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Craigslist And Cyberstalking Part 1
You can read my own personal account at http://life990.blogspot.com/2013/01/craigslist-and-cyberstalkinglp.html
What initially sparked this article was something I read from another author on this subject. Having had personal experience with this I thought it would probably be a good idea to really shed some light on this particular issue.
Unfortunately, it isn't just craigslist who is an offender. Google groups is also a major player when it comes to cyberstalking although they have tightened up their policies and rules but there is still plenty of wiggle room for stalkers and would be stalkers. These two sites alone are veritable playgrounds for the cyberstalker. They can choose their victims on the sites simply because someone said something he/she didn't like. They may already have a victim they want to exact revenge on for some real or imagined wrong and use the site as a place to exact that revenge. Either way, depending on the person, he/she may stop at slandering or he may overstep the boundaries and wage all out war by posting the victims personal information such as name, address, phone number, email address, workplace and in some cases he may even post personal details of family members. This is what happened to me on google groups.
In almost every case, the postings are explicit. They are designed to embarass, scare and slander the victim. In many cases they are designed to send strangers to someone's home. There was a man in California(he used google groups) who decided to send strange men to a woman's home and he got caught. How much time he spent for it I don't remember. Update: I read that he got six years.
In some cases, the perpertrators do get caught especially if they do the cyberstalking from their home computer but others that do it from public computers have less chance of getting caught but they can still be caught.
The problem of cyberstalking lies not just with sites like craigslist and google groups but with discussion boards, forums, chat rooms, social media sites, correspondence with someone via a personals ad site or just about anywhere where interaction can occur. All it takes is one person who becomes obsessed(either infatuation or revenge) for stalking behavior to take off. In some instances though the obsession doesn't start online but rather offline and takes the turn online when the avenger decides to get even with the person by posting fake ads or other fake postings in the victims name. This is often after the victim tells the perpertrator to stop all communication or is ignoring the stalker.
In many instances, online stalking never goes beyond the internet but it can so it is wise for anyone who is being stalked online to give it the credence it deserves and understand that even if you don't think the person will be dangerous, the stalker can become violent with the right provocation. And provocation for them can mean being ignored after sending multiple emails, instant messages, etc. I don't recommend having any communication with the stalker but rather if you are getting threatening messages to go to the police. Whether they can do anything is another matter but the report will be on file and most certainly take all messages and show them to the police.
When using any online site especially sites like craigslist and google groups remember that much of your personal information is right there for the asking. With google groups, if you use the account associated with your google profile and you've filled out your profile then all anyone on google groups has to do is look you up and find out where you live, your friends, see your photos and whatever other information you've posted about yourself such as if you have a blog, a website, where you work, the sites you like online, etc. And even if you post nothing on your profile other than your name all a savvy stalker has to do is look up your ip address and find out what city you live in. From there he can google you, look on facebook, myspace, twitter and any number of other social media sites for your profile and information about you. From experience using facebook and other social media websites everything about you is there from where you live to where you work to who your friends and family are. It's right there for the whole world to see and it seems that no one is really concerned about this new way of life where privacy went out like the baby went out with the bathwater. It should be no surprise though, privacy has fast been disappearing for decades now. And every year our government is inventing new ways to spy on it's citizens and peel back the curtain.
Almost every tidbit of information about people is right on the internet if you know how to find it. The amazing part is that a person doesn't have to ever use a computer for much of their personal information to be accessible.
A stalker who wants to know who Jane Doe is need do anything more than search for her on google, bing, etc., to begin with, then go to social media sites on to public records to net an address if he didn't already find it on whitepages.
Of course privacy is not what it used to be but there are ways you can protect yourself from prying eyes. I will go into that in the next article.
To read Craigslist And Cyberstalking Part 2 go to http://sassygrrl32.hubpages.com/hub/Craigslist-And-Cyberstalking-Part-2
To read Craigslist And Cyberstalking Part 3 go to http://sassygrrl32.hubpages.com/hub/Craigslist-And-Cyberstalking-Part-3
To read about the different types of stalkers go to http://hcporter.hubpages.com/hub/Cyber-Stalker.