Online Harassment – Saving NineA case study about online harassment

Let’s say her name was Susan. Susan had a stalking problem.

Being a school teacher is hard as it is. With that came the seemingly unavoidable annoyance of an incessant stalker. He did not relent. Neither did he see the fault in his actions.

One morning Susan was getting ready for her long day at the school. There is always something to miss, something she would forget. Nevertheless, she stayed alert, making sure every bit of her attention goes into making sure her students got the most of her. At that time, like a sudden jolt in her stomach, came the commotion.

It came in the form of a text message. It said something to the effect of I know what you did yesterday evening…

No one should know that. A school teacher’s life is busy. There’s less time than necessary for personal things. So, being cautious is a trait Susan took up very seriously. It came in the form of some kind of inherent secrecy. That’s better, knew Susan. But she did not guess anyone would know the level of detail described in that text message.

Susan’s regular, fine morning had experienced a shock. And worst part of that, it did not stop.

It went on like clockwork, if that machine only responded in the worst possible time, every time. Text messages continued, sometimes came photos, sometimes videos. It was scary to say the least.

Susan went to the police and described at length how her private personal life has been shattered to the core. She showed the messages, still pictures and videos. Guys at the precinct didn’t seem to care. They might have thought this is some prankster, or an estranged ex-boyfriend. The police had bigger fish to fry. This wasn’t worth their time.

Susan started to get paranoid. She suspected some of her colleagues may have been behind this. But, without substantial evidence to support her suspicion, there’s not much she could do.

Her cries for deliverance only met with more severe forms of stalking. The messages poured in, videos flooded the inbox. Calls came in weird, startling voices, from various different numbers. Some from the state she was in, some from the outside. The person doing this, did their homework. And used it in the most heinous ways possible.

There seemed to be no escaping this torment. Susan cried alone, tried talking to her friends with no tangible solutions offered in return. Her families and relatives asked her to leave the state. But she wasn’t the type who runs 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 are nothing. She got good wishes and empty promises, and not much more than that.

With almost all doors shut in her face and continued online harassment from the unknown stalker, she turned to us.

We listened to every bit of her story, we saw the materials he sent to her. And we got down to business. Our experts discovered all possible trails. We explored every avenue and gathered all the evidence there was to find.

This case of online harassment started with text messages, so we carefully examined them for source and patterns. The available data trail lead to the discovery of the IP address that criminal used the most. Which led to a permanent address. We got in touch with a lawyer specializing in online harassment and provided enough forensic evidence to bring the criminal to justice.

Our investigation resulted in narrowing the suspects. Within the bounds of the law, we sent several emails detailing what they were doing, and what we are going to do if they don’t stop now. That seemed to work like a charm.

Susan breathed a sigh of relief after two long years.

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Justin Leader
CEO and Agile ScrumMaster, HyperVelocity Consulting

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