Cyberstalking is similar to traditional stalking. It is persistent behaviours that cause fear and apprehension by the repeated use of the internet and other electronic means to stalk, harass or threaten.
How to clear your browser history and/or view websites privately:
If you are concerned someone might be monitoring what websites you view it is recommended you understand how you can view websites in private (also referred to as “Secret”, “Safely” “Incognito”). It is also important you understand how to clear your web history and that you always shut down any browser windows completely. We have created guides on how to clear history and view webpages safely for a variety of browsers. These guides can be downloaded and printed from the links below:
Things to look out for:
- Does your computer have a webcam? If so, learn how it works and ensure it is turned off. You might even consider using tape to cover the lens when you aren’t using it.
- Using internet-based phone services such as Google Voice or Skype for texting or making calls is a safe alternative.
- Use a safe computer to access your email or internet. A safe computer might be a friend or family members or a public computer at, for example, the library.
Keeping your emails and computer safe:
- Consider keeping a separate email account for any legal communication you might receive from your lawyer or the police and/or a separate email account to communicate with the stalker, if ongoing communication is required.
- Ensure you use passwords on all devices and logins. Strong passwords include lower and upper case letters, numbers and simple symbols. Keep your passwords secret, change them often and try to have different passwords for different things. Don’t allow your computer to save your passwords.
- Clear your browser history after you have finished on the internet.
- Use the “private search” function within Internet Explorer before using the internet.
Keeping your mobile phone safe:
- Ensure your phone locks after a short period of time and that you have engaged a pin code to access your phone.
- Turn off the “location” function on your phone, or only turn it on when you need it on.
- Clear your browser history after you have finished on the internet. Alternatively, select the “private” function on your browser before using the internet.
- Turn your Bluetooth® off and set your phone to “hidden”. Data on your phone can be stolen via Bluetooth® technology.
- Beware of Caller ID Spoofing. This is a service provided to change the caller ID to any other number. Always confirm who you are receiving a text message from.
- Have your device and/or motor vehicle checked for GPS tracking. You can ask for assistance from your local police, or a trusted mechanic to check your car. Other items that could include GPS tracking are cameras, watches, tablets and toys.
Keeping safe on social media:
- Regularly visit your privacy settings to ensure they are set up to achieve maximum privacy. You might need to check the settings via each device you use.
- Consider using a profile picture that is not identifying, such as a flower or a random dog (not your pet).
- Consider using a different city as your location and not including your place of work or schooling.
- Avoid “checking in” at places you go, especially your home and work place.
- Ensure you know the person you are friending, following or linking in with. Is this a real person?
- Avoid posting photos of the front of your house, your street sign or the number of your house. Remember to be careful about what is in the background of your photo.
- Talk to the family and friends that frequent your home and ask them to assist you by not tagging themselves or posting unsafe photos.
- Be mindful of your status updates. Things such as “I’m going to the Coast for the weekend” might be better off replaced with “I went to the Coast over the weekend” a few days later.
If in doubt, keep a log. Save the messages or ask your service provider or police to download the messages. Please note that in Australia, service providers are only required to keep a history for six months.
To access our crisis intervention services call our 24/7 crisis telephone line 02 6280 0900. If it isn’t urgent another contact option is to email firstname.lastname@example.org; this email is only monitored during business hours. You are welcome to call us reverse charges. If you live outside the ACT please call 1800RESPECT.
We do not make any sound recordings of our conversations. You do not need to give us your name, but if you do we make notes that we spoke to you. If you are unsure, please let us know at the start of the call and we can tell you about our confidentiality policy.