Surf Safer.

Are You Being Cyber-stalked?

Does a past or present partner have a habit of “popping up” where you are?  Do they seem to somehow know where you are – all the time – even though you haven’t told them?  Maybe you are getting a lot of messages from a seemingly random social media acquaintance?

You might have a cyber-stalker – someone who is using the Internet to stalk and/or harass you. 

Click here for more warning signs of cyber-stalking

What to do if you suspect you are being cyber-stalked

  • If there is a possibility that someone had access to your smartphone, take it to a service center.   Most spyware applications require a cellphone to be “rooted” or “jailbroken” for the service to function.  The service center will be able to tell if your phone is rooted or jailbroken.
    • If it is, then your cellphone may be compromised.
  • Reduce the use of any compromised (or probably compromised) electronic devices, including laptops, until you can replace them. 
  • Be careful what apps etc. you transfer to your new device as some spyware apps are hidden.
  • Limit the number of apps that have permission to control your camera, contacts, audio and/or location.  Look at “apps” in your settings to see which ones have these permissions and decide whether they actually need that level of access.
  • Use a public computer at the library or internet café to do any searches that you want to be kept private.
  • Open a new email address (but don’t use your real name) from a public computer and use this new email account (from a public computer) to access and send any sensitive emails.
    • Consider backing up your contacts, music, etc. and then doing a factory reset on your device.
    • Cover your webcam/phone camera with a webcam cover, tape or a Band-Aid when you are not using it as these cameras can be accessed remotely.
  • Block unwanted callers from calling your phone, emailing you or messaging you on social media. 
  • See our Social Media Tips for more suggestions.
    • Block mutual acquaintances that may provide your personal information to someone who is harassing or stalking you.
    • Only answer calls from numbers that are in your contact list.
    • Spoofed calls are very easy to make so:
      • If you do not recognize the number let the call, go to voicemail. 
      • Verify unknown callers by calling the official, published number, of the company or organization identified in the voicemail, not the number that they tell you to call.
        • Turn off your geo-locator.
        • If you have a security (online) camera at home – change your password.  These cameras can be hacked too!

Please bear in mind that these are only a few safety tips. 

If anyone is trying to extort money from you or is threatening you, make a report to Campus Safety and call the Community Safety Office to do some personalized safety planning.

How to ensure that location settings are turned off on your device:

  • On iPhone and iPad
    • Tap “Settings” from your home screen
    • Tap “Privacy”
    • Tap “Location Settings”
    • Turn off all location settings or filter through all your apps and only keep your location setting on for the specific apps that require it. (e.g. Google Maps)
  • On Android Devices
    • Tap “Settings” from your home screen
    • Tap “Security & Location”
    • Tap “Location”
    • Turn “Use Location” off.