#makeITsafePH: The Dangers Of Online Stalking

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#makeITsafePH – When you go to Google and search for the meaning of stalking, you’ll get “pursue or approach stealthily.” Way back, before social media platforms were a thing, stalkers would have to wait for you to go out of your office or your house, then stalk you. Today, with the advent of social media, it’s as easy as sliding one’s thumb on a smartphone screen. I talk about this because I recently had the scare of a lifetime. If we’re friends on Facebook, then you definitely know that my Facebook account almost got hacked.

The Unfortunate Events That Lead To Almost Losing My Facebook Account

A couple of days ago, I was at my sister’s house. We were doing the inventory of our stocks from our small business. Suddenly, my phone beeped. I read the message and it was one of my younger cousins asking me to lend her my email password because she wanted to use Google Drive for her project. Busy, concentrating on counting our stocks accurately, I gave it to her without hesitating. She replied, “Thanks mea,” and I thought nothing of it.

A few minutes after, I read the message she sent me more carefully. I thought to myself, “Did she just call me Mea? Oh no she didn’t!!” with matching eyebrow raise. My younger cousins call me “Manang” and, so, I thought it strange for her to call me by my first name. Again, my phone beeped. I got a security warning from Facebook and Gmail saying that there was an unauthorized login to my account.

My heart skipped a beat. To most of you, your Facebook and email may not that be valuable. But, for me, everything is linked to my email, even my Paypal account. And, as for my Facebook, all my social media pages which I worked hard to grow, were all there. Thank goodness for all the years I spent working as a freelance writer. The typing speed I acquired really got me through locking my accounts and changing my passwords quickly.

What Does This Have To Do With Stalking?

The experience I just told you guys is more of hacking, so what does this have to do with stalking? Great question. I want everyone to know that threats are out there. I have my social media platforms set to “public” because I am a blogger, and I do want to put myself out there. But, my cousin is just an ordinary young professional just like you. I know that she got stalked online because the hacker grabbed all of her photos and imitated the way she chatted with her friends. Of course, the hacker wanted to appear as my cousin. So, every move, like, comment, sentence construction, was studied to make it seem that way.

There might be plenty of reasons for stalking a certain person online. It may be to cause fear, emotional distress, or intimidation. Also, it’s possible for you to be stalked online because a scammer wants to commit identity theft. He or she is going to stealthily study your every move so they can trick your friends, family, and connections. Once the scammer achieves this, the possibilities are limitless. Your accounts could get hacked, and your financial information, as well as other information, could get compromised. This is what happened to my cousin. To end my story, I kept chatting with the hacker after changing all my passwords, so I can get his location through my email. I did find out where his location was and the type of phone he was using.

#makeITsafePH: Protecting Yourself And Your Teens From Online Stalking

This is the very reason why we need more online safety campaigns like Globe’s #makeITsafePH. Continuously, we need information on different ways on how we can keep ourselves and our children safe as we surf the internet or enjoy the perks that social media brings. You can start with the following #makeITsafePH tips:

  • Only accept requests from people you’ve met offline.
  • Block those that behave suspiciously.
  • Limit the people who can view your posts (only friends and family).
  • Change your password every 30 or so days.
  • Don’t reveal your specific address or do Facebook Check-ins to places that are not crowded.
  • Don’t click on any links sent via social media messengers.
  • Do not engage in conversation with someone who you just met through Facebook chat.

For teens, you need to monitor their activity if they have Facebook. Check their messages and always inform them about the possible dangers of being stalked online. Educate them on what to watch out for and what to do when they think that they are being cyberstalked.

For me, the best way to prevent and protect ourselves and our children is really through information. Usually, we don’t see this kind of stalking as a threat because we don’t really feel its effects yet. I personally did not. But, now that I went through the 2-min ordeal of changing my passwords because of a threat, I’m making online protection a top priority.

What is the #makeITsafePH Campaign?

“As a purveyor of the digital lifestyle, Globe Telecom takes it upon itself to ensure that society as a whole remains safe from numerous threats facing anyone using the internet—from viruses, Trojan, and Ransomware that put multi-million-peso businesses at risk, hacking attempts for illicit purposes, and cases of cyberbullying to name a few.”

The #makeITsafePh campaign is just what we need. Several bloggers, including myself, have jumped on the bandwagon to give you guys the necessary information that will safeguard your and your children’s presence online. If you go to Google and simply search for #makeITsafePh, you will find all the resources you need.

Have you ever had a scare similar to mine? Let’s get the conversation going in the comments section. Don’t forget to LIKE Mea in Bacolod on Facebook, and visit www.globe.com.ph.

About the author /

Mea Pabiona is a Bacolod blogger who works as a fulltime online freelancer, specializing in SEO, content writing, and social media marketing. She's a beauty and skincare enthusiast, a dog-lover, a foodie, and a mother of one.

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