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Online Stalking: Cyber Safe Advice

Online stalking (or cyberstalking) is harassment where technology is used persistently to intrude upon others in the knowledge that contact is unwelcome.

Online Stalking and Harassment

Advances in technology present greater opportunity for criminals to stalk.

Cyberstalking Can Involve:

  • Repeatedly sending messages which inflict harm, harass, intimidate or make someone feel unsafe
  • Digitally ‘tracking’ someone by using their social media updates, and location settings
  • Using this activity to enable physical, offline stalking
  • Posting malicious information about someone online
  • Receiving direct threats on messaging platforms
  • Being impersonated with fake social media accounts set up
  • Having your online accounts taken over and hacked
  • Webcam hacking and blackmail

Protect Yourself Online

  • Review what information exists about you online, and keep it to a minimum
  • Review your online privacy and security settings – who can see what you post on social media and who has access to your accounts?
  • Ensure that your computer and mobile devices have anti-spyware software installed and turned on
  • Ensure your wireless hub/router has security turned on, and you have changed your router password from its defauly. 
  • Unless you are using a secure web page, do not send or receive private information when using public Wi-Fi
  • Limit the amount of personal and financial information you share on and off-line
  • Educate friends, family and work colleagues about the risks – they may otherwise be sharing information about you online, even without them realising

If You Are Affected By Cyberstalking

  • Screenshot any harassing messages or any other proof of the stalking behaviour, along with dates, times and any online user information
  • Report the stalking to the police
  • Turn off the location setting on your phone
  • Update your social media privacy settings, and only add people you fully trust
  • Regularly change your passwords for key online accounts and keep them safe (e.g. banking, social media, emails)
  • You may wish to consider changing your email address
  • Change any usernames to something which does not identify YOU, go for something as generic as possible
  • Avoid online public forums, and be careful of how much information you may have shared on these in the past – if you can, go back and delete posts

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