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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2010 Cyberstalking Statistics Highlights

There is an ever decreasing gap between male and female harassers - 2010 saw them as being almost even, similar to 2009, when back in 2000, when we first started calculating stats, the majority of harassers were male 68%; we also saw a bit of an increase of gangs or husband/wife teams being the harassers 3%

Victim's ages have remained pretty much the same for the past few years, with 18-30 the primary targets, followed by those 31-40, then 41+

The same with marital status: Singles are the primary victims, followed by those married, divorced, life partner, widowed, separated

It was about even as to whether the victim knew their harasser in 2010, compared with 2009, where 61% said they knew their harasser

As expected, if they did know their harasser, it was primarily an ex or the wife/girlfriend of an ex (not boyfriend/husband, interestingly), followed by online acquaintance, work, friend/ex-friend, family, school (usually a fellow student) and saw a few cases involving landlord/tenant disputes, neighbors and businesses being targeted by customers

Every year we've done stats, the primary way the harassment began, no matter how they knew the person, was via email. Last year this was followed by Facebook (a first), then message boards, telephone, IM, web sites (usually created to specifically harass the victim) and Myspace. New ways harassers did their deed included bogus claims on Ripoff Reports, Youtube, Twitter, Formspring, Skype, Ustream, Yelp and Encyclopedia Dramatica)

Almost 80% of cases escalated online. The primary way was via email, followed closely by Facebook (either wall posts or profiles forged in the victim's name), telephone, texting, Myspace, web sites, chat, blogs and message boards. Craigslist, Ripoff Reports, Youtube, Classmates.com and Photobucket were also used to escalate the online harassment.

26% reported there were offline threats, an increase of almost 10% over last year.

Less victims reported the harassment, only 61% versus 72% last year. If they did, over half reported it to law enforcement, followed by ISPs/web site hosts/moderators.

We ended up resolving cases over 75% of the time. If we couldn't resolve it, we sent them to law enforcement first, the harassment stopped on its own, several cases were just Nigerian scam/lottery emails, some wouldn't take our advice, it wasn't harassment, or we referred them to an attorney. A handful didn't reply, which usually meant the harassment stopped, or the victim took matters into their own hands by changing their email address.

Of the cases we resolved, the primary way was contacting the ISP/web site host/moderator, followed by the victim making changes to privacy/account settings, changing their email address, etc.

California was number one again for victims for the 11th year in a row, followed by New York, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Canada, Massachusetts, Washington state and Maryland.

Harassers were primarily from Texas, followed by California, New York, Canada, Florida, Illinois, England, Washington state, Tennessee and Pennsylvania

Only 34.5% of the victims lived in the same state or country their harasser was from.

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