Someone keeps searching for me on google and it is freaking me out.
May 7, 2021 6:59 PM   Subscribe

I keep getting email alerts from an academic website that I’ve signed up for that someone searched for me on google. The state and country location is the same each time so it seems to be the same person, and I think I know who it is. More details after the jump.

I have a very bare bones profile on this academic website that lets you know when someone searches you. I know that the search is conducted on my name because the analytics give you the search words that led to your profile.

The reason why this is freaking me out is that I’m almost certain this is a person I knew casually years ago who had developed an obsession with me. They were part of a group of people I used to hang out with and and their behaviour started turning disturbing (some kind of effed up infatuation)so I had to take measures to cut off contact. I had to threaten legal action for them to leave me alone. I have since completely cut off from that group and this specific person hasn’t tried to make contact again directly. But I’m pretty certain that they’re the one who keeps searching for me on google and this is making me extremely uncomfortable.

I looked over all the notifications I received in the past 4 years from this website and they searched for my name around 10 times a year. The last year was less, only about 3 times but still the searches are consistent every single year. I guess my question is, how worried should I be? This is creeping me out beyond belief but I don’t know if there is anything at all I can do because this person is searching for me on google. I have always had this subtle anxiety in the back of my mind that they would try to make contact again and I’ve been comforted only by the fact that they haven’t (about 6 years now) but knowing that they keep searching my name is beyond disturbing. Is there anything I should be doing to protect myself? Has anyone dealt with anything similar? Please share your thoughts, I would appreciate it tremendously.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm so sorry, this is so so uncomfortable.

If you flood google with other random information containing details about yourself, it may mask relevant information in a way that protects you.

You can also create duplicate accounts with your name, but different details, to obscure the engine.

These are recommended tricks for women/men being digitally stalked. It's unfortunate for active business efforts or details you'd prefer searchable, but if stalky mcstalkerson can't get you off their mind, it can help a bit.

You can also contact the academic site to obscure or veil your information.

I hope this phases into a better situation for you and this person forgets you. That situation is just.. exactly what it is.
posted by firstdaffodils at 7:15 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Can you turn off these alerts? I don't think it is healthy to be bothered like this ten times a year. You know this person is a threat, but you don't need this constant reminder.
posted by soelo at 7:17 PM on May 7 [17 favorites]


Can you turn off these alerts? The act of searching your name is not harmful to you except that it creeps you out. From that perspective, you can best protect yourself by not knowing about it. You already extracted yourself from the situation. There's no further conflict to be had. You won.

Failing that, you could try a reframe from "oh shit oh shit oh shit" to "that poor bastard, stuck in the past... oh well, not my problem!" Easier said than done, I know, but the physical actions that go with that thought - a big sigh and an eyeroll - might help.
posted by inexorably_forward at 7:18 PM on May 7 [4 favorites]


Addendum: in assessment of threat, if this person is actually capable of causing more problems, it may help to have some alert they are active or attempting to connect.
posted by firstdaffodils at 7:44 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


I have an internet stalker. The therapist, lawyers and police officers I spoke with all told me that while they could not guarantee it, if this person has not escalated or made direct contact by now, after 12 years, they were very unlikely to escalate.

It is not much to hang on to, but in my case, it is accurate.

What I did was set up a Google alert for their name. It vaguely keeps tabs on them. They live about 500 miles away. Also, the police ran their license plate and set up their own alert if the plate shows up in either their license plate readers or in the county cop readers. Not sure if that is helpful but it made me feel better. As for electronic contact, I have their email address filtered to a separate folder. I have not blocked them on any site bc I personally would rather know if they are suddenly trying to contact me. Personal preference.

Not sure if it is your thing, but I was able to get a carry permit bc of the threats I reported to the police, now many years ago. I do know that this person still tracks me as I set up a small trap to see if they would follow me on Twitter if I opened an account in my name. I deleted the account about a month after they followed me.

I would never tell you not to worry bc God forbid something does happen, but I will repeat what I wrote above about the so called experts telling me it was highly unlikely.
posted by AugustWest at 8:26 PM on May 7


If I'm correct in assuming this is https://www.academia.edu/, I wouldn't worry too much about that site in particular since there's no personal information on there. I'd make sure your home address cannot be found via a Google search though.
posted by coffeecat at 8:26 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Chiming in to say that if it's https://www.academia.edu/ I think you can almost certainly ignore it? They are constantly emailing me with 'searches' in order to get me to upgrade my account, similar to how LinkedIn wants you to pay to view who looked at your profile. More annoying than anything else.
posted by socky_puppy at 2:11 AM on May 8 [10 favorites]


Right now in my spam-account inbox: From Academia.edu, "Someone just searched for you on Google, and found your page on Academia.edu.

To see the search query they used, what rank you are on Google for this query, and what country the search came from, follow the link below:
"

They are just plain scammer spammer trolls. Set up your inbox to ignore/delete their emails.
posted by Dashy at 2:41 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


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