How To Stop Online Harassment
Victims of online harassment or cyberstalking may not always get the help they need from the police. Fortunately, private investigators and forensic experts can help victims manage cases of internet stalking and abuse.
If you are a victim, ensure that you contact us now before taking any other action. Blocking a cyberstalker or having content removed from a website does not necessarily solve the problem, and it could make our job more difficult when handling your case.
How To Deal With Online Harassment
Online Harassment Investigation
Online harassment & stalking is unwanted and repetitive behaviour that targets a person or an organisation through email, social media or some other internet communication medium. It can involve threats, intimidation, blackmail, defamation or coercion against a targeted party and, unfortunately, it’s on the rise. Cyberstalking has become prevalent because of the ease with which a perpetrator can conceal his or her identity from the victim. The truth is however, there is always a digital trail so the culprit might not be as anonymous as he or she thinks.
Victims of cybercrime and harassment are often surprised at the lack of interest shown by both the state and federal police. The truth is, the police are unable to help in all but the most serious cases as they are overworked and under-resourced. Fortunately, private investigators and forensic experts are available to help individuals and business tackle online bullying and cybercrime.
How to respond appropriately
There are a few different approaches one can take when responding to online harassment. Firstly, one can attempt to minimise the damage caused and reduce the risk of continuing to be subject to the abuse. This generally involves a complete change (or removal) of a person’s online profile, including social accounts, email addresses and even phone numbers. This isn’t an option for everybody, however, and the compulsive types who carry out online harassment aren’t likely to give up their attacks so easily.
A more effective approach involves hiring an investigator to endeavour to identify the culprit. This is usually what is required to put an end to recurring harassment because the offenders are emboldened by their veil of apparent anonymity. It is not uncommon for cyberstalking to last for years so holding the cyberstalker accountable might be the only option available.
An investigator will utilise digital forensic techniques to seek to uncover the culprit’s internet protocol address (IP address) and may succeed in doing so even if others have tried and failed. An IP address is an internet user’s unique identifying code. After receiving emails, for example, from a harasser or blackmailer, most people will look at the headers to uncover information about the culprit however, email headers rarely contain IP addresses these days and other avenues need to be explored. If the culprit has an active social media account or email address then this may be the lead that is required to uncover the IP address.
A range of options open up once an IP address has been identified. The police may then take over and will be more inclined to do so given that you’ve made their job easier by using a professional to gather evidence yourself. Failing that, if you have a suspect, an investigator may be able to identify the culprit independently. Another option is to elevate the matter to the court level by pursuing civil litigation with a lawyer’s help. Through the process of ‘pre-action discovery’, it may be possible to identify the user associated with an IP address by forcing the internet service provider to identify him or her. Whatever the case, despite the illusion of anonymity that the internet appears to afford, a digital footprint often remains.
Experienced forensic technicians
If you feel as though you are the target of online harassment, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced investigation team as soon as possible, before you take any action yourself. Simply removing unwanted content from a website won’t eliminate the problem and could even make our investigation more difficult should you choose to endeavour to identify the stalker. By maintaining composure and contacting professionals at the outset, you have the best prospect of being able to resolve your matter in a timely and efficient manner.
Throughout our years of experience, Lyonswood private investigators have helped victims of online harassment manage their response to cyberstalking, in some cases by tracking down trolls and online blackmailers. The computer forensics technicians at Lyonswood have the necessary skills and experience to go about identifying people responsible for malicious behaviour online. In many cases, lawyers will need to be engaged to apply for the appropriate court orders and we can work with your lawyer or refer you to a firm with experience in this area. One of our many success stories involves the identification of a man who blackmailed our client through a seemingly anonymous Gmail account in a Supreme Court of NSW matter. You can read more about how we were able to assist and the investigative techniques we employed here .