Being stalked is an extremely scary or frightening experience. The U.S. Department of Justice defines stalking as "a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear." Stalking can include unwanted communication by phone, email, receiving unwanted presents, being followed, having friends and family members contacted, being the victim of rumors, threats, and much more. So how can you protect yourself?
HowCast has provided 5 Tips on how to Protect Yourself from a Stalker:
Step 1: File a police report
Ask your local police if the harassment meets the legal definition of stalking, which varies from state to state. If it does, file a police report so the stalking is on record. In any event, keep records of the harassment and save all evidence of it.
Step 2: Consider an order of protection
If the stalker is threatening to harm you or has tried to, weigh the pros and cons of getting an order of protection. Most stalkers violate them, but if they do, it will give police a reason to arrest them. Taking out an order of protection may provoke your stalker to more aggressive behavior, so have a safety plan in place before you get one.
Step 3: Ignore them
Ignore your stalker. If they call, hang up, or set the phone down and let them talk until they hang up. Do not answer their e-mails, texts, or letters. Do not try to reason with them. Assume that any attention you give them will encourage them, and the more you engage with a stalker, the more they'll stalk you.
Step 4: Get a P.O. Box
Get a post office box for your mail. If you move, don't file a change of address with the post office; tell loved ones directly. If your state has an address confidentiality program, join it. It allows stalking victims to set up a fictitious address to prevent a stalker from gaining access to their address via public records.
Step 5: Set up a fraud alert
Put a fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting the fraud department of each of the three main credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This will help prevent your stalker from harassing you via identify theft because you'll be asked to verify any attempt to take out credit in your name.
Step 6: Spread the word
Tell everyone in your life – friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers – that you are being stalked so they are not tricked into divulging information about you.
Step 7: Get help
For more information, contact the Stalking Resource Center at 1-800-FYI-CALL or check out their web site at http://www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center.
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