I’m a Privacy Advocate and Private Investigator. Helping people handle cases of stalking or harassment is part of what I do, and how I help protect people.
There are a lot of factors to consider when protecting yourself online, and in the physical world. The response required, depends on what type of stalker you are dealing with, the laws in your region/country (they vary greatly), and how aggressive the individual harasser or stalker is, when tested.
My clients are executives and business owners who’ve encountered stalkers, harassment, disgruntled former employee, embezzlement, fraud etc.
Unfortunately, the more high-profile you become, the more you have to consider your privacy, how to protect yourself, and how your online profiles may contribute to your exposure.
This is general guidance, every situation is unique and you should not/not try to handle an aggressive stalker or harasser on your own:
Secure Your Social Media
1. Lock down your social media accounts as much as possible. Meaning Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), Password Manager, limited who has access to your accounts, don’t reuse passwords, etc.
– Be care what you post regarding your location, esp photos near your home, street signs, building numbers.
Examine & Protect Your Online Presence
2. Map your online presence. Find out where you’re vulnerable. This starts as a simple search of you online, but gets into pretty detailed open source research (OSINT). You need to know whether you have derogatory information out there, whether you’re exposed somewhere, where are your vulnerabilities (often friends and family posting info on you)…everything you share online is a roadmap to you.
You may need to hire someone to help you with this part, OSINT is labor intensive and getting information removed about you from the internet is detailed work that takes some time.
Anyone who tries to sell you that they can remove 100% of everything about you, or make you unhackable is a LIAR. Don’t buy any person or product which tries to sell you a 100% anything solution.
Take Threats Seriously, and Document
3. Take threats seriously. Whether online or in person, report them IMMEDIATELY. Report them to the social platform, report them to the police.
4. Document EVERYTHING. Screenshots, timelines, dates, places. If someone is aggressively coming after you online, all the screenshots and digital documentation will help build a case against them.
***At the very least, file a police report so they are aware you’re being harassed and as you build your documentation, you’ll be able to provide additional evidence to the police if/when you can file charges.
5. Unfortunately, the burden is on the victims to provide evidence of a stalker or harasser. This is the part where it’s really important to have support.
Tell people, including family, friends, and work colleagues about the stalker and harasser, and have a plan to address the issue should the individual escalate their harassing or stalking behavior.
Secure Your Communications
6. Consider using more secure communication methods. I use burner numbers, burner phones and also Signal and Wire for encrypted SMS and phone calls.
7. Set up a PO Box, ensuring none of your physical mail for business comes to your home. You can set this up at a UPS store, Postal Service or mail delivery location (this may vary by country).