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Constantly being stalked/harrassed online

For over a year now a group has been stalking/harrassing me online, not every single day but at random intervals. They have not done anything obviously illegal (no blatant threats for example), mostly harrassing me and my friends. But lately they have stepped up by their activity.

 

Some examples of what they have done recently (that i am aware of) :

 

-Made a fake online profile to harrass me (because their real profiles are blocked). They even got one of my close friends of several years to lie to me about who the online profile belonged to. Said friend is now avoiding me and refuses to talk to me at all (probably because it would be pretty hard for him to explain why he lied to me).

 

-Started spreading around my personal info such as my name and my email address online, god knows what else they are spreading. Does anyone know if theres something I can do about this? I have taken steps to try to get the info taken down, but that doesnt stop them from contacting people privately to give them my personal info. The place they are spreading the personal info is also famous for having very poor support, so the odds of the administration removing the info is very low.

 

-Tried to impersonate me

 

Some of the stuff they have done in the past :

 

-Went around telling everyone who associates with me to cut off all contact with me (some have actually done so, probably because they thought they stood to gain more from obeying them)

 

-Spread rumours/mis-information about me

 

-Convinced my friends/acquaintances to report everything i say to them so that they can laugh and use it as material to badmouth me

 

-Stalk me online, which usually involves finding out what im doing and then trying to find some way to show up and harrass me. E.G. If i was playing a game they would try to find me in the game and then follow me around. Their favourite tactic is to pretend to be my friend, then act like the victim when I tell them to leave and stop bothering me. Then they go around telling everyone about how rude i am, etc. Imagine if someone kept showing up uninvited to your parties then acting like the victim when told to leave...that's basically what it's like.

 

Or if they found me posting on some site they would register on the site just to troll/harrass me. Yes, they have that much free time.

 

-Flooded my phone with calls/texts (I tried contacting my phone provider to block the number, but they kept saying Optus was delaying it and ended up never doing it). I also suspect they used my number to sign up for a lot of weird stuff, because I kept getting calls from very weird places...one number was from a university's psychology office, another number was from some marketing thing.

 

I have had so many friends/acquaintances start hanging out with these guys because they seemed nice, then suddenly they either cut off all contact with me out of the blue because they were told to do so, or gradually stopped associating with me because the stalkers monopolize their time and we just drifted apart because we didnt hang out anymore.

 

Again, they dont issue blatant threats. I highly doubt the police would take me seriously...i mean its not exactly illegal to go around telling people to cut off all contact with someone and they can always just claim to be "joking" or "playing around". I dont have money to try and sue them (even IF there was something that i could sue them for). And they just keep escalating the stalking/harrassment to the point where they are now spreading my personal info.

 

Does anyone know what I can do for cases like this? Is there any place that can help me? All my remaining friends just say they don't know/can't help...

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Re: Constantly being stalked/harrassed online

Hi there @Question,

 
Thanks so much for sharing this story on the forums.  What you are going through is really horrible – you didn’t ask for any of this and I can only imagine the hurt that it is causing you.  What must also be super difficult for you to accept is the betrayal of your close friend – someone  who you should be able to count on for support.
 
I really get what you are saying in your post about how the bullying that you are suffering is hard to report and deal with because it seems to step right up to the line about what is actually illegal and instead is more like a whole bucket-load of upsetting things which add up to something much much bigger than each individual episode. 
 

There are some avenues that I can suggest to you to help you get your head around what your options are right now. Firstly this page has a range of ideas to help you manage, as well as a bit about the office of the e-safety commissioner.
 
The e-safety commissioner has some really great info on their site which might help you understand what the laws around this in Australia actually are – for example, there are specific laws that apply to sharing younger people’s personal information as opposed to sharing an adult’s personal information. 
 
A great place to start is this page, which talks about a heap of options that you have available to you including how to lodge complaints with specific social media companies (and also some popular gaming sites) and what practical steps you can take to not only address specific situations, but also how to look after yourself more generally and get support through all of this.

Re: Constantly being stalked/harrassed online

Unfortunately none of that helps...especially as the e-safety commission only intervenes if you are below 18.

 

No luck getting the site in question to remove my personal info yet. The only reply I got was clearly copy pasted and said they were "investigating". They have my personal info listed on their profiles and it is plain as day. They wont let me talk to a manager or anything.

 

Those links seem to be for very basic cases where you can simply block someone and ignore them. That doesn't work in this case unfortunately. They have plenty of free time to make new online profiles to harrass me and are spending a LOT of time tracking down all my friends/acquaintances and trying to convince them to cut off all contact with me.

 

One day a friend of 3+ years could smile and say hi to me like normal, the next he would refuse to even acnowledge my presence. A mutual friend helped me ask, and the only reason he would provide was "so and so told me to cut off all contact with him so I did". This is like what cults do.

 

The moment I try to make new friends, they zero in on whoever it is and bombard him with all kinds of lies and pressure them to cut off contact with me. And most people just go along with it because they don't want to get into trouble.

 

So from what i gather theres no agency/service in Australia that provides any kind of help if you are getting stalked and having your personal info distributed if you are above 18?

Re: Constantly being stalked/harrassed online

Hey @Question, and thank you for sharing your story on RO. First of all, I'm so, so sorry to hear that you're going through this. What a horrible situation. Do you know the people who are harassing you? Can you contact them directly and ask them why they're doing this?

 

As to services in Australia for if you're over 18 and being harassed like this, the only thing I could think of would be the police...

You mentioned that when you try to make new friends, this group sabotages that, do you mean new friends online, or in real life?

 

Please know that we're here to support you as much as we can 

// Spiral outward, keep going. //

Re: Constantly being stalked/harrassed online

Hi @Question 

 

I'm sorry you didn't feel the information we provided was helpful. Cyberbullying can be a really difficult situation to manage, particularly as an adult. I did find the following information, which you may find helpful (Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network - ACORN); Australian Human Rights Commission - Cyberbullying Fact Sheet); and I would also encourage you to seek some wellbeing support, either through a face-to-face counsellor or having a chat to Mensline 1300 78 99 78 (available 24/7).

 

Also I've just sent you a quick email, if you could take a look that would be fantastic.

 

 

Re: Constantly being stalked/harrassed online

Dunno if this makes you feel any better but the same happened to me
I used to be an Artist on Deviantart and pretty much everything you said happened
had fake nudes spread around, had account's hacked, stalkers fake friends etc.
All the wonderful stuff.
Just figured I would tell you your not the only one.
I can't really say much as for advice because how I delt with it was just up and leaving
the website and cutting off everyone from it that I knew. Bad advice I know but then again there's nothing much you can do.. 

Re: Constantly being stalked/harrassed online

Hi @Question - I just wanted to check in with you to see how things are going with this - did any of @Erin-RO's links shed any more light on your options?

Re: Constantly being stalked/harrassed online

Thanks for reaching out. It is very scary  What you ara experiencing is Stalking. See here 

https://www.lawhandbook.sa.gov.au/ch21s07s04s03.php

Go to the police.