Internet stalking, also referred to as cyber stalking, is the act of threatening, harassing, or annoying someone through the internet with the intent to instill fear in the victim that an illegal act or injury will be inflicted on the victim or a loved one of the victim.

What Can I Do if I am Being Harassed or Stalked on the Internet?

You should immediately report the incident to the system administrator of both your Internet Service Provider and the Internet Service Provider of the stalker.  There are free services available on the internet that will analyze your unwanted e-mail to determine its point of origin.  These services can then make a report to be e-mailed to the appropriate system administrator. 

How is Internet Stalking Different from Physical Stalking?

Although being stalked on the internet may seem safer than being stalked in real life, it is in actuality very dangerous.  Often stalkers will stalk in person first, and then progress to the internet in an attempt to avoid legal repercussions.  Other times the stalking may begin on the internet, and then evolve into stalking in person. 

What Should My Internet Service Provider Do To Help Me?

Every Internet Service Provider will have an abuse policy, which is usually outlined in the customer service agreement.  Generally complaints of abuse are sent to the postmaster or the abuse department of the internet service provider.  Most system administrators will not hesitate to cancel the account of anyone sending abusive e-mail., and will cooperate with other system administrators to prevent future incidents.

What are the Consequences of Internet Stalking?

Internet stalking is typically a felony.  There are serious consequences involved, including prison and fines.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I am Being Stalked on the Internet?

U.S. laws on internet stalking vary from state to state, but if you have been threatened in an e-mail you may wish to consult a family attorney.  In California stalking legislation has incorporated the use of the internet into the penal code, and you may be able to take criminal action against the stalker.  Internet stalking can transition into stalking in the real world, and a lawyer will be able to advise you of your rights and help you take action against the stalker.