Both children and adults are vulnerable to various types of cybercrimes. If you ever become a victim of such crime you may do a number of things, from reporting to the stop using online activities unless the threat is neutralized, in order to deal with the problem. The ways to deal with cybercrime has been given below:
Try to understand the threats
The threat may come in the form of online harassment where the attacker may intimidate or instil fear in the mind of victims by posting harassing comments in the social media, sending threatening emails and sending harassing phone texts. There is not much difference between cyberbullying and cyberstalking. When the victims are children or young people the harassment is generally called cyberbullying. On the other hand, when an adult get harassed it is known as cyberstalking.
Another form of cyber threat called cybercrime is mostly about online identifying theft of the victim by sending them phishing emails or by social engineering.
If you come across any of the above mentioned types of harassment, you can either diffuse the situation by on your own or by reporting to an authority about the situation. The following next paragraphs will discuss on what you need to do before reporting cyber harassment.
What to do when you notice a problem
Once you notice and identified a cyber related harassment, the next step is to start taking measure to deal with the situation. The attacker may be known to you or unknown to you. The first step should be to apologise to the person because the attacker might have been hurt by your comments or by your posts even if it was not intended for them. If apology does not work, you should stop communicating with them, simply ignore their messages.
If your attempt to avoid the harassment does not work, you should talk to your parents, teacher or boss or whoever you are close enough to seek advice. While you are seeking advice, you need to refrain yourself replying to messages sent by the cyberstalkers.
Keep record of the attacks
Whenever you receive a harassing message, you must keep a target of it. The message may be in the form of texts, emails or social posts. Your first steps should be keep a record of the message by taking a screenshot of it and in the case of email harassment, you can forward that message to your another email address for safe keeping.
After taking screenshot the message, you need to save it in a separate folder of your computer. Keep all the evidence in the same folder. If possible make a backup of the evidence and keep it in a separate drive in encrypted format.
Do not delete the messages until the issue get resolved. Whenever possible, try to print the message and keep it in a safe place.
How to report cyberbullying/cyberstalking
If you are getting harassed in social media or in a particular website, you can use the website’s online form for abuse report or send them an email about the issue. If the bully is known to you, you can contact the parents of the bully, your teacher or the school administration. If your efforts do not solve the problem, report it to the police.
Before reporting to the police document everything you did to avoid the situation and tell it to them. If the police fail to help, you can contact solicitor about the issue.
Useful link: FBI audio about cyberbullying
How to report a cyber-crime
Before reporting put together the evidence such as emails, messages, chat records etc. and then visit your local police station’s website to find out information about reporting cybercrime. If there is an online form in the police website for reporting cybercrime, use it or call them if necessary.
If your bank account gets compromised or if there is a mysterious transaction, you can contact the banks first.If they advise you to report it to the police follow their advice.
What should I do if the police fail to catch the unknown cyberstalkers/bullies
In case, the authority fails to identify the attacker, you can stop using the social network or the site from where get harassing message. Also, you can think about suspending your account for a while and change your email address that you used registering with the site. Besides, change your personal email address or at least change the password. When the stalker will fail to contact you, they will move away.
Remember that there are laws in place to protect the Internet users from cybercrimes and harassment. If the authority fails to solve your problem, always move way up to the chain of command to report your problem and never forget to consult a solicitor, if required.