
2. What you can do to avoid being stalked online?
You should Google yourself right now to see what details a potential cyberstalker might find. This is a fantastic practice. You might be surprised at how simple it is to find you. Find your home address, phone number, and other personal information, too.
If that’s a problem, you might want to consider how much information someone could gather about you if they had access to the social media accounts of your friends and family as well. For instance, they might discover the bar you were in, your group of pals, or the location and timing of your upcoming vacation.
You can even come across content that someone else has posted that falsely claims to be from you, such as a phoney blog or a Craigslist account that publishes your home address and phone number.
Cyberstalkers begin by Googling their targets and gathering as much information as they can about them. That implies that you should make it as difficult as you can to access that information.
3. Tips for protecting yourself from cyberstalkers
Begin by using your own data. Examine your social media accounts carefully, and if you haven’t already, turn on strict privacy controls.
- To ensure that only people you know may see your posts, set them to “friends only.”
- Do not allow social media sites to publicly disclose your address or phone number. (You may wish to set up another email address specifically for social networking)
- Send a private message to your friend instead of posting your phone number or other private information online.
- For your social media profiles, use a gender-neutral screen name or pseudonym rather than your real name.
- Don’t fill out optional sections in social media profiles, such as your birthdate.
- Accept friend requests only from people you have met in person. Allow only friends of friends to friend you on your social networks.
- Disable geolocation settings on your phone.
Start deleting it if any additional personal information is available online outside of your social media platforms. Google will assist you in getting your SSN removed if it has been made public. To get some of the data removed, you might need to get in touch with independent websites. Use a post box address or office address (such as your accountant’s, for example) rather than your home address if you require a postal address for business purposes or to register your web domain. Read more about How to protect yourself from cyberstalkers