Stalking or harassment is unpleasant and malicious behaviour that causes upset and distress – and it’s something no one should put up with. Our advice helps minimise your chances of becoming a target and prevents people accessing details about you.
Follow this advice to minimise the chances of becoming a target and prevent people accessing your information to find out about you and your routine.
Remember, we're always here to advise you and if you feel you're being stalked or harassed, report it.
Victims can be stalked for years with the average case lasting 15 months. But many cases last longer – 30 per cent of people who contact the helpline have experienced stalking for over two years and 13 per cent have been stalked for over five years.
The unfortunate truth is that most victims know their stalker: the largest group of stalkers (45 per cent of all cases) is ex-partners. But whether you know the person or not, there are a number of measures you can take to disempower stalkers and help protect yourself from being targeted and tracked.
Here are some useful pieces of advice designed to help you protect yourself online and on social media:
restrict your social media posts to your friends and not public
check privacy settings on social networking sites and limit the amount of information you supply
Google yourself frequently to check your digital footprint
don’t use the same password for everything
be aware of geolocation and tagging on social networking sites and ensure that it’s disabled on your smartphone
keep your antivirus software up to date
report stalking to website administrators
if you believe that your smartphone or computer has been hacked or compromised, stop using it immediately and take it to your mobile phone provider or computer repair experts for advice
Answering the phone
don’t answer the phone with your address or phone number
if the caller is not known to you, avoid answering questions about yourself, no matter how genuine they sound
if you have an answering machine, it’s advisable not to include your name or number in the outgoing message
the message should never tell people that you are out or away; try to give the impression that you are only temporarily unable to answer: eg 'Sorry, I can’t get to the phone right now, so please leave your name and number and I’ll get right back to you.'
if you’re listed in any directories, you might want to give your initials and surname rather than your full name
never show anger or fear over the phone: just remain calm, confident and if necessary, assertive