How to Deal With Stalkers Online And Protect Yourself

Online stalking is unwanted obsessive attention given to a specific person. The concept is different from regular stalking because, in this case, stalkers primarily use digital technology to torment their victims. 

In 2017, Pew Research Center conducted a survey on online harassment with 4,248 participants from the United States. The research shows that one in four Americans experienced harassing behavior online, and 7% of participants were the target of online stalking.

What Is Online Stalking and How to Deal With an Online Stalker?

Online stalking is a serious matter as it involves inappropriate messages, inaccurate allegations, slander, sexual harassment, and threats of violence. Stalkers that target their victims online have the illusion of power over their victim who does not know if the harasser is on the other side of the county or living next door. 

In many cases, harassment starts as cyberstalking but then crosses into harassing phone calls and real-life stalking.

One Reddit user—always careful not to give away any personal information on social media—discovered what a disgruntled online stalker is capable of. She shared her story on Reddit. The stalker‘s messages escalated quickly from accusing her of ignoring him to threatening her life. He even managed to track down where she lives and identify the car registered to her home address.

Another Reddit user experienced being stalked by an ex-partner. The stalker is a girl this Reddit user dated five years earlier. She managed to track down his Instagram account—even though he doesn’t use his real name—and several accounts he follows. 

Differences Between Online Stalking and Stalking in Real Life

Stalking is the act of following or harassing another person repeatedly, which causes them to feel unsafe and scared. Cyberstalking is similar. The goal is to frighten the target, but the harassment is done through the internet or other electronic channels.

Examples of Stalking

Examples of Online Stalking

  • Following or spying on you
  • Threatening you
  • Sending you unwanted letters
  • Sending you gifts
  • Showing up uninvited
  • Making unsolicited calls
  • Destroying your belongings
  • Monitoring your location check-ins on social media
  • Using geotags to track where you are
  • Installing stalkerware on your computer
  • Harassing you on social media
  • Sending harassing emails or text messages
  • Flaming – verbally abusing you online
  • Hijacking your webcam
  • Attempting Identity fraud
  • Catfishing—creating fake accounts to approach you

Laws That Regulate Online Stalking

Even though online stalking is a type of harassment and is considered a criminal offense, it’s not explicitly covered under federal law. When filing a federal suit, you have to rely on statutes focused on harassment, defamation, and stalking. 

Some clauses of the Violence Against Women Act include vague language that is open to interpretation and can be used in cyberstalking cases. If the stalker is sentenced, the penalty can be a restraining order, probation, or jail.

A lack of federal regulation is somewhat supplemented by state laws on cyberbullying. Most states have passed anti-stalking laws, but only a few have both stalking and harassment statutes that criminalize threatening online communication.

There are several variations on state laws on online stalking. Some states have laws that ban the misuse of online communication, while others include language that can be interpreted to constitute cyberstalking.

Use DoNotPay to Put an End to Online Stalking

Fox details how DoNotPay makes it easier to fight companies by suing them in small claims court

If you are wondering how to stop your stalker, DoNotPay could be the answer. DoNotPay is the first virtual lawyer in the world that helps people get their bearings in different judicial and bureaucratic circumstances

You can use DoNotPay to deal with online stalkers in two ways:

  • Report the stalker to the platform in question, which can get their account suspended
  • Generate a cease and desist letter demanding the stalker to stop all actions related to the harassment

Get the Stalker’s Social Media Accounts Suspended

Here is how to do it:

  1. Open DoNotPay in your web browser or iOS device
  2. Pick the Relationship Protection option and begin a chat with the chatbot
  3. Choose Safety and Stalking service and check Online Stalking
  4. Type in the stalker’s username and the platform they are using

And that’s all there is to it. The app will report the stalker for online harassment, and their activity on that platform will go under investigation. DoNotPay will also contact the representatives of the platform and block the aggressor on your behalf.

Make the Stalker Stop All Harassing Behavior

The steps to generate a cease and desist letter are simple:

  • After you pick Safety and Stalking service, check In-Person instead of Online
  • Write the name of the stalker and describe the situation

The app will formulate a cease and desist letter that you can send to the stalker. The important thing about this letter is that it can act as evidence in court. 

Other Options You Can Try to Stop an Online Stalker

It’s always smart to keep yourself safe. If you doubt someone’s behavior or are not sure how a recent breakup might affect your former significant other, there are steps to take to help you feel safer. 

Some of the things you could try to prevent online stalking from happening are:

  • Keep your antivirus and firewall up-to-date
  • Don’t share personal information online 
  • Password-protect all accounts
  • Tighten up your social privacy setting
  • Use a VPN, especially when using public Wi-Fi
  • Never give your passwords to anyone 
  • Never open attachments from untrusted sources
  • Limit your online presence
  • Turn off location tagging when you post

These are preventive measures. They can limit your online presence and keep stalkers at bay for a while. But once a stalker targets you—with a range of online tools at his disposal—prevention is not of much use.

Stalking is a form of harassment, and if you think someone is harassing you, this is what you can do:

  1. Send a cease and desist letter to the stalker and stop all the harassing communication there
  2. Keep detailed notes
  3. Contact the police
  4. Don’t do this alone

Make a Clear Cut

You can use DoNotPay to send a cease and desist letter demanding all harassing behavior to stop. After you do this, stop all communication with the stalker. Block all their online profiles, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Keep Detailed Notes

Take screenshots and make a hard copy of all occurrences of online stalking. Write down the usernames of all profiles the abuse is coming from. This will be useful if the perpetrator deletes their posts and profile. Make sure to write down all the attempts you made to reach a peaceful resolution. 

Report the Stalking to the Police

The police take stalking reports seriously. Make sure to have evidence ready, and you can provide a detailed description of your situation. 

Don’t Do This Alone

Make sure to tell those around you that you’re dealing with a stalker. Your friends and family will support and guide in your further steps. 

Escape From Any Burocratic Maze With DoNotPay

DoNotPay offers a variety of services that can help you manage everyday annoyances. 

Open DoNotPay in your web browser or on your iOS device and check out what else it can do for you. 

Some of the things DoNotPay can help you with are: