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Cyberstalking Is A Real Crime: One In Five Americans Affected By Unwanted Contact

National Cyber Security Alliance and McAfee Release New Research in Support of Stalking Awareness Month this January

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and McAfee today released survey data in light of Annual Stalking Awareness Month indicating that 20 percent of Americans have been affected by cyberstalking, persistent emails, and other unwanted contact. JZ Analytics conducted the survey of American adults and the full report is available at: http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/resources/.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120911/DC71739LOGO)

This January is the tenth annual National Stalking Awareness Month dedicated to educating the public about the dangers related to the crime of stalking both online and offline. According to the Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime "stalking" generally refers to harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following a person, appearing at a person's home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person's property.

Stalkers generally leverage various kinds of technologies – including the Internet and Web connected devices – to stalk their victims. The Stalking Resource Center states that one in four victims report that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, to track the victim's daily activities.

"In order to effectively combat unwanted contact, it is important to know the signs of stalking and how to deal with such related incidents," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. "Aggressive outreach such as persistent emails, harassing posts or text messages are not acceptable forms of online communication and NCSA encourages affected individuals to contact  local law enforcement or victim service agencies to report such activities and get help."

"Adults are not the only ones at risk when it comes to cyberstalkers. Parents need to communicate with their children about such Internet dangers and promote Internet safety," said Gary Davis, vice president of Global Consumer Marketing at McAfee. "Be sure to secure your devices with strong passwords and frequent updates, connect only with people you know, and be careful not to share contact information or your location."

In researching Internet related crimes, NCSA/McAfee research found that almost one in five Americans (17 percent) have been victimized through experiences like identity theft, data theft, stalking, bullying or auction fraud and nearly twice as many (29 percent) reported knowing someone who had been victim to Internet crime. When asked if local law enforcement was equipped to handle reports and investigate crimes committed over the Internet, two thirds (52 percent) of Americans noted their local police department's capabilities in dealing with such crimes are not sufficient enough.

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