Love can be complicated. When a person has romantic feelings for someone, they may show it in strange ways. Some people become so obsessed with their love interest that they turn to cyberstalking.
A teen from New York City is facing cyberstalking charges after harassing a girl who was his sister’s former classmate. In February 2020, the 19-year-old professed his love for the college student on Instagram. The girl did not return his affections and that’s when the cyberstalking and hacking began.
The man proceeded to access the girl’s online accounts and change her passwords. He also posted offensive statements and photos referencing racial slurs, sex, violence, injury and death on the accounts. The man also stole photos from the girl’s social media accounts and texted them to her friends and family members.
Things got even scarier after the man offered people to murder, rape and decapitate the girl in exchange for Bitcoin. He publicly posted the girl’s address and other personal information and encouraged people to harass her. He then emailed a bomb threat, which caused police to show up at the girl’s home. The man also targeted the girl’s ex-boyfriend as well as members of her family.
The cyberstalking campaign lasted from April 18, 2020 to November 24, 2020. A complaint against the man was filed on December 14. He is accused of multiple federal charges, including cyberstalking, aggravated identity theft, emailing a hoax bomb threat, murder for hire and causing damage to a protected computer. He could face up to 32 years in prison if he is convicted on all counts.
Cyberstalking is the equivalent of following someone and stalking them, except it is done online. Since so many people have Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts, finding someone on the internet is a relatively easy task. That’s why there are laws protecting people from online harassment.
Cyberstalking may target individuals or groups and may include slander and defamation. In some cases, it may even involve serious threats, as it did in this case. Threatening to seriously injure or kill someone is a serious crime, even when done over the internet. Many people threaten others in order to get the victim to do something, such as share personal information, or in this case, get the victim to fall in love with them.
Cyberstalking often lasts many months or even years. It may start out as a seemingly harmless interaction. However, when the suspect continues with the messages or hacks the victim’s online accounts, things get scarier and it is important for the victim to get police involved as quickly as possible.
Many people underestimate online crimes. They think they can hide behind a computer screen, but most of those who commit internet crimes do get caught and arrested at some point.
Have you been accused of cyberstalking? If so, seek aggressive representation from a Columbia internet crime lawyer at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. He can help you avoid serious penalties. Call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation. We have two offices to serve you.
7310 Ritchie Highway, Suite 910
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
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10440 Little Patuxent Parkway,
Columbia, MD 21044