With the rise of internet crimes in India, cyberstalking and cyberbullying are activities everyone needs to be aware of. Cyberstalking is a crime, where someone stalks you online, sends you threats or blackmail you via the internet, phone or email. These threats, if they go too far, can affect an individual physically too.

There are as many, or more, predators online than there are in real life. Since one’s identity can be masked, they try to take their chances. In India, there is a law against cyberstalking, but people are hardly taken seriously when filing a complaint. The law has helped a lot of victims, but it still needs to be elaborate and proper. The police need to understand that cyberstalking is real, and they need to protect the citizens against it.

Also Read: Dhanya Menon: India’s first woman Cybercrime Investigator

There are a few measures you can take yourself to protect yourself from becoming a victim. Here are a few tips:

Don’t Post Personal Information Online
The internet has information about anything and everything. Since it is that easy to retrieve data from the internet, it is best not to put up your personal information online. Especially your address and phone number. It is best not to put up too many photos of yourself either. Cyberstalkers use visual media to blackmail their victims.

People nowadays don’t think twice before posting things on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but it is best to re-evaluate what you post on social media.

Learn About Security Settings
Apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram use their default security settings if the user does not intervene. It is always a good idea to read through the security settings thoroughly and make your data available only to your close friends and family. If you keep your information public, then it is likely to fall into the wrong hands.

Also read: How To Increase Internet Safety Awareness Among Youngsters

Google Yourself
This is a good way to know how much information is out there. If someone is looking for information on you, they will probably conduct a google search. You can also see if someone has spread wrong information about you. Cyberstalkers can try to blackmail you via blogs or websites – you can always catch these here and report them to the website administrator or in severe cases, to the law-enforcing bodies.

Change Your Passwords Regularly
Change your passwords regularly because cyberstalkers might try to hack into your system and into your accounts. It is a pain to do so, yes, but it is for the best if you change your password every 2-3 months and also make your passwords complicated, rather than simple words like ‘adam123’. These simple passwords are the easiest to hack.

Always keep your banking passwords, from your email and social media passwords.

Do Not Give Out Information On The Phone Or Email
Some cyberstalkers will call you and pose as your bank and ask you for your personal information especially banking information, which can be devastating for you. Always be suspicious of such calls and emails, and do not respond unless they are from an official number or email address. Banks will never call and ask for your passwords or CVV numbers on your cards. Beware of such callers.

If You’re Being Cyberstalked, Get Help
It can be very difficult to talk to someone if you are being cyberstalked and blackmailed. However, try to tell someone, anyone about your situation including a parent, friend or counsellor. If you think the cyberstalking is going out of hand, you can also get in touch with the police, who will help track the perpetrator down.

Also read: How to Keep Your Data Private