Stalk Yourself: A Guide to Information Collection, Privacy and Defending Yourself
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Unlike the other types of online stalkers, trolls send harmful or violent comments to their victims for seemingly no reason. Sometimes, they seek to cause harm without their victims even knowing that it is happening.
IGNORING A STALKER CAN BE DANGEROUS
The best protection is to prevent online stalking before it even happens. By taking a few privacy-protection measures, you can significantly reduce the chances of being stalked online. Next, go through this checklist:. These sites, which are also known as people-finder databases, collect personal information and publish it, thus facilitating Internet-based reputation smearing by cyberstalkers. You can, however, opt out of many of these sites and keep your info from falling into the wrong hands.
Passwords are what keep online stalkers from accessing your accounts. Look to see who has access to your data.
Googling yourself is an effective way to see what kinds of information you can find about yourself on the Internet. You should search for yourself in several different capacities. Start by Googling only your name, then add your phone number, date of birth, or address and try searching again.
Removing this info will make it more difficult for online stalkers to find and share things about you on the Web. Prevention is all well and good, but what can you do if someone is already harassing you or spreading harmful information about you online? Here are a few anti-cyberstalking best practices:. First of all, if you perceive an imminent threat to your safety at any point, immediately contact law enforcement. After this, you should stop responding to his or her messages. Throughout this exchange and beyond, you should document all incoming correspondence, including emails, instant messages, and voicemails.
Consider a service such as ExecutivePrivacy by ReputationDefender. This is a comprehensive privacy protection tool that removes your personal information from the vast majority of Internet data brokers, making it much harder for a stalker to track you down. You can find more extensive advice and lists of cyberstalking resources on the following websites:. Never hesitate to inform your friends and family if you know you have an online stalker. Only by understanding the issues at hand can they offer their support during such a frightening experience.
You should also ask them to take a look at their own online profiles and determine what they are saying about you to other users. That way, if your stalker begins sending demeaning messages about you, he or she will be able to take your side. Telling your employer about your online stalker can even help minimize the damage made to your professional life.
The tips and resources above can effectively deal with online stalking by strangers, but nothing can completely prevent cyberstalking by colleagues, acquaintances, or family members. And unfortunately, these threats are growing as the Web becomes more social. You should contact law enforcement as soon as you perceive any type of imminent threat.
What to do if you're being stalked: Advice from an expert - CBS News
Forward your documentation on the stalking to the police, ask for a restraining order and talk to the authorities about resources in your community that can assist you. All ReputationDefender consultations are free, confidential, and without obligation. Call or Schedule a Consultation. Online stalking definition Who is most affected? Types of stalkers How to tell if you have a stalker How to protect yourself What to do if you have a stalker Talk to an Expert or Send us a Message.
What exactly is online stalking? Has your personal information been exposed online? Remove my information. Protect my identity. Email Address:. Phone Number:. Thank You!
A Safety Guide for Victims of Stalking
You can ask the judge if you can take notes with you when it is your turn to testify in case you need to remember a date, etc. If you have children, you may want to talk to a domestic violence advocate or a lawyer in your state about how to present any evidence about what the abuser has done to the children. You want to be sure not to present this information in a way that may implicate you in some way i. How can I best present my case for custody?
Additionally, in many states, the judge may appoint a custody evaluator to interview the parties. The Leadership Council has a useful guide to help you understand the best ways to present yourself and your story to a custody evaluator. All rights reserved. Department of Justice.
Neither the U. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this website including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided. Skip to main content. Be on time. Have your witnesses there and ready. Have your evidence ready. If you have subpoenaed witnesses or documents and they are not in court, you should inform the judge.
Dress appropriately as if you had a job interview. Do not speak or argue with the abuser during the hearing. Although it may be upsetting to hear the abuser say things that are untrue, you should have the opportunity to tell your story directly to the judge. There may be hearings before yours. If you have children, try to find someone to take care of them while you are in court. While you are waiting to be called, it is your right to move seats if the abuser sits next to you, and to receive help from court staff in keeping the abuser away from you.
Tell the bailiff or any sheriff, police or security guard if you are afraid for your safety. Stand when the judge enters and sit when the judge or bailiff asks you to. Try to remain calm but it is OK if you show emotion.
Take deep breaths if you feel yourself getting tense. Never lose your temper in the courtroom.
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Always tell the truth. Never make up an answer. Remember that you know your story better than anyone - you are the expert. Each state and court may have variations on this, but this is generally the order of events: The bailiff will swear you in by asking you to state your name and swear or affirm to tell the truth. Since you are the plaintiff, you will tell your side of the story first and enter any evidence that you have.
When you are finished, your witnesses may speak. Again, you may have the legal right to object to certain questions that are asked of your witnesses if they violate the rules of evidence, but this may be very hard for a pro se litigant to do because you likely will not know the rules of evidence and what types of questions are allowed and what types of questions are not allowed. It may be very different from yours. The judge may make the decision right away or may take a recess to give the decision.
The recess may be only for a few hours or it may take days or weeks to give the final decision. If the judge grants you the final restraining order, the judge may sign it that day at your hearing.