Saint Cloud, MN asked in Criminal Law, Civil Rights, International Law and Libel & Slander for Minnesota

Q: needing help with dealing with a uruguayan resident in minnesota.

I have a uruguayan resident cyberstalking me and others for 2+ years, affecting my mental health + work. They started stalking me in early 2020, and i am afraid to have social media accounts so they won’t affect me/my friends anymore. i am a disabled artist and this person has affected my ability to make money through my art, and as such taking care of myself.

1 Lawyer Answer
Sarah Gad
Sarah Gad
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: Unfortunately, it sounds like you have a cyberstalker, and you're not alone. As many as 8% of Americans report being stalked online at some point in their life. In many cases, it's possible to get rid of the person on your own by locking down your social media and other accounts. But if the problem persists, call the police. If you or anyone you know is in immediate danger because of the cyberstalker, contact 911 and the police immediately.

Here are some general DIY tips that have been proven useful when it comes to getting rid of a cyberstalker:

1) Warn your friends and family about your stalker.

Tell everyone you know about your cyberstalker so they won't inadvertently give the person information about you that they could use to harm you. Be specific about what the person is doing and provide as much information about their identity as possible, including screen names or aliases that they use online. It's also a good idea to tell them not to engage the person or try to intervene. If they start defending you and telling the person to stop stalking you, the person might start stalking them as well. If your stalker is threatening your reputation, you might also tell people at your work or school about the stalker and let them know what's going on. It might not completely reverse the damage, but it's good damage control.

2) Block the person from your email and social media accounts if you have not already done so. Go to each social media platform where you have a presence and block your cyberstalker's account. If they have more than one account that they use, block each of them separately. Once you've blocked the person, they'll be unable to see your posts or your account. Usually, they can't even see your comments on other people's posts. It's possible that the person will create other accounts once they figure out that you've blocked them. You might consider suspending your own account until you've taken care of the cyberstalking.

3) Report defamation or abuse to social media platforms. If the person is violating the platform's terms of service agreement, the platform will remove damaging posts for you. Take screenshots of the offensive posts before you submit your report, so you have a copy for your records.Start a log of the date and time of each report that you make. If you have friends or family submitting reports as well, include that information in your log.

4) Increase the privacy settings on all of your accounts. Review the information on your accounts very carefully and get rid of any personal information that doesn't need to be there, such as your email address or phone number. Lock down all of your information so that only your friends and family members can see it. Become familiar with the privacy settings on all the platforms you use, so you can quickly make changes if necessary. Log out of your accounts, then search them online to see what you can see if you're not connected. Some platforms, such as Facebook, allow you to view your account the way others would see it while you're tweaking your privacy settings. If you have accounts that you don't use anymore, go ahead and close them out. They could provide a way for your stalker to reconnect with you again.

Do not hesitate to contact law enforcement if you feel that your life is in danger. Trust your instincts. It would be wise to contact an attorney to assist with reporting the cyberstalker in a safe way, as well as to discuss obtaining an order for protection/restraining order. Depending on the impact that this has had on your life, you might have a viable basis to bring a lawsuit against the stalker.

I hope this helps.

Susanne Eltamimi agrees with this answer

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