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Identify and prevent cyberstalking.

An extension of the physical form of stalking, cyberstalking is characterized by use of the internet to harass or harm someone by trolling, catfishing, doxing, posting sexual images (real or fake), online impersonation, GPS tracking, sending threatening emails or hacking into accounts. Signs of cyberstalking may include someone:

  • Sending you too many unwanted or inappropriate messages;
  • Trolling you;
  • Liking an old post on social media;
  • Or manipulating you into talking to them online.

Tips to prevent cyberstalking.

The first line of defense is to protect your information by limiting the amount of information you share online and increasing the security of both your accounts and your devices:

  • Don’t overshare on social media. Regularly review the privacy settings on all your social media accounts.
  • Google yourself on a regular basis or set up a Google alert to be aware of what information about you is online.
  • Enable strong authentication on all your personal accounts.
  • Limit access to your computer and other internet-connected devices. Enable security protections, such as passwords or biometric scans, so only you can access them.
  • Always remember to log out before you step away from your computer. If you suspect your computer has been compromised, take it to a private computer repair shop for an assessment. Use a computer at a lab or library in the meantime.
  • Review GPS and location-tracking settings for all applications and ensure they are enabled only for the important ones requiring it such as the Mobile ID app with your Mountaineer Card, the LiveSafe app or Uber.

What to do if you are being cyberstalked.

Always trust your instincts. If you suspect that someone knows too much about you or your activities, it is likely you are being monitored. Take the following precautions:

  • Make clear to the person that they should not contact you again, and that any further contact will result in a police report. Be aware that engagement may escalate or cease, depending on the harasser, and be prepared to notify law enforcement.
  • Save all communications with the stalker for evidence, and do NOT edit in any way. If the harasser posts comments online, keep copies and considering unpublishing the content rather than deleting it.
  • Block or filter messages from the harasser.
  • If the person is publishing harmful information about you in other online spaces, complain to the moderator or online system administrators. Keep a record of all your communications with that person.
  • Tell your family, friends and employer that someone is stalking you online.
  • Report the harasser to the University Police Department at 304-293-3136. Keep a record of all communications with law enforcement.

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