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Here's how to fight cyber stalkers with mobile apps

13 August 2014, 07:21Duncan Alfreds, Fin24

Cape Town - It could be an ex-boyfriend, ex-boss, or even some guy that you bumped into at your local pub.

But whoever they are, they just won’t take the hint that you want nothing to do with them and they call, send SMSes; WhatsApp messages when all you want is for them to leave you alone.

There are many levels of stalking, and it is understandable that many people who are victims of stalkers feel that they do not want to report the stalker immediately: This is a mistake as the shows on the Crime channel will testify.

However, if you have a smartphone you have some digital help in avoiding stalkers or even gathering evidence of the activity that may help the police in later investigations.

Both Android devices and iPhones offer basic contact blocking functionality.

Police evidence

On most Android devices, hold down the contact number of the person you want to block and choose block from the menu.

On the iPhone, you can simply block all calls and texts from a contact from the Contacts menu.

These settings will prevent a known contact from stalking you by calling or sending SMSes.

However, as stalkers up the ante, there are a few apps to help you keep them at bay.

For stalkers who call by hiding their number, the Mr Number app is able to block these calls, though text blocking is not supported on Android 4.4 (KitKat).

The app is also able to block entire area codes for stalkers who call from the same area, but you can add exceptions to all block settings.

One feature lets you add specific calls so that they go straight to your voice mail which is a neat trick if the stalker escalates behaviour and you want to have evidence for the police.

Call recording

Postman and similar apps can block unwanted SMSes. Unlike some apps that replace the native messaging functionality, Postman scans your messages as the default app to clean up you inbox, before switching you back to your regular application.

The app categorises SMSes from numbers not in your contact list as spam, but you are able to change the category manually.

On a test over two weeks, Postman performed well and spam SMSes from furniture companies, insurance firms and others were successfully moved to a spam folder.

Most stalkers though, call their victims and despite having an application like Mr Number to block them, when you want to report the harassment to the police, you will need evidence of the crime.

The ACR app runs in the background and records your phone calls - incoming and outgoing - so you have instant evidence of verbal harassment or even of verbal contracts conducted.

The app’s default format is .3gp, but it also records in .wav, .ogg, .mp4, though not in the popular .mp3 format.

The app allows users to delay the default recording time, and specify which contacts to avoid recording.

Watch this News24 Live video on how to use apps to beat stalkers:

- Follow Duncan on Twitter



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