Red Flags: Do You Have an Online Dating Cyber Stalker?

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Congratulations! You’ve finally met someone online or at an internet dating website, and they seem… a little interesting…

But things don’t feel right, and you can’t pinpoint what it is exactly.

Here are a few warning signs that you may have an online dating cyber stalker, and what you can do about it…

Red Flags

1.They start contacting you multiple times a day.

2.They are anxious to move from the dating site to private email, texting, or telephone calls. Before you even have a chance to decide if they are worth pursuing.

3.They keep asking for personal information, where you work, where you went to school, the name of your pet. They agree with everything you say, are overly easy to get along with, and maybe make comments like “we are soul mates” or “I can see us living together”.

4.They start talking about how much they (really) like you – only after a few chats.

5.They seem to be too (overly) interested – much too soon. They keep changing their own story about themselves, are vague about the details, or somehow it just doesn’t all add up.

6. They become demanding or controlling. They want to know who your friends are, where you have been, why you haven’t been online, and a detailed report on the activities of your day.

7.They know things about you that you didn’t tell them.

8.They seem to know when and where you are online. They may say “I know you were online because I saw your posts”. They are always showing up in the same chatroom, and sometimes as soon as you log on, they start an immediate conversation with you.

9.They start adding your friends and family to their contacts or friends lists, even though they don’t know them or never have met them. This is especially true with your Facebook or MySpace friends.

10.They talk about you a lot in a forum or online, to others. They may even fabricate stories about you, or describe what it was like to go on (imaginary) dates with you.

11. You sense that your email has been compromised or you begin to get spam with links from emailers that you do not know. You may not be able to log into your email account anymore. Your computer seems to act really funny all of a sudden.

What You Can Do

First:
Tell them immediately that you do not feel a connection.

Let them know you are not interested in pursuing a relationship or friendship with them, and wish them all the best. Use those exact words.

Anything else you say, may be construed by them as still having the possibility or chance for a relationship with you. Do not flower things up or be friendly about it. Just say it how it is.

Copy and save the conversation or email, in case they do not get the point. Then you have your proof that you have asked them to take a hike.

After you tell them to go away, ignore them completely. Do not respond to any emails or communications they initiate – EVER. No matter what the threat – no matter what they say.

Second:
Gather any evidence
(you may have to use for the police) such as:

Chat/IM conversations – copy all chat conversations that you have ever had with them, if you still have the history on your computer. (On your keyboard is a special key that says “Prt Sc – SysRq” or “PrintScreen”. If you hold down the “ALT” key and press that special key, a Windows PC will take a copy of what is on your screen. Open up a new Wordprocessor or Paint document and paste the image in it, be sure to add the time and date of the conversation.)

Block them from your Facebook, Bebo, Myspace, etc. account, regardless if they are harassing you there or not. Change ALL your social network privacy settings so only friends can see your information.

If they have set-up and impostor profile to access any of your social networks, report it the social networking site. Ask everyone you know on the friends list to post a message, indicating that there is an impostor trying to gain information about you, and ask that they also block the imposter profile.

Any communications or posts that the imposter puts on any of your social network contacts, have your contact also do a screen shot and send it to you for your records. Make a note of it.

If they are making rude comments, on your photos or any site you belong to, you can also report any rude or weird comments to the social networking site administrator or their IP provider.

Block their emails. If they harass you via email, or send corrupt or malicious spyware links, you can still save those emails in a separate folder within your email program or server, without opening them. (Go to your email help pages and type in “block email” for information on how to do it with specific email providers.)

If they call you, block them. Mobile phones are often used in bullying. The ability to block numbers is dependent on the phone. Read your phone manual to see if it has such a feature. If your phone doesn’t allow blocked numbers, consider changing your phone or carrier and get one that does. Cell phone companies should be able to issue you a new number free of charge. Call the operator and ask to speak to someone regarding stalking or nuisance calls.

If they have put up malicious content or a photo linked or connected to you, contact the website. If it is their website, then contact the web hosting company and report it. Ask that the content be removed immediately. (Get screenshots before you make your request.)

Third:
Take all your evidence to the police, along with a pre-written police statement, signed by you. Ask the police if this person has a record or any reason for you to be concerned. You have a right to know.

Make copies of everything and insist that the police resolve the situation and provide you with a report back.

If they do not help you, report the police member or agency to their Ombudsman, Police Commission, or whomever overlooks the police department. If you have problems With the RCMP in Canada, it is the Commission for Complaints Against the RCMP.

The more complaints that police agencies get for not dealing with cyber stalking, the better. They need to take all reports seriously and focus on dealing with cyber bullies and stalkers accordingly. Hold the police accountable to do their job.

Document everything – badge numbers, the police officer’s name who took the report, times, dates, anything and everything. Make sure the police see you recording all the information; they may see that you are quite serious about these incidents.

For more on how to gather evidence, read my post on how to Get the Records Straight.

Until next time… keep safe and sane…

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