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Cyberstalking and Background Checks
A Cyberstalker is a person who electronically harasses another person via
email, instant messaging, forums, chat or any other electronic means. Although
the type of harassment varies, it often includes threatening messages, which
can be very intimidating.
Being the victim of a cyberstalker can be a very scary thing. However,
unfortunately, it is difficult to prove. There is an entire industry devoted
to helping one person find out everything they want to know about another
person. Background checks can be run with very little information. Running
a background check will require more than an online screen name, but far
less than a home address, telephone number or a social security number.
Please, do NOT provide an online dating partner with your real name, or the
name of the city in which you live, until you have established a relationship
over a period of months.
There is a great deal of information available about every individual and
it is very easy to acquire that information online. With only a first and
last name, and the city in which a person lives, a determined cyberstalker
can find out the physical address and telephone number of the person they
are stalking simply by looking in the local telephone directory. Local telephone
directories are available online. Try typing your own name into Google and
see just how much information is available about you. You may be very
Your address and telephone number are not the only pieces of personal information
that a determined cyberstalker can find out about you simply by knowing only
your real name and the city in which you live. There is more information
about you than you can even imagine and the sad thing is, it's part of the
About the only personal information that is not part of the public record
is your driving history, your medical history and your social security number.
Everything else about you is a matter of public record.
Actually, driver's license information used to be really easy to acquire.
However, back in 1989, a crazed fan of an actress managed to get her home
address from her driver's license information and went to her home and killed
her. After that incident, changes were made and it became much more difficult
to get driver's license information. However, it can still be done.
All legal issues about you are a matter of public record - and not just criminal
history either. If you have ever bought or sold a piece of real estate, that
transaction is a part of the public record. If you have ever filed a will
for probate, that is also a matter of public record. If you have given birth
or gotten married, it is recorded. Most public records can be found online.
The sword cuts both ways. If you want to run a background check on an online
dating partner, all you need is his or her name and city of residence. Both
pieces of information can be obtained if you know his or her ISP email address
or use an instant messaging system other than the one provided by the online
dating service to which you belong. But please remember that the sword is
truly double edged. Anything that you can find out about him or her, he or
she can find out about you.
To really protect yourself from becoming a victim of cyberstalking, or to
prevent online dating partners from running a background check on you, remember
these four important points:
1. Do NOT provide your real name.
2. Do NOT provide the name of the city in which you live or were born.
3. Do NOT provide your ISP email address.
4. ONLY use the chat service that comes with your membership in an online
Online dating sites provide a great service and can enable you to find the
person you desire. However, you must use common sense and take the necessary
steps to protect yourself.