Threats & Harassment: How to Respond

Internet communication allows fast and inexpensive communication on a global scale. Electronic mail is taken for granted as a means to send messages within seconds to friends, family, and associates. With this ability also comes a certain level of anonymity that the Internet provides for those unaware on how to track communication. This anonymity creates a rather simple place to wage threats against and harass persons.

These suggestions hope to aid you in responding to harassment and threats in cyber space and only covers email, instant messaging, and other "online" communications. Always be sure to keep notes of the incident in the case that further legal investigation occurs.

How to Respond

If you receive any arbitrary harassment that makes you uncomfortable, respond once to the person harassing you. If being harassed by email or instant messaging, reply once shortly stating that you wish for the harassment to stop. At this point make no further contact with the other party. Save all offending messages that you receive via email and save chat sessions, where possible. Make notes to yourself as to the time and date that each incident occurs.

If the abuse has originated from DePaul University, or you have factual evidence the offending party was using a DePaul University computing resource, notify us immediately as to the details of the event. You may find our contact information here. If the offending party was not within DePaul, you should send email to the security contact for that organization. Usually, this can be achieved by sending your allegations to either or . Note that you should replace with the domain name of the persons organization, ISP, etc. [KAT NOTE: Need to correct this before approval. Messaging EJ for further clarification.]

If you are unable to obtain this information, or find that no response is given by the external organization, please contact us for assistance.

Continued Harassment

If you are receiving continued threats or being harassed we strongly urge you to contact the DePaul University Public Safety department or local police department.

Lincoln Park Campus: (773) 325-7777

Downtown/Loop Campus: (312) 362-8400

Additionally if your immediate safety is endangered contact the local law enforcement officials by dialing 911 from any telephone.

Be Smart, Be Safe

Whether you're enjoying the local nightlife that Lincoln Park has to offer or you are meeting new people in an online chat forum, be wise about the information you offer to strangers. We recommend these simple steps for ensuring your safety.

In the real world...

  1. Keep your University ID Card with you at all times and not visible to strangers.
  2. If you decide to meet someone from the Internet, make sure to bring a friend and meet in a public place to play it safe.
  3. Credit cards, bank ATM cards, preferred shopper cards, and just about anything else that establishes your identity may adversely affect your credit and reputation if misused by a malicious person. Keep these to yourself.

In cyber space...

  1. Locks on your door will not prevent online attacks in cyber space. Make yourself aware of our computer security recommendations to improve the security of your computers. Unfortunately, as our world gets more and more "wired" online threats to your well-being will become more common.
  2. Never lend anyone your personal, school or work computers or accounts. You are responsible for any actions that occur from your computers or accounts; and you may be legally liable as well.
  3. Remember, it is trivial for anyone to capture network traffic to and from the Internet. Always assume that "someone else" is looking at your email, watching your network traffic, etc. Employ encryption when communicating sensitive information.

Reporting Incidents

While Information Security may not be the primary contact in the event of an ongoing incident, we try to keep our eyes out for the university community and track incidents. Feel free to contact the Information Security Team with the details of the problem, etc. Employ encryption software, where possible, when reporting via email, and do not disclose information that is sensitive to your situation. All information reported to Information Security will remain confidential for your safety.

Video about Responding to Identity Theft