Stalking is one of the most distressing, frustrating, frightening, insidious, and potentially dangerous crimes there is. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of the Age of Information is that the internet has made stalking far easier and often less risky for the stalker. People now have access to far more personal information, and far more convenient access to it, than they ever have in the past. And a lot of that information is willingly provided by all of us. Below are some tips on how to avoid being stalked online.
The key to avoiding, and halting, cyberstalking is the removal of private information from the internet. Whether that is from social media sites, date broker sites, or you set off to remove personal information from Google, erasing your private data that has been public and locking it down is the best weapon against cyberstalking.
Social Media Lockdown
Social media provides would-be stalkers with a wealth of personal information. A stranger could have immediate access to your name, birthday, relationship status, where you live, if you live alone, where you work, your likes and dislikes, and even your daily patterns. The key is to simply lock down or delete everything you can. Consider using a picture that is not of you or your home. Use a nickname or a shortened version of your name rather that your full name. Disable geotagging, and always keep your privacy settings set at maximum. If you have old social media profiles you’re not using anymore, delete them.
Get Removed from Data Broker Sites
Data brokers are an integral part of the multibillion-dollar information-gathering industry. They find, store, collate, aggregate, buy, and sell the (sometimes very) private information of everyone they can. And they are not picky about who they sell it to.
There are a few options for opting out of data broker sites. You can look into how to remove personal information from Google by personally opting out of data broker sites. There are a lot of data brokers, however, and opting out yourself can be very time-consuming. The other option is to find a reputable company that does opt-outs and contract with them for removal, which will save time and ensure your information actually gets removed.
Social Media Caution
When your social media profile or accounts are locked down, be careful when using social media. Treat it as you’d treat life. So, just like in real life, don’t say you’re friends with people you don’t know and don’t engage with people who make you uncomfortable. It’s also a good idea to avoid engaging with angry people or get involved in arguments online about controversial issues. If someone engages you and makes you uncomfortable, be clear about not wanting them to contact you again. If they persist, record everything they send you, but do not engage them again. Block anyone who behaves in a way that makes you uncomfortable.
Keep Your Personal Device Security Up-to-Date
Your personal computer and other electronic devices such as your smartphone or tablet are an even richer source of information about you than social media sites. That often includes direct access to your financial information. Keeping strangers out of your computer and other personal devices should be a top priority. Practicing good password practices is always a great idea. Be sure to keep your security and antivirus software active and up-to-date as well. These tools can block spyware and other malware and viruses that malicious people can use both to stalk you and access your finances and personal information.
DeleteMe is an industry standard-setter for the optimization of data privacy and security online. From their headquarters in Boston, DeleteMe has created a reputation for effective technology security strategies by leveraging their team of privacy experts and their cutting-edge privacy innovations. So far, that team and their privacy strategies have resulted in more than 10 million successful consumer opt-outs. Choose DeleteMe to establish your privacy and data security by ensuring prompt removal from Whitepages and over 30 other data broker sites. A DeleteMe subscription will keep your personal information as private as it should be, year-round.