• Signs of a Stalker

    Signs of a stalker aren’t obvious in some cases. Do you keep noticing the same person or vehicle everywhere you go? Did you recently have a bad breakup or divorce? You might be getting stalked. It’s not always a breakup or divorce that triggers a stalker to take interest in you, sometimes they stalk you because they are attracted to you. Stalkers will often go as far as to intrusively spy on you as well. In some cases I have a uncovered GPS units hidden in vehicles, mobile phones that are hacked to send text messages and email to the stalker in the background, and an occasional listening device or hidden camera in the victims home. None of these people had any idea this level of stalking and spying was taking place. This is when you should hire a private investigator for stalking.

    Signs of a Stalker to Look For

    1. Lurking around your workplace or your neighborhood.
    Are you constantly bumping into the same person after work or when shopping? Does they  park next to you in the garage or near you on the street? Running into them every night at the gym does not make them a stalker, however, seeing them afterwards at the store or parked in your neighborhood when you get home may be cause for concern. This is one of the first signs of a stalker.

    2. Being watched or followed.
    Different than the lurker, the watcher will follow you from a distance, gathering personal information about you and those closest to you.
    They may photograph you, ask your friends about you or collect information from other sources such as public records or online research firms. Some will even hire a private detective to follow you so that they can learn every detail about your private life. They may also be following you on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media sites. They will typically like your posts and watch quietly in the background. If you get the feeling you are being watched, or persistently recognize the same person in a crowd, you may be under the surveillance of a stalker.

    3. Repeated phone calls or text messages.
    This does not mean a daily check in with someone you have been seeing regularly. This means multiple calls or texts every day from someone you know only casually. It can also mean hang-ups or silent messages left on your voicemail. Try telling the person to stop and if the calls persist, block them and call the police.

    4. Inappropriate gifts at home or work.
    Signs of a stalker at work are more obvious. Some stalkers start out by sending flowers or candy to indicate a romantic interest. When their affections are not returned, they escalate the situation by sending inappropriate and often pornographic gifts.
    A typical tactic is to send the gifts to your office, so that you are embarrassed in front of your peers and are forced to acknowledge them, even if only by stating you have no idea who sent them.  Stalkers will often follow up their gift giving by calling you to see if you received it.  If you have a company receptionist, see if that person can screen deliveries for you. The receptionist may also be able to describe the person who dropped off the package, in case it was delivered personally.

    5. Finding yourself in the position of needing to be rescued.
    While anyone can experience a flat tire or mechanical breakdown on the highway, many stalkers enjoy the feeling of playing the hero and will create situations that require you to be rescued. These can include a flat tire with no obvious signs of tire damage or running out of gas unexpectedly. The stalker will then suddenly appear and gallantly change your tire or have a spare gas can that solves your problem. This is a dangerous situation to find yourself in. Never let someone you don’t know or know well assist you. Contact a trusted person for help.

    6. Manipulation.
    Some signs of a stalker or bizarre. Stalkers are looking for interaction with their victims and will often manipulate women into having contact by filing frivolous lawsuits. These legal measures can range from the ridiculous to the ruthless. The point is that in defending yourself, you are forced to deal with the stalker. Other forms of manipulation include threats against themselves, requiring the victim to intervene. They may threaten suicide, or hurting another person if you do not return their affections. Always hire an attorney and force them to deal with your attorney, never communicate with them directly.

    7. Online stalking.
    Modern stalkers send numerous emails to their victim each day. They will bombard their victim with instant messages, invitations to chat rooms, or links to suggestive web sites. Internet stalking is often an extension of physical stalking, although not always. In some cases, the stalker may not even know the “true” identity of the victim, having seen the victim’s profile in an online forum. This does not make Internet stalking, also called cyber-stalking, acceptable. In fact, Internet stalking can be even more dangerous than physical stalking because it limits the victim’s access to online information, intimidates the victim into changing their online habits and can open the victim’s personal computer and the information it contains to the stalker’s hacking. The good news is most law enforcement agencies have cyber-crime units and often Internet stalking is treated with more seriousness than reports of physical stalking. If you find yourself being harassed online, report the situation to both your Internet provider and local law enforcement. If law enforcement is unable to help you, contact a private investigator that is skilled in the area of computer forensics and counter surveillance.

    8. Defamation of character or insults.
    Stalkers often try to isolate their victims from family and friends. They release character-damaging information, regardless of whether it is true or not, in hopes of ostracizing the victim from those closest to her. When hurtful or damaging information is made public, your first reaction may be to retreat or withdraw from the public eye.  This is exactly what the stalker wants. Instead, fight character defamation and public insults vehemently. If there is truth to the information, accept responsibility quickly and tell your side of the story. The important thing is to maintain your presence within your normal circles and not isolate yourself from support systems that could help you in the event your stalker moves closer.

    9. Violence and force.
    The use of threats or violence to frighten their victims is a common strategy for many stalkers. Your car may be vandalized or your home burglarized. While these crimes happen all too often in today’s environment, the non-stalking criminal will not contact you afterwards. If you receive threats or direct contact from someone who claims to have been responsible for a recent crime, report this immediately to the police. The information you provide may help them piece together physical evidence from the crime and solve your stalking case at the same time.

    10. Series of unwanted contact of any kind.
    Perhaps no particular incident stands out in your mind as being dangerous, however, when you look at the entire picture, what you see alarms you. Do you experience repeated unwanted contact from the same person? If it is someone you know, tell them they are making you uncomfortable. If the situation continues, report them to the police. If it is someone you do not know, go directly to the police. Stalking is often subtle, yet pervasive. In fact, the stalker is counting on you feeling as if his actions are ordinary demonstrations of affection. If you find yourself experiencing any of these situations on a consistent basis, you may be the victim of stalking, and your quick reporting to the police is the most effective tool in putting an end to the stalker’s terror.