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When Stalking Goes Online - Examples of Cyberstalking

You Don't Have to Own a Computer to Be a Victim

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This is second in a series of articles on women and cyberstalking written for About.com by cyberstalking expert Alexis A. Moore, founder of the national advocacy group Survivors in Action.

Most of us know what stalking is; what we don’t know is how pervasive it is. And with the advent of advanced technology and communications stalking just went cyber:

 

 

  • In 2003 a US woman sought protection after claiming that someone had provided her personal information (including her description and location) to men via an online dating service. The victim discovered the identity theft when she was contacted by a man who said they had arranged a casual encounter through the Lavalife.com dating service. Shortly thereafter she was contacted by a second man following chat with 'her' about arranging a separate encounter. She commented "You don't even have to own a computer to be the victim of an Internet crime any more."
  • A 44 year old publishing executive named Claire Miller was harassed by strangers who were responding to verging-on-pornographic promises someone had made in her name online. These postings included her home address and telephone number.

     

  • A Glendale businessman stalked his ex-girlfriend using the GPS tracking device on a cell phone. He purchased a Nextel phone device that has a motion switch on it that turns itself on when it moves. As long as the device was on, it transmitted a signal every minute to the GPS satellite, which in turn sent the location information to a computer. The ex planted the phone underneath her car, paid for a service to send him the information and would log on to a website to monitor her location. The victim would suddenly ‘bump’ into him at the coffee shop, LAX, even the cemetery. She knew something was up — it wasn’t hard to realize as he was also phoning her 200 times a day — but police couldn’t help her. It was only when she called police after seeing him under her car that she got action (he was trying to change the cell phone battery).
  • Amy Lynn Boyer was found by her stalker using online technology. Liam Youens was able to get Boyer’s place of employment and SSN by paying an online investigations agency a mere $154.00. They easily obtained her relevant information from a credit agency report and gave it to Youens. None of the people giving out Boyer’s personal information took responsibility to find out why Youens needed it. This is why: Youens went to Amy Boyer’s workplace, shot and killed her.
These are some of the few documented cases of cyberstalking, when someone uses technology to maliciously target a specific victim with the intention harass, threat and intimidate. It’s just like “traditional” stalking, but totally anonymous, thanks to the sophisticated technology we rely on everyday.

Cyberstalking Article Index:

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