If you thought Mark’s addiction to inflatable animals in an episode of TLC’s My Strange Addiction was mind-boggling, wait until you hear about how a complete stranger could be addicted to constantly watching your every move on the Internet and in your real life quite so cleverly that you would not even have the slightest impulse to harbour any misgiving about it. It is no shocker that we are all exposed to both the advantages and the dangers of the Internet in this modern era. But how many of you are aware of the fact that someone could be watching you through your webcam right this instant as you are reading this? That’s right. It would not take a cyber stalker longer than a few minutes to bug your computer and gain round-the-clock access to use your webcam in order to monitor everything that you do behind your computer screen.
Back in 2014, former Goldsmith University student, Andrew Meldrum was convicted in UK’s very first cyberstalking case for bugging women’s computers with a programme called “Icamsource” which allowed him to covertly watch them for his own personal sexual gratification and he possessed over 11, 000 obscene images of his victims. Sounds scary, huh? Here’s the part where it gets even creepier. It could go on for months or even years, and you would have no idea of the fact that someone’s been watching you all this while. Meldrum remained undiscovered for 15 months before his victims started to suspect anything. Cyberstalking has many levels, varying from harmless to felonious, the common denominator is that no one likes it. It often involves consistent harassment, threats, data destruction, identity theft, and most commonly monitoring. Nota bene, cyberstalking is sometimes perpetuated by people that you know or often by the ones that know you. So do you think you might have a modern peeping Tom tailing you online? Would you like to find out? Here are some signs that could indicate that you are a victim of a cyber stalker.
1. You Have Someone Tailing You
“I will follow you … wherever you may go.”
Find out if you have a follower who constantly keeps bugging you from chat room to chat room and follows you on every social media platform. This person does not necessarily have to be a stranger. It could be your neighbour next door or even your study buddy. A typical stalker tends to fixate on a person and compulsively follows them wherever they go. Unlike a stalker in the physical world, a cyber stalker would not surface quite so easily. Do a little a detective work yourself.
2. Blocking This Person Seems Like A Futile Effort
“Cyberstalkers have the tendency to cover up their identity, sort of like this invisible man.”
Once you have caught your rat, try to look for indications which show that he or she might have a false online identity. As difficult as this may sound, you can make it quite simple. Block this person from all of your social media accounts even if you have the slightest doubt about them. Next, wait and find out if the person is trying to follow you again with dogged determination, using other fake profiles. They may also try to follow you on other social networking sites.
3. You Get Bombarded With Messages
“Great … messages are ringing on all my devices 24 hours a day.”
Does this stalker relentlessly send you messages and emails even when you have asked them to stop? Reasoning is often a losing battle when it comes to these indefatigable stalkers. But if you have tried to reason with that person and the stalker still persists on sending you numerous messages, well, Houston, we have a problem. This person does not take no for an answer.
4. There Is Always Someone Asking For Your Personal Details
“It’s time to lock and secure my personal details with the good old chain.”
On the odd occasion, some stalkers might even ask you ‘politely’ for your personal information. Here’s a piece of advice: DO NOT LET A SWEET TEXT FOOL YOU. When you see a stranger online—who might or might not be someone you actually know—asking for your personal details, run the other way. It could be an avid admirer of yours, but are you willing to take your chances?
5. This Person Doesn’t Take No As An Answer From You
“Can’t you see this big X? It literally means NO.”
Another thing you need to look for is the stalker’s persistent behaviour. Their messages can be either civil as they try to sound incredibly nice to you or they could be insulting and threatening. Whichever of the two cases, they are unrelenting when it comes to harassment. Stalking you is their number one priority.
6. Your Instinct Tells You That You’re Being Stalked
“My sixth senses are tingling.”
Do you feel annoyed or unsettled whenever you receive a message from the person in question? A sort of neurotic response to a notification concerning your stalker can be a clear indication that you do not want this person keeping a tab on you. Sometimes, you need to trust your gut. Don’t ignore these gut instincts.
7. This Person Is Connected To Your Inner Circle
“That’s what we mean by connected.”
Take notice if the apparent stalker follows your friends and family members. There is a high chance that this person might be creeping up on your friends and family’s profiles as well. If it has gone this far, you might need to seek external help, especially from your family members.
8. You Have A Bug In Your Computer
“We like to inform you that you’ve just been hacked. Thank you for your time.”
In extreme cases of cyberstalking, your computer might be bugged. Stalkers who use software and hardware devices can easily attach a bug or install a programme to your computer. Early detection of anomalies in your computer programmes can save you from being cyberstalked.
The Internet has its pitfalls in spite of its boons and it is your responsibility to be careful to not to fall into one. If you think you could be a victim of cyberstalking, you should get help as soon as possible. Do not wait until it is too late to mend anything. In addition to that, refrain yourself from responding to the messages your cyber stalker sends you. Instead, seek for legal help if the problem persists or gets out of hand. We should always be wary of what we post on the Internet. Remember, what goes on the Internet, stays on the Internet. And to top it all off, it also attracts and nurtures cyber stalkers.
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