Information Computing and Technology Services

Cyberstalking | Part I

What is cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking refers to a "traditional" stalker who uses technology to harass a victim online. The stalker traces and locates the victim's movements more easily (e.g. using Facebook notifications). A true cyberstalker's intent is to harm the intended victim using the anonymity and untraceable distance of technology. And it's made possible by the increasing accessibility of the Internet.

Cyberstalking is not identity theft. An identity thief has a very specific goal in mind — financial gain. Identity thieves are unconcerned about the consequences of their behavior on the victim's life, whereas the actions of a cyberstalker are deliberate and focused on the consequences to the victim.

Cyberstalking largely consists of harassing behavior in the form of:

  • electronic messaging such as text messages
  • spamming and/or sending threatening emails to a victim or a victim's family, friends or co-workers
  • posting the victim's personal information such as name, address, phone number and email address
  • posting offensive comments in the victim's name
  • creating and posting sexually explicit images
  • hacking into the victim's computer and accounts
  • subscribing the victim to porn and unwanted advertising
  • attaching spyware to emails or installing it on the computer

True Stories

A 50-year-old security guard made advancements toward a young woman, and she rejected him. To get revenge, he impersonated her in chats, posted her phone number on message boards, and posted messages in her name.

A Federal agent was indicted for cyberstalking a former girlfriend. He used a Department of Homeland Security database to cyberstalk and track the activities of her and her family.

A 20-year old stalked his ex-girlfriend using Facebook. He sent her threatening messages in reference to her new boyfriend and posted nude photographs of her.

Discover how to stay safe and how legal action can be taken by visiting Cyberstalking | Part II.

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