Cyberstalking is defined as the use of the internet, smart phones and other forms of electronic communications to harass or threaten someone repeatedly.
This can start from a meeting in a chat room, message board, forum or discussion board. Cyberstalking can take many forms such as threatening, harassing or obscene emails- possibly with picture attachments, multiple unwanted emails- or spam, live chat harassment or flaming, leaving improper messages on message boards.
When using any social network, remember not to provide any of your personal information. Don’t post your private email address, phone number or address. Use a gender-neutral name.
Do not open emails if you are unsure of the origin. Stalkers can attach spyware to the emails that can read your emails, track your internet activities and every keystroke, so as to obtain your passwords. These innocuous appearing attachments can even be embedded on photographs.
There is even mobile spyware that can track GPS on cell phones.
Some can even turn on cameras to see the user and their location. Good
internet security software
can block, warn you and remove spyware before it's installed. If you
worry that there is already spyware on your computer it is best to
purchase the security software offline and install it when your computer
is not connected to the internet.
In 2000 the Violence Against Women Act made cyberstalking a part of the federal interstate stalking statue. Due to the lack of further federal legislation addressing the practice the majority of legislative prohibitions in this area have been left at the state level.
Many police departments have cybercrime units. After collecting as much hard data as possible, report it to the police.
The first time it happens log off right away and stay logged off for 24 hours. Send the person a clear message not to contact you again under any circumstances, and never contact them again for any reason!
If the cyberstalking continues document each time it happens. Print out everything you can- emails, message boards, etc. You may want to file a complaint with the stalker’s internet service provider, as well as your own. Your provider may offer tools to filter or block the offender.
You may file a complain with local law enforcement, presenting them with the collected evidence.
You may have to consider changing your email address. You may need to install protective software and/or encryption software as well.
Under no circumstances should you agree to meet the stalker face-to face!
When socializing in chat rooms, discussion boards or social media sites use gender neutral nicknames and never give out personal details.
Never open emails- especially attachments without knowing who and where its from.
Make sure you have the latest dynamic privacy and security
software installed that connects with the internet to pull updates
regularly from its home web-site. Run scans often.
Cyberstalking can evolve into "real-life" stalking and should be taken seriously for effective self defense for women.