Social media, mobile phones and the internet have given those who wish to harass or stalk us a way into our homes.
But today, as part of the ongoing Cyber Security – Has It Clicked? campaign, officers from our cyber team are offering advice on what you can do to minimise the risk and take action against those behind it.
Detective Inspector Rich Osgerby said: “Stalking and harassment is nothing new, but the growth of the internet has made this kind of behaviour far easier for offenders – who don’t even have to leave their homes.
“They commonly obtain information about you via the details you post online, moving from one channel to another in order to access as many means of contacting you as possible.”
Risks to victims as a result of online stalking are varied, but can include:
- Receiving direct threats through email or instant messaging
- Trying to take over your online accounts
- Locating you through GPS on mobiles
- Impersonating you on social media, or setting up posts which make it appear you are stalking others.
- Discrediting you on social media, online communities or your place of work.
- Harassing or stalking your friends and family. On average a stalker will contact 21 people connected to their victim.
Det Insp Osgerby added: “Stalking is an offence and you can take action against those targeting you.
“Gather and document as much evidence as you can and report it to the police.
“Most social networks also have a means of reporting abuse. Take screen grabs of what has been posted and then ask for the content to be removed.
“Where possible, block the person or even consider deleting your accounts.
“There are also steps you can take to minimise the risk of being targeted.
“One of the most simple is to keep the amount of information that exists about you online to a minimum and ensure that your privacy and security settings are as high as possible.
“It’s also important to regularly change your passwords for key online accounts and ensure that all your devices have up to date Malware and anti virus software installed and turned on.
“At home, you need to make sure your hub or router has security turned on and think about what you share when you’re in public. If you’re using public Wi-fi, unless you are using a secure web page, don’t send or receive any private information.”
For more information on how to keep you and your family safe online, visit the Humberside Police website.
You can also follow @humberbeat #HasItClicked? on Twitter or visit the force Facebook page for all the latest advice and tips.