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I'm Being Watched—How to Deal With Stalkers and Spies

Updated on January 9, 2017
theraggededge profile image

A long time ago I had a stalker. He still pops up now and then. I like to think I can help others in the same situation.

Feeling Uncomfortable? You Might Be Being Watched

Have you got that odd feeling that somebody is watching you? You may see a fleeting movement out of the corner of your eye, or you hear strange noises when the house is quiet? You wonder if your home is under surveillance. You do internet searches: ‘somebody is watching me.” The results are inconclusive and are mostly useless links to song lyrics. Nothing seems to reflect exactly how you feel. Alone. Vulnerable. Angry. Scared. Violated.

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Being Watched: It Might be Your Imagination

Nine times out of ten, it is nothing more than a feeling. Many people experience it. Severe cases are called, “The Truman Show Delusion,” after the movie where Jim Carey’s character realizes that his whole life is fictional and is being broadcast to TV audience of millions. It starts with a minor incident, such as a trash bin being knocked over late at night, then perhaps the sound of a squirrel in the roof. Your fertile imagination builds on it and attributes every sound, unexpected beep on your phone and passing footsteps to your ‘somebody is watching me’ fear. The fear becomes a phobia.

If you can be objective enough to know that your fears are unsubstantiated, but they persist nevertheless, then a course of counseling, a visit to a psychotherapist or even an honest chat with a trusted friend can set your mind at ease.

What If You Really Are Being Watched?

If you are convinced that you are under surveillance, there are several things you can do to establish if it is happening. Don’t think it will go away because it won’t. Don’t take on the mantle of victim-hood. Put yourself into a position of power and take action.

Who is Your Stalker?

Make a list of possible suspects. In essence, this will be everyone you know. In the majority of cases, the person watching you will be known to you - a personal stalker.

Personal Stalkers

  • The most common stalker is an ex or current partner. In particular people who display signs of jealousy or feel rejected are number one in the list of possible watchers. However, most of them like you to know that it’s them. Their ego demands that you recognize their ‘devotion’. They are convinced that you need to learn the truth, that underneath you are completely in love with them and just need to be shown the errors in your thinking. This behavior is a sign of mental illness. You won’t be able to convince them of this, so you need to contact someone who might be able to help. In every case, report them to the police.
  • Another kind of personal stalker is someone whom you may have upset or angered in the past. Even inadvertently. This type is less likely to advertise their identity; they just want to make you suffer in their desire for revenge.
  • Neighbors are also quite common among stalkers. They have the opportunity to watch you all the time. You may have incurred their wrath in some way and now their hobby is to make your life a misery.
  • Then there are the ‘randoms’. Someone who has taken a fancy to you. Someone who you may have exchanged a few words with and gone merrily on your way, leaving them thinking that your interaction meant far more than it actually did. These are the obsessives.
  • The last variety is the predatory stalker. These are the ones who care nothing for you as a human being, they just want to own you - even for a few minutes during which you will be subjected to horrifying experiences. These people, thank goodness, are very rare. Nevertheless, every sensible person, male or female, should take reasonable precautions when out alone. Rape alarms, pepper sprays and a noisy dog are all good methods of protection. Better still is to have some basic knowledge, and practice, of self-defense skills.
  • Whatever category your stalker comes under, they all share some commonalities. They are convinced that they are in the right. They have no idea, or don’t care, the effect their behavior has on you. They are able to rationalize their actions to any degree. In fact they don’t think they are doing anything wrong or out of the ordinary.

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How to Get Rid of a Personal Stalker

Step One - Collect Evidence

Keep a written record of every single incident, however trivial. Keep backed up electronic records too - remember that your phone or computer may be compromised so have a second device that no-one knows about. Take photos, recordings and keep them in a personal log.

Step Two - Phones and Social Media

Reset your devices to factory settings. This may only be a temporary solution but do it anyway.

Deactivate your social media accounts. Try setting new ones up under a different name and share your profiles with trusted friends one at a time, over a period of weeks.

Don’t post your life on social media. People can pick up all sorts of clues about you, your routine, places you go, etcetera. Keep it general.

Step Three - Report the Stalker

As soon as you have one or two pieces of evidence, go to the police. Register a complaint. These days they seem to be taking stalking and harassment more seriously than in previous years. Even if they can’t act because there is not sufficient evidence, there will be a record of your complaint so any officer you speak to subsequently will be able to look up the case records. Don’t be worried that the police will get fed up by your complaints. Keep them updated at all times.

Step Four - The Gray Rock Method

If the stalker is known to you and regularly tries to make contact use the ‘gray rock’ method. This term was coined by Skylar, who was a victim of a psychopath stalker and learned how to deal with him. This is a useful technique when you have to speak to the person because you have some common interest, such as a child together.

How to be a gray rock. You respond only when you have to. Your responses should be as boring and monotonous as possible. You add no inflection to your voice. You display no emotion. You only give essential facts in order to conclude the interaction.

This method works well if the stalker, an ex, shows psychopathic or sociopath tendencies. They thrive on drama so don’t give them what they want. Eventually, their behavior will change as they lose interest in you.

Gray rock can enable you to become invisible to that person, and any other, who shows an unwanted interest in you. By making yourself as boring as possible in their presence they will soon look for more interesting prey.

January is National Stalking Awareness month in the U.S.

Are You Under Surveillance?

If you suspect you are under surveillance by some sort of organization or even if an individual is watching you, read: How to Find Spy Devices in Your Home and take the steps outlined therein to find out if your home has been bugged. Remember that these days most bugging takes place via an electronic device. It couldn’t be easier for someone to install an invisible app on your phone, or hack into your laptop’s camera or microphone. They can even be installed remotely.

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Signs That You Are Under Surveillance

  • Vans parked outside your home. Often innocuous domestic type business, such as plumbing, heating, building, that sort of thing. Unless you can see actual work being carried out at a neighbor’s home, then be suspicious if this occurs regularly.
  • Unusual activity, strangers in the neighborhood, a change in the usual routine are usually nothing to worry about. However, you can sometimes feel in your gut that things are ‘off’. So keep your antennae alert for anything out of the ordinary. However, the very nature of these methods mean that the operatives who carry them out are so skilled that 99 out of 100 people will never know that they are being watched.
  • Strange noises on your house or cell phone. Sudden fast battery drainage.
  • You notice drones overhead. The ease of use and fast advancing technology makes spying-by-drone commonplace.

Reasons Why You May be Under Surveillance

  1. You engage in criminal activity.
  2. You have knowledge that could damage reputations or projects.
  3. You are involved in a legal case and the other side may be seeking to build up evidence to discredit you.
  4. You might be claiming money that you aren’t entitled to. For example disability compensation when there’s nothing wrong with you.
  5. The Government is tracking you. This is a given. Most governments now collect metadata on everyone. In the UK, CCTV tracks your every move if you live in a city.
  6. You have a mobile device, a tablet or a cell phone. Your provider is tracking you, your surfing habits, your social media posting - everything. If you take a photo, GPS data is transmitted to reveal your location. The only way to prevent this is to remove the battery.
  7. You work for a company that is being spied on by a competitor.

How to Prevent Surveillance

In short, you can’t. Unless you can prove that the surveillance is illegal, threatening, harassing or damaging, if you want to live in general society, you have to accept that your information and behavior is monitored by many agencies.

Alternatively, you can change your lifestyle, move to a location where you can live off-grid or become a nomad.

Have You Been Watched?

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 months ago from the short journey

      An insightful read with lots of important FIY info for oneself in case of need or for a relative or friend who may have a suspicious or serious situation. The times we live in do require an acceptance of a certain amount of surveillance activity but it's good to know something about what to do if it's out of the norm. I just heard a blip about the pope and Mark Zuckerberg both putting a bit of tape over the camera lenses on their computers. Hmmm...

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image

      Sakina Nasir 3 months ago from Kuwait

      Great hub Bev! It is so detailed and informative. I am sure people are going to find this very useful. Keep up the good work.☺

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 3 months ago from Wales

      I have little bits of tape over both my laptop cameras, RTalloni - have done it for years. One thing that was quite disconcerting was talking to my partner about something or other - can't remember what it was now - and within an hour there were ads for that very thing appearing on my Facebook.

      Thanks for you kind words - first hub I've written in years.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 3 months ago from Wales

      Thanks, Sakina. It's about time I got back into writing hubs!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 months ago from the short journey

      Oh me...ads coming up from your conversation definitely is pause for thought! The world we live in reminds me of an old quote, "The mountains have ears."

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 months ago from America

      I now have Alexa I'm sure she listens to every word I say. I would call her a stalker.

      I also have a neighbor that doesn't realize I can hear her talking about me when I go outside. She's a stalker she watches me all the time I don't know why I'm the most boring person in the world.

      There is also a car that parks on the wrong side of the street with its lights on about twice a week he/she does this. I figured he was stealing wifi so as soon as I see him I turn off my wifi even though I have a password on it. My son also thought he might be doing this but he could be taking it from any of the houses near me. Just another stalker.

      Enjoyed your hub sadly there are people who are very dangerous stalkers.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 3 months ago from Wales

      Hi moonlake.

      Indeed, Alexa records everything it can pick up on its microphone. Here in the UK, several families were bemused and confused when their devices picked up on a TV program about dollhouses and then actually ordered dollhouses on their Amazon accounts. Amazon says that they don't do anything with recorded information but it is streamed back to them, for sure.

      I expect you could get rid of your stalker if you brazenly walked out and photographed him and his license plate.

      Thanks and cheers.

    • profile image

      sheila 3 months ago

      I have regular stalkers from another country. I believe that my home was hard-wired for bugs before I moved in as it was being rehabbed for me. I have definite proof that they have had someone enter my home several times as they have left signs of entry that are unmistaken, such as removing a screw in some switch plates (light plates). I even found it in the exact box I used to replace some before. They knew exactly where it was and put the removed screw right back in there.

      I have scanned for RF signals and found them loud and clear. However, it did not give me a clue where I could find any hidden devices.

      Thanks.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 3 months ago from Wales

      Another country? How do you know? Any idea who or what organization? You might need a more accurate device or one that is specifically for locating bugs, Sheila. I would make it my mission to locate and destroy them.

    • profile image

      Hi. 3 months ago

      I think I'm being watched because the suspected watcher is making it very clear that he knows about how I look, what I dress, and what my habits are. But I don't know how this is even possible since the suspected watcher is living in another country. What can I do? He is refusing to give me any further information and he doesn't seem to stop it.

    • profile image

      Hi 3 months ago

      And, I think my dad is somehow related to this. He doesn't speak English, but he seems to know the conversation happening in English before I said anything to him about the 'stalking' incident.

      He does this quite frequently, and when that happens, I always confront him and ask him how he knows that. Of course, he always denies that, but he's an experienced lawyer and he knows how to lie.

      I don't know who I can trust any more. And I'm completely lost, in despair. What should I do?

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 3 months ago from Wales

      Do you use a laptop or tablet with a camera? Cover up the camera with a piece of tape. Make sure your security settings are set so that apps cannot activate the camera. You can Google how to do it for your operating system.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 3 months ago from Wales

      He probably understands English perfectly well. I don't speak French but I can often work out what is being said. I can't help you with your dad problem, but have replied to your previous message. Hope you get it sorted.

    • Chuck Bluestein profile image

      Chuck Bluestein 2 months ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

      Windows 10 has a spying feature that cannot be shut off.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 2 months ago from Wales

      Does it? I'll have to find out about that. Thanks, Chuck. I always cover my camera and have changed all my settings to maximum 'Get lost Microsoft', iykwim.

    • profile image

      Suzanne 7 weeks ago

      I'm been stalked, I'm followed & my house is bugged.

      I'm not imagining it, there is to many coincidences.

      There should be a law where police should at least look into it. Not told to keep a diary & ignote it. Worst they make you feel like your crazy, with out even following up to what you say.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 7 weeks ago from Wales

      I know, Suzanne. The problem is that it's just too common... and too easy to do this to someone for the police to act on every report of stalking. We have to be our own detectives and collect as much proof as possible. Then you have to demonstrate that this is causing you harm. Then you have to start making as much fuss as you can with every agency you can think of.

      Set traps. Talk about something that you wouldn't normally talk about and see where that conversation is repeated back at you. So for instance, if you think your phone is bugged - text or phone a trusted friend and say you are thinking about making a large purchase, say a car or TV. If you think there's an actual device in your home, talk out loud to yourself about getting a dog or booking a vacation. Be specific. See if anyone mentions those things to you.

      Get yourself a cheap bug detector and use it all round your home and car. Reset your phone and computer to factory settings (after backing up all necessary info). Take control and fight back.

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