Learning about Cyber Stalking

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In the past few years, several people have asked me about cyber stalking – what is it, how can you detect it, and what can you do about it. I’ve taken a professional interest in this topic ever since my friend was stalked by an individual for several years. This case was highly publicized, as the pursuer was actively trying to ruin her reputation and tried to interfere with her right to work.

The stalker in this case was successfully prosecuted in U.S. district court under the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

monster.JPGI’ve had some of the same things happen to me. I cannot go into any detail here, because I suspect that it is still occurring (2008).

Here are some links to good information:

What is Cyber Stalking?
Date Hookup: What is Cyber Stalking
Cyber Stalking: Obsessional Pursuit and the Digital Criminal from Crime Library
The National Center for Victims of Crime

There is a lot more information available – just point your favorite search engine to the keywords “cyber stalking” and “cyberstalking”.

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14 thoughts on “Learning about Cyber Stalking

  1. peterhgregory Post author

    [reply imported from my old blog, posted by “Yo” on Wednesday December 20, 2006 – 10:28am (PST)]

    What is the status of your webpage stalker? If I understand correctly, you are able to track this person’s visits to your site, right down to their IP address and city location, correct? Would this information be admissable in court? I got the impression that you have a pretty good idea who this person is. Are there any laws that can protect you against this sort of harrassment?

    Reply
  2. peterhgregory Post author

    [my reply, originally posted on Wednesday December 20, 2006 – 01:13pm (PST)]

    Usage logs state provide actual IP addresses, but then it [usually] takes a subpoena to find the identity of the person behind the IP.

    Reply
  3. peterhgregory Post author

    [reply imported from my old blog, posted by “Yo” on Wednesday December 20, 2006 – 01:34pm (PST)]

    I have 3 friends in the legal business. I shared your personal story with them and they believe it’s likely that a subpoena would be easy to get, considering your current, legal circumstances. Let me know if you’re considering this option and I’ll put you in contact with them. In the meantime, they advise that you do not block this person’s access to your website, so that you can continue to document their activity. If I understand correctly, this “stalker” has no legitimate business reason to be visiting your websites so frequently, correct?

    Reply
  4. Nadia Heshmati

    If faced with a Stalker on the net or in the real life seek Legal help immediately
    Sue them for Defamation, Slander, Stalking, Intentional infliction of emotional pain and invasion of privacy amongst many other causes of action. Send them a cease and desist demand letter asking the stalker to stop and put them on notice that you plan to follow up next via a Lawsuit in your resident state! If your life is threatened notify the legal authorities and take measures for your personal safety such as installing cameras and carrying a mace or other legal self protection weapons allowed in your state. Notify your friends and neighbors and show them the pictures of the stalker (s). Don’t be intimidated and stay strong, most of these individuals are mentally sick and very weak. ( Though some can turn Violent).
    Follow through with all legal remedies and Do not give up till justice is served.

    Reply
  5. Nadia Heshmati, M.S.,MHRS,C.H.T.

    I have been faced with a Real life and an internet stalker since 2003. I first met this stalker due to the fact that she was in a dating relationship with a driver/friend of the family who was kicked out of his position with the family.
    Alas, he found this Mentally disturbed 300 pound psychotic woman in Long Beach, Ca and be friended her for the purpose of using her to harass my family and I since 2003. His motive was Money and he realized that he had an Mentally deranged obese stalker who lived inside her own head and would do anything for attention from a men.

    This Obese stalker has been stalking me by constantly calling my cell phone at first making life threats, then having her friend call me to harass and collect information on my where abouts. The stalking behavior moved on to breaking into my residence and stealing 75,000 dollars worth of my Jewels together with the driver. She then installed a Virus, spy ware and a key logger on my personal computer. She Stole my personal diaries, pictures, Medical, legal and school documents. I sued them in a Cross-Complaint in which an order was reached for her and the driver to stop contacting me and my family via any means, however due to her Mental illness and her intense jealousy of my life style, she has yet to let go.

    She is posting fake websites under my name, she inserts my information in questionable sites. This 300 pound obese woman has declared herself officially a pagan Witch, and I am NOT kidding, she is so mentally Ill that she believes that she has “special Powers”, she sees and hear things other can NOT, of course this woman is clearly in the need of a board certified psychiatrist as opposed to the legal system but every one has figured out how to use her for Monetary Gain beside her.

    This obese stalker wakes up in the morning and hits her computer, the only weapon she has to stalk and harass my family and I. She submits false, slanderous, fake and
    questionable information to major search engines and makes fake sites using my name.

    I have reported her to the Police dept, the FBI has been contacted because the stolen jewels have crossed lines to another state, the Lawyers are on notice and I am collecting evidence every day because I am planning to file another lawsuit against her in a different state.

    I believe that Stalking of any kind starts with the childhood back grounds of these people. They have an intense need to be noticed, at any cost even if it means displaying negative behavior. They feel that by stalking some one they become a part of his/her life for ever, they are now in control because they do NOT have any control over their own lives. Its an intense and very dangerous mental illness that needs treatments both pharmacologically as well as psychologically.

    My stalker works in the porno business, she writes porno for the web Master, of course this is a Great job for a mentally ill persona who lives inside her own mind in a fantasy world. She also sells other items on the internet (” possibly some stolen”). Her only out let of social life is via the internet. Makes you wonder what kind of people are behind the keys………..

    This woman wakes up every morning thinking about my family and I, she has called our businesses, police dept, any one and every one to harass us 24/7 since 2003. Of course one look at her and her crazy stories people just laugh and dismiss her stalking her behavior.

    She comes from a very poor family in Chicago, she followed a man to another state, she has been used and abused by men all her life. My private investigator has her entire life exposed to me. This woman is simply a product of a very ill genetic, familial, and societal misfortune. However given all the facts that does not excuse her from her very obsessive and mentally deranged behavior against society.

    I found out that she has participated in a stolen identity case in Lancaster, CA against a family member, I also found out that this was not her first time, that she has also stolen a credit card number of a very rich business men in Northern California and used it to Pay herself without his permission. I found out that this stalker had stalked her boss in the past and had stolen some pictures in his office and tried to compose a crazy story of child abuse against him to the local police dept. I also found out that when she gets involved with a men, and he doesn’t respond very well, then she stalks him for months and will post naked pictures of him all over the internet. She also uses older unsuspecting men to her finance her stalking plans. Finally she had found an older and “very desperate lady lawyer” to protect her lies and do NOT let her pay for her crimes for a small fee. Yes her past is as shady as the rest of her, which is so typical of most of these stalkers and our faulty and broken legal system does not stop these stalker as well in the first round!

    Suddenly I had an wake up call that she is just another extreme case of Mental illness that has not been treated. I think in her life time she will stalk many more individuals to come, for now I will use every legal avenues to halt her dead in her track. What my stalker doesn’t know is that I am stronger, smarter, and very much more savvier than her with a sound and educated mind hence I can fight her to the end with a lot of patience to ensure my family’s safety and mine.

    The big joke is that normally as a psychotherapist I deal with these type of individuals behind closed doors or a hospital unit, with locks and security guards, only that this one stalker got away due to a very poor system that should have had her locked up in a mental hospital unit away from society and Individuals to get proper treatment and care.

    Hence to all of you Victims of stalking do NOT panic! Just be prepared and careful
    Take every measure to protect yourself and your family, document all the incidents of stalking and report it to the police, and hire a lawyer to go after them. Its not that difficult, again these people are nothing but a mentally deranged ill individuals in need to Great psychiatric help…………..

    Who know may be if they refuse to seek psychological help, one day they cross some one just as mentally deranged as themselves then its all over…………….

    Good luck

    Reply
  6. Nadia Heshmati, M.S., MHRS,C.H.T.

    Introduction to federal criminal harassment statutes
    B. Is there a crime of extortion and making threats in interstate communications?
    18 USC § 875. Crimes-Extortion and Threats-Interstate Communications
    C. Is there a crime of interstate stalking?
    18 USC § 2261A. Crimes-Domestic Violence and Stalking-Interstate Stalking
    D. Is there a crime of making obscene or harassing electronic communications?
    47 USC § 223. Obscene or Harassing Telephone Calls in the District of Columbia or in Interstate or Foreign Communications.
    E. Federal Statute Definitions
    18 USC § 2510

    18 USC § 2261A
    [TITLE 18. CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
    PART I. CRIMES
    CHAPTER 110A. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND STALKING]
    § 2261A. Interstate stalking
    (a) Whoever
    (1) for the purpose of stalking an individual, travels or causes another to travel in interstate or foreign commerce, uses or causes another to use the mail or any facility in interstate or foreign commerce, or enters or leaves, or causes another to enter or leave, Indian country; or
    (2) within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or within Indian country, stalks an individual, shall be punished as provided in section 2261.
    (b) For purposes of this section, a person stalks an individual if that person engages in conduct–
    (1) with the intent to injure or harass the individual; and
    (2) that places the individual in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury (as defined for the purposes of section 2119) to, that individual, a member of that individual’s immediate family (as defined in section 115), or that individual’s intimate partner.
    (c) The court shall at the time of sentencing for an offense under this section issue an appropriate protection order designed to protect the victim from further stalking by the convicted person. Such an order shall remain in effect for such time as the court deems necessary, and may be modified, extended or terminated at any time after notice to the victim and opportunity for a hearing.

    D. Is there a crime of making obscene or harassing electronic communications?
    47 USC § 223: Obscene or Harassing Telephone Calls in the District of Columbia or in Interstate or Foreign Communications
    – 4 Part Test –

    1) Is there evidence that the defendant knowingly used an electronic communications device to make and then transmit a communication which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy, AND with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass another person? OR
    2) Is there evidence that the defendant made a telephone call or used a telecommunications device, whether or not conversation or communication ensued, without disclosing their identity AND with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person at the called number or who received the communications? OR
    3) Is there evidence that the defendant made or caused to be made the telephone of another repeatedly or continuously to ring, AND with intent to harass any person at the called number? OR
    4) Is there evidence that the defendant made repeated telephone calls or repeatedly initiated communication with a telecommunications device, during which conversation or communication ensued, AND with the intent solely to harass any person at the called number or who received the communication?

    Reply
  7. Nadia Heshmati, M.S.,MHRS,C.H.T.

    CA stalking laws can land a stalker in JAIL!

    CALIFORNIA STAKLING PENALTIES

    For first-time stalking offenders, with no prior criminal history or aggravating factors, the stalking charge will most likely result in a misdemeanor, with up to one year in county jail as penalty. For repeated stalking offenders, with or without a prior criminal history, the penalty would most likely result in a felony charge with up to five years in California state prison. Aggravating factors and prior criminal history are important considerations when classifying a stalking charge as either a misdemeanor or felony.

    Reply
  8. Steve

    Hi,
    I think this is a related question. My lover’s (soon to be ex) husband found naked pics of us both on her private email acct along with intimate conversations (accessed password etc thru a key logger without her knowledge on their PC). He is now threatening to circulate these pics / emails to both our eomployers and friends / family. What rights do I have to stop him doing this? Is this illegal? In my opinion this is stalking / using the net to abuse 3rd parties etc. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Reply
  9. peterhgregory Post author

    I’m certain that their use of a key logger is illegal. I would recommend that you contact an attorney who is aware of cybersecurity law, or contact your local prosecutor.

    But be prepared for this material to be made public. This may be difficult for you.

    Peter

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Actually, the problem with Steve’s situation is that his “lover” was apparently still married and the husband used a key logger…on “their computer.”

    Washington state is a community property state. Would the husband really be found guilty for using a key logger on his own computer? I don’t think so and I suspect that Mr. Gregory misunderstood your situation.

    The use of marital property, to engage in any extra marital activities, always carries with it extra complications when it comes to the law, especially when the divorce is not yet final. I doubt that the “lover” and her boyfriend would gain any sympathy in the court system. The husband used a key logger on his own computer and only made threats regarding the pictures.

    Reply
  11. peterhgregory Post author

    I believe that “anonymous” (above) is correct. In most locales, it is not illegal to isntall a key logger on your own computer. And in many states, that can mean a spouse’s computer.

    Reply
  12. Donica

    Personally, I think stalking laws are going to change.

    With all the information on the Internet and people that put up public websites for the world to see and then cry “stalker!” it’s just ridiculous.

    If you want to know if a stalker is actually dangerous, spend a week away from the Internet. If said person still finds a way to disturb your life in any way, then maybe you have a case. If not, you are more likely to have a data miner on your hands and not a pet-killing, window-watching psycho. Data miners are harmless and just want to learn more about you without wasting your time with questions.

    I HATE people that put their entire lives on the Internet and then cry for help when, I don’t know, someone takes an interest in what they’re writing. Entirely ridiculous. I don’t know if this is the case in your particular scenario – but I have at least four friends that have blogs up and complain about people that read it as if their lives are in danger.

    Just my .02

    Reply
    1. Nadia Heshmati, M.S., MHRS, C.H.T.

      A study was done where they showed the female stalker to be in her later 40s, never married, and No children. These women suffer from personality disorders and sometimes
      Addictions. They are very obsessive and suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorders of thought and or actions. They stalk their victims on average 2-3 years.

      Yes one can argue that you can stay away from the Internet and then the stalker would simply disappear. However, that is NOT the fact, you have to understand that these mentally sick people live inside their own sick minds and have their reality of what life is all about. They suffer from faulty thinking, they hear and see things that do NOT exist, and they suffer from delusions.

      The real sick stalker is one that spends all her days and night thinking of ways to harass, stalk and harm their victims. Yes you can turn off the computer, but then you get a stalker like mine who spends her days calling, writing, and researching my life as well as my families. She calls the police departments; she calls all licensing boards, universities,
      And any one else who may be involve in our lives. She solicits her help to lawyers and corrupt people that we may be suing. She is simply a complete dangerous, obsessive and very mentally disturbed being that should be hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital and not in the public harming every one.

      I equal her to a serial killer, she is a serial stalker and until some one stops her dead in her tracks, she will continue on for years, if not me then some one else. She will find some one and get fixated on them like she has been with me.

      The best part is that I have sued her twice in two different states, and in one state I have a financial judgment against her, and I have been able to obtain a restraining order as well an injunction against her. I have filed her medical records of her psychiatric disorders all over the courts and will continue because I owe it to society to stop her from hurting some one else like she is has been doing and continues to do so against me and my family.

      I guess at the end I should take it as a compliment that some sad mentally ill heavy woman with a personality disorder wakes up and spends hours thinking about me instead of getting on with her pathetic miserable life.

      It is NO compliment but I have learned valuable legal lesson and that it in itself has turned d this very negative situation in my favor, and I hope the legal system continues to work with me to eliminate mentally insane criminals like her our of society. For now I am thankful to the judge who has helped me gain some control by issuing me a restraining order, even though its just a paper, if she crosses the line that paper can turn into a very strong case to put her away in Jail for a long time

      I cross my finger and hope for that day. Stay strong if your being stalked, these people are nothing but mentally disturbed individuals in need of psychological interventions for years to come!
      Protect yourself and NEVER give up on prosecuting these sickos in the court of law!
      GOOD LUCK every one!

      Reply
  13. Anonymous

    I have been cyberstalked by one of my ex-husband’s lovers since the late 1990’s. At first she befriended me to get information. Then I started getting obscene messages on my web page of the middle school level type. They were upsetting but I ignored them Then came letters with made up stories in hopes of undermining the marriage.

    Eventually my ex-husband confessed to the affair and broke off all contact with this woman and it got worse. I spent no small amount of money on therapists just to wrap my head around how a stranger could want to harm me. I lived in fear with small children because she routinely threatened to tell her abusive, gun-toting husband about the affair and he would kill her and/or come kill my ex-husband or God forbid my children. I ignored this person but she would visit my webpage along with her merry band of proud mistresses. I no longer felt safe online and retreated for years.

    I use to work online and had a very social group that I had given up because I no longer trusted anyone. I finally figured I need not hide and opened up another web page. A very modest one at that with very few visitors. I always kept a IP logger. Then they started to flood my web page again. I asked them to leave me alone but of course they did not. So I left that web page again.

    It is not possible to “not go online” to avoid a cyberstalker. I own my own business and use the internet to network. I do not put any personal information other than that related to my business and things that do not include my family. She is not a stranger and for all I know the addict ex has been carrying on with her. I don’t care! I have nothing to do with him.

    Throughout the years I have had calls to my phone as well as calls to my children. I suspect that they befriended one of my older children online. I can not prove anything on my own. These are some emotionally sick women.

    It has been going on 13 years and she is once again flooding my web page with her merry troop of dimwits. I am not married to the man she is chasing. There is absolutely nothing about him to be found on anything I do online.

    I realized that I am emotionally distressed again. I just want this woman to leave me alone. I have an email from way back where she admits to all the harassment. A look into the psychotic mind of a mistress is a scary place. In there she reiterated the danger of her own husband.

    I don’t have to guess on the ISP because it is from her place of employment and I know very well that the visits to my web page are coming from her. I’m sick of it! I want to call her psycho husband in hopes she will stop. I feel she will never stop and I’ will have to live with this stalking the rest of my life. I think she wants me to know it is her in hopes I WILL tell her husband and then she will have all the drama she seeks with my ex and ME and my poor kids who have been through hell already.

    I don’t have the money for an attorney. What can I do? Everything I read speaks to threats. I am concerned I will be charged with harassment if I confront her but if I can’t stop her what are my options? It is a good thing she lives far away because I would have paid a visit by now.

    Any suggestions would be helpful.

    Reply

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