How to Avoid Stalking Incidents Online

We’ve recently seen that stalking and cyber bullying have become a major issue, many Internet users being affected by the phenomenon, but few trusting that local authorities possess the power to do something about it.

Because January is considered the National Stalking Awareness Month, security firm McAfee in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) have launched a campaign called “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.”

Part of this campaign, McAfee revealed a number of useful tips that may help consumers avoid online stalking incidents.

The first step is cleaning up online profiles. While many possess social networking accounts, users rarely take their time to make sure the information posted on their profiles doesn’t give stalkers the opportunity to pursue them.

Social media website account holders are advised to think about each piece of information found on profiles and refrain from including home addresses and personal phone numbers.

Privacy settings are also important. Most social networks allow their customers to set their privacy settings to private or friends only to make sure that unknown individuals, or those on a mission to cause harm, don’t have access to any sensitive data they could later use to commit crimes.

Before moving on, there’s a very important question you must ask yourself: do you know all your social media friends. Most people don’t and tend to befriend anyone, these practices giving stalkers the opportunity to easily gain access to the target’s information.

Searching yourself on Google may be something fun, but it can also be very useful. A simple search may reveal if information you don’t want posted online for anyone to see may have somehow ended up being publicly available.

Email addresses and passwords are also important in the process of keeping your sensitive information private. Strong passwords and email account IDs that don’t give any indication to your identity or date of birth could prevent a stalker from locating you easily.

Personal websites are a fountain of information if not administered carefully. Users who own such assets are advised not to post personal email addresses or other private data.

Finally, pictures posted online could contain details that are highly valuable to anyone who is set on aggressively approaching you so make sure they're not available for just anyone.

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