7 Creepy Ways an Online Stalker Can Find You

I definitely prefer to remain anonymous on my social media. The reason for this is because I’ve had issues with an online stalker before. And my blog and my social media is my escape from my real life where I can be free to be myself or even vent about my real life situations without any consequences. This is the only outlet I have.

For example, if I need to vent about work or my family or my friends or my neighbors, then it wouldn’t work out for me very well if any of them found out about it. I’d end up with some extreme negative fallout to deal with and many broken relationships too.

On the other hand, I’d end up severely censoring myself if I felt that my words could be visible to people in my real life. And if I censored myself here, then it would completely lose its purpose for me.

So anonymity is of paramount importance to me. How about you all? Do you care about it as much as I do? Or am I being a weirdo?

But this isn’t my first attempt at an anonymous online presence. I ended up having to completely shut down my previous attempts and go dark on the internet for a few years to recover after I had an online stalker obsessed with me. It was horrible.

It was a person in my real life that used this information they found against me, and threatened to use it to destroy my job and my relationships. The violation of my privacy was so painful. This was information that I never would have told anyone in my real life. But he found it. And took it. It felt like a theft of my most prized possession – my sense of self worth.

But I learned several lessons from this experience. And now I’m ready to try anonymity online again. But here is a list of the 7 creepy ways an online stalker can find you…

1) Name Search. So I never used my real name online, but this is the most obvious way to find someone. Once the stalker knows your anonymous name however, you’re basically discovered on all social media platforms.

2) Phone Number / Contacts. Most social media accounts have apps to download on your cell phone. And once you do that, you are exposed to all your contacts. Most social media accounts make it an option to activate this. But don’t trust it. This option may default ON, exposing you immediately. And phone system upgrades may also default this option to ON. So if your stalker ever had your phone number, this is a major risk.

I ended up buying cellular service for my iPad, which comes with its own phone number that I’ve shared with NOBODY. And I only download my Pepper Valentine apps to this iPad. So there is no phone number cross-contamination with contacts to worry about.

7 Creepy Ways an Online Stalker Can Find You / Image Source: Pepper V.

3) “People You May Know” / “Suggested For You”. This is another option on social media accounts, but don’t trust it either. Because it defaults to ON and may also reset back to ON with any system upgrades. It can use your contacts as well as your Friends list to recommend. The scary thing about this, is that you don’t have to be online friends with your stalker. BUT if you share any mutual friends online, then this option will expose you!

I’ve completely cut off any potential mutual friends online in order to reduce this risk.

7 Creepy Ways an Online Stalker Can Find You / Image Source: Pepper V.

4) Close Online Friends. My stalker knew who my closest online friends were. In order to find me, he would stalk their accounts too. He scoured their followings and followers, monitored their likes and comments to find who *seemed* like it could be me, and even befriended them himself under a decoy account to gather intel.

5) Decoy Accounts. Beware the people that engage with you online. You never really know who they are. My stalker would create many decoy accounts to try to access private accounts as well as lure the unsuspecting into giving him information about who they are following. He would maintain online relationships for MONTHS under his decoys to build trust. This is definitely a level of creepy that is unacceptable.

6) Email Address. I finally discovered that my stalker would use my email address to validate if an account was actually mine or not. He knew my email. So once he suspected an online account might be mine, he would attempt the Password Reset… and, the results of the password reset would give him enough data (the first 2 characters, number of characters, and then the email service) to determine if that account was me or not.

I’ve had to create a new email address specifically for setup only of any Pepper Valentine accounts, and I don’t use it anywhere else (not even for my contact forms or subscription forms) in order to prevent this validation check.

7 Creepy Ways an Online Stalker Can Find You / Image Source: Pepper V.

7) Hashtags / Tags. If you hashtag something that your online stalker is aware that you are involved in, then he may search the hashtags online and find you that way. For example, if he knows you went to the beach for a week or that you work at Jumping Jack Coffee, then he may stalk those hashtags online and the MINUTE you tag/hashtag that place, then he’s got your post and your profile exposed.

In conclusion, if anonymity online is important to you, please take action to reduce your risks. It’s never guaranteed that you’ll be 100% safe, but you can be safer than normal with some precautions.

So what do you all think about my list above? Do you have any other stalker methods that I might’ve missed?

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7 Replies to “7 Creepy Ways an Online Stalker Can Find You”

  1. I was a radio announcer for most of my life. I had two very serious instances of encountering stalkers. There were also a few minor ones that some local police work wrapped up in short order. Regarding the most serious threats, the police called in the FBI because the telephone infrastructure was also threatened and there were threats to destroy my place of employment while I was at work. The criminal had also been physically stalking me. He knew all the routes I had used to commute from home to the studios. He told me my schedules for commuting, grocery shopping, including when and where I visited friends and family. I have no doubt that if I had not contacted the police and had FBI intervention, I would not be alive.

    BTW, the reason the creep called me at work was because I had an unlisted phone number and had taken similar precautions that you listed in your post.

    1. Oh wow Swabby! That is really scary! I’m glad the police and FBI intervened to keep you safe! Do you ever worry about that person resuming their obsession with you again in the future? I feel so bad you had to go through that!

  2. I sometimes wish I was more anonymous. Most of my real life friends and family know about and read my blog. It means I have to censor myself sometimes. I’ve never had to deal with an online stalker. That sounds terrible.

    1. That’s it exactly Tater! If I were in your shoes with real life people knowing about my blog, then I would have to censor myself too. And for me, that would defeat the purpose of why I have a blog. I’ll be crossing my fingers you stay clear of those online stalkers forever.

  3. I’m not quite as serious as you are, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing to do everything you did either.

    I remain anonymous on WordPress. Greg Dennison is not my real name. I did that mostly because my blog is mostly based on true stories about people, most of whom don’t know that I’m writing about them, and I didn’t want my brutal honesty to make things awkward with the people from my stories who I’m still friends with. I also don’t give details on here about what kind of work I do, but that is mostly for spoiler reasons, since I will eventually tell stories about how I discovered my career.

    I haven’t had a full-on online stalker. I can think of two stalker-like opportunities I’ve had. One of them I’ll blog about eventually when I get to the fall of 1997, but that was all offline, because 1997. The other one involved someone I knew through my work, so I can’t tell the full story because of what I said above, but it wasn’t so much a stalker as it was someone immature playing pranks.

    1. Oh gosh offline stalkers can be incredibly scary! Especially since there’s the physical opportunity for damages. I can’t wait until you get to the fall of 1997 then! Do you think your offline stalker has evolved to some online stalking later? I’m just wondering if they maintain that characteristic throughout their whole life…

  4. I’m sorry to hear about your experience with a stalker. That must have been scary and I understand why you’re so keen to protect your anonymity. Most of my family & friends know about my blog and I don’t feel like I need to censor myself because of that. I don’t actually share too much information about myself and I never give the names or any photos of my family or anything like that. So I am careful about what info I put out there. It is worrying how much info some people do put online!

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