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Signs of a Stalker: Are You Being Followed?

Watching someone on a beachThe idea of “stalking” someone in this age of 24/7 information access has become somewhat of an inside joke among many of us. We’ve all heard someone say, “I Facebook stalked him!” or “I didn’t mean to stalk you but I saw your post about your trip to Vegas…” But the truth is, true stalkers can make your life a living hell; stalking is scary, it’s dangerous and in many cases, illegal.

If you’re reading this and asking yourself, “Am I being stalked?” or if you have recently wondered, “How do I know if I’m being stalked?” it’s important to make your safety your first priority. Contact the police or other law enforcement if you have immediate concerns about your personal safety.

It’s important to know what to do if you have a stalker. Here are some stalker statistics, tips on how to identify signs of a stalker and how to deal with the threat.

Startling Statistics About Stalkers in the U.S.

  • 6.6 million people were stalked in one year in the United States.
  • Men are stalked, too: Although 76% of stalking victims are female, nearly one in four stalking victims is male.
  • Stalking tends to happen among young people: Persons aged 18-24 years experience the highest rate of stalking.
  • 3 in 4 stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.
  • Most people know their stalker intimately: 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims are stalked by a current or former romantic partner (spouse, significant other, lover).
  • 76% of women murdered by an intimate partner had been stalked by that person in the year prior to their death.
  • Stalking doesn’t discriminate: Among women who reported having been stalked during their lifetime, 31% are multiracial non-Hispanic women, 23% are American Indian or Alaska Native women, 20% are black non-Hispanic women, 16% are white non-Hispanic women and 15% are Hispanic women.
  • 1 in 4 victims report being stalked through some form of technology such as e-mail or text message.
  • 10% of victims report being monitored with global positioning systems (GPS), and 8% report being monitored through video or digital cameras, or listening devices.

Stalker stats infographic

What is Stalking?

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime1:

Stalking is a complex crime that is often misunderstood and underreported. Although the first stalking law was not passed until 1990, all 50 states and the District of Columbia currently have stalking laws. The statutes vary widely, however, and lack a common definition of stalking. Unlike other crimes that are defined as an incident, stalking is a course of conduct that may comprise individual acts that may in isolation, seem benign or noncriminal. Knowledge about stalking has developed significantly, and research continues to yield important insights about the crime.

What Does A Stalker Do?

Creepy keyboard78% of stalkers use more than one means to obtain information about you, to harass you, or contact you. You can be stalked and not even know it, or it can be glaringly obvious. Stalking is usually defined as a persistent pattern of unwanted behavior committed by another person that makes you feel uncomfortable, threatened or afraid for your or your family’s safety. Stalking often escalates in frequency and severity over time.

Common Forms of Stalking Behavior

  • Following you or showing up wherever you are. They may or may not make contact with you, but it doesn’t matter. Watching someone repeatedly is a form of harassment.
  • Sending persistent, unwanted gifts, letters, notes, e-mails, texts or messages via social media.
  • Damaging your home, car, or other property.
  • Monitoring your phone, computer use or social media accounts to learn about you, your family, your personal life and your whereabouts.
  • Using technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go.
  • Driving by or hanging out at your home, school, or work.
  • Threatening you, your family, friends, or pets. They may also threaten to reveal information (true or not) that could damage your reputation or relationships.
  • Seeking information about you via public records, online search services, private investigators, or by going through your garbage, personal property. They may also contact your friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers to gain access or information about you.
  • Posting personal information or spreading harmful rumors about you.
  • Creating or manipulating situations in order to have contact with you, such as applying for a job where you work or calling you with a personal emergency to make you feel guilty or sorry for them.

How to Identify Signs of a Stalker

Peephole in DoorStudies show that 75% of victims know their stalker in some way, but a stalker isn’t always a stereotypical jilted lover or jealous spouse. In fact, many stalkers may have no romantic interest in the victim, rather they see them as a possession to be owned or controlled.

It is important to remember that being stalked is not your fault. Whether or not you know the stalker, whether or not you’ve had contact with them or have asked them to stop, no one has the right to invade your privacy or to make you feel uncomfortable or scared.

Stalkers are persistent and lack normal boundaries. Even when you make your boundaries clear, such as requesting they leave you alone, they don’t (or they do for a while and then reappear.)

If you have asked someone to stop their unwanted behavior, such as communicating with you, and they persist regardless of your clear and repeated requests, you may have a stalker.

How to Deal with a Stalker

Unfortunately, stalking can be difficult to prove for a number of reasons; stalking can start out subtly, individual incidents may seem harmless or even innocent until they escalate, and there may not be any “hard evidence.” However, if you feel you are being stalked, threatened or harassed in any way, you should not suffer in silence.  Here’s what you can do:

Send a Clear Message

If you do have contact with your stalker and feel safe doing so, tell him or her in no uncertain terms to leave you alone, now. You don’t have to scream or threaten them, but nor do you need to be overly polite. You’re not asking, you’re telling. Be clear, be firm, and be brief. Don’t allow them to engage you in a drawn out conversation, as this is what they may want.

Safety tip: Never confront a stalker alone. If you can, have a witness present when you tell him or her to leave you alone. Be smart and safe; you may not be dealing with a rational person.

Document Everything

Peeking through window blindsNo matter how small or isolated an incident may seem, document what happened including the date and place. Take photos, video and save evidence such as notes or emails. If you have witnesses, great. Stalking can be difficult to prove and many times, there is little the police can do to help without some proof. The more evidence you have, the easier it will be to have the person arrested, charged or to obtain a restraining order against them. But don’t wait for the situation to escalate. Contact the police any time you feel uncomfortable or afraid based on someone else’s actions toward you or your family.

Install a Home Security System

A good way to be preventative and protect yourself from potential stalkers in and around your home is to install an alarm system. Choose a dedicated wireless system so that even if your phone or broadband lines are cut, the system is still active. Home security systems can be installed quickly. Once you have one, use it consistently. Make sure it’s activated even when you’re home. Visit our home security systems reviews to learn more.

Also, many home security companies offer key fobs with panic buttons. If you feel you are at risk, you and your children should each have one with you at all times so that you can alert your home security provider if there are any problems.

Look Out For Your Children

Whether or not an individual has made any direct threats to your family, if you’re being harassed, you should step up security around your children.

  • Alert your child’s school of the situation. Don’t be embarrassed, this is a matter of safety not just for your child but others as well.
  • Make sure your child’s school and any caretakers have a list of who is and who is not allowed to contact or pick up your child from school. If possible, provide the school with photos and a vehicle description of anyone you don’t want near your kids.
  • Depending on your child’s age, explain the situation and help them to recognize the person bothering you. Let them know they are not to have contact with this person for any reason and to tell you if they see the individual hanging around anywhere.
  • Don’t let children walk to and from school or the bus stop alone. Find alternate arrangements or a trusted adult to accompany them if you cannot.
  • Establish a short, simple code word to say on the phone or to text as a warning, a call for help or to tell your children not to come home.
  • Teach your children how to dial 911 in an emergency.

Tell Others

Don’t be embarrassed to tell on your stalker! The more people who know, the more people you’ll have looking out for you and your family.

  • Tell family, friends, and neighbors.
  • Tell your employer; they may have extra security measures they can put into place to help you stay safe. For example, if you leave work at night or have to walk through a parking garage, request an escort to your car.
  • Tell the police. Don’t be discouraged if they can’t do anything at first.
  • Provide photos and vehicle descriptions to everyone.

Limit Social Media Use

Watch what you post on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. At the very least, change your Facebook settings to “private” and refrain from posting information about where you are and where you’re going. To be extra safe, close your social media accounts and tell others not to post anything about you or your children. The less information your stalker has, the safer you will be.

Change Numbers, Locks and Patterns of Behavior

  • Change your phone numbers, including your mobile phone. Give out your new number only to those who absolutely need it.
  • Change your locks, especially if there is any chance the person harassing you could have a key.
  • Change your daily patterns. Most people are creatures of habit, driving the same route to work, running the same loop around the neighborhood, stopping for coffee at the same time each morning. Stalkers rely on these predictable patterns. Don’t stop living your life, but find ways to shake up your daily routines.

Dealing With a Stalker Video


Source: [1] Victims of Crime

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About Kimberly Alt
Kimberly has always taken security seriously. Whether it's making sure she locks all the doors or using complex passwords, she tries her best to live a secure life. She has years of experience with testing, reviewing, and writing about security systems. One of her favorite parts of her job is being able to inform consumers of the best security products available.
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  • John

    I know , we got one to fallowing us around everywhere we go I told them to get a life and stop being jellous for other people things , just the other day my wife had someone knocking on the window know if we lived here and then ran of to got tell that person that put here upto it to try to get info out of us and then today I saw my nieghbors car a black Camaro with red painted calipers on it Driving up and down to street trying to fear us but I stood my ground looking back and then drive off .i said to my wife way would someone drive two hours out of thair way just to check up someone what a waste of gas and time and engery.lameo thair has people that have movied out of are Nieghbor hood because of it even myself .

  • Annnona

    Now this could just a scare text, but…I don’t know. So last night, I was eating some Japanese food when my coworker texted me. He wanted to know if I gave out his phone number, which I never did. It turned out some random person sent him a text saying they know everything about us. And then this person texted me. Next thing I know, they’re threatening to hurt him if I didn’t comply with their demands. By now, I’m sure most are confirming that it’s just a stupid scare text, but what’s freaky is that they knew exactly what we were wearing yesterday, they knew where he lived, they got our phone numbers, they knew our job positions, and they knew what we were doing. And if that’s not the beginning of stalking behavior then this will definitely confirm it. Apparently, they were waiting outside my coworker’s home, probably ready to do something unless I comply with their demands. But after midnight they left us alone, but after what just happened I have no idea what’s going on anymore. Is this really just a scare text, or is it really the beginning of some random person stalking us? I seriously hope they don’t bother us again.

  • B

    sir i am presently residing with my husband in kuwait we both are working here. due to unavoidable circumstances i had to resign and when i went to my homecountry and came back i tried to get a job and then it all started the bus i used to travel in the cabbies i used to go with even everthing i talk is heard by others my phone was tapped my computer hacked i left 2 jobs as a result of this and whenever i go to find another job someone tries to do something and i dont get it even if there is a vacancy, idont know whether it is my previous company or what my husabnd doesnt want to inform the police about the matter so i cant do anything as to avoid friction in my house. my phones microphone was connected to various phones and whatever i spoke in my house was heard by the whole city and my house was laserbeamed also and now i feel i should go to the police but because of my husband i just have to stop as we are only working in kuwaitand not permanent residents here, please send me some advice or some help in any way to tackle these people.

  • Cali girl

    I’ve been stalked my a narcissist that thinks he’s gods gift for the past 13 years. I’ve lost jobs, friends, and I’ve been been kicked out of two different colleges due to his antics. It started while I was in the military and he wanted me to fawn about how great he was and I refused to do so. After I got out he followed me throughout Virginia, to Seattle and even back to my home state he knows where all of my family lives and has even made contact with them while I wasn’t present to defend myself. The most recent episode caused my relationship to end and I moved out of state into my my new house. I was just having a cup of coffee on my porch enjoying a beautiful morning and he drove by and yelled out that “no one likes you.” he’s shown up at my gym, followed me to doctors appointments and tells people that I practice witchcraft and I’m crazy. (I now live in the south) he’s gotten so comfortable that he’s followed me into target and will stand on the next isle insulting me personally, (stupid bitch, everyone hates you)he’s even brought his girlfriend with him a couple of times(Chicago and present date just to puff his chest out I guess)I honestly think he has moved to the small town that I now live in. After the incident of him getting me kicked out of college, I started work and within 3 days of me starting my job I was fired after he showed up. As much as I want to give up I will not let this loser control me or my life my life belongs to me and me alone.

    • Annnona

      Why haven’t you had this fool arrested yet?

  • Phoenix3030

    I have that same feeling in the back of my head too when I’m going places and I see someone just standing there staring at you or pretending to be doing something when you see that person. they’re usually by themself and out in the open doing nothing but just standing there. I just carry around me a self defense weapon in case something happen I can defend myself. make sure you have some kind of a camera with you so you can take a picture of that perpetraitor to have that as evidence and never let your guard down not even for a split second.

  • guest

    So the thing is, I think I’m being stalked!,at first it started near my brother’s primary school and I would feel like someone was watching me . Just this morning as I was making my way home , I felt so uncomfortable and while this person isn’t regular they’ll come around every couple of months. I really am starting to get scared , her look over my shoulder all the time and put the window , my neighbours probably think I’m a peeping tom , but I’m only sixteen and I don’t know how to deal with this . I haven’t told my parents yet , but last year I told my mum and she was really worried , wouldn’t let me go out always called ect.ect. . I don’t want to put her through that again. Please help me I’m seriously scared here and as I was reading about the experience of these people, whom I’m so sorry for.. the person following /watching me hasn’t contacted me yet I’m really afraid that they will . It’s not anyone I need know that I’m sure of so please help . My family are firm believer’s in helping put each other yet I’m to ashamed to say anything. Tell email what to do .

    From England UK, .

    • Phoenix3030

      just keep your eyes peel and make sure you carry some kind of weapon for self defense if you feel you’re safey and privacy is being threaten. Never let your guard down and pay attention to your surrounding. take pictures of the perpetraitor and hold that as evidence.

  • jm

    There’s a guy that would look in my windows. I think he was a neighbor. But at first I thought it was imagination, thought I was seeing things. A shadow here and there, but it was happening more and more. I know I he has taken pictures of me because I have seen a flash more that once outside my window. He would make certain comments about my tattoos and what not.He was friends with my downstairs neighbor and then he moved in.
    I realized that whenever I moved from room to room I can hear someone below walking from room to room with me. When my phone would ring he would make a comment ( very thin walls and floors) to someone about who I was on the phone with and what I was talking about.
    I went to a hotel for a week AND HE WAS THERE!
    I moved recently and I think he has a tracker on me because I have heard his voice outside of my new apartment. I am not crazy. He hasn’t done anything scary but the whole situation is just so creepy. I am seriously thinking about getting a concealed carry license and a weapon.

    • Michael

      Get a CCW or tazer, whatever makes you feel more safe. The weapon is only going to be good if you are comfortable using it. Otherwise it could be taken from you and used against you. Be trained properly. As far as tracking you, there is probably a hidden app on the phone. You also should look at the settings. Turn OFF the Location unless you need to use it. Don’t use the phone for GPS, get an actual GPS (many, many reasons for this. Just do it.) If you have some extra cash, get a CCTV camera kit. the small 4 camera kits aren’t too expensive and you can have video evidence that he was there or someone else was. If you need to have your phone checked by the cell company, do it and have their tech support look for any hidden apps. This is at least a start.

  • Bia

    Same scenario I am experiencing. Whatever our schedule that is what hers becomes. Showing up at train station (never actually seeing her get on any train in 7 years ) and following me to the park and post office to name a few. Monitoring our every move. She even went to my husband’s job pretending to work in NY and get this the UN. Last I checked you need more than a GED to work there. Even dressing in all black and hiding in her car to see who I speak with and talk to.

    Since I took her to court she now has resulted to group stalking. By that I mean she uses group texting to alert individuals when I leave my house and multiple people position themselves to follow me. True story I cannot make this up. I have been followed on the NJ Turnpike, I 295 and so on. This person is ignorant uneducated and miserable. She is obsessed with me and very jealous. She lives beside me. I do not consider her a neighbor. A neighbor has your Best interest. Word of advise do not buy property in a POOR neighborhood. 2nd do not buy property where Section 8 and Public Housing is nearby it can only mean the property value will decrease substantially. 3rd Go visit the area you wish to buy property during the night time. I did not. I realized later WE were the only ones working!! Everybody else was waiting on a Govt check. Worse 7 years of my LIFE!! Plus we lost all our investment on the house.

  • What a tough situation! We’re sorry to hear you had to go through all of that. It’s great that you were able to figure out a solution, though!

  • betty maria

    Wat do i do about a stalker whom i beleive is a female? “She stslks me through my fone. I’ve even caught her looking for me through gps also her father crusing around looking for “me” i’ve had to rreset my fone too many times its stsrting to interfet witj my familyy well it has and im tripping

    • Hi Betty,

      Your best bet in this scenario is to alert the authorities. I know this can be a tough choice, but it is going to be the safest route to follow. Please let us know if you need anything else!


  • Hi Stephanie,

    We’re sorry to hear you are having troubles with an ex. Stalking is a serious crime, and it happens more than people would think. Our best advice to you is to keep your house secure–locked up, and maybe consider a simple home security system. On top of that, if you are certain you are being watched, call the police!

    We wish you the best of luck!

  • If you are honestly concerned with your safety you are not overreacting. Depending on the types of things this person is doing it could call for action. Perhaps the next time something happens you and your mom, sister or a friend could talk with him about how uncomfortable you are. However, I do not know your specific situation so if you feel that you are in danger do not approach the person. Instead, talk with an official about your situation.

  • Kat

    I just want to make sure I know if I’m being stalked. I met this girl on kik and we talked and laughed, but then she started sending me pics of her but the face wasn’t shown and in some pictures she looked fat, skinny, blue eyed, brown eyed then she told me she had a baby but one month later she said she was pregnant and then I asked myself “wait…if you have a baby you can’t get pregnant one month later.” Then I started to suspect. Please help me and answer. I really want to know if I’m being stalked.

    • Hi Kat, I suggest if you think you are being stalked at all that you cut off ties with this person. There could be another part to her story that explains everything but your top priority should be to keep yourself safe. If you think that there is something odd going on and you don’t feel comfortable, stop communicating with her. If you feel unsafe, don’t go places alone and if you feel that you are in danger, contact the police. Please think of your safety first and do what is best for you. We want you safe.

  • Stacey Maltz

    I currently have a stalker…my ex-fiance. I left him because he was abusive. Never hit me physically, but has threatened, been very verbally abusive to me, and mind controlling/manipulating. He did spend 8-9 months in jail 6-7 years ago for being physically abusive to an ex and her family.

    Since I have left him, I see his pattern of becoming obsessed with me, trying to get me back with him and even stalking me. First he would check EVERY post I posted on Facebook…on my wall, and every comment I made to someones post. Then I got notified he tried to friend himself with over 20+ of my family and friends. People he NEVER met or doesn’t even know. Most of the people he tried to add knew the situation and told me. Then he tried to add himself to groups I belong to on Facebook. A bunch of them I got notices for. I alerted the admins of the groups and he was blocked. One of the groups he tried to join was for domestic violence and I was alerted to this as well.

    Then, a month or so later (which was 2-3 weeks ago), I was at the state dropping paper work off. I get in my car to leave and not even 30 seconds later, he opens my car door before I could even lock the door. He got down on knees, and started crying, hugging me and kissing my hand. He asked me to forgive him and asked if I would take him back. I didn’t give a straight answer, cause I was afraid if I said no, he might lose his mind. After 40 minutes, I was able to leave. I wasn’t hurt, but shaken up.

    Then 2-3 weeks later (December 30, 2014), I had just pulled my car into the driveway and walked into the garage, shutting the garage door behind me. Not less than 30-45 seconds later, I hear a car horn beep right behind the garage door I just shut. I knew it wasn’t my parents as they have remotes to open the doors to park in there. I went to the front door to look out and saw a car I didn’t recognize (found out later the car was a rental car he had). I saw him trying to enter the code on the keypad (next to the garage door) a few times trying to get in. The code was changed a few months earlier when I left him. Then I saw him head to the front door, and I ran downstairs. I peeked out the corner of a window and saw it was him for sure. He was wearing the hoodie I got him last year for christmas and had to be ordered online, so it isn’t common. He had the hood over his head. I heard him try to click open the front door (thankfully it was locked). About 5 minutes later, he got in the car and drove off. Seconds later, he called my phone and left a voice mail saying to call him, he had just left work and was driving home. He gets out of work at 2:30pm, but was at my house at 2:10-2:15, and most likely parked somewhere waiting for me to get home before that. He also works 30-40 minutes away, so I knew he was lying. I did call the police and make a report.

    He was told months back….after he retaliated and called the police and animal control on my family and me just to be an ass, that he was NOT welcome in the neighborhood or on our property. If he was seen anywhere, the police would be called. He thought he would be slick coming in a different car, but was caught. Tomorrow I am going to court to get a restraining order.

    • guest

      Is your ex in jail .?I wish you all the best and hope that he has stopped.

  • Maria

    I may have a stalker on Pinterest. About a year ago I made a huge mistake of pinning from someone. It made her extremely angry. She blocked me, yet everyday she would post new pins with my name and very violent content. One pin saying she hopes I die and choke. Others would be calling me all sorts of vulgar names. She deleted her account. Then this year she was back with a new account. She immediately followed me. It took me and my sister time but she revealed herself because she started getting into fights with other pinners. Just a week ago it turned violent again and she posted a very graphic pin threatening someone’s kids. She is gone again but I know she will be back.

    • Sorry to hear this story Maria. Perhaps you consider leaving Pinterest all together. You can always view Pinterest without an account however you will not be able to participate. But, given the circumstances, this might be the best option. Stay safe.