I have not written for a while. My last entry hurt my soul, as I relived emotions and feelings I would rather repress than share. It still easier to pretend none of this happened then to keep writing my story. It still hurts me to my core emotionally.
It is finally time to get back to the story.
I am getting hit on every side from my stalker. I was on fraud sites, escort sites, cheater sites, fake social media sites and they had now started another word press site. I would get emails, texts and physical mail from them. Everyday I would wake up and almost get sick worried about what was coming that day. I would go to work and put a mask on for the day pretending to everyone that everything was going to be okay only to arrive home and cry the moment I walked in the door. I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping and I was going to die.
Chris was now as desperate as me to end this plague. He asked for help from everyone he knew in the information security community. Many great people in that community started to see if they could help. Some even tried to engage the stalkers fake accounts to see if this person would respond. Everyone was trying to find out more information and identify who was doing this. It was during this time that Chris introduced me to Joey Ortega. Joey had a lot of experience since he was forensic cyber investigator and crime analyst. He agreed to take on my case after he looked through the mounting assault I was under.
Joey combined all his skills as a crime scene investigator, cyber crime analyst and investigative reporter to help me. He carefully and compassionately looked over my case. Police and other authorities had not been able to help due to the limited laws surrounding online stalking. The police also don’t have the resources to obtain warrants to get the information they would need to proceed with a case.
We gave Joey all in the information we had gathered and Joey started to work on my case. Since the stalking started Chris had taught me to keep a comprehensive list with dates, websites, user names used in the attacks and details of what happened.
Since Joey was a third-party in my life and not associated in any way to what was happening to me, I was finally able to hear and understand what I needed to be taught without my emotional defenses going up. Chris had tried to share this same information with me but I was angry and he was too close to the situation. Part of me blamed him for what was happening to me.
Joey immediately started to spend hours online and on the phone with me. He knew I was on the brink of losing my sanity. Even though Joey was considering every possible suspect, the first step was to save me. He began by educating and empowering me to what was happening online. He gave me several books to read such as the Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. He also filled my inbox with articles and power points about operational security so I could start protecting myself. I finally started to understand exactly what I had to do.
I learned how to removed metadata from my public photos and to make sure they are all watermarked. I learned about the The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which is called DMCA for short. It forms the legal framework for rights management in digital works, such as copyrights. I then learned how to do a DMCA take down of my pictures since they were not authorized to use them. Some websites took them down immediately while others ignored the DMCA request since they were hosted in foreign countries and were shady sites.
My passwords were now very strong and I had two-step authentication for sites when possible. I had different memorable passwords for both personal and work. I had changed every password for every site I used regularly online. I installed a password keeper to have back up as well.
Day by day, he helped me regain my balance. I started to refer to Joey as “The Professor” since he became my teacher.
Now I was ready. Joey, Chris, and I went thoroughly through each suspect trying narrow down motives and possibilities. Based on all the information we gathered, Joey profiled the stalker trying to narrow down the list. It was a never-ending process but we were now on the right track.
That December, Chris and I decided to take a vacation. We needed an escape.
But as we touched down in Hong Kong, we arrived to find the stalker was as busy as ever, making up fake accounts full of pornographic images. They also started a Facebook account tagging Chris’s family trying to tarnish me with them.
Thankfully, Facebook has a strict policy and quickly took the page down.
Christmas loomed and nothing felt cheerful.
We decided to fake a breakup and post it online in the faint hope we would have a peaceful Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
The idea worked.
Or so we thought. My stalker was silent for the holidays only to return to taunt me again.
They constantly remind me they are still out there.
Even though we still didn’t know who was doing this, the difference was I now understood how the psychological torture worked and could control my online activity.
I was finally on track to being in control of my life again.
Recommended Reading and Info:
The Gift of Fear – Gavin de Becker
Without Conscience – Robert D. Hare
Smart Girls Guide to Privacy – Violet Blue
Joey Ortega’s Blog/info: https://behindtheyellowtape.wordpress.com/