A subject that came up a while ago and sent me off on a voyage of discovery on the internet! I was seriously disturbed by what I learnt and feel the need to pass it on.
It would seem that 'stalkers' are all around us and come in all shapes and forms. We are all aware of the dangers to our children and most responsible parents keep an eye on these things but how aware are we of the stalkers who target the lonely and emotionaly vulnerable in our society?
Recently I became aware of a person that has manged to con three different women into developing a relationship with him, solely through the use of internet forums. It's scary to think that this person is still out there and while these women have fortunately discovered the truth in time, there are still others at risk.
The stalker generally develops a relationship in a chat room or forum. He seems a really great person and as the relationship begins to blossom, the victim begins to rely on his internet pressence and to see him as a friend and a shoulder to cry on - this is called 'grooming'. Eventually emails are exchanged and the relationship becomes more intense. The stalker will tell the victim anything she wants to hear and will become an extremely important part of her life. They might even make plans to meet and will probably make phone contact.
What does the stalker want? It is usually a power game. There are stories from conned women about suddenly receiving an email from a supposed 'relative' to say that the stalker has died. Then a whole new round of emotional abuse starts. Sometimes, it's about money but usually it is just about some warped sense of power to manipulate a fantasy world and to control the victim. It becomes an emotional roller coaster. It amuses the stalker to control the victim and to put them through the wringer. They are twisted people!
It's horiffic and it's up to us to protect ourselves from these stalkers. You need to remember that you have NO IDEA of who you're talking to on the internet. They can tell you anything! Don't give out your email unless you are ABSOLUTELY sure and NEVER give out personal details like your telephone number or address.
Please be sensible and be careful out there!