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Women's Health

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How to Protect Yourself From A Stalker

Michelle Ward, a criminal psychologist and stalking victim, talks about stalkers and what we can do to protect ourselves from them.

Can we do anything to prevent relative strangers from stalking us?

Be very careful about keeping your personal information confidential. Don't leave mail in your car. Don't list your phone number and address. Have a policy of never giving your email address to a stranger - not even the cute guy you meet at a bar. Ask for his number instead. Cyber-stalking is another big problem these days, so make sure you have strict privacy settings set on all of your social media accounts, and don't post information about your whereabouts or hangouts to these sites.

What's the most important thing to do if you are being stalked?

What's the most important thing to do if you are being stalked?
Alert law enforcement immediately. (Amy Johnson, a police officer profiled in the series, seemed to think she could handle it herself when her ex-husband began to stalk her … but she couldn't.) Do not have any further contact with your stalker. Try to record any harassing phone calls or interactions. Law enforcement agencies want to help you, but you have to be your own best advocate. This means keeping careful logs of everything that happens and reporting them frequently. Alert friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers about your stalker and try to provide a photo and description of his or her car. Try to maintain an inconsistent schedule so he won't be able to predict where you'll be.

Investigation Discovery worked with The National Center for Victims of Crime to put this show together. Visit the NCVC's Stalking Resource Center for more information.

Originally published on January 24, 2011

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