What is ‘cyberstalking’? 

Cyberstalking is a form of technological abuse in which someone uses technology and/or electronic gadgets to stalk someone online. Stalking is defined as a repeated pattern of unwanted attention, contact, or harassment intended to cause fear or harm. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people (LGBTQ+) as well as people living with HIV, or affected by HIV may be more likely to experience this type of online violence. 

Tips & Tools to Prevent Cyberstalking

Common examples of cyberstalking include

  • Tracking someone’s whereabouts via social media, electronics, and other technology. 
  • Creating fake accounts to follow someone on social media. 
  • Installing apps or hacking into devices to track someone’s online movements. 
  • Hacking into someone’s smartphone or laptop camera to secretly record them. 

Be mindful of apps that can be used to intimidate and track location, including

  • Social media websites that ask you to “check-in” (e.g., Facebook). 
  • Spyware that might be installed on your devices (especially if you share your passwords). 
  • E-mails containing suspicious attachments or links that could install software on your devices. 
  • GPS on your cell phones or devices that shows your location. 

If you are concerned that someone might be cyberstalking you

  • Trust yourself. If a person knows too much about where you are and where you’re going, they may be using technology to track you. 
  • Keep your passwords to yourself and change them regularly.  
  • Check your privacy settings on social media to make sure you’re not sharing your location. 
  • Cover your internet tracks: erase cookies, internet history files and your cache. 
  • Protect and limit your social media account: 
  • Make your accounts private 
  • Remove followers you don’t know or who have a relationship with the stalker  
  • Change your handle or name 
  • Use a photo that cannot be identified as you  
  • Don’t open email attachments from sources you don’t trust. 
  • Don’t accept social media friend requests from people you don’t know or trust.  
  • For iPhone users: use the Safety Check feature in your Settings to review and reset all access that anybody might have to your messages, app access, location tracking and other crucial info. 
  • Review the Clinic to End Tech Abuse’s Safety Checklist for technology violence.
  • Consider reporting the cyberstalking—see reporting section below 


Reporting cyberstalking

  • You can report cyberstalking to AVP and/or to the police. If you feel comfortable, contact AVP’s 24/7 hotline at 212-714-1141 or online at avp.org/get-help, as AVP tracks and reports on all forms of violence through our hotline and online reporting form. Additionally, or separately, you can file a police report. Having an official complaint on file will help if the behavior persists or escalates. 
  • If you make a report, get the assigned number of the Police Incident Report and ask for follow up steps 
  • Save evidence of stalking (screenshot texts, save voicemails) in case you seek legal protection. 
  • Report the cyberstalker to the social media / websites they have used. 

AVP Advocacy Unit can support clients experiencing cyberstalking


More Updates from AVP