As Web Use Soars, So Does Online Harassment

The final report in a four-part series

As the number of Internet users increases, so does the risk of encountering online harassers.

Jane Hitchcock knows firsthand how damaging online harassment can be. In 1996, after a fake literary agency tried to con her, she tried to put a stop to its scam. The scammers didn't appreciate her efforts and came after her — virtually and physically.

"In January of 1997, they began posting controversial messages ... and listed my home phone number and home address and it went from there," she says.

Hitchcock, who is now president of the volunteer organization Working to Halt Online Abuse, reports about 75 cases of online harassment a week. She says that a large number of the victims range in age between 18 and 30. Most are women, and the harassers are largely men, she says.

Liane Hansen spoke with Tim Wedge, a computer crime specialist at the National White Collar Crime Center, to learn how victims like Hitchcock can protect themselves from online harassment.

Weekend Edition Sunday's month-long series on Cyber Crime was produced by Davar Ardalan and Laura Krantz and edited by Jenni Bergal..

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