Anyone anywhere can be a victim of stalking. Male, female, young or old, stalkers target everyone and anyone. In many cases, victims know the stalker because the stalker is either a current or former partner. This is why 60% of victims do not report stalkers to the police.
All stalkers are obsessed and delusional. Surprisingly, though, most stalkers are not mentally ill. Therefore, there are ways to protect against stalking. However, it’s essential first to understand the diverse types of stalkers and the reasoning behind their criminal behavior.
8 Different Types of Stalkers
There are 7.5 million stalkers each year. Stalkers either know the victim intimately, as an acquaintance or may not know them all. Why someone becomes, a stalker varies from case to case. However, there are eight types of stalkers to look out for and protect yourself from.
- Love-Lost: jealous and possessive
- Resentful: paranoid, seeks revenge; this is the most dangerous type
- Predatory: plans attacks, usually a voyeur who wants sexual gratification
- Intimacy Seeker: delusional, believes the victim is in love with them
- Casual Acquaintance: delusional, thinks the person is meant for them.
- Stranger: the victim is picked at random, wrong place at the wrong time
- Serial: obsessive, motivated by a pattern of behavior
- Personal: knows the victim
Knowing what lurks in the shadows of cyberspace is the first step toward prevention. Getting familiar with the mindset of the stalker helps gain awareness of the potential warning signs that a stalker has targeted you. If you aren’t familiar with the possible signs of becoming a victim of stalking, it might just happen and negatively impact the rest of your life.
Impact of Stalking on Victims
Fear overtakes a victim’s life when a stalker sets their sights on them. A victim’s day-to-day pattern is altered, and eventually, control over life-changing decisions or plans is taken hostage by what the stalker does next. Below are some startling statistics:
- 46% of victims fear not knowing what will happen next
- 29% fear the stalking will never stop
- 14% move to escape from the stalking
- 12% lose time from work
The psychological impact is detrimental to the victim’s mental and, ultimately, physical health. However, the financial implications can also become significant when a victim feels it necessary to stay home from work and eventually move to escape their tormentor. Take the first step toward prevention by being aware of the eight types of stalkers targeting victims.
Cyberstalking occurs online, where the identity of the stalker can comfortably hide in cyberspace from the victim. An imbalanced person might use the Internet or other electronic means to harass, stalk or threaten an individual, group, or organization. They are often driven by feelings of inadequacy, revenge, and unrequited love.
80% of Victims are Women
Typical cyberstalkers include:
- Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse
- High school friend
- Someone you dated online
- A buyer or seller online
- A random social media friend
The frightening thing about cyberstalking is how random it can be, with no association between the stalker and the victim other than chance targeting. In these types of cases, it becomes harder to identify and prosecute since there is no logical link.
There is no control over whether you will become the victim of cyberstalking. However, there are ways to minimize the repercussions when targeted by a cyberstalker.
- Ask them to stop contacting you, then do not respond again
- Make sure the request to stop is not insulting or done in anger (otherwise, the stalker will be encouraged to continue the behavior)
- Block contact with the stalker ASAP (i.e., unfriend on Facebook, block sender in email)
- Keep a record of all unwanted contact in both electronic and in a hard copy for the police
When these steps are taken, the cyberstalker often becomes uninterested and moves on to another target. If the stalker does not stop the attack, contact law enforcement. If the police cannot help because of local laws, contact national organizations for additional help, such as:
Professional investigative firms are also a good option if the authorities are outside their jurisdiction to assist a target of cyberstalking. They have developed effective methods to retain and utilize any actions as evidence to build a case against the stalker. This is an excellent option for victims who cannot shake the attacker and need advanced help to make a case to stop the abuse.
Just because you are not currently a victim, this doesn’t mean you are immune to this type of crime. As I stated before, anyone can be a victim. Therefore, take steps to protect yourself by adopting habits to ensure you are not left wide-open to attack.
When interacting with potential strangers online, follow these rules of thumb:
- Never reveal your home address online
- Proceed with caution in chat rooms and online dating services
- Maximize privacy settings on all social channels (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Never give out your social security number
- Use secure passwords and change them often
- At work, always log off when leaving your computer unattended
These are just a few ways to ensure you don’t become a victim of cyberstalking. Use common sense and do not reveal too many personal details to the public.
Overall, if suspicious events start happening to you (i.e., threatening phone calls, strange online messages), be on alert and take precautions. If more than two incidents happen in one month, you may have become a target of stalking. When something feels off, it probably is, so take action!
Timothy Dimoff Understand About Prevent Stalking
Learn more about protecting yourself from this typical criminal behavior in the Tim’s Talk Stalking and Cyberstalking: Don’t be a Victim. The easiest way to schedule Tim is to fill out the Contact Tim form. He will contact you within two business days to discuss your presentation needs.