Living in fear of receiving a notification or alert from a cyberstalker is becoming an increasingly common experience. In fact, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately one in four victims of stalking report some form of cyberstalking such as email or instant messaging.
Stalkers are typically driven by a need for attention and an obsession with making their victims pay for perceived wrongdoing. More and more stalkers are using the Internet as a tool to track down victims and disrupt their daily lives. If you believe your ex is stalking you online, here’s how to take steps to protect yourself and end put an end to the stalking.
Avoid unknown phone numbers
Most stalkers harass victims with an endless number of texts, phone calls, and emails. After you block their main phone number and email address, you might start getting calls from unknown numbers. If you start receiving phone calls or text messages from a mystery number, look it up using a reverse phone lookup service.
Services like Go Look Up reveal the name, age, location, and social profile for the person behind the phone number, as well as relationship tips to help victims of cyberstalking avoid running into the same situation in the future. Reverse phone lookup services can help you avoid being tricked into interacting with your cyberstalker.
Change your passwords
If you’ve ever logged onto an account on your ex’s phone or computer, changing your passwords is necessary in order to avoid impersonation. Storing your photos, contacts, and notes on your iPhone involve storing data in the cloud. If your ex knows your iCloud account information, they can log into your account and delete your data, lock you out, or add charges to your bill. In addition, they can access your contacts and harass you and your loved ones.
If you have the “Find My Phone” app on your phone, make sure to change the login information as soon as possible. Your cyberstalker can use your login information to pinpoint your exact location.
On the other hand, if you’ve never shared a password, your ex may still be able to access your accounts. If your ex knows personal information such as your middle name, pet’s name, or mother’s maiden name, they’ll be able to answer password hints or figure out predictable passwords and log into your accounts.
To avoid harassment and impersonation, change your email address and account passwords for every online account, including your social media and banking accounts. Creating strong passwords will prevent your ex from logging into your accounts and accessing your personal data.
Make social profiles private
Since social media connects you to a wide network of strangers, your ex may be able to track you down and access sensitive information, especially if you have mutual friends. Although your ex may be able to access your information using social media, you don’t have to stop using social media. Instead, taking steps to make your information private can protect you against cyberstalking.
Start by making your Facebook profile private and blocking your ex’s profile. Next, consider running your name through an online background check to reveal which social media profiles are connected to your name. After deciding which profiles to delete, make the remaining profiles private. Be sure to block your ex, as well as any friends and family your ex may use to stalk your profile. Finally, disable search settings so your ex won’t be able to find you.
Cyberstalking exes crave attention and aim to disrupt the daily lives of their victims by instilling fear and paranoia. Making your personal information inaccessible to your cyberstalker will ultimately discourage them from chasing you down and help you protect your personal information. If your ex continues cyberstalking, threatening, or harassing you, consider contacting family law attorneys in your area to figure out which steps to take next.