How to Recognize the Signs of Online Stalking

There is someone looking up online and outright stalking. A stalker believes you owe them your attention and space. They are intrusive and incessant, and while such online actions might seem harmless, they could even result in physical harm.

Your online stalker is often from someone you know. For example, it could be an ex. In such instances, the stalker knows much about you, probably including your address. In such cases, it is critical to recognize the signs and learn how to deal with a stalker ex for your emotional and physical wellbeing.

person using computer

When left unchecked, stalking can cause adverse consequences. Individuals being stalked often deal with concerns like fear, confusion, anger, and trouble sleeping. Such issues can take a toll on your physical and mental wellness, emphasizing the need to recognize and take the right steps to address stalking.

In-person stalking may be easier to recognize. For instance, bumping into the stalker almost everywhere is easier to pick on. Cyberstalking can be trickier, but the same criterion applies. Online stalking mainly falls under:

  • Composed stalking, characterized by harassment and annoyance behavior
  • Intimate stalking, often by an exe or someone infatuated with the victim
  • Vindictive stalking, usually involving threats
  • Collective stalking, where more than one person stalks a victim.

Let’s look at the common signs of online stalking.

Non-stop Communication

Repeated DMs, even after you ask them to stop, is among the most superficial signs of online stalking. It often goes unnoticed because you might initially think the stalker is simply being pushy. However, they may start communicating with you over your other online channels as it progresses.

If you don’t answer a Facebook DM, you’ll find them in your Instagram or X (formerly Twitter) inbox, among other channels. They could also try reaching you publicly, like repeatedly commenting on your posts. That is harassment that indicates you have a stalker. Recognizing this early on can help you take quick steps like blocking them.

Inappropriate Messages

Inappropriate messages like explicit content, threats, or insults are a sign that you have a stalker.  Such unwanted messages are meant to impress or disparage you. For instance, a stalker could use explicit sexual content to try and impress you with their gift. Insults and threats are mainly used to belittle the victim, which is common with stalkers like angry exes.

Isolation Attempts And Threats

Stalkers can craftily isolate you from family and friends with antics like spreading fake news. They could leak sensitive information or start a rumor. This often forces the victim to step back from their social life, providing the stalker a window of opportunity.

If someone threatens to expose sensitive information or when some details leak online, take care who you let in. It could be a stalker looking to isolate you and offer a shoulder to cry on, only to get what they want.

Stalkers could also act directly. They could try and convince you to cut your friends and relatives out of your social life. This way, they become the only go-to, giving them all your attention. Even close friends who try to isolate you from the rest of your social networks should be keenly looked into to establish if they are your stalkers.

Tracking Your Online Activity

Does it feel like someone knows where you are and with whom at all times? Your fears could be warranted. That real-time checking habit we are almost accustomed to could be the avenue a stalker uses to track your online activity. A photo with a friend at a coffee shop, restaurant check-in, or other social activity tags are easily trackable.

Stalkers can even go the extra mile and bug or hack into your online accounts. That is why you must set strong passwords for all your social media channels and other online endeavors. You should also regularly review your online social activity to restrict who views and interacts with them.

Trolling or Defending You From Trolls

Online trolling is quite common. The main objective of a troll is to provoke their victim. They want you to display an emotional response, which aligns with most stalker’s objectives. Besides your reaction, the troll could also be looking to impact other people’s perceptions about you.

Besides trolling, a stalker could also act like your first line of defense, making you feel like they are your friend. The tricky part is that the troll could create multiple accounts. In one, they troll and defend you with the other. If you’re being trolled, establish the troll’s identity and those defending you since they could be your stalkers.

Manipulative Tactics

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Has someone threatened to cause harm to themselves if you don’t reciprocate their efforts? That could be a stalker trying to manipulate you. They exploit the guilt you could experience if you didn’t meet their needs. While it isn’t easy to let such a person down without feeling the guilt, you should approach them cautiously.

Now that you know the common signs to recognize online stalking, what should you do? Here are the common steps that can help you deal with a stalker:

  • Blocking the stalker to cut communication
  • Reporting the stalker on the relevant platforms. Platforms, including social media channels, have policies against stalking. When you report the stalker, they can take relevant action for your safety.
  • Collect evidence like screenshots of unwanted messages or social media post engagements
  • Talk to someone like a close friend or relative for support and safety
  • Report to the police, especially if it involves threats or the stalking makes you feel like you are in danger.


Stalking is unhealthy and shouldn’t be left unchecked. Taking advantage of your security setting is a good starting point to deter online stalking. Measures such as disabling the geolocation settings on your posts and using creative usernames on social channels instead of your real name are also recommended. Also, practice safer online engagement, such as not oversharing. These measures make it harder for the stalker to find you and what you are doing.

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