Who Am I?
I am one of the foremost cyberstalking experts in the world, I survived cyberstalking and helped others do the same. Today, I am an Attorney, Author and Advocate and very proud of what I have achieved, but there is much more work to be done!
I was cyber stalked back in 2004 after I fled an abusive partner. The instances began immediately, and I reported them to law enforcement before the concept of cyberstalking became widespread.
How Did it Happen?
I was at the town gas station attempting to fill my car up with gas, and my ATM card got declined along with my credit cards, yet I had money, and my lines of credit were open and available.
What had happened was my ex, armed with my personal identifiers like my name, social security number, mother’s maiden name (we lived together), contacted the bank and paid my bills electronically ahead of time, wiping out my checking account and the credit cards he impersonated me and then got my accounts closed.
I didn’t know he did this at the time. I got to know when I checked my mail and received letters from my bank and the credit card companies stating that “my accounts have been closed per my request,” and “copy of your online payment enrollment” etc.
I contacted the banks and credit card companies explaining it was not me who did this – unfortunately, they didn’t know what to do. But, they did have a record of receiving a fax requesting to close my accounts. Chase Bank and Citibank sent me the letters to prove that there was a record of an account closing request made by fax on a particular day and time.
More instances followed as my auto insurance was canceled, along with my medical insurance and my wireless phone, and all the while it was a cyber stalker.
I reported these instances to the FBI, local law enforcement and tried to get help. I was told by a sheriff’s deputy, where I lived, that “I was crazy” and “not to report” any more instances.
That is when I had enough of it. I knew what was happening – I was getting stalked electronically – it was not identity theft, the stalker’s goals was not financial gain, it was to harass and manipulate me. So I stayed on course, and along the way, I wrote about my experiences in the form of a blog. I called it cyberstalking, and that is how this particular label interacted with literally thousands of victims like me experiencing it.
My efforts led to cyberstalking getting recognized (my work was published in About.com’s Women’s Issues Section) back in 2009 and others citing my work and using the definition I created in the legislation of Philippines, in law journals, and law enforcement training manuals. My book was added to the FBI Academic Library Bookshelf at Quantico.
I have been providing direct support to victims of cyber abuse and stalking for 12 years. I vowed that if I overcame my ordeal with cyberstalking, I would become an attorney and be the advocate that I so wished I became nearly 13 years ago.