Dealing with stalkers

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Dealing with stalkers

Post by reboot on Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:35 pm

Hi all

I need some advice on behalf of an employee (who is sleeping on my couch for the time being). She is being stalked by a guy she went out with a few times. He has followed her to AZ and she is super freaked out. He has shown up at our office (faked asking for directions) and moved into her apartment complex (hence the couch). I think I saw him parked at the corner when I walked the dog this am.

The last time I dealt with a friend being stalked was the late 1990s when disappearing and being untraceable was a bit easier and stalkers were something the police laughed at you for reporting (and thought you were a stuck up bitch for thinking you were all that). Anyone have any advice on how to hide? Anyone have experience with taking this sort of thing to the police? She has pretty good documentation and photos. Her main goal is to get him to go away, rather than punish him, but if jail is the only way to make that happen she is OK with it.
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by V on Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:24 pm

Reboot, I'm afraid I don't have any concrete advice.  Certainly don't go easy on the guy.  Jail isn't an option I imagine as he has done some (statistically improbable) legal actions.

Do you know anything about him?  Anything to force/encourage him to move on?

And please don't forget to take care of yourself.

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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by reboot on Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:41 pm

This is why stalking sucks. It is all legal, but anxiety inducing.

I know everything she knows about him, which unfortunately is not a whole lot. They met online and went on 5-6 dates. She was not feeling it and broke it off. He felt otherwise and here we are. All she really knows about him is that he is a freelance programmer who likes comic books, anime, and strategy video games and the other little things you learn in early dating.

I could do a bit more research on him. She and I both have mad good people tracking skills. But I am not sure if it will help?
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by V on Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:52 pm

Research can't hurt.  And it's always worth knowing your enemy.

I wondered if he had any outstanding debts, owed alimony, etc that he might not want people to know where he is.  This could be used as leverage maybe.  Or just plain get him to run.

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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by reboot on Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:55 pm

V wrote:Research can't hurt.  And it's always worth knowing your enemy.

I wondered if he had any outstanding debts, owed alimony, etc that he might not want people to know where he is.  This could be used as leverage maybe.  Or just plain get him to run.

Maybe? Or at least get people to stalk him back? Worst comes to worst I could always call his parents and ask them to talk to him, I suppose
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by V on Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:07 pm

Yeah, I think knowing more can't hurt.

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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by V on Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:08 pm

And be careful.

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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by reboot on Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:35 pm

V wrote:Yeah, I think knowing more can't hurt.

V wrote:And be careful.

Thanks. I think I am going to hold off on us doing something more active than research and trying to make her less trackable until Rooms gets back. It is stupid and sexist, but I feel like having a man in the house before we scale up might be prudent. He might only have one leg, but at least he is combat trained and well armed :/
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by reboot on Sun Aug 02, 2015 5:26 pm

Oh, does anyone have any advice on being able to hide yourself if you use social media? Other than kill all accounts?
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:28 pm

You've got his last name and you know where he lives now and where he lived before. Most court records can be searched online these days. See if he's got any stalking convictions, outstanding warrants, any civil judgments etc. Call them all in whether that's local PDs, creditors etc. Mind you, if he's a successful freelance programmer who can pick up and move at the drop of a hat, you may not find anything. Then again, if he's the kind of stalker who will move states, you might.

Don't be above calling the police when you see him sitting in a car with something like "there's a guy who's been parked for three hours and never gotten out of his car. Seems kinda suspicious. Can you just ask a squad car to roll by and check up on him?"

Looking into a restraining order might not be a bad idea but its going to call attention in a big way. Mace and/or a Taser might be a better bet.

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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by readertorider on Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:31 pm

reboot wrote:Oh, does anyone have any advice on being able to hide yourself if you use social media? Other than kill all accounts?

I can't offer anything more than the standard--no complete real name, set privacy settings so its only accessible to friends, certain websites have options to remove accounts from search engines, vary usernames/passwords between websites, don't respond to a "hi <real name>" from an unknown source, keep accounts unconnected, etc--but the captain awkward forums probably would have more practical advice/experience if you want to try there.
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:50 pm

Also, use block and report (or equivalent function) early and often. If you're on LinkedIn, only list jobs you've already left. I personally have to do that last one.

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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by reboot on Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:25 am

Thanks all! I am friends/friendly with some of the neighbors and going to give them a heads up. We just finished going through her social media accounts and locking them down (my god kids today have a lot of accounts!). We definitely need to think of something to do for her living arrangements since I doubt anyone wants to live on their boss' couch longer than necessary.

I did some preliminary research on him, but it is slow going without a birthday and a common name. After 5-6 dates she knew his age (but not birthdays and schools (but not graduation years) and places he lived (but not exact years). Whittling down the list of possible is going to be tough.
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by Guest on Mon Aug 03, 2015 4:30 am

reboot wrote:Hi all

I need some advice on behalf of an employee (who is sleeping on my couch for the time being). She is being stalked by a guy she went out with a few times. He has followed her to AZ and she is super freaked out. He has shown up at our office (faked asking for directions) and moved into her apartment complex (hence the couch). I think I saw him parked at the corner when I walked the dog this am.

The last time I dealt with a friend being stalked was the late 1990s when disappearing and being untraceable was a bit easier and stalkers were something the police laughed at you for reporting (and thought you were a stuck up bitch for thinking you were all that). Anyone have any advice on how to hide? Anyone have experience with taking this sort of thing to the police? She has pretty good documentation and photos. Her main goal is to get him to go away, rather than punish him, but if jail is the only way to make that happen she is OK with it.

Followed her to AZ? Dude, what the fuck!?

reboot wrote:
Thanks. I think I am going to hold off on us doing something more active than research and trying to make her less trackable until Rooms gets back. It is stupid and sexist, but I feel like having a man in the house before we scale up might be prudent. He might only have one leg, but at least he is combat trained and well armed :/

I was about to say, "Hey doesn't your roomie have a 9mm?" Razz Those tend to be pretty good at stopping people, well, unless they're threatening your life or somebody else.

Gentleman Johnny wrote:You've got his last name and you know where he lives now and where he lived before. Most court records can be searched online these days. See if he's got any stalking convictions, outstanding warrants, any civil judgments etc. Call them all in whether that's local PDs, creditors etc.  Mind you, if he's a successful freelance programmer who can pick up and move at the drop of a hat, you may not find anything. Then again, if he's the kind of stalker who will move states, you might.

Don't be above calling the police when you see him sitting in a car with something like "there's a guy who's been parked for three hours and never gotten out of his car. Seems kinda suspicious. Can you just ask a squad car to roll by and check up on him?"

Looking into a restraining order might not be a bad idea but its going to call attention in a big way. Mace and/or a Taser might be a better bet.

I think GJ's got ya covered.

I also think it'd be a good idea to know how to handle a 9mm pistol for personal defense. Though, I'm not sure if your roomie ever showed you how to shoot.

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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by reboot on Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:07 am

I can shoot, however, I do not have the gun safe combination and honestly I am not a goid enough shot to be reliable in a high stress situation. And needing to shoot someone (because if you point a gun at someone you means you are shooting them...you do not just wave it around to scare them) is pretty high stress. Rooms will be back in a week, though, so if we need them we will have access to both weapons and someone who can reliably use them in high stress situations.

What do you guys think about running a little counterintelligence on him? I am thinking that when we get her a new place to live leaking that she is going to LA or Vegas might get him out of town long enough to get her out of her apartment and into a new one without him following. I have enough pictures of both places that we can reasonably fake social media for a weekend trip.
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by celette482 on Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:20 am

Definitely establish a rapport with the local cops. They won't be able to do anything now, but they will want to have a file. To get a restraining order, you're going to want some help. (Also, sometimes you can't get a true restraining order without notice to the subject of it, but a TRO or other prelim thing will at least get the cops to sit up and take notice.) The legal system is SHIT at this sort of thing (signed: lawyer). The idea that someone would uproot their lives to terrorize a person they met 5-6 times is completely foreign to them, but you've got the starts of a good body of evidence that this is an actual problem.

DO NOT do anything to follow up on him. Not you, not her. I know you want to get some power back in the situation, but attention feeds the beast. If he has the google-fu to follow her to AZ, he will probably be able to tell that you're keeping tabs on him. And he'll love it.

On the other hand, misinformation is possibly a good thing, particularly to get her to a new place.

Total social media ban is unfortunately necessary at this point. Shut it all down. All it takes is one friend tagging her location.... New cell phone number, new email address.

the gun frankly is probably more dangerous than not. Guns escalate situations. (signed: criminal defense attorney). A good alarm system though. Or hell, even a sign from an alarm system....

Yeah, none of this is particularly empowering. Look into domestic violence resources in your area. It's not quite the same, but it is the same, you know?
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by reboot on Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:44 am

Yeah, I am a big nope on guns as home security because if things have gone south enough that you are preparing to shoot to kill (the only time you should draw a weapon is to kill) it is too late. I am going to rely on my dog that barks like a hellhound and will bite unless I introduce her to people for now.

Good call on the not researching him (not that it was going particularly well). Given his work, I am going to assume he has the tech savvy to know he is being searched for and stop now.

I have some decent personal connections with city, county, state and federal law enforcement through my anti-human trafficking and DV work. I had not thought of it because no crime has been committed, but I can totally ask them for advice and show them what she has already documented. It would be good to know if it is enough or what else should be collected. Then, hopefully, they will take us to report it. That personal connect tends to lend credence
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by Wondering on Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:43 pm

Be careful with the restraining order idea. With some stalkers, a restraining order means they have no more options and if they tend toward violence, that's when they decide they have nothing to lose and get violent. And a guy who moved to AZ to follow her is already several notches up on the dangerous meter for stalkers.

Cops tend to push you toward getting a restraining order, even if you don't really want one, because it does give them legal recourse to do something, so be aware of that.

I had a stalker back in the day. He was my ex. He didn't move or anything to follow me. So, nothing like that, but I did get an order against him. This was before Facebook and Twitter, but I still keep my accounts today locked down to only friends because of him. I have Facebook set to notify me of tags and remove any of them that other people do. I don't do wholly public things like Twitter.

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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by reboot on Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:00 pm

So I have been pondering what to do once she finds a new place to live so that he does not track her from work home again, whether or not we get a restraining order. I am thinking she needs to not drive herself to work, so her new place will need to be near public transit or she needs to carpool. Do you think it is excessive to suggest she wear hijab on her commute/coming-going from work? Our office is pretty easy to watch, especially if you invest in some binoculars, but we have enough hijab wearers on staff and as clients it would be easy to blend. Or is that too nuts?

Rooms has agreed to teach us counter surveillance measures for driving when he gets back, which is at least a silver lining to this mess. It should be kind of fun to learn.
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by Wondering on Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:19 pm

I think if she rides public transit, she's less protected because he could corner her there.

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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:42 pm

reboot wrote: Or is that too nuts?

Depends on the guy. At this point, suggestions have come up for moving, wearing disguises and driving like James Bond trying to lose a tail. If things are serious enough that actual espionage techniques are looking like a good idea, its definitely time to make sure the police are aware fo what's going on.

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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by BasedBuzzed on Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:02 pm

If he's tech-savvy, perhaps step up the double authentication of media accounts and such?

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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by reboundstudent on Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:23 pm

reboot wrote:Thanks all! I am friends/friendly with some of the neighbors and going to give them a heads up. We just finished going through her social media accounts and locking them down (my god kids today have a lot of accounts!). We definitely need to think of something to do for her living arrangements since I doubt anyone wants to live on their boss' couch longer than necessary.

I did some preliminary research on him, but it is slow going without a birthday and a common name. After 5-6 dates she knew his age (but not birthdays and schools (but not graduation years) and places he lived (but not exact years). Whittling down the list of possible is going to be tough.

Do you have any of his usernames? Because the stuff people are advising you to do to hide social media accounts works in reverse too; it's incredible what you can track down about folks with just a user name.

If you'd like I can offer my Google-fu tech skills. I'm shockingly good at finding social media stuff.
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by reboot on Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:40 pm

reboundstudent wrote:
reboot wrote:Thanks all! I am friends/friendly with some of the neighbors and going to give them a heads up. We just finished going through her social media accounts and locking them down (my god kids today have a lot of accounts!). We definitely need to think of something to do for her living arrangements since I doubt anyone wants to live on their boss' couch longer than necessary.

I did some preliminary research on him, but it is slow going without a birthday and a common name. After 5-6 dates she knew his age (but not birthdays and schools (but not graduation years) and places he lived (but not exact years). Whittling down the list of possible is going to be tough.

If you'd like I can offer my Google-fu tech skills. I'm shockingly good at finding social media stuff.

Unfortunately no. I mean she knows what he used on OKC and he uses his real name on FB, but beyond that.... I mean, it was only a few dates, so info is limited and if even got a whiff of us doing research, well.....think of how gratifying that might be?
Do you have any of his usernames? Because the stuff people are advising you to do to hide social media accounts works in reverse too; it's incredible what you can track down about folks with just a user name.
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Re: Dealing with stalkers

Post by reboot on Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:57 pm

So, I talked to the people I know in law enforcement. Arizona has injunctions against harassment and only requires two acts, no matter how separate in time, that can reasonably be considered harassing. Obviously moving into her complex counts as harassing, hanging out on the street here, and obviously everything leading up to this fits the bill. He will be given a copy, which is a risk to weigh. The other advice they gave confirmed some I got in a PM. Do not research him and try to keep her as out of sight and contact as possible, with or without an injunction against harassment. These things generally only end when the person moves on to a new target or gives up after a number of years.

So now she needs to decide about the injunction. She is thinking to first get her stuff out of her place and into a new place when she finds one. I am thinking of hitting up some of the vets from my PTSD support group to do the move without her there. She is considering putting it out on social media that she got a job in Ukraine (where her family is from), taking a trip there for a few weeks and hopefully he will believe she is gone for good. Maybe not the worst option?
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