Tell Me When Blog Hop: Stalking Prevention

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National Stalking Awareness Month

This week (January 13-17) is the Tell Me When blog hop, which focuses on the issue of stalking. It was inspired by my New Adult upcoming release by the same name. TELL ME WHEN is about a college freshman who struggles with the aftermath of being stalked and kidnapped during her senior year of high school. You can still sign up and be eligible to win a $20 Amazon gift card. For more info go here.

What do Jodi Foster, David Letterman, Selena Gomez, and Steven Spielberg have in common? They’ve all been victims of stalking. But celebrities aren’t the only ones whose lives are put at risk because someone becomes obsessed with them. You, me, the girl down the street, we can all become targets. The best way to avoid being a victim of stalking, which could end up having deadly consequences, is to prevent it from starting. Here are ten tips to protect you from becoming someone’s target:

1. When using social media sites, limit what info you give out. Be vague. Don’t mention when you’re away on vacation, and don’t give your minute by minute explanation of where you are and what you’re doing. When you announce on Twitter or Facebook that you’re now leaving for your neighborhood Starbucks, you’ve just made it easier for your stalker to hunt you down.

2. When running or walking, avoid going alone, especially on routes that aren’t busy. And always be aware of your surroundings. That means being able to hear when someone approaches. And alternate your route so that a potential stalker can’t predict where to find you.

3. If you give a stalker a phony phone # as an easy form of rejection, he might misinterpret the real meaning and think you’re interested.

4. Just say, “No.” If you come up with excuses, the stalker might interpret that as a yes.

5. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right then it probably is a sign you’re in danger.

6. When using social media sites, don’t talk about your kids to your “friends”. Save that for family only sites or keep info vague. Don’t mention your kids’ real names or nicknames on social media sites. Avoid anything that would help a stalker identify your child.

7. When not using your computer, turn it off or make sure the camera lens is covered. Stalkers have been known to watch unsuspecting victims this way.

8. If you feel like you’re being stalked, keep record of all interactions and situations so that you can give them to the police. If a stalker sends you anything, save it as evidence. Keep a record of when it was sent or found, where it was found, and protect it in a Ziploc bag like on CSI. Once you suspect you’re a victim of stalking, contact the police. Don’t wait for the problem to go away. Often it won’t!

9. If you’re being stalked, make sure you tell your family so that they can be alert to the individual and to possible danger to you and them.

10. If a stalker threatens you, take that threat seriously.

I will be posting these and other tips on Twitter from January 13 to 26. Look for #TMW.

Have you ever been a victim of stalking or know someone who has been? How vigilant are you in protecting yourself and your family? Have you even given stalking much thought?

 



32 thoughts on “Tell Me When Blog Hop: Stalking Prevention

  1. Donna K. Weaver

    Whoa those are scary. I pulled all the pictures of my grandkids off FB and my personal blog when I got published and then created a secret group on FB where I can post them. Now if my kids were as careful

    1. Kim Van Sickler

      You don’t want to go through life paranoid, but you do have to consider who can access information about you and how easily they can get it. And info about your kids and grandkids. My husband would say that the next step for young women would be to take a gun class and conceal carry, but that’s an argument for another forum on another day. Of course there’s also pepper spray and self-defense classes.

    2. Denise

      Facebook does have specific privacy settings that you can use. I’m only visible to my friends only and not to the public I really like the tips on the site as well. I give tidbits but nothing ever very concrete as to where I am.

  2. Angela Ackerman

    This is good advice, Stina. I think we especially open a window to stalking on Social Media, and not just for those we would label “stalkers” either. Social stalking can be used with a vindictive purpose, often leading to bullying and if it gets terrible enough, suicide. It’s all tied together, and something well worth raising awareness about.

  3. Barbara Watson

    Such great points, Stina. Especially the social media stuff. I’ve talked with both my kids about being super careful what they put out there and when and am pretty blown away by what some kids/teens/adults do put out there.

  4. L. Diane Wolfe

    Since I travel alone for speaking engagements, I am very cautious when out and about, and I call and check in with my husband often. Years ago when I waitressed, I did have a stalker, and it was scary.

  5. Meradeth

    Such important tips! Thanks for sharing. And #7 is totally creepy. Though if anyone’s watching me through my camera, I hope they’re loving my bed-head at the moment. And PJs. (It’s still winter break, that’s my excuse! 😉

  6. Natalie Aguirre

    Great tips, Stina. I don’t mention on Facebook when I go on vacation because of thieves and I guess stalkers too. I didn’t think to shut off my computer when I’m off it.

    You’ll see from my post on Wednesday that stalking is something I worry about, especially with a daughter going away to college soon. And yay! Your release date is coming soon.

  7. Mart Ramirez

    Oooh, the camera one! That’s a good one. Awesome tips! I’m so excited to participate in such an awesome event. And SUPER excited your big day is finally here!!!

  8. Jemi Fraser

    Terrific advice Stina! Stalkers are real and out there. I’m always talking to my students about protecting themselves in person and online – it’s a scary world out there!

  9. S.P.Bowers

    It wasn’t until I started thinking about this bloghop that I remembered I was exposed in two instances to friends/family who were being stalked. One I was very young and didn’t know what was going on. It’s only now as an adult that I realize. The other I should have known more, done more, and I’m ashamed to say I had completely forgotten about it until now. I posted about that one.

  10. Michael Di Gesu

    Hi, Stina,

    How are you? It’s been ages! HAPPY 2014!

    This is a VERY IMPORTANT TOPIC! And it’s not just girls who are stalked. I have several stories I can share, when I was stalked years ago when I was a model. NOT FUN. I can assure you. That industry has lots of creeps lurking about. Even the so-called harmless ones can make a persons life miserable.

    I’ll be posting on Wednesday for the hop…

    I am having a hope too on Friday… Do you LIKE COFFEE … LOVE COFFEE… Hop over if you get a chance. It’s a fun hop.

    AND … CONGRATS ON your upcoming book!

  11. Stina Lindenblatt Post author

    Hi Michael,

    While stalking of women is more common, it does happen to guys, as you pointed out, Michael. The stalking is different and can last a lot longer than when a guy stalks a female. As in many years longer. But the results can be just as deadly!

  12. J.L. Campbell (@JL_Campbell)

    Hi, Stina,

    Good and useful tips. I found out about this blog hop today through another blogger. I guess I still have time to participate so will add myself to the list when I’ve put a post up. This hop will definitely increase awareness of the dangers of being free with personal information. Catch you later.

  13. Joanne Fritz

    Congrats on your upcoming release! These are all helpful tips. I’m always amazed by how many people on facebook say, “Well, I’m going on vacation next week,” or “I’ll be in (name of city) tomorrow.” Even if you think only your friends can see it, there’s still a possibility that hackers can find a way.

    And I always shut off my laptop when I’m not using it. The extra hassle of turning it back on when you need it is nothing compared to what you’d go through if someone is spying on you. So I’m glad you mentioned that.

    My college roommate was a victim of stalking and we had to call the cops. It was frightening.

  14. Hilary

    Hi Stina .. there’s so much of this around now and other people trying it on for theft .. but stalking is worse …

    … and I don’t do FB and am pretty careful what I let out … and I see you suggest you shut the computer down – I always do that when I’m out and about and at night …

    I haven’t really been stalked, but mentioned a couple of incidents on Michael’s post …

    It’s so important for youngsters, and for the elderly, or those with a form disablement to be extra aware ..

    Thanks for posting .. Hilary

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  16. Donna Hole

    Excellent tips; and thanks for sharing the awareness Stina. In today’s media crazy world you never know who is watching and what they will do with the information.

    ………dhole

  17. Carrie-Anne

    Great tips. A lot of people are too trusting, and don’t realise they could be giving potential information to the wrong person. My father has long drilled into me and my brother the importance of never telling people you’re going away on vacation, since he told the wrong person in college and was robbed. He doesn’t even want us telling people he and my mother are going on a trip, in case a friend tells the wrong person and they come home to find they’ve been robbed.

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  19. PK Hrezo

    *facepalm* Stina, I am so sorry for missing this! If I don’t get a reminder email I sometimes forget. Ack!
    Scary stuff with the stalking! I will get a late post up if that’s cool.

  20. Jen

    These are great tips, Stina. I found out about this post from Robin @ Your Daily Dose. This has not happened to me (thank God!) but I do know someone it happened to. Everything worked out in the end, but I believe there was a long court case involving the stalker. Thankfully he was identified and brought to justice.

    Thank you for raising awareness. Sometimes, we don’t think about things like this affecting “regular” people.

    Cheers,
    Jen

  21. Robin

    I look forward to reading your book. Stalking is a relevant subject in this techie day and age. I think it was bad before, but has gotten worse. The articles I’ve read from people who participated in the hop were interesting… makes you realize how pervasive this problem really is. I posted something for your hop on my Friday post and I hope you like it.

  22. Michelle Wallace

    Really scary stuff! Thanks for posting the tips!
    Stalking has become more of an issue due to the advancement of social media. You get people who post endless pics on FB of their kids/family and their daily activities, and I always think… whoa, that is either brave or stupid…

  23. Jess@Fairday's Blog

    Excellent tips and some things I hadn’t thought of before. I don’t mention vacations on fb because of thieves, but I know many people who mention every detail of their lives and even post their regular running routes!

    I haven’t been stalked, but a friend of mine was stalked (before social media) and it was scary. The person had a crazy obsession with her and she never knew where he would show up.

    I did once agree to a date with someone and we were going to meet at a local restaurant. When I went to leave he was standing on my porch. He said he Googled my phone number and got my address and a map to my house. I called the date off and went back inside because it seemed creepy to me.

  24. Heather McCorkle

    Hi Stina, I know I’ve missed the hop (sorry, been crazy busy lately) but I wanted to stop by to say congratulations and to let you know that I’m shouting out about your amazing book on my blog this Monday to help support you!

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