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 online message board. The student-only forum was available to customers who purchased a 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 of the course that I was learning from. He kept telling me: “You should stay away from him and find a different 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
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 – The new mom business website I owned was hacked and destroyed. We had clean backups and we were able to restore the site promptly. As of 2010 I no longer own or run that business.
2008 – My Facebook account was hacked. My profile was changed and it said I was looking to meet women and that I was a lesbian. I totally support gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transgender but I am not lesbian… sorry.
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.
2010 – Another website that I had owned with my name attached to it was hacked. We then promptly switched to a new web hosting provider and rebuilt and published the site using static HTML pages instead of using a Content Management System with a database.
2011 – 2012 I kept mostly quiet online. I was not bothered online during this time, and I think it’s because I wasn’t actively attaching my name online or posting any new photos or new blog posts anywhere online.
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.
2014 – I stayed mostly quiet online until toward the end of the year when I started to use Twitter, Pinterest, etc. I was not bothered online during that time.
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 2016 – August 23, 2016 – New user accounts with no last names (1 – 2 new user accounts per day) with no followers, no Instagram photos, and no pins harassing me via Instagram and Pinterest.
Update – December 5, 2016 – A new user on Twitter followed my Twitter account. Upon clicking on the link in their bio I immediately noticed that the website stole content from a website that I own — including my PDF word-for-word. The offender removed my logo and website name and replaced it with theirs and called it theirs. I then contacted the offender’s web hosting provider on December 6, 2016 and the web hosting provider contacted me back promptly and told me they removed the offender’s website according to their DMCA procedure. I have saved all the emails from the web hosting customer service.
Update – December 11, 2016 – The SAME website that stole content from my website a few days earlier came back and copied and pasted content from my website yet AGAIN — only this time they did not include the PDF. I contacted the offender’s web hosting provider and the web hosting provider contacted me back and told me they removed the offender’s website according to their DMCA procedure. I have saved all the emails from the web hosting customer service.
Update – February 2017 – 119+ (plus because the links continue to add up) spam and porn related websites were suddenly linking to another website that I own with my name attached to it. We have disavowed all the links so the search engines do not ban my website. In addition, we have blocked multiple attempted brute force login attempts for that particular website. Many of the IP addresses were from Canada.
Update – February 14, 2017 – The SAME website copied and pasted content from my website YET AGAIN but this time copying and pasting content from *ONE* page of my website. I waited a few days before contacting the offender’s web hosting provider. After contacting the web hosting provider they contacted me back and told me they removed the offender’s website according to their DMCA procedure. I have saved all the emails from the web hosting customer service.
Update – February 26, 2017 – A woman (using a full name) started an online smear campaign against me. Online social networking accounts closely associated with the woman who joined in on the online smear campaign against me:
A male who is a business partner of hers
A non-profit charity organization – they are using a copyrighted image from the Angry Birds movie as part of their logo
A BANK – Why would a bank join in on cyber bullying someone?!
A celebrity LAWYER
A criminal defense LAWYER
An online mobile payment processor business – who since has changed their business name TWICE!
Two females associated with the woman messaged me via Twitter telling me that I am a nobody and a bitch
Three females on Instagram that are associated with the woman and two are supposed mental health counselors
I Took Myself Out Of The Victim Role
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. I also encourage you if you’re being cyberstalked to reach out to the FBI. File a complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3. This is a fight you can WIN! Peace be with you and stay shiny meanwhile!
I have been getting encouraging messages that I should repost my story, so I have reposted it for 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.
*This article is not a free reprint article and is exclusive to FightCyberstalking.org and cannot be posted on any blog or website without written permission.
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