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Victims of stalking are often shocked when the police can’t do much to resolve their situation—usually because there is little concrete evidence they are being followed.
This post will cover the fundamentals of protecting yourself, along with one strategy you can employ to keep tabs on the stalker without them even realizing it.
Take your life back. Learn how to hunt a predator.
Step 1: Alert Authorities
It is imperative that you do not act alone.
- Alert authorities by filing a police report in your local jurisdiction. Even if you don’t have enough evidence to obtain a protective order, you should begin to build a case against the stalker as early as possible.
- Share as many details as you can about the stalker along with any evidence you have collected thus far. If you have an image of the stalker, share that as well.
- Be sure to write down the name of the officer who takes your initial report; any time there is a new development in your case, contact that officer and update your file.
Step 2: Gather Your Allies
You are going to need a support system who will check in on you and be there for you when you need someone to confide in. Your allies are also a critical part of your safety plan (more on that in a moment).
- If you don’t already have a friend or family member who calls or visits you often, find someone who can, and keep them informed on your whereabouts.
- Seek the confidence of people who understand what it’s like to be stalked. There are numerous communities on Facebook for victims of stalking and narcissistic abuse. Having an outlet to express your fears and frustrations is invaluable.
- Delete any social media accounts and minimize your online presence.
- If you choose to join a Facebook support group, create a brand new account that is tied to an encrypted email address and do not link your phone number. Use a completely different password.
- Never identify yourself, the stalker, or your location in any posts or private conversations on social media.
- Alter any stories you share about your situation on social media, so that if the stalker were to encounter your post, they would have no suspicions that it is you on the other side of the screen.
Step 3: Become Invisible
The second you realize you are being pursued, take immediate action to become invisible, alerting authorities and gathering allies while you’re at it. You will need to:
- Cut ties with any person who is friends, family, or acquaintances of the stalker and do not trust them.
- Google search your name and scrape the search results to find and destroy anything that shows up with information about you.
- Write down any email contacts you may need and delete your email account. Use an encrypted email service instead, such as ProtonMail.
- Create as much physical distance between you and the stalker as possible. Consider moving in with a family or friend or moving to a place nearby someone you trust.
- If you are not location dependent, move to a new state. If you are location dependent, move to a new home. Seek a gated community that has multiple security measures in place to protect residents, such as a front gate, a security keypad, and security cameras. Better yet, move to a place down the street from the police station itself.
Step 4: Create a Disguise
Throw the stalker off by flipping your routine on its head. Give yourself and your life a completely new look.
- Change your grocery store, your church, your favorite cafe or bar. Any place you frequent is no longer safe.
- Don’t just create a new routine. Switch up your day-to-day activities often and use it as an opportunity to explore new places.
- If your job or your school is location dependent, make sure your superiors are aware of what’s going on and ask if you can relocate or work remotely.
- Change the way you look. Dye your hair. Buy a new pair of sunglasses.
- Flip your wardrobe and wear things that you never thought you would; if you usually wear all-black, start wearing colors. If you usually wear dresses, start wearing baggy jeans. Pick the ugliest pair of shoes you can find—something that does not suit your taste.
- Have your car painted a completely new color and change your license plate.
- Consider tinted windows if they are legal where you are.
- Throw the stalker off with tiny details. For example, if you don’t have children, stick a “baby on board” bumper sticker to your vehicle.
Step 5: Secure Your Devices
Chances are, the stalker is using social media to gather intel on you. They may also be tracking you or hacking into your personal devices. You’d be surprised how easy it is to hack into someone’s device or even watch them through their camera.
- Download a VPN such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN (these are both free). Using a VPN will enable you to hide your IP address and make it look like you are in a completely different location. Your IP address can give away the exact coordinates of your location, so you should take this step very seriously. You can and should also purchase a VPN for your mobile phone.
- Buy a new phone and change your phone number. A simple factory reset may not be enough to protect you from tracking apps or malware that could have been downloaded onto your device.
- Never click mysterious links or view emails that seem spammy or that don’t come from someone you know.
- Turn off location services on all your devices, in all your individual apps, and in whatever messenger platforms you are using.
- Always ensure your iOS is completely up-to-date to make it more difficult for stalkers to hack into your devices.
- Enable two-factor authentication for your iCloud, your bank account, and any apps that provide the option.
Step 6: Learn Self-Defense
But don’t just learn it. Become confident using it so that you will not freeze should the time come to defend yourself.
- Take a self-defense course or start taking martial arts classes.
- Find out what weapons are legal where you live. If concealed carry is legal and you are comfortable with carrying, visit a shooting range once a month at minimum to keep your skills sharp.
- Otherwise, consider a stun gun or buy two maces and use one for practice. Practice withdrawing it from your bag or back pocket and releasing it. The more practice, the better.
- Educate yourself: throughout this whole process, education is crucial. Make sure you are clear about the “stand your ground” laws where you live, and when it is permissible to use deadly force against a person. Review the laws closely.
- As an added layer of defense, purchase a self-defense keychain along with a personal alarm that you can add to your keys. We like these:
Step 7: Be Proactive with a Safety Plan
Answer these questions before you need to:
- If your home is broken into, where will you hide? How will you escape?
- Can you reach your self-defense device from your bed? Do you have a security alarm prepped by each entry point in your home, in living spaces, and in your bedroom?
- Where are all the different points in town you can go to if you feel unsafe? Where can you go at 7AM? At 3AM?
- Do you have an ally on call that you can trust to pick up the phone at any hour?
- Do you have an ally who will let you stay the night if you feel uncomfortable being at home?
- Can you tuck enough money away for a plane ticket out of town in case you need to flee at a moment’s notice?
- That, or a few tank’s worth of gas? Is your car in good shape? Can you rely on it to get you far away?
- How well do you know the stalker? How would they react in any given situation? Listen to your intuition: what are they capable of? Are you ready to respond?
- If you have children, practice every possible escape route from the home with them.
- Pack a getaway bag for yourself and your children. Keep it ready at all times and stashed somewhere you can grab it quickly.
- Your safety plan must evolve as your situation does. While putting your safety plan together, give yourself multiple options for every possible scenario you can think of. Stay loose and stay ready.
Step 8: Safeguard Your Home
A stalker may invade your home, damage your property, hack into your wireless devices, cable, or internet service. They may cut off your phone line or install cameras inside your home to monitor you. You can never be too drastic with the home security measures you take.
- Go around your home and examine all doors and windows. Change your locks and replace any windows that could easily be lifted or broken.
- Inform your neighbors or apartment manager about your situation. Share a picture and description of the stalker with them.
- Photograph any evidence of damages to your property and get a physical copy of those images to share with the police.
- Install security cameras on your property and in strategic places throughout your home, such as by entry points, in hallways that lead to your room, or in your kitchen. We like these:
Step 9: Bait and Track the Stalker
This simple tactic can be used to obtain the stalker’s IP address, and with it, their geographical location.
- Set up a self-hosted blog on WordPress.org. We recommend utilizing the host, SiteGround.
- Install a plugin in the backend of your WordPress blog, such as TraceMyIP, which will provide IP addresses for every person that visits your blog.
- Enable commenting on all of your WordPress posts. To do this, head to your WordPress blog’s backend. On the left-hand side, click “Settings” followed by “Discussion.” At the top of this page, you will see, “Default post settings” in bold. To the right, click “Allow people to submit comments on new posts.” Here’s what that looks like:
- If you are not using a plugin like TraceMyIP, the stalker will have to comment on your blog in order for you to obtain their IP address in the backend of your site.
- After the blog is prepped, you will have to safely bait the stalker.
- You may consider creating a private Instagram account and linking your blog in the bio so the stalker can see it and nothing else. If you go this route, again, do not use your real email address or phone number to set the Instagram account up and do not add any other identifying information.
- Instead, use an encrypted email service, such as ProtonMail to set up the account. The only point of this Instagram account is to lure the stalker to your blog.
- If the stalker comments on your blog, obtain their IP address from the backend.
- Input the IP address into a free IP tracker like, WhatIsMyIPAddress, to immediately learn the stalker’s country, region, city, and area code. You may also learn an estimate of their longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates.
- Keep in mind that IP addresses are tied to your server, not your device. That means the IP address will be different each time the stalker uses a different public or private WiFi server. Their mobile device and laptop will have separate IP addresses too, and in general, IP addresses change every 14 days.
- Let the sole purpose of the blog be to bait the stalker and try not to share the blog with anyone else. That way, you will be more confident that the IP address you have obtained belongs to the stalker.
- Keep track of all IP addresses that visit your blog with the rest of the evidence you are collecting. Write down any location indicators as well.
Step 10: Trust Your Intuition
Stalking victims are forced to choose between living a “normal” life and staying safe. Some of these suggestions may seem over-the-top, but no action is too big to protect yourself. Consider all your options, then decide which approaches are realistic and appropriate for you.
Seeking a protective order is wise, but it is possible for your request to be denied. Furthermore, at least 20% of female homicide victims are killed by a person they had a protective order against each year. A protective order does not guarantee you full protection. Do not let your guard down until the stalker is behind bars.
Stalkers are dangerous and a situation can escalate when you least expect it to. Trust your instincts and stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Don’t let anyone tell you that your fears are unjustified or irrational. For every person who doubts you, there are innumerable others who can empathize.
You are not alone.
For more help, reach out to: