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So sorry this happened to you. If you live in the US, please know there are federal cyber-stalking laws to protect you. In the state I live in victims can press charges against their stalker. It falls under the category of aggravated harassment. Specifically, if your stalker used the US postal service, the internet, to harass across state lines, it's considered a felony crime and you can get the FBI involved. Here's a couple links you might find helpful that were passed along to me by a friend of mine in law enforcement.
http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/federal-stalking-and-harassment-laws.htm#
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Write-a-Cease-and-Desist-LetterOrder/

Stay strong. Take care.
 

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KGupton said:
There are plenty of crazies out there. Something very similar happened to me back almost 18 years ago when I was writing in a particular fandom online.

I loved the reviews and emails from my fans, many of which are still friends to this day, but then HE showed up. It progressed like yours. Emails became letters, became "gifts" sent directly to the house. He managed to get my home phone number and left threats and rambling messages on my answering machine.

I tried to hide and disappear, and this guy ended up finding my sellers account on eBay and started buying things from me to get my new address, sending in letters with the checks he used for payment. He made over 20 different online accounts to contact me on every chat server, forum, and website I frequented. He spammed my reviews on my stories. I'd block one, two more would pop up.

I moved several times, and he kept finding me. I eventually dropped out of fanfiction completely over it. Had I not, I could have ported who knows how many of my readers over to my original fiction, but it wasn't to be. Last year, I got a friend request from him on Facebook, like I said, this started nearly 20 years ago. I only began to crawl back out of the shadows five years ago, but I will never return to fanfiction. I think of what was lost in the meanwhile. I should have found better ways to deal with it sooner, and I should have forged on.

When they force us to give up something, they take it from us and we often can't get it back. That is absolutely a violation. I still feel that spike of anxiety whenever I get a new friend request somewhere, or I see an fan email from someone I don't know. I'm glad to see you're coming back out of hiding much sooner than I had the proverbial testicular fortitude to do. You have my absolute admiration.
He's STILL sending your FB friend requests???!!! This has gone on for too long. I don't know what country you live, but is there anything you can do about this? There are some very good advice on contacting law enforcement here on this thread. 20 years is way to long. Please do something about it and make him stop. This B--stard should not get away with this. I'm so, so sorry for you. Take care and I hope you can find a way to make him stop and also seek justice.
 

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OP, thanks for coming forward. It's very brave of you, to do this for yourself and also warn others. Best of luck, and if you can do anything to bring this slime ball to justice, I hope he gets what he desrves.
 

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franseen said:
And I regret everything. Absolutely everything.

I let him win by giving him the satisfaction of sucking the joy from my life and what I loved to do.
...

-Social media is wonderful, but please, beef up your privacy. I recommend keeping your friends and family out of the public eye (i.e. on your author pages). Create an author page separate from your personal one.

-Document everything if you find yourself in a situation similar to mine. (Emails, photos, video, etc.)

-Ask for help if you need it. Ask for help here, on Kboards. Look to friends and family. Seek out peers. Don't downplay the seriousness of a situation if it's bothering you. Don't laugh it off. Don't ignore it.

-And most of all, don't allow any deterrent to steer you away from what you love.
I was in a toxic work environment with someone everyone was afraid of, and with good reason. Nothing really awful happened (aside from sabotage and one serious poisoning incident where I worked and sabotage and an assault at a place the coworker was at temporarily). Nothing could be proven, but everyone knew who was responsible, and no one was willing to take the steps to prove it. This happened to be a government facility, but the same abdication of responsibility happens elsewhere. Those in *more* authority are reluctant to do anything that will put them at risk of personal attention from the harasser/sexual harasser/stalker/sociopath.

Sadly this type of behavior is even easier to act out at a distance with the prevalence of networked computers, easily accessible online information, and social media. Codes of behavior and laws against harassment and stalking need strengthening, not to mention better enforcement.

I strongly agree with your advice to protect your privacy and to document anything disturbing. Documentation can be exhausting, however, and without a willing authority figure to do something about it, may in the end be far more stressful than other ways to exit the situation. As for asking for help, it's important to get it where it does indeed help. Authorities, whether supervisors, forum moderators, police, FBI, or others may only be willing or able to do so much. It can be even more crippling to handle a bad situation without support or credibility. But even family and friends may not believe how very serious a situation is.

Here's where I disagree with you. I think you did the right thing withdrawing from the situation. Sociopaths thrive on torturing people and keeping them in a position where they can continue to be tortured, and generally escalate. They know when you love what you're doing, and that the natural reaction when you do love something is to not want to let them win by taking the joy away or pushing you away. So you stick with the situation longer, until you're at a breaking point.

Unfortunately, there's no real way to win once a harasser has targeted you. The best you can do is get out of the situation as quickly as possible in the best circumstances you can. Life isn't fair. But remaining the target is even more destructive of health and peace of mind, and in many cases, the safety of you and others.

Don't torture yourself on top of letting the stalker do this to you. Then he has won.

(Will any of your experiences be good ingredients for a novel? I shudder just thinking about it, but suspense, thrillers, and horrors are popular genres.)

Stay safe, and take care of yourself.
 

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Thanks for sharing your story, Fran, it sounds incredibly creepy! - Take care and keep strong!
Kudos for posting and sharing!
 
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AlexaKang said:
He's STILL sending your FB friend requests???!!! This has gone on for too long. I don't know what country you live, but is there anything you can do about this? There are some very good advice on contacting law enforcement here on this thread. 20 years is way to long. Please do something about it and make him stop. This B--stard should not get away with this. I'm so, so sorry for you. Take care and I hope you can find a way to make him stop and also seek justice.
I live in the US. I have a rather unique situation that my husband works for the Dept. of Defense. The greater portions of this guy's stalking was put to an end some time ago, but we're dealing with the mentally ill, here. Many people like that don't CARE if law enforcement come knocking. He knows now if he just pitches something out like a friend request every few years or so, at this point, there is literally nothing that can or will be done about it. They can still hide behind anonymity on the internet. Proxy servers that will put their IP address in a foreign country, free and ID-less email accounts, so on. Only if he actually uses an official email address or the like that can be proven as owned by him, shows up, starts calling, or sending physical things again will he face any legitimate consequences.
 

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KGupton said:
I live in the US. I have a rather unique situation that my husband works for the Dept. of Defense. The greater portions of this guy's stalking was put to an end some time ago, but we're dealing with the mentally ill, here. Many people like that don't CARE if law enforcement come knocking. He knows now if he just pitches something out like a friend request every few years or so, at this point, there is literally nothing that can or will be done about it. They can still hide behind anonymity on the internet. Proxy servers that will put their IP address in a foreign country, free and ID-less email accounts, so on. Only if he actually uses an official email address or the like that can be proven as owned by him, shows up, starts calling, or sending physical things again will he face any legitimate consequences.
If he's sending you a FB friend request in his own name, wouldn't that be in violation of a protective/restraining order, if you had one? And in that case it's not a matter of law enforcement comes knocking to scold him and ask him nicely to stop; they're coming to arrest him for violation of the order.

Obviously they'd have to confirm that it's reasonably certain it's HIM and not you or your friend using his name to set him up, but that should take about 45 minute for any competent computer specialist.

From https://www.wklaw.com/10-ways-you-can-violate-a-domestic-violence-restraining-order-in-ventura-county/

Making contact with a protected person when a "no contact" condition has been imposed. You can violate a no contact order either in person, by telephone or text, email, using social networking, or in any other form, either directly or indirectly through another person.

http://www.ctdomesticviolencehelp.com/social-media-email-and-text-message-violations-of-connecticut-pr.html

Ask any of the best Connecticut criminal law firms-some of the more common arrests in Connecticut domestic violence courts are for Violation of a Criminal Protective Order under C.G.S. 53a-223 and Violation of a Civil Restraining under C.G.S. 53a-223b, both felony arrests in Connecticut, carrying maximum penalties of up to 5 years in jail. And with mobile devices revolutionizing how we communicate, what the top Stamford, Greenwich New Canaan and Darien Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys are seeing more frequently are arrests for violations of protective orders and restraining orders based solely on email, text and social media messaging and communications, even when such communications are not threatening or harassing, but are mere "technical" violations of Connecticut domestic violence court protective / restraining orders.
(This is a website for having such violations dismissed and discussing how the person with the protective order can "entrap" someone into violating, but it's also acknowledgement that it's a violation.)

http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/no-contact-restraining-orders.html

If you haven't talked to LE about it lately, check in with them again. As I mentioned, the attitudes and in some places the laws have changed significantly even in just the last few years. You shouldn't have to deal with that.
 

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Thanks for that reminder Franseen (and others).

I'm sorry that you had to experience that. I think these days one can not be too careful.

In my case, I am an attorney by day and write M/M erotica under this pen name. I'm neither a famous person in real life nor a famous author, at least not yet :). A primary concern for me when deciding to write in this genre was my anonymity. I write in this genre, not for fame nor fortune, but both remain, at least at some level a possibility, especially since I get ready to release a second title and have several more in the works. While my day job has me writing in the world of logic, law and business my "other world" allows me to express in artistic fashion things that I could never do otherwise. It serves as a release and ultimately I wanted to contribute my stories, all the while protecting my privacy.

The recent data breaches at Yahoo and other companies can certainly give one pause. While I have taken every precaution to insulate myself from my works at the end of the chain is my identity, either at Amazon or the bank account in which the little Publishing LLC that I created receives royalties.

A breach in either of those areas could compromise all of the efforts of one to retain their privacy at the least or like in Franseen's case begin a horrible experience anew. I only hope that Amazon is as diligent in their cyber security as they are in page count, royalty distribution, and publishing restrictions.
 

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SerenityEditing said:
If he's sending you a FB friend request in his own name, wouldn't that be in violation of a protective/restraining order, if you had one? And in that case it's not a matter of law enforcement comes knocking to scold him and ask him nicely to stop; they're coming to arrest him for violation of the order.

Obviously they'd have to confirm that it's reasonably certain it's HIM and not you or your friend using his name to set him up, but that should take about 45 minute for any competent computer specialist.

From https://www.wklaw.com/10-ways-you-can-violate-a-domestic-violence-restraining-order-in-ventura-county/

Making contact with a protected person when a "no contact" condition has been imposed. You can violate a no contact order either in person, by telephone or text, email, using social networking, or in any other form, either directly or indirectly through another person.

http://www.ctdomesticviolencehelp.com/social-media-email-and-text-message-violations-of-connecticut-pr.html

Ask any of the best Connecticut criminal law firms-some of the more common arrests in Connecticut domestic violence courts are for Violation of a Criminal Protective Order under C.G.S. 53a-223 and Violation of a Civil Restraining under C.G.S. 53a-223b, both felony arrests in Connecticut, carrying maximum penalties of up to 5 years in jail. And with mobile devices revolutionizing how we communicate, what the top Stamford, Greenwich New Canaan and Darien Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys are seeing more frequently are arrests for violations of protective orders and restraining orders based solely on email, text and social media messaging and communications, even when such communications are not threatening or harassing, but are mere "technical" violations of Connecticut domestic violence court protective / restraining orders.
(This is a website for having such violations dismissed and discussing how the person with the protective order can "entrap" someone into violating, but it's also acknowledgement that it's a violation.)

http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/no-contact-restraining-orders.html

If you haven't talked to LE about it lately, check in with them again. As I mentioned, the attitudes and in some places the laws have changed significantly even in just the last few years. You shouldn't have to deal with that.
Fantastic information, Serenity. I actually live in CT, so this is extremely helpful.

And I super second others that suggested going to the FBI instead. My brain wasn't working. ;-;
 

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Erick Cameron said:
A breach in either of those areas could compromise all of the efforts of one to retain their privacy at the least or like in Franseen's case begin a horrible experience anew. I only hope that Amazon is as diligent in their cyber security as they are in page count, royalty distribution, and publishing restrictions.
Don't count on that. It's just two or three years now that all real names of authors posting in the Amazon author forae were on open display for 24 hours, even those posting as a pen name or an alias.
 

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As I said, 2-4 years ago. Several authors were outed, having different pen names, being female while maintaining to be male, such things. It was a software glitch which was immediately reported, but it took at least 24 hours to repair, may have been longer. Particularly embarrassing were Amazon handles, which showed the real name of the account owner, and established that the owners of these handles weren't criticial readers, they were authors/competitors instead. A lot of people were not amused.

The interesting thing, at least for me, was that the handles, pen names and real names are or at least were then directly presented and displayed according to access levels. If this is still the case, and I somehow doubt it has been changed, then such glitches can happen again.
 

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Nic said:
...

The interesting thing, at least for me, was that the handles, pen names and real names are or at least were then directly presented and displayed according to access levels.

...
Can you elaborate as to what you mean by "according to access levels"? Do you mean that if someone with higher access, like an Amazon employee or an admin, were to view the same page, then they'd be seeing the real names in place of (or in addition to) the public handles? So the info is available but supposed to be hidden based on who is viewing the page?

I can add that long before the days of KDP or even DTP (and long before I had any idea I would someday be publishing), I used to review books under a public handle. Amazon helpfully reverted those reviews to my real name years later without asking me. So, I guess this is not an isolated incident. But in my case, the public handle disappeared rather than remaining alongside my name.
 

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What a horrible situation to find yourself in. I think your reaction was a natural self-defensive one. It's easy to look back and say "I should have done X" but your instincts told you to go into hiding. If you'd revealed the situation to your community, possibly they could have helped you identify and out the perpetrator/bully which might have shut them down, but you'll never really know what could have happened. As someone said, you're dealing with a mentally ill person.

I use my real name just because I started publishing in the days before social media exploded. I did get a weird phone call from someone just over a year ago, who seemed to know a lot about me. I was able to pretty easily find them online and they seemed harmless but it did give me pause. Unfortunately a determined nutcase can probably track anyone down if they're willing to put in effort catfishing, sending fan emails, figuring out where your IP address is located, looking at the view out your window in your images, combing over satellite maps, etc. It's scary. But to a certain extent it's like worrying about running into a serial killer when you're out shopping--you can protect yourself to a certain extent by not going into dark, empty parking garages, but some of it is just bad luck.

I'm glad you're coming out into the light again.
 

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Nathan Elliott said:
Can you elaborate as to what you mean by "according to access levels"? Do you mean that if someone with higher access, like an Amazon employee or an admin, were to view the same page, then they'd be seeing the real names in place of (or in addition to) the public handles? So the info is available but supposed to be hidden based on who is viewing the page?
That's what I meant, and I think the names were all present at the same time. I'm not entirely sure how exactly it presented, I only looked at it when a friend pointed it out (I wasn't and still am not publishing via Amazon). One set of names may have appeared in parentheses right after the handles, but as I said, I am not sure of that. It was a while ago. I did notice the fallout, because it was quite ugly at the time.

Yes, that means that the role of the user decides what gets shown. If this still is the case, it can happen again.
 

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Thank you for posting this and sharing your story. I am glad you are safe and well, and doing what you love again.
 

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Hi Fran,

Thank you for sharing your story. I agree that you should have contacted the police. And should to do that right away if it starts again.
 

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His obsession wasn't a reflection of me or my family or my decision to make videos. It was just a reflection of him.
Great post - both the original and this bit above. Thanks for sharing, By doing this you will help others who are going - or will go - through the same. Cudo's to your attitude and your strength.

BB
 
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I'm so sorry to hear about your experience.

I had a stalker once when I first moved away from home and to the big city. I started to get very personal calls from a woman who seemed to know a lot about me and who said very sexual things to me and threatened me. I did tell my dad. My dad said to me, I bet I know who that is. Parents can be smarter than we sometimes think ;)

There was this guy who I used to hang out with a bit at high school because he was very shunned and avoided by most. He was a super smart and very unattractive geek. I felt sorry for him etc.

So my dad figured it sounded like him. He called the guy up and threatened to break his legs - and worse - and the calls not only stopped but shortly thereafter I got a phone call from him directly apologizing. He told me that the woman who called me was his gf. WTF?

Wow! It was very creepy for a while.

I think you did the right thing. Safety first. There are too many creeps out there.

Thank you for sharing your story.

<3

TMG
 
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