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SCARS™ Scam Basics: Cyberstalking
Cyberstalking Is The Use Of The Internet Or Other Electronic Means To Track Down, Insert Yourself, Stalk, Or Harass Another Person.
It may include false accusations, defamation, slander, and libel. It may also include monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, solicitation for sex, or gathering information that may be used to threaten, embarrass, or harass.
But it can be as simple as tracking down and inserting yourself in the life of another person, regardless of the intention!
Cyberstalking is often accompanied by realtime or offline stalking. In many jurisdictions, such as California, both are criminal offenses. Both are motivated by a desire to insert yourself into someone’s life, to control, to intimidate, or influence another person (who is the focus or victim of the Cyberstalking).
A stalker may be an online stranger or a person whom the target knows. They may be anonymous and solicit the involvement of other people online who do not even know the target.
Cyberstalking is a criminal offense under various United States and other country anti-stalking, slander, and harassment laws. A conviction can result in a restraining order, probation, or criminal penalties against the assailant, including jail.
For example, tracking down the person who’s face used by scammers in a stolen photo is cyberstalking and it is a crime.
WHAT IT IS
There have been a number of attempts by experts and legislators to define cyberstalking. It is generally understood to be the use of the Internet or other electronic means to hunt down, stalk or harass an individual, a group, or an organization.
Cyberstalking is a form of cyberbullying; the terms are often used interchangeably in the media. Both may include false accusations, defamation, slander, and libel – but that is not required – just the intrusion in another person’s life uninvited can be considered cyberstalking.
Cyberstalking may also include monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, solicitation for sex, or gathering information that may be used to threaten or harass. Cyberstalking is often accompanied by realtime or offline stalking. Both forms of stalking may be criminal offenses.
Stalking is a continuous process, consisting of a series of actions, each of which may be entirely legal in itself.
Technology ethics professor Lambèr Royakkers defines cyberstalking as “perpetrated by someone without a current relationship with the victim. About the abusive effects of cyberstalking, he writes that:
[Stalking] is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom he has no relationship (or no longer has), with motives that are directly or indirectly traceable to the affective sphere. Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect).
IDENTIFICATION AND DETECTION OF CYBERSTALKING
When identifying cyberstalking “in the field,” and particularly when considering whether to report it to any kind of legal authority, the following features or combination of features can be considered to characterize a true stalking situation:
- no legitimate purpose
- personally directed
- disregarded warnings to stop
A NUMBER OF KEY FACTORS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED IN CYBERSTALKING:
- False accusations: Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them. They post false information about them on websites. They may set up their own websites, blogs or user pages for this purpose. They post allegations about the victim to newsgroups, chat rooms, or other sites that allow public contributions such as Wikipedia or Amazon.com.
- Attempts to gather information about the victim: Cyberstalkers may approach their victim’s friends, family, and work colleagues to obtain personal information. They may advertise for information on the Internet, or hire a private detective.
- Monitoring their target’s online activities: Such as attempting to trace their IP address in an effort to gather more information about their victims.
- Encouraging others to harass the victim: Many cyberstalkers try to involve third parties in the harassment. They may claim the victim has harmed the stalker or his/her family in some way or may post the victim’s name and telephone number in order to encourage others to join the pursuit.
- False victimization: The cyberstalker will claim that the victim is harassing him or her. This phenomenon has been noted in a number of well-known cases.
- Attacks on data and devices: They may try to damage the victim’s computer by sending viruses.
- Ordering goods and services: They order items or subscribe to magazines in the victim’s name. These often involve subscriptions to pornography or ordering sex toys then having them delivered to the victim’s workplace.
- Attempting or arranging to meet: Young people face a particularly high risk of having cyberstalkers try to set up meetings between them.
- The posting of defamatory or derogatory statements: Using web pages and message boards to incite some response or reaction from their victim.
Unfortunately, it is fairly common for romance scam victims to obsess over the face in the stolen photos used by the scammers, and victims will invent a variety of reasons why they must hunt down and contact that person. But that act alone is cyberstalking.
If someone is the victim of a scam then report it to the police and let them take legal action. Being a stalker or vigilante is almost never justified.
Likewise, if you have someone stalking you, you need to know that you can report this to your local police and also your national cybercrimes police (such as the FBI via www.IC3.gov)
TAGS: SCARS, Important Article, Information About Scams, Anti-Scam, Scams, Scammers, Fraudsters, Cybercrime, Crybercriminals, Romance Scams, Scam Victims, Cyberstalking, Stalking, Malice, Premeditation, Repetition, Distress, Obsession, Vendetta, No Legitimate Purpose, Personally Directed, Disregarded Warnings To Stop, Harassment, Threats, Tracking, Impersonation Victims
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