Cyberstalking is still a new phenomenon. Law enforcement, the courts and protection efforts are still catching up and adjusting to the real challenges presented with Cyberstalking.
Even so, if the idea of cyberstalking scares you a bit then good. Use that to drive awareness of taking steps to protect yourself from cyberstalking.
Your Smartphone, networks, laptops and online accounts as well as any other devices can be manipulated with technology. Vigilance and well placed efforts will keep your information safe from cyberstalkers.
We have spent hundreds of hours sharing with you the efforts it takes to undo and cleanup after the efforts of stalkers. Putting in a few hours ahead of time can save you from hundreds of hours and possible costs of undoing the damage of a cyberstalker.
Your Smartphone, networks, laptops and online accounts as well as any other devices can be manipulated with technology.
1. Password Protect your Accounts and Dervices
Passwords are worth the frustration they cause. Be sure to use passwords that can’t be guessed for ALL devices and accounts online and off. This includes landline phones(yes they still exist), banking, credit cards, and utility accounts. Also, make sure your security questions are not so easy to guess. many instances of cyberstalking could have been prevented if password recovery questions were more difficult.
2. Report, Ignore and Delete ANY Suspicious Phone Calls
If you have a SmartPhone these days you and EVERYONE else is getting Spoofing calls. Call Spoofing tools allow any phone to mimic a company or institution’s phone number. It is relatively easy for anyone to claim they are from your Bank, Utility company, or any other governing body and pretend to be someone you owe money to and claim money is owed.
If you are suspicious… and if you receive calls with demands for payment… and you are not sure or don’t owe then you should hang up and notify the institution they are claiming to be affiliated with.
Many banks, utilities and communications companies will often post notices about scams they have been made aware of and what to do in case you have received any of these calls.
3. Google or Name Search Yourself
You can search for anything so search for yourself. This is not that different than keeping track of your credit information that it out there.
You may even find wrong information, others with the same name you could be confused with or incorrect information. If you can find information on yourself so can cyberstalkers.
If you have a personal website, or business this is even more important because your profile may be a bit more public. The more detailed information that can be found about you online, the more attractive of a target you could be to a cyberstalker.
Here are a few services that are well worth the fees to utilize and help you manage your profile online.
These solutions have both personal and business solutions. My personal favorite is reputation.com.
4. Never, Ever Give Out Your Social Security Number
This goes without saying but, it never hurts to say it again. Unless you know with certainty who it is and why they need your ‘social’ don’t give it out. With your social security number a cyberstalker can access all types of personal information on you.
5. Keep Your Home Address Private
People don’t always think about this but keeping your home address private is important. A cyberstalker can easily find you with your home address. This especially goes for women and business owners and managers. You can easily add a layer of protection with a mailing address that is different from your home address.
6. If You are Leaving a Spouse or Partner. Be Prepared.
This is especially important if you are in a relationship with someone who is troubled, emotional, difficult or particularly angry person then be prepared.
Change ALL your passwords on ALL accounts to something that cannot be guessed. Make sure you call all of your accounts and specifically give instructions that NO ONE can make changes on your accounts.
This is even a safe practice even if your partner is likely not to react to a break up but is a good practice anyhow. If you can, make these changes before you leave. It may mean less damages if you do.
7. If You Think You Have a Cyberstalker, Act Fast.
This is something that often can leave folks responding slower than needed. By the time people get past the reaction to having a cyberstalker, damage can be done. The moment you notice and weirdness on your devices, online accounts or otherwise, act quickly.
- Change your passwords
- Lock out other users on accounts
- Place holds or replace any credit cards
- Notify the authorities and your financial institution of you have had any identity theft occur
8. Monitor Your Credit Reports Regularly
Monitoring your credit report is a good practice anyhow but is especially important if you are having issues with a cyberstalker.
Most banks and the credit bureaus monitor activity, spending patterns etc for irregularities which is helpful for identifying potential fraud. When the consumer also monitors their credit reports, that is one more set of eyes watching.
You may be able to alleviate, hart and reverse any damage easily if you regularly monitor your credit reports.
9. Take Care of Yourself
Having to deal with a cyberstalker for any length of time is massively stressful. the longer and the more damaging, the more stressful the circumstance.
Take care of yourself. Get help and emotional support. There are numerous resources available to help those who have had to survive a cyber stalker.
10. If You Think Your Devices or Network/s Have Been Compromised, Get Help Quickly.
Reach out to your cell phone carriers or other professionals to get any devices and home or office networks(if you own a business) checked out and reset if need be.
11. Steps to Protect Yourself on Social Media
Last but hardly least are steps you can take in your social media use to protect yourself against stalking. Some of these are common sense, some are related to functions of technology and/or devices.
- Social media platforms have security management tools. Use them. This would also include any default settings for communication threads in posts. You may be able to set defaults to limit access to preferred connections. This will vary from platform to platform
- Don’t publish your address or main contact information on social media if you can at all help it. If you do then make use of the security and privacy tools.
- Check you location services. Most social media tools use locations services based on your device. You will likely have some form of control of publishing your location through your security setting on your device. This can often be controlled through your device as well.
So, yes there are 11 main points I ended up covering. We just could not leave out social media.
If you have had unauthorized account access or are just suspicious that you have it is important to get this checked out as quickly as possible.
So there you have it, some proactive efforts and situational awareness of the key pieces of important information can prevent serious damage on your life if you are dealing with or could potentially deal with a cyberstalker.
Stay safe and take care of yourselves!