How Do I Stop a Cyberstalking Ex

How to combat online abuse

An anonymous reader's ex-boyfriend has been posting sexually-explicit personal ads on Craigslist, using her name. How can she stop him?

The first thing you should do is contact the web site with the illicit postings. In this case that's Craigslist, which maintains an abuse page in their Help section. A spokesperson assured me that "In most cases, we're able to resolve issues within a very short period of time, often less than an hour."

(I should mention that, six days after I passed on the spokesperson's request that the victim contact him directly, and after I'd already written the first draft of this post, she told me that the contact "asked a few questions but then never replied to my answers.")

But there's a limit to what a site like Craigslist can do. They can't arrest anyone, nor can they legally release incriminating evidence without some form of permission from a court. "To get IP addresses, a subpoena is generally good enough," advises attorney Paul Moretti, a specialist in the field. "To get personal information, you need a search warrant." But Moretti points out that services like Craigslist "work hand-in-hand with law enforcement" and can help walk you through putting together a case.

Whether the company helps you or not, going to your local police force is always a good idea. "Most big city police departments have specific units devoted to cybercrime," Moretti told me. You probably won't find a properly trained and equipped unit if you live in a small town, but your chances of getting solid evidence is considerably greater if you have a good idea who's doing the dirty work.

What else can you do? You "might notify the ex's ISP," suggests author, attorney, and former PC World columnist Mark Grossman. Such behavior almost always violates the terms of service. Grossman maintains a page about cyberstalking at his Web site.

But, of course, "the big hammer is to sue him," says Grossman. "It sounds great until you realize that it will cost thousands and thousands of dollars," takes years, and does not come with guaranteed results.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lincoln Spector

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?