In an expanding world of technology, it has never been more important to be aware of the risks, as well as how to protect yourself and loved ones.
Cyberstalking is the use of digital forms of communication and other technology to stalk or harass an individual or group, particularly in an aggressive, threatening manner. Behaviors such as repeated communications and threats, or putting someone under surveillance, are both part of the legal definition of stalking under the Colorado Revised Statutes. Cyberstalking is also subject to the Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) 18-3-602, which is charged as a felony upon first offense, with the charged party having to go before a judge before being able to post bail.
But what does cyberstalking look like?
Cyberstalking includes (but isn’t limited to) behaviors such as:
- Using devices in or around the home, such as a computer or doorbell camera to monitor the victim at home;
- Using social media posts to track the victim’s connections and activity;
- Using GPS to track the victim’s whereabouts. GPS trackers can be installed on a phone or vehicle, or can appear as other objects, such as a keychain;
- Hacking online accounts to impersonate or access sensitive information of the victim;
- Using social media to make repeated communications, making threats, or
- Bombarding the victim with several phone calls and/or messages in a short period of time.
How can we protect ourselves?
- Document and collect any evidence, including call logs, messages, and emails. Keep copies on a external USB device as well as paper copies.
- Change passwords for all online accounts, don’t use names or numbers that mean something to you.
- Block the stalker where possible. Be aware that they create multiple accounts or fake accounts to access you, so anticipate that you may have to do this repeatedly.
- Consider changing your phone number.
- Check your devices for spyware.
- Update the security and privacy settings for your social media.
- Report all stalking abuse to law enforcement or seek a civil protection order.
- Reach out to your local victim service organization.
Cyberstalking can leave you feeling very scared and isolated. Know that you are not alone and support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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