If you experience problems such as someone constantly following you, showing up unexpectedly in various places, sending excessive emails, sending letters in the mail that are rude or worrying you, leaving phone messages in a threatening and/or insulting tone, and so on, you could say you have a problem with a stalker, for whatever reason. Study the situation carefully before making accusations. If a friend contacts you after all these years, it doesn't automatically become a stalker. Many people try to contact their old friends just to find out how they are. Make sure you're not being paranoid and branding other people as stalkers when they're not. Here are some considerations you need to keep in mind to keep yourself safe and free yourself from annoying stalking behavior.
Method 1 of 7: Clarify Your Position
Step 1. State your rejection of love or friendship clearly
Responding with comments such as, “I'm not interested in being in a relationship/friending you right now”, or “I'm dating someone else”, can cause a person to believe that you are actually willing to date or be friends with them, if the timing is right or if they continue urge.
Step 2. Give the person a clear warning
Tell the stalker as quickly as possible that he shouldn't contact you. "Don't call me again." Don't engage in lengthy conversations with suspected stalkers. Never respond when a suspected stalker tries to contact you. Your goal is to let the stalker know that their actions are annoying and warn them not to contact you again from now on. Your words must be convincing. There is a chance the stalker stops and ends it. Then record how and when you gave the warning along with any future incidents.
Step 3. Ignore and don't respond if he tries to engage in further interaction
The stalker may intentionally try to piss you off by making provocative comments if he can get close enough to you or use messages to do so. Any response, even a negative one, will only fuel the stalker's belief that he or she can succeed in hurting you. Brace yourself and keep going or don't be tempted to hit the recall button. Don't hit reply. Just ignore that comment, otherwise you're just adding fuel to the fire. If the stalker is an ex, read this article on How to End a Controlling or Manipulative Relationship.
Step 4. Never try to argue or comply with the stalker's demands
This will only strengthen his belief that his tactics are working.
Method 2 of 7: Making Notes
Step 1. Keep a record of all incidents that occur
The incident in question can be a letter, phone message, email, surveillance, or whatever contact the stalker is trying to make. Record the date for each contact that occurs, and keep the record in a safe place. If possible, make a copy and give it to a trusted relative or friend, or keep it in a safe. This note can be used as evidence if you later intend to contact the police.
Step 2. Consider opening an account and deposit box at a bank you don't visit regularly
Use this repository to store all copies of documents related to stalking behavior. You can also keep important personal and financial documents, passports, personal data, insurance information and other important information that you can access in case of an emergency.
Method 3 of 7: Keeping Your Distance
Step 1. Use distance to protect yourself
If you suspect that you are being stalked, keep enough distance between you and the suspected stalker. Know that you don't have to have proof that someone is a stalker if you want to protect yourself in this way, all it takes is suspicion. Wearing comfortable footwear will allow you to get away from the suspected stalker very quickly and will reduce the chance of tripping or falling. Try to keep the distance between you and the suspected stalker at least 23 meters. In fact, a distance of three meters can protect you from being kidnapped or attacked if the distance is maintained.
Step 2. Always carry a mobile phone with you, if possible
A phone that has a camera and can record conversations would be better.
Step 3. Keep emergency phone numbers on your cell phone and somewhere in your home, as well as in your car
Method 4 of 7: Telling Others
Step 1. Tell everyone about your situation and the identity of the stalker, if known
Stalkers rely on confidentiality and privacy. Tell family, friends, neighbors and bosses not to give out your personal information, no matter how trivial the request or the identity of the questioner may be. Tell everyone to be on the lookout for anyone roaming your neighborhood or residence or trying to enter your workplace.
Step 2. At work, have your phone calls sorted, and don't open envelopes with unknown return addresses
Don't open unexpected packages. Never open an anonymous letter.
Method 5 of 7: Protecting Your Privacy
Step 1. Change your contact information, including your email address and phone number
That way, it will be more difficult for the stalker to leave a message for you.
Step 2. Another way is to get a new phone number and email, and only give it to people you trust, and allow your current phone number and email account to record messages from the stalker
For nonviolent stalkers, the ability to leave messages can make them feel satisfied that they won't try to engage in real-life interactions. You can use the message as evidence, if you decide to take the matter to court. If you don't feel comfortable hearing or reading the message, ask a friend or family member to sort it out and record it.
Step 3. Keep your mail private
Rent a postal box if you're worried that someone might easily access your personal information.
Step 4. Create a password or photo identification system on all your accounts (bank cards, utilities, etc.)
Step 5. Seek information to prevent being stalked on social media
That way, stalkers can't spy on you and find out where you are and what you're doing. Make sure you set all information on social networking sites to “private” and try in various ways to block stalkers from accessing your information.
Step 6. Remove your details (name, phone number and address) from the list of phone numbers
Call the phone company and ask them to make your number and details private. Do a self-search on the internet using Google and see if you missed anything. Also make sure that your privacy setting on Facebook is “friends only” and that setting is not made publicly available; when in doubt, ask someone you trust to check it out. Use pseudonyms for Skype, IM and other accounts where others can find you or call or chat with you.
Method 6 of 7: Increase Security
Step 1. Make home safety a priority
Install a safer door lock. Make windows and doors burglar-proof. Install a security light and security system. Connect the lights in the house with a timer system. Dogs (or even a sign that reads 'beware of fierce dogs') can prevent people from entering your home without permission. Ask the police to patrol your area.
Step 2. If you live in an apartment or condo, choose a unit located on the second floor or higher, if possible
Step 3. Move away for a while
If you feel your home is being watched, stay somewhere else, such as at your parents' house, a relative's house or with friends. If you live far from your family and don't have trusted friends in your new city, seek advice from a campus counselor or local police about alternative temporary housing or request additional patrols in your neighborhood.
Step 4. If you have to move, try as much as possible not to draw attention to yourself
Rent a car carrier that doesn't have a company logo on it because stalkers may contact the company for information about you. You can also move your belongings to a storage facility using a postal box address or third party name, until you feel safe to retrieve them.
Step 5. If possible, try not to be alone
Stalkers tend to lose interest if they see you're always with other people.
Step 6. As much as possible, avoid doing activities following a regular schedule
Don't go to the same gas station, restaurant or supermarket and don't go there at the same time. If you exercise, do it at different times and take a varied route, or join a member-only gym. Think ahead and pay attention to everything around you at all times.
Step 7. If you have children, make sure they are always accompanied when going to and from school or other activities
Tell the child's school not to give out any information about you, and submit a list of people who are allowed to pick up the children. Ask school officials to require everyone on the list to show an ID with a photo to prove their identity. If you are unable to pick up your child, contact the school and tell them exactly who will pick them up. If necessary, make sure the children and the person they trust to pick them up knows a “secret word”. If the person who came to pick him up could not give the secret word when asked by the children, they were not allowed to go with him.
Step 8. Safe and protect your pet
Some stalkers, if they can't get close to you, will turn their target to your pet. Do not allow pets to roam outdoors unsupervised (even in fenced-in yards). Get contact information for the animal care/storage just in case there is an emergency and you are unable to properly care for your pet.
Step 9. Don't contact the stalker's family, friends, or co-stalkers
Unfortunately, they may or may not knowingly share information about you with the stalker, such as a new address or contact information.
Step 10. Be confident
This means that you should exude an aura of confidence, hold your head high and walk with a firm, purposeful stride. The stalker is more likely to continue the action if he sees the fear reflected in your body language – so pay close attention to this and maintain a slow, calculated and calm posture.
Step 11. Get help
Search the internet for information or contact your local police station for references to hotlines/agencies dealing with stalking issues. If you are at school, go and see the teacher, counselor or principal immediately and explain the situation you are in. If you are at university or college, seek help from security or a campus counselor. You may want to consider going directly to the police and reporting the stalking incident and requesting a written BAP. At the very least it will allow you to explore legal options and get advice on what to do next.
Step 12. Prepare a contingency plan that can be easily implemented in the event of an intrusion or attack
You should have a well-thought-out plan that will allow you to protect yourself as much as possible. Determine a safe location where the entire family can meet in case of an emergency (a location known only to a trusted relative or friend). In this safe location, prepare the necessary necessities in a bag containing money, clothes, medicine, etc.), along with emergency numbers for police, legal aid agencies, and agencies dealing with stalking/violence issues.
Step 13. If stalkers have ever been a part of your household, try to avoid the following:
legal mediation, joint therapy, sharing child custody, exchanging children by meeting face to face. If you are required to meet the stalker in person (for example, in court), protect yourself as much as possible. In the days before, especially after the unavoidable open encounters, be extra careful about your surroundings and your safety.
Step 14. Consider bringing pepper spray
Carry it in the proper way and learn well how to use it. You should only carry weapons if you have received proper training in how to use them and obtained official permits under applicable law. Remember that the weapons you carry can be used against you in assault. This should be discussed with local law enforcement agencies and counselors dealing with stalking/violence issues.
Method 7 of 7: Avoid Command
Step 1. Discuss with police and violence/stalking counsellors about the possibility of obtaining a temporary avoid/no approach order (TRO) or protection order (OP)
Keep in mind that a stay away order or protection order is made to initiate and assist legal proceedings – they cannot physically protect you from a stalker who is prone to violence. You must be responsible for your own safety even if you have a restraining order or protection order. Nonviolent and violent stalkers respond differently to orders of avoidance and orders of protection, as do stalkers who have romantic/sexual involvement with their victims. Consider the past history between you and the stalker and the behavior patterns they display toward you to decide whether or not an order to stay away will provide a solution to your situation. A violence/stalking counselor or victim counselor may be able to provide better assistance in deciding what is the best option available to manage your situation.
- If you are threatened, carry a weapon, such as pepper spray, at all times.
- If children come home from school, keep them away from the stalker, and report to the police what the stalker did.
- Make sure you report it to local authorities or the police because they know what to do.
- If stalking occurs at school, warn the stalker twice, then contact the counselor, teacher or principal.
- Do the same for emails, resending them to as many people as possible with appropriate explanations. That way, the stalker knows that all of his comments will be shared.
- Consider recording an annoying phone message and then playing it as part of an outgoing message, don't forget to add a comment so the stalker knows that the message he leaves on your private system will be made public.
- Make sure that the person is actually stalking before you jump to any conclusions.
- Many people make the mistake of accusing others of stalking them if they are contacted after a while. The accused may not be a stalker, but an old friend trying to rekindle a former friendship.
- Don't label other people as stalkers if you find yourself paranoid.
- Don't meet the stalker face-to-face.
- Don't go into the dark and face the stalker behind you. Remember, being caught off guard by someone walking behind you and making a move is enough for someone to call the police.
- If you are attacked or threatened, call the police.
- Don't worry if the stalker isn't following you, but remember to bring some pepper spray and stay away from the attacker.
- Keep pepper spray with you at all times, so you don't get caught off guard easily.
- Don't come face to face with the stalker, or you could get killed.
- Never trust a stalker who intends to do bad things to your children. Otherwise, keep an eye on the kids and tell them that everything will be okay.
- Don't lie to anyone about your situation, otherwise further action will be required and you could get into trouble.
- If you have evidence or information about a stalker, don't be afraid to call the police. They will trust you and look for the stalker.
- Don't be fooled if the stalker is behind you, instead feel free to pull out your weapon and hit or attack it with the weapon in your hand.
- If the stalker is really weird and scary, respond to the threat. Let him know that he is not the only person who can threaten.