Cyberstalking Tip Sheet
This tip sheet is a companion to the article on CYBERSTALKING created for Clever Divas.
PUBLIC PERSONAE TIPS
©2008, Vicki Hinze
Public Personae Tips:
- If you maintain a website, incorporate activity reports so that abnormal activity is noted and reported to you. An example would be abnormally frequent visits by the same person to the same page during a short period of time. (Or if s/he has recruited a third party to monitor your site, then that individual’s activity will be reported and incorporated for your records.) Remember, this third party might or might not know that they’ve been recruited.
- Set up alerts with search engines to inform you of searches run on you. When a search is requested, you’re notified and have the report for your records.
- Run your own search on your name at least once a week. Under advance search options, you can restrict the dates and review documents. (Not long ago, I discovered several mom/breast-feeding articles I’d supposedly written only I hadn’t. Authorities are investigating…) The point is, your search will reveal these type of violations against you, your professional, public personnae and your reputation.
- Have your webmistress/webmaster monitor RSS feeds. (The obsessive nature of the stalker is often indicated by their repetitive behavior. For example, the stalker will read the same article over and over again, often during a short period of time. And if there is nothing new to view on your site, then s/he will home in on something old and compulsively read it multiple times in short order. It’s amazingly simple for an experienced eye to catch this behavior–all one must do is look.)
- Document. Keep explicit records and the originals–a hard copy (printed) as well as electronic versions. When you print, be sure to “view details” or “long headers” in the messages. This tracks back the messages you received not only to a specific server but to a specific computer.
- Off-site storage. Since stalkers can become aggressive and eventually engage in assault or other destructive behavior, it is sensible to keep a copy of your evidence file off-site, meaning away from your office or home or wherever the stalker most often attempts contact. You can:
a. Have a friend keep a copy of the file.
- Set up an email account only for record purposes and store a copy in that account. For items sent snail mail, keep the originals off-site in a safe place. Keep a scanned copy in your off-site email account and in your records file. For objects delivered to your home, place of business, or other physical place: photograph and store a scanned copy off-site, keep the originals in a safe off-site location and a scanned copy in your records.
- Block the stalker on your email address/addresses. Remember, this is an obsessive behavior and the stalker’s objective is to demand a response/reaction from you to initiate contact. In several case studies, it is at that point where tensions escalate and some stalkers turn violent or subversively destructive.
- Insist (in writing, retaining a copy for your records) or through a third-party that the stalker leave you alone. Once this is done, do not engage in any further contact. Notice has been given and served.
- Live your life. While a cyberstalker creates turmoil, havoc and/or distress, you have a job to do and a life to live, and you should do it and live it.
- If you incorporate these tips, do what you can to avoid contact, then you’re taking reasonable measures.
- If those reasonable measures do not work and the stalker persists, then you’ve got indisputable proof of his/her actions in your records: Preventative actions you’ve taken, and hostile actions the stalker has taken. The authorities then have what they need to do their jobs—and you can go back to living your life.
- Mostly importantly, be aware. The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it can be used as a weapon.
- Don’t willingly become a victim.◆