Someone is stalking me online
Last updated: 11 July 2021
This guide covers situations where you are being tracked, monitored, or intimidated online.
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If you are being repeatedly contacted but not to the extent that you feel unsafe, see our guide Someone is repeatedly contacting me
What does stalking look like?
Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted behaviour, which causes alarm and distress to the victim. It involves actions aimed at controlling, monitoring, or intimidating someone. These actions can be physical or digital, for example:
- Repeatedly messaging or calling you; finding other profiles of yours and messaging you there
- Attempts to coerce you into replying their messages, sending them photos of yourself, meeting them in person, performing a sex act, etc. – and making false promises to stop contacting you if you agree to their demands
- Monitoring your social media activity or your phone location to track where you are
- Asking your friends what you’re doing/where you are
- Showing up where you don’t expect them/didn’t ask them to be – e.g. your workplace, your school, around your neighbourhood or places you go to frequently
- Sending you vague or explicit threats, threatening your loved ones
If you are below 16 years old
Let a trusted adult know what is going on.
If you feel that something is not right or are starting to feel uncomfortable or unsafe, trust your feelings.
Speak to a trusted adult or support professional about these pressures that you are facing and they will be able to help. What you are experiencing could potentially be a crime if the other person is trying to exploit and harm you.
Remember that this is not your fault, even if it feels embarrassing or like you’ve done something wrong.
Have you also been experiencing these red flags?
- Have they been very friendly, given you many compliments, or offered to buy you things? People who want to hurt you may make nice promises, offer to buy you things, or give you compliments about being mature, smart or attractive – all to gain your trust. They may also ask you questions about your life to assess how vulnerable you are. To be fair, people who genuinely want to be friends with you may do all these as well. But if this is happening with the other points in this list, then this is a red flag.
- Have they asked you to keep your relationship with them a secret? This is a pretty big red flag. It is likely that they want you to keep your relationship with them a secret because they are doing something that can harm you and they don’t want to be caught.
- Have they made many comments about your body or appearance? Trustworthy older teenagers and adults know that it is not appropriate to keep commenting on the body or appearance of someone younger than them. If the person you’re talking to has started doing this, they could be trying to gain your trust and test your boundaries. After a while, these comments might become increasingly explicit and sexual.
- Have they asked you questions that feel wrong or uncomfortable? Such questions can be “have you kissed someone” or “do you want to know how [something] feels like”. They might also say that they can teach you something that will make you feel good. These are wrong. They are red flags! A trustworthy older teenager or adult would know that they should never be asking a young person about these things.
- Have they been asking to meet up? If the other person has been asking to meet up with you, inform an adult immediately. Do not meet up with them. It is not safe. The other person may take the opportunity to harm you physically if you meet up with them.
If the red flags above resemble your conversation with the other person, you might be in danger. Speaking to an adult, like a teacher, parent, or family friend, will help keep you safe. Most of this guide is still applicable for you, but don’t deal with this alone. Please find someone to support you.
The above material was adapted with permission from the Australian Government eSafety Commissioner. Permission to adapt content does not constitute endorsement of material by the eSafety Commissioner.
What to do now?
Record what happened
Collect as much evidence as you can (e.g. take photos, screenshots, recordings) and start keeping notes of what happened. Do this before you do anything else. This is very important for stalking cases because the police or courts will ask you to show that this is a course of repeated conduct.
Email these notes and the evidence to yourself or someone you trust. This will add a timestamp, which can help you to keep track of what happened and make this record more useful to the police or courts.
Remember to also keep yourself safe. Please do not put yourself in danger for the sake of collecting more evidence. Your safety is your number one priority.
Reach out to people you trust if you need help and support.
Block and report
Block the user on all the platforms they are contacting you on and report their account(s) – but only if it feels safe for you to do so, and after you have collected evidence of their actions.
By blocking the user, you are limiting their ability to pressure you, harass you, and access more information about you.
If you feel like you cannot block them safely or that doing so might cause the other person to escalate their behaviour, please scroll down. The next cards contains information on support services you can reach out to for help.
What to do next?
Below, we’ve listed further actions you can take. These are all optional – it is up to you to decide what you would like to do.
Stalking can be very scary, stressful and frustrating. Please let people you trust know what happened. Ask them to support you and help with any actions you decide to take.
If you don’t know who to turn to, or feel like you cannot act without endangering your safety, you can find help at the following places:
- Call 1800-777-0000 for the National Anti-Violence Helpline – dedicated 24-hour helpline for reporting violence and abuse, open to all genders and ages
- If this is happening in an intimate/sexual relationship, call AWARE’s Sexual Assault Care Centre Helpline (6779-0282, Mon - Fri, 10am - 6pm) to speak with a trained volunteer who can help you decide what to do.
- If you are being stalked by a family member, approach a Family Service Centre or PAVE Integrated Services for Individual and Family Protection (6555-0390, Mon - Fri, 9am - 1pm / 2pm - 6pm).
You can also refer to our directory Finding Support in Singapore to find a hotline, legal clinic, mental healthcare provider, or other social service that best fits your needs.
Identify what information about you has been shared online, and what else people can learn from you based on these. This is important, especially if you are concerned that users you have blocked would try to find other ways to contact you.
We have a guide that walks you through assessing the information this person has access to and what additional information this links to (e.g. if they know your full name, this might connect someone to your Facebook).
Limit unwanted contact
Once you have identified what information about you is accessible online, you may want to remove any info you no longer want to share.
Our guide to limiting unwanted contact includes specific instructions for adjusting your online privacy settings, securing your online accounts, and other measures for reducing the risk of online or in-person contact. The steps here are useful if you think it is likely that this person would try to find other ways to contact you after you’ve blocked them.
If you think that this person would try to hack your accounts, go directly to our guide to Securing online accounts
Apply for a Protection Order under POHA
‘Unlawful stalking’ is an offence under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) . You may wish to consider applying for a Protection Order, which would order the stalker to stop their behaviour. If they go against this Order, they can be arrested.
Note: If you are in danger or at risk of imminent physical harm, please make a police report
What counts as 'unlawful stalking'?
The stalking behaviours have to be continued over an extended period and/or repeated, and be likely to cause you harassment, alarm, or distress.
POHA lists these examples of stalking behaviours, but you don’t have to fit these exactly:
- Following you or a related person
- Communicating or trying to communicate with you or a related person by any means
- Making any communication (or trying to) about you or a related person; or purporting to be from you or a related person
- Entering or loitering in any place outside or near your or a related person’s home, workplace, or anyplace you frequent
- Interfering with your or a related person’s property
- Giving or sending material to you or a related person, or leaving it where you or a related person will find it
- Keeping you or a related person under surveillance
- Illustrative examples from POHA:
- Your workplace superior repeatedly emailing you with suggestive comments about your body
- Someone sending you flowers daily even though you’ve told them to stop
- Your classmate repeatedly circulating revealing photos of you to other classmates
Our guide to applying for a Protection Order under POHA provides further information on POHA and the application process.
If you are unsure of your legal rights, you may wish to seek legal advice: Find legal support
If you want to report someone to the police so that the police may conduct investigations, you may wish to make a police report instead.
Should I stay in contact with this person to try and convince them to stop?
After you’ve asked them to stop contacting you, it is typically safer to not respond to them. It is unlikely that you will be able to convince them to stop stalking you by telling them to stop repeatedly, as stalking is about gaining power and control over you.
If the stalker promises to stop contacting you if you meet with them to talk in person, that is likely an attempt to put you in a vulnerable position so they can use other abusive tactics against you. Threats against your family and friends are similarly meant as emotional blackmail to convince you to give the abuser more access to you. Acknowledging their behaviors with a reply to their harassment is likely to be taken by them as a sign these tactics are working, which could cause the abusive behavior to increase. Remember that you do not owe this abusive person a response (from Stalking Safety Planning - The Hotline ).
Does this only happen to women?
No. Men, women, and non-binary individuals experience stalking in Singapore. This kind of violation of your boundaries and safety is wrong, regardless of your gender.