Identify and prevent cyberstalking.
More than 7.5 million people experience stalking each year, with 25% specifically experiencing cyberstalking through email or instant messaging. Cyberstalking is an extension of the physical form of stalking and is usually characterized by the stalker using the internet to harass or harm someone. Cyberstalking can include trolling, catfishing, doxing, posting sexual images (real or fake) of someone, online impersonation, GPS tracking, sending threatening emails, or hacking into accounts.
How do you know if you are being cyberstalked? Here are some things to consider:
Are you receiving too many unwanted or inappropriate messages from someone? Is
someone trolling you? Did someone who is not a close family member or friend like
a old post? Have recent private messages or pictures of you been leaked?
Are you being manipulated into talking to someone online? Any of these signs could
indicate you are being cyberstalked.
Tips to prevent cyberstalking.
Lock Down Your Login by using unique passwords for every account and
enabling strong authentication on all your personal accounts. Enroll in
two-factor authentication for your WVU account, too.
- NEVER share your password and change your passwords often. If you have shared your password with a current or soon-to-be-ex-partner, reset every password, including your WVU account.
- Increase physical security by limiting access to your computer and other internet-connected devices. Enable security protections, such as passwords or biometric scans, on your devices so that only you can access them. Always remember to logout before you step away from your computer. If you suspect that your computer has been compromised, use a computer at a lab or library.
Protect your information online. Don't overshare on social media, especially
your birthday, location, mobile phone number, or email address. Consider using
a separate email address for every social media account. Google yourself on a
regular basis or set up a Google alert to be aware of what information about you is out there. Regularly
privacy settings on all your social media accounts to ensure your information
is being protected.
- Turn off GPS on your phone or tablet to prevent location tracking unless you are using the Mobile ID app with your Mountaineer Card.
What to do if you are being cyberstalked.
- Trust your instincts. If you suspect that someone knows too much about you or your activities, it is likely you are being monitored.
- Make clear to the person that you would like them to not contact you again and that any further contact will result in a police report. Engagement may escalate or cease, depending on the harasser.
- Save all communications with the stalker for evidence. Do not edit in any way. If the harasser posts comments on your blog, keep copies and considering unpublishing rather than deleting.
- 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 University Police Department at 304-293-3136. Keep a record
of all communications with law enforcement.
Contact the WVU Title IX and Office of Equity Assurance for more information and support about stalking. The Equity Assurance 24/7 anonymous hotline is 304-906-9930.