What to do about a persistent stalker/harrasser on a forum?

Deimos

Devotee
Joined
Oct 21, 2007
Messages
2,819
Hey all,

So the company I work for has an Invision forum with an adult audience (escorts).

One of the escorts has a stalker, someone who's been stalking her for nearly a year now and he discovered 3 months ago that she's on our forum.

So he basically signs up using random emails/names, sends her abusive pms, changes his profile information to include vulgar messages about her and posts her home address/phone number and what appears to be recordings of her, naked, as images/gifs.

So we ban the member, remove all the profile information and block the IP, but he comes back nearly every 1-3 days, new name/email, but his email always starts with 142.x.x.x.
But we can't ban the entire range as others use it too (It's a Virgin mobile network in Canada).

We don't want to restrict new members because of one person, but has anyone ever tried contacting ISPs about something like this?
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,278
I'm also sure that kind of behavior would be illegal in most parts of the world.

I would probably start by sending a complaint to the ISP before going to the authorities. While it sounds like you are doing everything possible to deal with the problem, your company might want to consider taking legal advice before going to the authorities.
 

LeadCrow

Apocalypse Admin
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
6,578
So he basically signs up using random emails/names
You can disable new registrations or subject them to admin approval in case you have paralel criterias to ensure people are identified like phone verification or payment details. In many countries even PAYG phone plans require identity verification and this can be used to confirm the identity of misbehavers.
Obviously wouldnt accomodate growth strategies but if you're in situations where staff cant be on top of things preemptively and your members need peace of mind, such an approach should ensure that and comes handy when your staff is away on holidays.

If disabling registration would not be viable, you could delay the activation of member privileges by a few days after signup (from experience 5 days seems to filter out a ton of parasites averse to reading rules and searching), then requiring they complete their profiles before they can submit any content publicly viewable or requiring approval for their earliest public content.
 

Deimos

Devotee
Joined
Oct 21, 2007
Messages
2,819
That's not a bad idea, thanks Crow

We ideally want to find a solution but I don't believe in punishing the many because of one person, but limiting features is a good suggestion.

But yea I'll relay all the suggestions posted here, many thanks everyone.
 

Matt M

Director Development at Invision Community
Joined
Apr 28, 2005
Messages
267
I'd definitely look at contacting the police. People like this tend to escalate so the sooner the police have information about him/her the better.

In terms of the software, you could consider creating two groups

Members
Members+

Members is the default group that requires post approval on all posts.
Members+ is an automatic promotion group that Members moves into after 3 approved posts.

I know it's a bit of a hassle but after a month or so it's likely he'll have given up as it's a longer wait until he can post again.
 

Deimos

Devotee
Joined
Oct 21, 2007
Messages
2,819
Yea we have something similar in place already for containing spammers, basically the first group (after email validation) is moderated members.

They need to make 5 posts (all requiring approval) before they get upgraded to a regular account.

Luckily he doesn't make posts, but he gets around that by pm'ing the individual in question and others about her.
We would basically have to lock down the entire group to posting only to stop him I think, as he exploits anything he can to post what he does (Profile pictures, profile background images, profile text, profile fields etc).
 

Deimos

Devotee
Joined
Oct 21, 2007
Messages
2,819
Thanks :) We even went as far as adding her street name/address to the censor filter, but it didn't work sadly, only part of the profile page seems to be checked by the filter. But even if it did, I'm sure he would use different letters and such to get around it.

What would be nice in cases like this (I'm sure they are rare though) is for the ban member function to have the option to clear out their profile (pictures, text etc) in one swipe, the flag as spammer option seems to, but I believe? it sends a report to third parties, so we don't use that function as it feels like we're abusing it.
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,057
As others have said, log his IPs and info and contact his ISP so they can track his account. Also report it to the RCMP, if you're in Canada. Continuing to ban someone like this becomes a frustrating game of Whack-a-mole. The best way to stop it is to find him and prosecute him. It also sends the escorts on your forum a strong message saying you will support and protect them.
 

MagicalAzareal

Magical Developer
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
723
If possible, you will want users to have a certain number of posts before they can send PMs or do things on their profiles. This doesn't just help in this scenario, but also helps with spambots who may send spam silently to members without you knowing. I know of a lot of admins who get hit by PM spammers.
 

Doug Heffernan

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 28, 2018
Messages
158
Deimos, as it happens I wrote a mod for someone at smf who was in a similiar situation. What the mod does is that when certain members receive a pm, a topic will be created automatically in a certain forum where staff members will be notified automatically. The pm will be reported automatically if you will.

You can have such a mod coded for Ipb too if you think that it will help.
 

CyberJoe

Enthusiast
Joined
May 23, 2016
Messages
107
With VBulletin there is a plugin called Duplicate Login Detector, it places a cookie on the users PC, and if there are more than one login from the same browser it posts in your admin area, I have used it very successfully already to sniff our users creating duplicate accounts to cause trouble, it cannot be too difficult to get somebody to do a plugin like that for you.
 
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