1. Use your voicemail to document threats and illegal contact. Even if your phone is broken, missing or stolen you can contact the phone company or the police so messages can be retrieved and saved.
2. It is possible that your computer activities may be monitored,whenever possible, use a safer computer at a public library, community center, or Internet café when you look for help, a new place to live, or any information that may put you in danger.
3. Change your passwords and pin numbers quickly and frequently to prevent someone abusive from using your email and other accounts to impersonate and cause harm.
4. Get a private mailbox or P.O Box to avoid using your real address whenever possible to keep your true residential address out of databases as much as possible.
5. Check for information that may be available about you. Search for your own name on the internet and check phone directory pages, even if your number is unlisted.
6. You may be able to have information about yourself removed from the internet. Websites may have instructions, or provide a form or E-mail address to contact them. If the information is in a government record, you may need to fill out an official petition, motion, request or letter.
7. The less personal information you give out, the better. It is easier to prevent it from getting online than to remove it.
8. Only give your personal information when it is absolutely necessary. Information you give when signing up for free internet services (such as email, blogs, instant messengers, or photo sharing websites) might be posted online.
9. If you suspect that someone has the password to your accounts, use a safer computer that they do not have access to and change it. Only check your account from a safer computer.
10. Consider creating secondary E-mail/IM accounts on a safer computer. Still use the old email address for anything that will not compromise your safety so it does not raise suspicion.
11. Email safety: Have more than one email account and use them for different purposes; create email addresses that don’t contain your full name since that can be very identifying.
12. Password safety: It’s best to have a different password for each account; come up with a system to remember different passwords.
14. Talk to the people in your life about what they should or should not post online about you. Other people may share your information online, such as your employer, church, and any volunteer organizations that you belong to.
15. Run anti-virus and anti-spyware software periodically, using more than one type, to find any programs that might be spying on your computer.
16. If someone abusive has access to your computer, delete e-mails and files that may compromise your safety. Make sure to delete emails from the “Sent” or “Outbox” and the “Deleted Items” box and empty the “Recycle” or “Trash Bin” before shutting down. Do this on a routine basis so it does not raise suspicion.
17. Your internet browser usually retains a list, or History, of all the Websites you visit. Clear cookies, temporary Website files and browser history on a regular basis.
18. If you are receiving unknown harassing or threatening calls, the phone company can set up a "trap" on your phone line. A “trap” allows the company to determine the telephone number from which the harassing calls originate.
19. If you are receiving harassing phone calls, “Call Trace” may be able to determine their origin. Contact the phone company beforehand to set up the program, then after receiving a harassing call, enter the code *57 on your phone to trace the call.
20. If you need to change your phone number, keep the old number on and attach a voice mail machine or message service to that line to capture calls only from the abuser so they do not know you changed your number.
21. If you have moved to a new location that the abuser is not aware of, do not put your home address on your personal checks or business cards.
22. If you have moved to a new location that the abuser is not aware of, try having your phone line installed in a location other than your residence and call-forwarded to your new location.
23. To avoid being tracked via your phone, buy a pre-paid cellular phone with cash. You typically do not need to provide a billing address or sign a contract for these kinds of phones. Be sure to get a phone number with a different area code from your current location.
24. Be just as cautious with a child's phone as you are with your own. If an abuser intercepts your child's phone, they can load tracking or recording software onto it.
25. Keep a log of every stalking incident to create a paper trail and make a successful prosecution more likely. For example: Caller ID records, logs of phone calls, copies of threatening letters and email messages, items sent to you in the mail, pictures of injuries, or even photos of the abuser outside your home. Maintain a list of names, dates and times of your contacts with law enforcement.
26. Information given to stores (such as phone number or zip code) can be put into a database and may eventually be posted in an online directory.
27. If you are using a cell phone provided by the abusive person, consider turning it off when not in use. Also, many phones let you to “lock” the keys so a phone won’t automatically answer or call if it is bumped.
28. Check your cell phone for an optional location service, if you cannot turn the location feature off/on via phone settings, turn your phone off when not in use or remove the battery.
29. When discussing sensitive information, reduce the possibility that you will be overheard by turning baby monitors off when not in use and using a traditional corded phone.
30. Many court systems and government agencies are publishing records to the Internet. Ask agencies how they protect or publish your records and request that court, government, post office and others seal or restrict access to your files to protect your safety.
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Standing with abused women and children in their struggle for safety and justice, Interval House provides a safe place to live as well as concrete information and education to understand and deal with their individual situations.
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