With a significant portion of life moving to the virtual world, the term stalker has expanded its meaning – becoming a greater threat and someone to be wary of both in the real and online environments.

What is (cyber) stalking?

Stalking, or online stalking, can take many different forms, but broadly, it’s lurking or harassment that occurs through social networks. This type of activity is planned and lasts over an extended period. It used to be much harder to find information about where someone works, where they hang out, which school they attend, their phone number, or bank.

Today, we tend to share that information even voluntarily, without being coerced. Cyberstalking cases can start as seemingly harmless interactions. Sometimes, especially in the beginning, a few strange or maybe uncomfortable messages might even entertain you. However, when messages become more frequent, longer, when they start to press you, it becomes scary. Stalkers are known for being motivated by being ignored to ‘try harder.’ If you block them or do not respond, they might send the same message up to 30 times a day and create countless new accounts to reach you.

For them, there are no boundaries. Ignoring them can even lead them to contact your family and friends to inquire about you. It’s important to emphasize that stalking sometimes does not involve direct communication.  Stalkers can stalk victims without their knowledge, gathering information for crimes like organized robbery or identity theft. The goals of stalkers and cyberstalkers, or stalkers, are to blackmail you with the gathered information, attract you to them, rob you, harm you, win you over, trap you, or make you act out of fear as they wish.

What to do if you are a victim of a stalker?

  • Block the person
    Blocking can prevent the person from reaching you. Not all stalkers are obsessive enough to have multiple profiles. If they do contact you from a new profile, do not respond. Block every profile.
  • Report the stalker’s profile to the platform you are on – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok…
    By clicking on ‘report,’ you can report the person harassing you and then select one of the options provided regarding the type of harassment. The next step is for the platform to evaluate your report and then eliminate the predator’s profile without warning.
  • Screenshot messages, threats, harassing content
    Harassment can continue even after you’ve done everything in your power to stop it. It’s important to photograph messages and other material the person has sent you to have evidence of harassment.
  • Save the profile link
    A screenshot of the profile can lose significance if the person changes their name/nickname on the profile. Therefore, always save the profile link, which does not change.
  • Report to the police
    The last step is to report to the police. Provide them with all the collected evidence of harassment.


How to reduce the chances of being a stalker’s victim?

  • Keep your profiles private.
  • Only add people you truly know in real life as friends.
  • Think twice about how the information about yourself and your life you share can be used against you.
  • Pay attention to settings – who can contact you, who can message you, who can see your photos.
  • Whenever possible, choose a nickname or pseudonym instead of your real name.
  • Avoid tagging your current location.
  • Do not leave your phone number, email address, home address, or phone number anywhere on the internet. Anything once posted on the internet stays there forever.

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