Cyberstalking / Harassment
Cyberstalking / Harassment
Cyberstalking and cyberharassment are very similar. Money, politics, religious beliefs, revenge, hate, and romance are the most frequent motives. While the two situations usually involve many of the same online tactics, cyberstalking is almost always characterized by the stalker persistently following his\her victim online using different networks, digital communications and tools. There may also be some form of offline attack.
Cyberstalking involves repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.
Cyberstalking frequently occurs in domestic violence situations. This form of behavior is dangerous, and victims should consider seeking help – especially in situations when offline stalking is also occurring.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Joint phone plans with a stalker gives that person access to phone features and calling log information.
- A stalker might try to connect with a victim’s devices / gadgets using the Bluetooth to access information or intercept communications.
- Most phones have GPS chips and location tracking abilities, which can be used to determine someone’s location. Some attackers install applications to track locations.
Cyberharrassment consists of personal attacks that may include sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. The attacker intends to cause distress to the victim or make them the subject of harassment by others.
Some examples might include:
- Posing as the victim and posting offensive comments or send offensive messages in the victim’s name. Attackers can falsify evidence or attempt to paint victims in a negative light. The attacker, if they have access, may attempt to delete or add to the conversation in order to make the victim look bad
- Sending emails and / or messages to the victim, or to the victim’s co-workers, friends, or family.
- Sending hateful or provocative communications to the victim’s boss, family or significant other (in their own name or posing as the victim).
- ’Doxing’a victim by making their personal information public, including addresses, social security, credit card and phone numbers, links to social media accounts, and other private data. A lot of times the victim’s computer is hacked, or their email or social networking accounts are broken-into. If they haven’t been broken into, it is still possible for the harasser to pose as the victim. There are numerous apps that allow a person to place calls or send fake text messages using absolutely ANY number. Through the apps, an attacker can create, send and even take snapshots of a text message that looks like it comes from another person, email address or cell phone number.
Text messages, email, phone calls and other forms of electronic communication can all be spoofed. SMS Spoofing is a technique where attackers replace or change the originating mobile number (Sender ID) of a text message to another number of their choice. This changes who the sender of a text message appears to be. NO ONE can be 100% safe from spoofing. Whether scammers use your number for spoofing or someone is maliciously attacking you, you should always report it to your phone carrier and law enforcement so they can track where the SMS messages came from.
If someone you know shares emails, messages or other forms of communications about someone else that may be questionable, ask yourself these questions:
- Why are they sharing this information with me?
- What is their intent?
- Do they want to share it with you to ruin someone’s reputation? Think before you decide to believe and or share the information with others. Remember that the information that is being shared could be fake and it could harm someone’s reputation and / or be criminal.
Additional resources on this topic can be found in the cybercrime resource directory tab.