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ONLINE HARASSMENT – TRAPPED IN STALKER’S DIRTY GAME
Online stalking is a severe criminal offense. Any perpetrator can go after anyone’s entire online activity, or even pursue them in real life to keep track of their action, only to harass them through different electronic media.
Our client, Susan (pseudonym) had a stalker that she could not get rid of at any cost.
Victim of Online Harassment can get depressed
The life of a school teacher can be quite difficult as it already is. With the invasion of her personal life by an incessant stalker, her life was in complete shambles from the relentless approach this stalker made.
But even when being as relentless as he was, he never saw the fault in his actions.
It all started one school day morning when she was getting ready to go in. Every morning on a work day there are lots of details she can either miss or things that can go wrong. Among all these overwhelming factors, came the commotion that sent a shiver down her spine.
It was a rather simple text message, but it was the context of the message that shocked her to the core. It said something to the effect of “I know what you did yesterday evening”.
A school teacher’s life is full of activities, where there’s very little room for personal events. So even when they take place, Susan always makes secrecy her utmost priority. But the level of detail the message contained convinced her that her alone time was not so secret anymore.
Once the shock had settled in, it kept coming. The advancements of the stalker did not stop. The entity continued to reach out to her in an invasive manner like clockwork.
The entity would send her highly inappropriate messages at the most sensitive hours when receiving a message like that can put her mental state in complete jeopardy.
But it just didn’t stop at text messages. The situation escalated even further when she started receiving photos or videos that would scare the daylight out of her soul.
Susan was traumatized, depressed, and scared at this point, and her first course of action was to go to the police and describe at length how her private life was being invaded without her consent, and there was nothing she could do about it.
But to make matters even worse, even after witnessing all the evidence the police didn’t seem to care at all. They gave her the obvious verdict that it must have been some prankster or an estranged ex-boyfriend who was not very happy about them both splitting up. To them, online harassment was a petty and insignificant case.
At this point, Susan was hit with paranoia. She started doubting everyone whom she could think of, including most of her colleagues. But since there wasn’t substantial evidence to support her suspicions, as a result, her hands were tied in terms of taking any action.
At this point, the stalker reached the peak of harassment they could inflict on Susan. The messages wouldn’t stop, the images and videos would flood her inbox, and calls would startle her with weird, startling voices from different numbers each time. All these numbers were either from within the state she lived in or from the outside.
It was clear at this point that whoever was behind all of this, clearly did his homework, and he was putting it all to good use in the vilest manner imaginable.
Her physical and mental health started to crumble, and her family and relatives even encouraged her to leave the state. But she knew even if she ran, all this wouldn’t stop. So she decided to face her problems once more and went to the police again.
This time, the police could see the effects of exhaustion and stress on her body, and yet they turned a blind eye to the whole thing. There were a lot of empty promises and good wishes, but nothing was done to resolve the conundrum she was in.
After getting no help from law enforcement and other family and relatives, she showed up at our doorstep for a solution.
There seemed to be no escaping this torment. Her family and relatives asked her to leave the state. But she wasn’t the type who ran away to hide from her problems. She went to the police again.
Police saw the dark circles under her eyes and held on to their previous decision to just brush her pleas off as though they were nothing. All she was given were good wishes and empty promises. With almost all doors shut on her face and continued online harassment from the unknown stalker, she turned to us.
Unlike the law, we took her story very seriously and went through all the pieces of evidence she had on her mobile device. Our team of experts decided the best method of action to be a collaboration between Digital Forensic Services and OSINT Investigation.
Since the whole case started with text messages, so we started to look for patterns within the sending time and mannerisms of the text messages themselves.
Then came along all the images and videos sent by the perpetrator. No matter the kind of data that has been sent over the internet always leaves one sort of virtual trace or the other. We traced the possible leads, leading us back to one single IP address that was used the most frequently when sending these files and messages.
Under the laws of open source intelligence, all publicly available information is completely free for use by the finder of said information.
We contacted a lawyer who specializes in online harassment and open-source intelligence laws. In a court of law, virtual data like this can be counted as admittable evidence, and that’s exactly what we did.
Through OSINT, we didn’t just have an IP address in our hands. We had a definite permanent address, the identity of the perpetrator, and enough evidence to get him persecuted in a court of law.
Through our detailed investigation, we managed to narrow down the suspect and sent them a fair warning over several emails.
These emails detailed the ramifications of his nefarious actions while warning him of the consequences if he chooses to continue what he’s doing.
The effort made by our entire digital forensics and OSINT team paid off. The stalker was scared to the point he removed his online presence completely, and all the instances of harassment stopped forever.
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