My Cyberstalking Story: Lisa Paredes Woeller
My Cyberstalking Story: Hiding Online Wasn’t An Option Anymore
In 2006 I was cyberstalked by a man who said his name was Joshua and was from Canada. Joshua befriended me at an internet marketing traffic
message board. The student-only
forum was available to customers who purchased an internet web traffic course
which I had purchased. At first he was friendly and nice to talk to, but over time I noticed red flags about Joshua’s personality.
Joshua started to ask me obsessively who I was talking to online, what internet marketing seminars I would be attending next, and WHO I was networking with. I also noticed a peculiar thing: He started excessively talking about a particular female internet marketer and male internet marketer nearly every single day. I thought it was odd but continued talking to him anyway. Over the next few months of exchanging emails with Joshua, I started to notice another constant: He would always tell me in emails NOT to talk to this particular male internet marketer–who happened to be the very teacher & creator of the traffic course that I was learning from. He kept telling me: “You should stay away from him and find a different internet marketing guru to learn from.”
One day I shared via email that I attended an internet marketing seminar in my hometown in San Diego, California. I mentioned to Joshua seeing the male internet marketer he always spoke of was in attendance. Joshua then proceeded to tell me that the female and male internet marketer (that he always talked about nearly every day) were in an intimate relationship together. Joshua warned me to: “FOLLOW ANOTHER INTERNET MARKETING TEACHER! KEEP AWAY FROM HIM! STAY AWAY FROM HIM! DON’T TRY TALKING TO HIM HE’S NOT AVAILABLE!! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!? YOU SHOULDN’T LIKE HIM! DON’T TRY TALKING TO HIM! HE’S TAKEN!!! HE’S TAKEN!!!!” He then admitted to me that he was lying about his identity and that he was a hacker. He told me I should stop making blog posts, take down my photos, and I should stop using my full name online.
I was sickened and wanted nothing to do with him. At that point, I knew I needed to sever all ties with him, but it was too late. Over the course of ONE day he had hijacked all my email addresses and left one working email address, he took over some of my accounts on various online forums, took control over my Blogger account, hacked and destroyed a message board I owned, and then sent me emails for months on the one working email address I had — until I finally deactivated the email address.
Joshua sent me a message that I will never forget: If looks could kill I’d love to watch you DIE slowly.
I Hid Online For One Year
I tried my best to hide online for about one year so that Joshua wouldn’t follow me. This was no easy task because I worked online and needed to use my full name. At the time I was involved in two different niches online, but only used my full name for marketing in the work at home mom niche. I then made the difficult decision to delete my mom business website and establish a new mom site. I then promoted the new mom business using only the business name. I also made the decision to delete and sell several sites that Joshua knew I owned so that he wouldn’t find me or bother me again. I figured then it would be nearly impossible for Joshua to find me.
It was now the fall of 2007 and I had grown tired of hiding online. At this point, the only reference to my full name attached to any business and website was a trademark that I had filed. My mom niche website was thriving and I was happy to help other women. It gave me great joy and satisfaction at the time. I also started getting large amounts of inquiries asking more about the business, so I then decided I was going to come out of hiding. I figured why should I have to hide if Joshua was the one with the problem. I figured why should I have to dim my light in order for someone else to feel better. I didn’t want to live a life of regret, and, I knew if I hid longer I would be living a life a regret.
I then made the decision to come out using my middle name as my last name. I mentally prepared myself just in case Joshua reappeared. I also mentally prepared myself just in case I received random anonymous hate messages online. I told myself that if I wanted to be successful with any of my online goals that I needed to move forward regardless of Joshua.
My first goal was to write one article and publish it on an online article directory using my full name. Then I made another goal to write several more articles and publish those on other online article directories. Then after I accomplished those goals I decided to make a bigger goal: Issue a press release. I wanted to announce the official launch of my website. I felt the business needed a proper announcement even though the site had been published for awhile.
December 2007 is when the press release was issued and made public. From that press release I was interviewed online, my business made the 5 o’clock news, and my business was featured in an offline women’s marketing newsletter. The most satisfaction came not from the business mentions, but from the sheer fact that I put myself out there along with my photo!
Random Online Haters? The World Was Too Big For Me To Try and Figure It All Out
This is when I made sure to carefully EXTRA document EVERYTHING! I took screenshots, printed out messages, noted usernames, dates, noted URLs, bookmarked URLs.
2008 – I was directed to a message forum where a female started to make claims that my business stole copyrighted images and was redistributing them freely. The woman’s profile picture was a cartoon image with dark brown hair, black lips, and a black dress. She went on to claim that she sent me and my business emails and a letter about being sued — of course, we never received any emails or a letter from the woman making such claims, and, of course, we were not redistributing copyrighted images.
There were several female users on the message forum chiming in and agreeing with this woman. ALL of those users were all new message board users with no last names and their pictures were all cartoon avatars. At this point in time, I assumed that the posts created by this woman and the new users were actually the work of Joshua trying to make it appear legitimate. I figured Joshua must have been keeping a keen eye on the work at home mom niche and had seen my photo.
2008 – 2010 – The online rumors did not stop there. I was called a scamster, phishing scammer, and a spammer repeatedly by anonymous users online using no real names and photos only online handles.
March 2013 – A feminist group on Reddit.com where three users (using usernames and not using their last names) called me a spammer and scamster and a liar. These users posted links to my personal blog (I had a personal non-business related blog at the time) and made claims that I even spammed on my own personal Twitter account. The group posted my DNS (Domain Name System) server address on Reddit.com claiming that my personal blog website’s server (hosted on Hostgator) was a known spamming network and that I was a known spammer — which of course is totally untrue.
Then the three users pressed on saying that I was indeed scammer because the WHOIS information on another one of my websites was made private. It’s common practice for website owners to register their websites privately in order to shield their home address and phone number from being publicly listed for ALL to see from the WHOIS database. In no way does registering your website privately make one a scammer.
March 2015 – A female on Pinterest uploaded a harassing text graphic and directed the graphic towards me and my new life coaching website.
***UPDATE March 31, 2016*** – I’ve been working with a private tech investigative firm. They have identified the person who has stalked me as *female* from Canada (we know her full identity) and not a male based on saved evidence. This was all the work of ONE jealous woman, and I am so NOT afraid of her. A woman who hid behind her computer and befriended me posing as a man named Joshua Kim. The woman who cyberstalked me was a Global Moderator at the student-only internet traffic message board. Global Moderators had the ability to create new user accounts on that particular message board software brand. The way she hacked my online accounts was by sending me a keylogger via email through email attachments (Word Docs, ZIP files, etc.) posing at first as a friendly fellow internet marketer who was looking to form a mastermind group like me. Unfortunately, my anti-virus software did not detect the keylogger right away. I recommend that everyone invest in anti keylogger software.
Since learning the identity of the woman who stalked me, I have noticed her suddenly showing up where I *first* show up on certain social networking websites: Particular Facebook pages I comment, like, and follow. More recently, certain Instagram users that I comment, like, and follow. It was also brought to my attention by a friend online that woman made public posts on her Facebook account saying that she had recently visited the city and state I live in — in San Diego, California.
Through this whole entire journey, I have learned that her problem with me is NOT my problem. I also like to remind myself of an affirmation I wrote: I attract like energy & repel those not on the same wavelength. It’s all good! It also reminds me not to dim my light and to keep shining no matter what. I also wholeheartedly believe in the Law of Karma: What you put out will come back to you tenfold. I will continue to put good out and stay focused on my goals and focus on all the good in this world — it’s what keeps me going!
****UPDATE March 2016 – Current (August 23, 2016)**** – New user accounts (1 – 2 new user accounts per day) with no followers, no Instagram photos, and no pins harassing me via Instagram and Pinterest. Screenshots, reporting, and blocking. Some days I don’t have time to block, so I simply leave it for a few days as I have more important positive things to do. 🙂
I Took Myself Out Of The Victim Role
The person who told me their name was Joshua and confessed that they lied about their identity and cyberstalked me is still out there online. I’m not afraid of this person. What helped me to move forward was removing myself from the victim role. Removing myself from the victim role meant documenting everything! Through this whole entire experience, I’ve learned that peace comes from within and that nobody can break my spirit or stop me from pursuing my goals. My hope is that anyone reading this who is being cyberstalked finds my words encouraging and finds the inner strength to shine their light without fear. Peace be with you.
Lisa Paredes Woeller is a mindset coach and can be found at www.lisawoeller.com. You have permission to tweet and link to this article on Twitter or Facebook.
Copyright © Lisa Paredes Woeller.
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