Know your Online Stalkers and Tips and Tricks to Avoid Them
We all love a fabulous life. But what we love more is the fact that others think we have one (whether we do or not)! Believe it or not, this natural human tendency leaves one vulnerable and exposed to crime, on the Internet and otherwise. Read on, to find out how.
This one goes out to all those who frequently use the internet, for social networking, gaming and other websites involving interactions with the recent acquaintance at a party, strangers and most of all ‘friends’ you might have made online itself. Turns out, in most cases of cyber (or other) crimes, other than hacking, individuals expose themselves out of their own personal will. By this, we are referring to being overly informative about your whereabouts by ‘checking – in’ on Facebook/Foursquare etc, uploading pictures and updating statuses in real time and the list goes on. Here are some tips on how crime can easily be prevented. According to cyberlawsindia.net, online crime includes crimes such as credit card frauds, bank robbery, illegal downloading, industrial espionage, child pornography, phishing, kidnapping children via chat rooms, scams, cyber terrorism, creation and/or distribution of viruses, Spam and so on. Broadly, there are two ways in which crime can take place using the Internet. First, the crime takes place on the Internet itself and second, crime taking place outside of the cyber space using information gathered on the internet by some of the above mentioned means. Detailed below are some of the ways in which information gathered by perpetrators online helps them in committing the crime outside of the cyber space.
So, here are some basic things you can do to protect yourself:
- Avoid accepting friend requests from unknown people and acquaintances you have no background information about. Each of us has a handful of ‘Facebook friends’ we’d rather not be caught hanging out with. Then, why inform them about your daily workout anyway? In a nutshell, this is NOT a competition to see who has a more happening life or who has more friends.
- ‘Check – In’ is Facebook’s latest tool for the stalker’s toolbox. God forbid a stalker turns kidnapper/rapist; you only have yourself to blame. Friendly advice, stop checking in!
- Posting pictures of your house: This might be a bit far fetched but those who really want to break in to your house can easily hack into social networking websites and have access to pictures. They can plan a theft given the excess information you may be putting in the public domain. Unknowingly, you might have provided them details about when you leave the house, where the valuables are in clear sight in pictures etc. Avoid giving too many details about your house/ times when there is no one at home/ ‘Home Alone!’ statuses etc. (Hint: When you JUST walked out of the gym/coffee shop/bar/restaurant/ at a friend’s place you are clearly not home and that’s when they strike!).
- Protect your children: Parents, this one should send out a warning siren if you are not usually around when your child is on the Internet. Being unable to monitor your child’s Internet usage all the time can lead to serious repercussions. Have parental controls set on your child’s computer so that they are not able to access certain websites in your absence. These not only include offensive pornographic websites, but also seemingly harmless ones like Facebook and video games where they are able to chat with unknown people from all parts of the world. They may befriend unknown people who can lure them. Surprisingly, the Internet can be as bad as the dark alley of your neighbourhood where you would never allow then to walk after dark. Besides, too much information too early in life is more harmful than educative.
Essentially, one must understand that important people don’t like to share their private lives and each one of you is important, to us and to your loved ones. Cyber crime laws remain ambiguous in our country where basic law enforcement is also poor. Therefore, we must follow the cliché of ‘prevention is better than cure’. Incorporate these simple steps in your daily life and you may automatically prevent an unforeseen and unfortunate circumstance from occurring.