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How to Get Rid of a Stalker

If you have such problems as someone constantly following you, turning up unexpectedly in numerous places, sending copious e-mail or text messages, sending offensive or worrying snail mail items, leaving threatening and/or abusive phone messages, etc, then you may well have an issue with a person stalking you, for whatever reason. Here are some considerations to keep in mind to keep yourself safe and to rid yourself of the offending stalking behavior.

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    “Use distance to protect yourself” If you suspect you may be being stalked, keep a significant distance between you and the suspected stalker. Note that you do not have to have proof someone is a stalker to protect yourself in this way, only a suspicion. Wearing reasonable foot wear will enable you to move away from a suspected stalker most quickly and will reduce the likelihood of tripping or falling. Try to be at least 25 yards or meters away from the suspect. Even ten feet may protect you from being abducted or attacked if that distance is maintained.

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  2. Keep a record of incidents. This may include letters, phone messages, emails, “lurking”, or any contact the stalker has attempted to make. Record the date when each contact occurred, and keep this record in a safe place. If possible, make copies and give them to a trusted relative or friend, or place them in a safety deposit box. This can be used as evidence if you need to consult the police.
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    Always state romantic or social rejections clearly. Responding with vague non-commitals such as, “I’m not interested in a relationship/being friends with you at this time,” or “I’m dating someone else,” can lead a person to believe that you would date or be friends with them, if the timing were right or if they keep pressing the issue.

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    Warn the offender clearly. Tell the stalker in as few words as possible that s/he is not welcome to contact you. “Do NOT contact me again.” Do not engage in lengthy dialogue with the suspected stalker. Never respond to any of the suspected stalker’s contacts again. Your goal is to inform the stalker that their actions are harassment and warn them never to make contact with you from that point on. What you say must be credible. There may be a chance that the offender may cease and desist. Later record how and when you gave the warning along with any future incidents.

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    Ignore and do not respond to further attempted interactions. Your stalker may try to deliberately rile you by making provocative comments if he or she gets close enough to you or uses messages to do so. Any response, even a negative one only feeds into the stalker’s belief that he is ‘getting’ to you. Be strong and keep walking or refuse to press that recall button. Do not press reply. Just ignore the comments – otherwise, you are adding fuel to the fire. If the stalker is an ex, it may help to read How to End a Controlling or Manipulative Relationship.

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    Never attempt to reason with or appease a stalker. This only reinforces his/her belief that his/her tactics are working.

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    Always keep a cell phone on you, if possible. A phone that can record images and conversation is a plus.

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    Keep emergency numbers on your cell phone and in different parts of your residence, as well as your vehicle.

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    Change your contact information, including e-mail addresses and phone numbers. This will make it much harder for your stalker to leave messages for you.

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    Another option is to get a new phone number and email, only give it to trusted individuals, and allow your current phone and email account to record messages from your stalker. For a non violent stalker, the ability to leave messages may make them content not to attempt any real life interactions. You can use these messages as evidence, if you decide to pursue legal action. If you feel uncomfortable listening to or reading the messages, have a trusted friend or family member screen and record them.

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    Notify everyone about your situation and the identity of your stalker, if known. Stalkers thrive on secrecy and privacy. Notify your family, friends, neighbors and employers to not to give out your personal information, regardless of the innocuousness of the request or the identity of the questioner. Notify everyone to be cautious of any individual loitering around your neighborhood or place or employment or attempting to gain access to your workplace.

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    At your workplace, have your phone calls screened, and do not open envelopes whose return address you do not recognize. Do not open unexpected packages. Never open anonymous mail.

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    Consider having an account and a safety deposit box at a bank that you do not regularly patronize, which includes copies of all documents pertaining to the stalking behavior, important personal and financial papers, passport, social security and insurance information, and other vital information that you can access in the event of an emergency.

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    Keep your mail private. Get a P.O. box if you are concerned that someone could easily gain access to your private information.

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    Set up a password or photo ID system on all of your accounts (bank card, utilities, etc.)

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    Follow the steps in How to Avoid Being Stalked on Social Media. This will prevent the stalker from spying on you and figuring out where you are and what you’re doing. Be sure to set all of your social networking website information to “private” and make all attempts to block the stalker from accessing your information.

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    Make home safety a priority. Install more secure door locks. Make your windows and doors burglar proof. Install security lights and a security system. Put your indoor lights on a timer system. A dog (or even a ‘beware of dog sign’) is a deterrent to home invasions. Ask police to do regular check ups of your property.

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    If you live in an apartment or condominium, have a residence on the second floor or above, if possible.

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    Move out temporarily. If you feel that your home is being watched, stay somewhere else, such as your parents’ home, the home of other relatives or with friends. If you are living away from family and have not yet made solid friendships in your new town, seek advice from a campus counselor or from the local police as to some respite alternatives or to request some additional check-ups on your property.

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    If you must move, try to be as under the radar as possible. Rent a moving van that does not have company logos, as a stalker could possibly contact that company in order to gain information about you. You can also move your possessions into a storage facility that is under a P.O. box address or the name of a third party, until you feel safe to claim them.

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    Try to avoid being alone, if you can. A stalker is more likely to lose interest if they see that you always have company.

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    Avoid adhering to a general schedule as much as possible. Do not go to the same gas station, restaurant or grocery store and do not go at the same times. If you exercise, do so at different times and on varying routes, or join a members only gym. Take your safety seriously and be responsible about your safety needs. Think ahead and be conscious of everything around you at all times. It may also help to read How to Thwart an Abduction Attempt.

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    If you have children, make sure that they are always accompanied to and from school and activities. Notify your children’s school(s) not to give out any of your information, and provide them a list of individuals who are allowed to pick up your children. Ask staff to request that anyone on that list provide photo ID to validate their identity. If you can not pick up your children, contact the school to let them know exactly who will be picking them up.

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    Secure and protect your pet(s). Some stalkers, if they are unable to gain access to you, will target your animals. Do not leave pets outside unattended (even in a fenced in yard), and do not have pet doors. Have contact information for animal boarding homes and no-kill shelters, in case of an emergency if you are unable to take proper care of your pet(s).

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    Avoid contact with family, friends and other associates of the stalker Unfortunately, these individuals may willingly or unknowingly provide information about you to the stalker, such as new addresses or contact information.

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    Be confident. This means maintaining an air of self-assurance, holding your head high and walking tall and with purpose. Stalkers are more likely to continue when they see fear reflected in your body language – so watch this carefully and keep your body reactions slow, measured and calm.

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    Seek help. Research online or contact your local police department for references to stalking hotlines/counselors. If you are at school, go and see a teacher, a counselor or the principal immediately and explain the situation. If you are at university or college, seek assistance from campus security or a counselor. You also may wish to consider going straight to the police and reporting the incident(s) and having a report drawn up. It will at least allow you to explore your legal options and obtain some advice on how to act next.

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    Prepare an emergency plan, that you can easily utilize in case of a break in or an attack. You must have a plan in place that allows you to protect yourself as much as possible. Have a safe place where all family members can arrange to meet in event of an emergency (the location only being known to a very trusted relative or friend). At this safe location, have needed supplies in a ‘flight kit’ (money, clothing, medication etc.), as well as emergency numbers for police, legal assistance, and abuse/stalking assistance.

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    If you were previously domestically involved with your stalker, try to avoid the following: legal mediation, joint therapy, shared custody of children, face-to-face child exchanges. If you are obligated to come face to face with the stalker (at a court hearing) safeguard yourself as much as possible. In the days prior to and especially following an obligated public meeting, be extra vigilant of your surroundings and safety.

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    Consider carrying pepper spray. Carry it in a proper manner and familiarize yourself with how it is used. Only consider carrying a firearm if you have proper training in their use and are in compliance with your state’s firearm laws. Keep in mind that any weapon that you carry could be used against you during an attack. This is a subject that you should discuss with law enforcement and an abuse/staking counselor.

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    Discuss with police and abuse/stalking counselors the possibility of obtaining a temporary restraining order (TRO) or protective order. Keep in mind that a TRO or an Order or Protection is to initiate and assist the legal process — it can not physically protect you from a stalker who is inclined towards violence. You must be responsible for your safety even with a TRO or OP in place. Non violent and violent stalkers react differently to TROs and OPs, as do those stalkers who have had romantic/sexual involvement with their victims. Based on your history with the stalker and the pattern of behavior he/she has been demonstrating towards you, research TROs to decide whether it will assist you in your situation or not. An abuse/stalking counselor or victim’s advocate may better assist you in determining what the best options for your situation are.

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