Dealing with Online Harassment
Online harassment has become rampant. The media has identified many large problems, but the vast majority has to be dealt with by the individual. First, take a few steps yourself to document the problem and try to make it stop. For immediate help with your legal needs or questions, call us today at 714 505-3000! Or, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (business, employment or personal injury related cases) or email@example.com (family law and divorce related cases).
1. Demand that the Harasser to Stop
You must clearly demand that the harasser stop. Usually, it is unwise to communicate with the harasser as that is probably what they want. So, as soon as you determine that you are truly being harassed by someone, you must very clearly tell that person to stop. Simply say something like “Do not contact me anymore”. Period. Don’t respond or encourage further communication. Ignore their attempts to get you to engage online.
2. Compile and Keep Evidence
Although you may want to just delete everything and hope it goes away, that may hurt you later. You need to have evidence. Keep everything (emails, blogs, chats, IM’s, etc.). If there are blogs or websites referring to you, monitor and save as much as possible. Many times they post and then take it down (kind of a “hit and run”). Save copies to a hard drive and make a copy of the evidence and store offsite. If there are voice mails, save them. If there are envelopes or things they may have touched, tag it and bag it (just like on CSI).
3. Contact the Authorities
Depending upon the type of problem, you can contact the police. If at school, advise the administration. If you can determine where the communications are coming from, contact the ISP (Internet service provider) or website host and report the wrongful conduct. There are many resources online to help with this aspect.
4. What Next?
If it continues even after all the steps taken above, you may need to decide on aggressively pursuing criminal action or pursue a civil action in court. The police have become quite receptive to this growing problem and are usually a great help and resourced. If legal action is desired, consult with qualified counsel. Remember, with lawsuits there are hard costs (fees and costs) but, also, there is a huge mental toll on you so think it through before diving into litigation.