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Apr 08, 2008 - 28 comments

I think this is important info as this is a public forum.

What can I do if I am being harassed or stalked on the Net?

You should report the incident to the system administrator (aka "sysadmin") of both your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the ISP of the stalker or harasser. Be aware that sometimes stalkers/harassers try to conceal their tracks by forging (aka "spoofing") their e-mail headers. If you receive abusive e-mail, you might want to visit SpamCop. This free (with voluntary subscription) service will analyze your unwanted e-mail to determine its point of origin, and can generate a report that will be e-mailed to the appropriate sysadmin. You can also visit CyberSnitch to report Internet abuse and have a report sent to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

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199177 tn?1490498534
by avisg, Apr 08, 2008
If it is happing on this site plz let Med Help or myself or FL Addict know ASAP. The only way we can help is if we know.

Avatar universal
by confused456, Apr 08, 2008
Thank you for posting this. I agree that this is valuable information to have "just in case".

Thanks again.

Avatar universal
by soreadytodetox, May 21, 2008
good to let folks know about this. thanks for watching out for us. ib will keep my eyes out!

447130 tn?1225470866
by triedeverymed, Jun 27, 2008
What a fantastic posting. You should put that in a forum for all to see. Thank you not only for finding that information but for sharing it with us!! You are definately an asset to this Website!!!

402205 tn?1230481005
by mimi1313, Jun 27, 2008
Thank you, I think becasue this is a public forum, its important to know this and to know what to do if the situation arises. That's why I don't think you should apologize for your rules. They're for your safety.

Avatar universal
by gator145, Aug 07, 2008
That is so thoughtful of you to put this notice where those that are troubled with this kind of abusecan do something..... i'm sure there are those that feel nothing can be done and you show just the opposite...>Good move on your part..... You get 5 pats on the back with the Gators tail.....

495284 tn?1333894042
by dominosarah, Sep 28, 2008
Very good information Mimi.  Thank you..............sara

Avatar universal
by Brenndy, Sep 28, 2008
TO:  All

Here's another addy where you can pass on those spammer-type e-mails soliciting you to launder money in and out of the country for foreigners trying to convince you that this supposed get-rich-quick scheme is legit and that you will be rolling in dough in 2 weeks.


Avatar universal
by Brenndy, Sep 28, 2008
TO ALL:  Major censoring going on now: please email me for the addy, which was auto-piloted winzipped.  

365714 tn?1292199108
by MJIthewriter, Sep 28, 2008
Personally I don't respond to any email addresses posted in a public forum. That's one big no. Another no is if anyone offers a phone number. It can be a legit person, but don't take that chance.

One time I had someone (on another forum) try to talk me into calling them on the phone. They said that they wanted to help me work on my phone skills and my aversion to the phone. I told them thanks but no thanks.  I do have a few real life friends I know I can call if I need to practice the telephone. She seemed like a kind person, had a son and all that, but still don't take that chance.

If people are expressing overly sad stories crying about financial issues and hoping for money... big red flag....

365714 tn?1292199108
by MJIthewriter, Sep 28, 2008
Sorry Brenndy, but don't post your email out because that can make YOU vulnrable to spammers.

Avatar universal
by Brenndy, Sep 28, 2008

There ya go again!  I am not stupid, but rather highly intelligent.  Do you REALLY think I would post MY email address?

No.  The email address I attempted to post but was censored by this site is the email address to THE U.S. Federal Government who handles spam mail and arrests and prosecutes the spammers/rip-off con artists.

GEEZ!  I can't win with you!

365714 tn?1292199108
by MJIthewriter, Sep 28, 2008
Brenndy, not one to like being told what to do, I get it... No I wasn't trying to be mean.... Sorry for stepping on toes there....

365714 tn?1292199108
by MJIthewriter, Sep 28, 2008
BTW I was speaking from experience... At one time on someone's tagboard I thought I could fill the part where you can put your email. I did so because I thought I could help some people with a game....

Well let's just say I still get all kinds of spam for drugs dealing with organs I don't have.....and I STILL get those spam messages even though that was like 5 years ago...  

Avatar universal
by Brenndy, Sep 28, 2008
It's like this.  Read each word carefully, comprehend and understand even more carefully, and then speak wisely and intelligently.  I know you have it in you!  Please don't blame the autism anymore.  It just doesn't fly anymore.  

82861 tn?1333453911
by Jaybay, Sep 28, 2008
Brenndy - Just an FYI:  Medhelp has software that automatically "stars" (*****) out  email and web site addresses.  It's not direct censorship of your post by admin, moderators, or anyone else.

Avatar universal
by sadinmichigan, Sep 28, 2008
Cyberstalking comes in many forms...such as people that continually contact you that you have made clear you do not want to continue anything other than a cordial relationship.and then make public posts and journals about it portraying others as if they have done something wrong...some people just don't get the message..people have the right to NOT want to talk to others and shouldn't have to explain. Silence is golden.

365714 tn?1292199108
by MJIthewriter, Sep 28, 2008
If it's me that you're posting about, I'm sorry. I have much to learn, the hard way.  My sincerest appologies.

Avatar universal
by Brenndy, Sep 28, 2008
Soupy Sales says:  Will the REAL sockpuppet/s please stand up?

460185 tn?1326077772
by lonewolf07, Sep 28, 2008
I don't think this is inappropriate to say - JSGeare posted a journal about privacy some time ago and it was quite illuminating.  JSGeare is in the Anxiety Forum.

585414 tn?1288941302
by ILADVOCATE, Sep 29, 2008
Look. I haven't seen this on this site but it can happen on any site and I've had it happen on other sites. Someone creates an account as an "internet persona". They act according to the characteristics of who they have created but it can be to stalk or harass people. Sometimes it seems unnerving realistic. Sometimes it is obviously a kid playing a prank. There is a community of kids that call it "trolling". Usually it is harmless or annoying, the equivalent of an internet prank phone call. However, since it can be carried to extremes and can be pathological it is something to watch out for on any site. If you see posts that are random and don't make sense or project the blame on other site users or other people or are hateful or obscene or off color or have a repeat nature just to disrupt conversations, that's probably what you are dealing with. Once again I haven't seen it on this site but I have on other sites and by the time I was able to convince the moderators to ban the people they had created a lot of hatred and disruption within the site and then others site users who may very well have been the same person signed up to repeatedly stalk me. It was unnerving. I have written the attorney general of New York State who is especially concerned with internet regulation to stop any form of illegal activity not yet within specific legislation to pass laws regarding cyberbullying and cyberstalking especially when young people are on a site. I would suggest if other people are concerned to write their attorney general as well. At least one state has signed a bill into law to make this kind of activity explicity illegal and we all should follow up as within health discussions, especially mental health discussions there are people who are emotionally vulnerable which is exactly what they are looking for.

365714 tn?1292199108
by MJIthewriter, Sep 29, 2008
Also watch out for bot posts.... YES there are programs that do create accounts and post as if they are a member offering support. I have come across those in med help and reported and deleted them in my own community. (I'm CL of the autism/aspergers community)

Sometimes, though not lately you'll get a message from someone saying they found a "cure"  and then they may have a post with a link at the end. Sometimes these posts if you read them show up random garble... (Programs seem to be bad at word choice and syntax)

You may get sentences that make completely no sense... Right there red flag... DON'T click the link. It's a phishing scam...  Or you may get someone conducting research. I've had people come up to me asking if they can write a paper, help educate their class.... I've even seen someone who works at a forensic agency...

1. if the sentences seem like random words, you know a human didn’t post it….
2. 2. conducting research on a public forum… That’s not reliable information to back up ANY serious paper.  Also if the person is really an educator or expert, they wouldn’t be pming me… I may know some things about autism, but I’m by no means an expert, and besides they’d be better doing that research asking people in real life.
3. No forensic agent would be posting on a public forum looking for clues on a murder or crime case…  That’s just plain unrealistic….

Also, look at the urls:  Is it a legit url? If someone is giving advice is it a url you recognize?  And if it is, is it a real site or a freewebs site?

Yes I did see someone on the forum post they were a researcher but they had a freewebs link…. Nothing against freewebs, but that is highly unprofessional to be posting on one… I’ve seen legit people use them to post info, but one has to be careful.
Finally: know the person. Some people, like me are legit people, but sometimes have emotional breakdowns and mood swings.  Try as I may I have a hard time being myself when I’m in the heat of an emotional crisis.

For that reason I try not to judge people by a few bad days off and on.  But if they are continually posting nothing but sad stories and seem to be seeking attention all the time, then I back away.   But one has to use judgment, because people who are depressed may mean well, but not be in the emotional state to fully understand their behavior. In fact they may not understand it themselves.

460185 tn?1326077772
by lonewolf07, Sep 29, 2008
Isn't some of this missing?

585414 tn?1288941302
by ILADVOCATE, Sep 30, 2008
Yes a helpful link to understanding how to recognize and deal with internet "trolls" (whoever monitors this please don't block out the link, it just provides helpful information on how to deal with this increasing problem):
And if the comment isn't removed as I flagged, an example of one. So this should be helpful for people.
Any further comments on this post should be locked to prevent any flames but the discussion has been helpful overall. And if any profiles of this nature are seen they should be removed. They enter the site to bait and harass people and becoming friendly with some people or putting legitimate posts is a tactic as well as they are "experts" in emotionally harassing and manipulating people which is why entering mental health sites is an extreme tactic they use. However, in this behavior many of them are displaying signs of "negative attention seeking" which is a sign of a mental illness in itself. Please do not respond to anyone who is doing this and report them immediately. You don't know who they are but you can be sure despite some genuine comments or false sympathey, their intentions are malicious and to disrupt this site or any other.

365714 tn?1292199108
by MJIthewriter, Sep 30, 2008
ILADVOCATE, thank you... I've been wondering lately with some things.... I just wish I knew what to do now....

365714 tn?1292199108
by MJIthewriter, Sep 30, 2008
I have another perspective on this after thinking it over:  There's a difference between true trolls and those who act like trolls.

True trolls understand and know their intentions right from the start. They are intentionally trying to get people's goat and cause chaos, drama and disruption.

But there are also those who act like trolls.  When I shamelessly look over my own post history and think about the things've said, done, etc, am I really any different than a troll?  I've done the same things... I've posted things in public that shouldn't have been, I've said hurtful things, done hurtful things....  Am I a true troll? I don't believe so.  Have I acted like a troll? Yes.

A person acting like a troll is a lot different than a true troll because they mean well, they're honest people, but at the time of their posting do not realize how they are coming across to others.

A true troll refuses to accept this part about themself. A legit person acting like a troll can look back and be honest with themself that yes they've made mistakes and willing to do whatever it takes within reason to make up for them.

I hope this helps.

585414 tn?1288941302
by ILADVOCATE, Oct 01, 2008
Everyone has their level of approaching people. That's fine. And sometimes people aren't completely recovered or don't know how to approach people. A "troll" in internet parlance is someone who enters a site to stalk and bait people. The best thing to do is go through their posts and see if there are many that are hateful, mean spirited, obscene or random. These will alternate with ones that appear genuine or trying to befriend people or turn other people against each other. The greater the level the emotional harassment they create the more they are satisfied. The most important thing to do is to block them from contacting you and flag their posts that are offensive or spam. If you recieve a direct message from them click under "report abuse". Unfortunately, because I have been advocating around this my name seems to have been spread around. I am board president of a non profit of an agency for people with disabilties and have advocated on behalf of many people with benefits representation as well as systems advocacy among many other issues. Additionally, my letter written from myself and not from the non profit called for overall legislation not against any particular user on this site. And I acted on my own accord not with anyone else's direction. If my name appears anywhere in posts or comments in a derogatory fashion, the person is doing it is trying to disrupt the system and they should be banned. I value the safety of people on this site and anyone who would try to turn people against me or anyone else is clearly misusing this site. Rather than discuss particular people if my name appears anywhere in a derogatory fashion then we can know who that person is and hopefully they will be banned from the site and if should this happen in the future we will be more careful as we have more knowledge about internet stalking and harassment which unfortunately has been mislabelled under the term "trolling" which takes away seriousness of the harm it creates.

365714 tn?1292199108
by MJIthewriter, Oct 01, 2008
I think another important thing to note: one does not have to stay a troll. If people are open to admitting when they are wrong, they can change. Trolls can change, because after all they are people.  If a person can figure out why they are "trolling" and seeking attention and address those concerns with themselves, then they are making a good step for themselves.

Being able to admit when one is wrong is a very important step. If one cannot either see where they are wrong or be able to admit it, then they are opening themselves up to both hurt others and become hurt themselves.

Another important thing to know is as much as we like to help people and help them resolve their own problems, there's only so much one can do, both in real life and on the internet. (I had to learn this). If one overcrosses their own boundaries to help the other, then it's going to fail and both parties end up hurt as well as anyone who happens to stumble upon the story. One different thing about real life and the net is, what people say can be said and resolved, then forgotten. On the internet everything gets recorded as part of a history...  It's a lot easier to get stuck in a rut re-reading the problem over and over rather than moving on.
So what do you do when you've been accused of being a troll?

First off stop and think why are they calling you a troll?  It's easy to get angry and want to defend oneself. But chances are if you are being called a troll by a well meaning member or quite a few, then there may be a valid reason. This does not mean that you are a bad person. It means that something you are doing at the moment is setting people off and needs to be looked at with some honest soul searching. Remember that you are human. As humans we make mistakes. But we can learn from them and move on. People mature and evolve. One does not have to stay a troll.

(By saying "you" this can mean anyone who stumbles upon this journal and has at one time been thought to be a troll)

I hope this makes sense and ends this with a more uplifting note.

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