Stalking Is Serious

In the fictional world of crime writing, stalkers make noteable characters. Their activities are obsessive, freaky, and often downright frightening, which creates and builds tension throughout a novel. But in the real world, a stalker’s motivations and actions are harassing, dangerous, and too often deadly.

With technological advancements continually upgrading, stalkers have increasingly new ways to make their victims’ lives more miserable than ever. There are countless programs and avenues for criminals to explore and use.

For example:

He can monitor his victim’s computer programs.

She can use a program that hides her own phone number and displays another’s on her victim’s Caller ID. And disguises her voice so even those closest to her won’t recognize it.

He can remotely access his victim’s voicemail, ensuring she doesn’t receive her messages. But he does.

She can send an anonymous email to cover that she is the one who is actually sending it.

He can post inflammatory, false, or enticing information about his victim that includes her name, address, phone numbers, and email address on a social network, which in turn causes her to receive harassing messages, sometimes visits, from strangers.

She can “friend” her victim’s family, friends, and other contacts on social networks to get personal information about her. And use it in insidious ways.

He can download a program on her phone that allows him to set up an account for himself to access her information and track her. Tip: only let people you completely trust borrow your phone to “make a quick call.”

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, “Protect Yourself From Computer Hackers,” it is very easy to hack into someone’s home computer and see what the eye of the camera is looking at. A slick, sick way to obtain an insider’s information about someone. Cover the eye of your computer camera.

I am currently working on the sixth book of the Winnebago County Mystery Series, and in the subplot one of the deputies, burly Vince Weber is a victim of stalking.

So what can you do if you know, or suspect, you are being targeted in this kind of abusive activity? Report it to the police. And preserve any evidence you have. If you get an unsettling phone call or email, do not delete it, as you may want to do. Sometimes it takes a person a while, and a number of incidents, before she recognizes she is being harassed. Save any suspicious message you receive. And if there are more messages, a pattern is emerging, and helps the police develop a case.

More and more stalking cases are being successfully uncovered and prosecuted. Stalking can lead to serious and tragic outcomes if the offender is not caught and stopped. Stay safe.

Christine Husom is the author of the Winnebago County Mystery Series.


Filed under writing

19 responses to “Stalking Is Serious

  1. Under NC law 14-196.3, cyberstalking is a class 2 misdemeanor, with a potential $1000 fine and 60 days in the brig. The idea of using this technology in a crime or mystery scenario is compelling though.

  2. Thanks, Chuck and Heidi. While my main goal is to entertain readers, a second goal is to get them thinking about the things criminals do and to recognize what to look for and avoid.

  3. Hello, I’m interested in what all types of publishing you do. I have a blog on here w/my writing. Although I have 2 Inspirational publications, I would like very much to write, get my work out there, and just do it because I enjoy it. My pay would be getting to do the above. Thank you for your time.

  4. I too have been stalked and been through 17 years of all kinds of abuse. I’ve learned some signals the hard way.

  5. Yes, stalking is serious, and so is a woman with a fatal attraction, although I’ve always joked the latter doesn’t sound nearly as dangerous as the former. In my forthcoming novel, A World Without Music, Reagan meets a woman who later has a fatal attraction for him, and she’s extremely dangerous.

  6. Awesome post. Yes, stalking is very serious. The saddest part is that it is so hard to catch some of these stalkers. The victims see the little “hints” but too many still thing the victims are “crazy” or just exaggerating. These people do not understand the fear that is involved.

    • You are so right. Often times the victim wonders if she is imagining things or blowing things out of proportion, especially if others doubt her. Slalkers are often very difficult to identify and catch. And we should never underestimate what a life-changing experience it is for a victim. Stalking is directed at someone to cause fear. It has a huge negative impact on the victim’s quality of lfe.

      • Amen… Little things, unseen or insignificant to others, can bring tremendous fear to victims. I would go into full-blown PTSD with something outside my house knowing that he was there but could not prove it. People think these victims are crazy but we are not. It is like little “calling cards” with no name and no proof… but we know. Thanks for sharing and thanks for your support.

        • Definately. You need the reassurance that more and more professionals recognize the emotional damage an abuser–whether it be stalking or some other form–causes on the victim. And that they know you (and others) are not crazy.

  7. Thanks… and I thank God that He healed for of PTSD and I pray for many of the other victims who struggle with this fear caused by abuse. Thanks again for your support.

  8. Very informative, Chris. And a little scary, too. There is a creepy stalker/pervert in my new book, Blue Belle. I get the heebie jeebies when I read his scenes, even though I’m the one who wrote them.

  9. Certainly got me thinking. Thank you.

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