Simple Travel Safety Tips for Stalking Victims and Everyone Else

traveling womanTravel should be filled with fun and not safety disasters.  Here are a few simple tips to keep you safe so you can enjoy your trip!

 

Skip the first floor.  First floor hotel rooms are easier to break in. 

 
When you leave the room leave your lights and television turned on and put the “Do Not Disturb” hanger on the door.  This makes people think someone is in the room.

 
Don’t look lost (even if you are). Walk with purpose while you find your way.

 
Ask for help! If you notice something strange bring it to someone’s attention (hotel front desk, airport security, etc)

 
Don’t display your hotel key.  These often have the names of the hotel printed largely on the card.  Keep where you are staying and what room number private.

 
Keep the information on your luggage tag covered.  Buy a tag with a cover or keep it turned in whenever possible.  You never want to open your home door to a stranger from the airport.

 

 

Suggested Reading: Gavin De Becker’s The Gift of Fear  True fear is a gift. Unwarranted fear is a curse. Learn how to tell the difference.

7 Tips to Keeping Facebook Secure

lockEveryone is using social media and it is a great place to connect with new people or stay in touch.  We post our thoughts and photos there, as well as, private messages, but it is necessary to take a few simple steps to keep that data secure.

Use a different password for your accounts.

Many web users select a single password to represent all their accounts.  Take a few minutes to develop passwords for each platform.  This is especially important for platforms like Facebook which is home to a lot of personal information.
Lock your smartphone and/or tablet.

Our lives are on our smart phones.  Think about it emails, text messages, social media platforms, documents, navigation information and who knows what else.  All devices come with an option to lock the device with a password, security code or security pattern.  Activate it and secure your devices in case it is ever lost, stolen or just the victim of a nosy co-worker.
Ensure you have Secure Browsing activated.

It can slow down your Facebook experience a bit, but it is well worth the peace of mind.

Remember HTTPS should appear at the beginning of any web address to indicate it is secure. 
Turn on login notifications. 

This is an extra security feature that wll notify you whenever a new device attempts to log into your Facebook account.

Visit Facebook’s help page to learn how to activate this feature.
Use “Trusted Contacts”

Facebook allows you to select a few friends who can receive an access code if you are ever locked out of your account. The code will enable you to regain access.

Visit Facebook’s help page to learn how to set up this feature.
Check the “Apps You Use” monthly and remove access for any you are not using. 

We grant apps access to our Facebook page when we use the “like” button, use Facebook login on other sites or simple use the post to Facebook option.  The number of sites utilizing this feature can add up quickly and leaves your Facebook account opened up to additional access.  Reviewing these apps monthly can help to keep your account secure.

Visit your Account Settings – Apps to view and edit app access.
Check your privacy settings monthly or each time there is a Facebook update for accuracy.

I have seen privacy settings change for no reason.  It is a good idea to review your settings monthly or each time there is a Facebook update.  Facebook allows you to control many aspects of what is seen by others.  It is best to go through every setting and slect what works for you.

Remember: Only post what you are comfortable with the world seeing on any social media account.  Privacy settings are important, but you cannot assume they will keep you safe!

Privacy Concerns on Wearable Tech Devices

Privacy Concerns Overshadow Wearable Tech: Study (via slashdot)

A new study suggests that people believe “wearable technology” will improve their lives. The study, commissioned by Rackspace in association with the Centre for Creative and Social Technology (CAST) at Goldsmiths, University of London, relied on a sample of 4,000 adults in the United States and…

What is stalking and why do they do it?

blindsBWBeing stalked can be a terrifying experience. Victims are traumatized repeatedly by their stalkers and are often left feeling isolated and alone.  According to the U.S. Department of Justice more than 6.6 million people are stalked each year.   While the majority of stalking victims (66% of females and 41% of males) are stalked by someone they know, others fall victims to stranger stalking.

What is Stalking? 

Stalking legal definitions vary, but a basic definition is a course of conduct directed at a person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.  Simply put it is a continued attempt to gain control and ultimately terrorize a person.   Stalking behaviors vary and are often hard to prove since many are not criminal acts by themselves.  A few of the behaviors are repeated phone calls/text messages/emails, following the victim, sending unwanted gifts, use of technology to monitor you, threats and posting/spreading rumors.

Why me? Why am I being stalked?

This is the question I get asked the most often.  The stalker’s obsession simply cannot be justified or explained in any reasonable way.  To try to guess why the stalker chose you or why the obsession is so deep is to try to assign reason to an unreasonable person.

However, there is some research to indicate the stalker sees their victim(s) as property or a possession that is rightfully their own.  There are often diagnosed mental health issues associated with stalking.  However, it is important to note that not all stalkers have diagnosed mental health issues. Stalking is a crime based on control of the victim and a feeling of entitlement to the victim.

 

If you are being stalked, it is important to get help.  Tell your friends and family members.  Their observations can help get a conviction and keep you safe.  Of course, if you are in immediate danger call 911.  See more about staying safe in our Help for Victims section. 

Cell Phone Stalking – How Would You Know & How to Stay Safe

smartphoneWe all count on our phones to help us find directions, keep us in touch or even to keep us safe, but it can easily become your worst nightmare when access to it’s apps falls into the wrong hands.

We are seeing more stalkers install hidden apps on phones that are used to stalk their victims.  These apps give the stalkers access to the phone’s location settings, camera, micrphone and GPS setttings can be used to stalk you.

The apps are hidden, but there are a few signs that can indicated your phone has been compromised.

  1. The screen lights up for no reason (Similar to when you are about to receive a call, but no call is received)
  2. You may notice background noise on your calls.
  3. You may receive text messages from strange numbers.
  4. The flash on the phone’s camera may go off without reason.
  5. Location settings turned on without your prior authorization.
  6. Battery may drain abnormally fast.

Read more about keeping your phone safe here: How to harden your smartphone against stalkers – Android edition or iPhone edition

Find more Stalking Survivor Resources here:

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