The increased amount of online presence we all have today makes it relatively easy for malicious people to stalk or harass us online. Cyber-stalking is a sad and creepy reality that modern society faces. Let’s take a look at its definition, types of cyber-stalking and how to stay safe.
What is Cyber-Stalking?
The English definition of stalking is unwanted, obsessive attention to a particular individual. Physical stalking can range from persistent texting, manipulation and watching secretly. In the digital world, malicious people also stalk unaware online users, except they rely on technology to do it. Cyber-stalkers’ motive is to threaten, harass and embarrass their victim. Instant messaging, email, personal data, and social networks are available to cyber-stalkers. All this data can be used to make inappropriate contact with victims.
Types of Cyber-Stalking
Online catfishing is a scam that occurs on social media sites, where the online stalkers create fake profiles. Then they approach their victims as friends or someone interested in having a romantic relationship. A cat fisher is likely to have few friends on their profile and most of their photos don’t look real.
Trollers live out of other people’s social media posts. They post offensive comments because they feel that you don’t have a way of getting to them. Sadly, some make false statements to incite or upset others. If you ever face such an incident, consider consulting a criminal defense attorney. Trolling is a criminal act that is punishable by law.
Hijacking Your Webcam
Hijacking a PC's webcam is one of the creepiest methods that cyber-stalkers use to invade their victim’s privacy. The offenders trick you into downloading a malware-infected file that grants them access to your webcam when installed. They make it sneaky such that the user doesn’t suspect anything strange. The thought of someone watching your actions through your webcam is very creepy.
Visiting You Virtually Through Google Maps Street View
If a cyber-stalker knows your home address, they can use Google Maps to see how your house looks without stepping on to your property. The stalker can also research about your neighbors, the surrounding environment and the alleys in your area.
How to Protect Yourself
1. Avoid posting personal information on social media
Apps like Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are meant to link up people from all over the world. Unfortunately, they can cause havoc when misused. Most people don’t consider the harm that posting personal information would cause. When you post online your mobile number, home address or email address, you are making it easier for cyber-stalkers to reach you. To be safe, use a separate email address from your official one to open social media accounts.
2. Be mindful of your accounts
The importance of a unique password can never be overemphasized. Stalkers use various methods to get access to their victims’ social media accounts, and a robust password is your first defense. That is why you should create one that is both unique and strong. Avoid using personal information such as your birthday or anniversary date as the password.
3. Change all your accounts’ details when you end a relationship
In most cases, the offender is usually a victim’s ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. It is common in instances where there was abuse in the relationship for there to be stalking afterwards, because the dominant partner will want to remain in control. Cyber-stalking is the perfect way for them to showcase their power.
4. Carry out an internet search of your name regularly
You might not be posting stuff about yourself, but your family and friends could be doing it. Strive to keep your identity and name protected by conducting a regular internet search of your name. It will also help you to know whether a cyber-stalker might be posting false information about you.
5. Get professional assistance if you are cyber-stalked
If the stalking and harassment escalates, it is essential to consult the top criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles. They will guide you on how to report the offense to the authority. If the stalker’s identity is unknown, you may have to hire a private investigator. In case you need to pursue the case, a lawyer will also help you with filing and prosecution.
Douglas Parker is a creative content marketer at Manshoory Law Group, APC. He has always had a special interest in the sphere of Law and Human Rights. Dedicating a lot of his free time to understanding the small details and specifics of these fields, Douglas enjoys exploring and analyzing them in his articles. His main goal is to make this sometimes complicated information available and transparent for everyone.