Stay One Step Ahead: How to Know If Someone Is Stalking Your Instagram?
On the 26th of January 2022, Matthew Hardy was sentenced to 9 years in jail for stalking and harassing people on social media, primarily via Instagram. Hardy created fake Instagram accounts to befriend various users, gather information about them and then use it for stalking, threatening, blackmailing, or badmouthing his victims and their relatives.Unfortunately, such cases are not rare, so you should learn how to know if someone is stalking your Instagram. So, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to know if someone is stalking your Instagram and what you need to do to prevent such harassment.
Why you should take Instagram stalking seriously
You may think that online stalkers are just uneducated prankers and hooligans who just make fun of people by bombarding them with weird and frightening messages. However, cases like the above-mentioned one teach the opposite: online stalkers are a threat that shouldn’t be underestimated. Here are the main reasons why Instagram stalkers can be dangerous:
- Privacy violation. Instagram is an online space where people share facts and details about their lives from uploading photos of their children to recording a Reel of how they tried a beer-flavored ice cream in a vintage gelateria in Italy. Unfortunately, such information published online can get into the hands of stalkers, who are particularly determined to learn about you as much as possible. They can gather your background details, location tags, names of your relatives, and so on to track you down in real life.
- Identity theft. The other widespread threat Insta stalkers can pose is using your personal information and photos from your profile to create a fake account. The reason behind this dirty trick is simple: to manipulate you by threatening to post embarrassing things from a fake account or use it for fraud.
- Harassment. Probably, the worst purpose of Instagram stalking is to frighten, annoy, and distress you just because a stalker can. No matter the case, suffering from aggressive acts by a stranger online doesn’t have any excuses
Real life and virtual one do overlap very much today, so what’s happening online can affect you in real life. That’s why online stalking is no joke. But fear not, there are easy yet effective ways to safeguard yourself from IG stalkers.
How to spot an Insta stalker
Before we talk about various methods of detecting stalkers on your Insta profile, we should say that Instagram does not provide a specific feature for monitoring who visits your account. At the time, using a third-party app to see who views your Instagram profile is not recommended, since they don’t provide accurate monitoring of your profile and may expose your profile information to third parties. Compromising one aspect of your online safety for the sake of the another is an absolute no-go.
Still, there are plenty of ways to detect stalkers on Instagram app:
The initial and simplest step is to review your profile interactions. Click on the heart icon placed in the top right corner, and you will find a list of users who liked, commented on your Instagram post, or recently followed you.
There are two major red flags you have to watch out for. The first one is someone’s suspiciously persistent adoration of your profile. A user, especially one without a profile pic and posts published, who likes your every single post and Story, leaves comments, and sends you hundreds of direct messages, can be a stalker. Don’t be charmed with such an attention — it can very ill in its nature. Stalkers act so to convince you they mean no harm to you and, oh God, you are the best person they’ve ever met. (Read a good target for stalking).
The second red flag is when such “fans” of yours aren’t following you, which means they visit your profile not to get amused by a wonderful cake you baked together with your granny. A stalker is here to make such an impression and then harass you. A wolf in a sheep’s clothing.
Your Stories’ views
Unrecognized people in your Stories can be potential stalkers, too. Upon opening your story, click on the viewers located at the bottom left. Here, you can see a full list of users who have viewed your Stories.
Instagram prioritizes showing your stories to the most relevant users, including Close Friends and those with whom you interact often enough. If you open the viewer list soon after posting your story, the list will be arranged chronologically.
However, as your Instagram story gains a certain number of viewers, the ranking algorithm changes. At this point, individuals who actively engage with your stories and posts are most likely to be placed at the top of the list, while less active ones are pushed toward the bottom. If you consistently notice unknown users among your top viewers, there’s a high chance they could be Instagram stalkers.
Who follows you
Just check who follows you from time to time. Accounts with no profile photos and posts as well as strange names (just a bunch of letters, numbers, and symbols) are most likely to be stalkers.
Our advice is simple here: delete all accounts you can’t recognize or that are just uninteresting to you. Instagram is about sharing your life moments with people you actually know. Don’t risk your online safety to get a like from a stranger, especially when there is a high chance they intend to use your personal information against you.
How to block Instagram stalkers
Great, you’ve learned how to identify a stalker who wants to prey on your personal information. But what do you need to do? Block an invader, sure thing. There are a couple of ways you can make a stalker’s day less productive:
Block a specific user
The most direct way is to simply block a particular user you suspect is a stalker:
1. Go to your follower list by clicking on the Instagram profile picture at the bottom right and then tap on the follower.
2. Select the Instagram account you want to block and tap on it. Next, tap the three dots in the top right corner.
3. Select “Block” and follow the on-screen instructions.
If your goal is to report an Instagram stalker or a suspicious account, follow the same instructions, but choose “Report” instead of “Block” during the process.
You can also remove the unwelcome observer by just removing them from the list of your followers. Here’s the guide on how you can do it:
1. Access your followers list by clicking on the Instagram profile picture at the bottom right and then tapping on the follower number.
2. Tap “Remove” next to the follower you wish to remove.
If you suspect that someone is stalking you but are still not 100% sure, you can hide your Stories from this person to limit their knowledge about your life until you learn whether a user is indeed a stalker.
The process of hiding Stories is pretty easy:
1. Tap on your Instagram profile picture at the bottom right.
2. Tap the three stripes on the top right.
3. Choose “Settings.”
4. Select “Privacy.”
5. Go to “Story.”
6. Navigate to “Hide story from.” In this section, choose the Instagram user(s) you want to hide your stories from.
In the same section, you can also select your Close friends by tapping on the “Close friends” option. When you post a Story, you can then decide whether it will be visible only to them or to other users.
What preventive measures to take from Instagram stalkers
Since everyone can be unfortunate enough to become a victim of stalking on Instagram, it’s wise to minimize these chances by following plain yet bulletproof tips:
- Set your account to Private. To control who sees your Instagram profile, access the “Privacy” section through the steps mentioned earlier. Toggle the switch next to “Private account.” By doing so, your Instagram posts will be restricted to followers only, so that users who don’t follow you won’t be able to see your profile unless they send a follow request, which you can then approve or decline.
- Hide your activity. In the same “Privacy” section you can spoof your activity and limit interactions with your profile such as viewing and commenting on your photos, Stories, or Reels.
- Don’t share your personal information. Your name, address, email, phone number, social media profiles, and other sensitive information can be easily stolen and used against you by stalkers. In the same way, sharing names of your relatives and even pets can be enough to track you in real life or steal your private data, if, for example, you use the name of your pet as an answer to security questions or for recovering your accounts in social media, banks, and so on.
- Watch your tags. Be sure to adjust your profile settings to approve every single photo you are tagged on. Being tagged by other people can reveal additional information about you, and you can’t control who will see this photo. Additionally, controlling your tags means your profile won’t appear on various spam rubbish littered across Instagram.
- Review your followers. We’ve already covered this, but we would like to remind you once again to review your followers list from time to time and block anyone you find suspicious and unpleasant to be in your followers list.
- Use two-factor authentication. This feature improves your security by requiring you to confirm your identity through the chosen device, adding an extra defense line to make it challenging for unwelcome users to see your profile.
- Use a private virtual network (VPN). By using VPN, you can protect your personal information. When you connect to the Internet via VPN, all your data goes through a separate “tunnel” where it gets encrypted and becomes unreadable for snoopers. Also, VPN allows you to connect to a remote server to spoof your geolocation, thereby confusing Insta stalkers about where you are. But we need to warn you against using free VPN services as they don’t guarantee sufficient security and report your online activity to third parties. So instead, we suggest you subscribe to VeePN, a robust VPN service that uses AES-256 encryption (the most reliable one to date!) and follows No Logs policy. Simply put, a VPN ensures that it refrains from collecting, and consequently sharing, your personal information. This includes connection logs (such as your IP address, device details, and session duration) and activity logs (including your browsing and search history, online requests, communication with other users, and more).
Use Instagram safely with VeePN
With the tips and strategies we’ve described in this article, you are much less likely to fall prey to bad actors like Matthew Hardy. In addition to these recommendations, we recommend trying the VeePN. Our VPN service runs on all kinds of platforms and includes such useful security features as Kill Switch, and Double VPN. With Kill Switch, you don’t have to worry for your data security even if a VPN connection fails, as this feature will block access to your device until connection restore. As for Double VPN, you can make your data encrypted twice, so that stalkers and snoopers won’t be able to read a word of your personal information!
Get VeePN to safeguard your Instagram and say goodbye to stalkers!
How to Know If Someone Is Stalking Your Instagram
Instagram does not provide a feature that allows users to see a list of people who have viewed your profile. The platform prioritizes user privacy, and viewing information is not made publicly available. There have been third-party apps and services claiming to offer this functionality, but it’s important to be cautious as these can violate Instagram’s terms of service and compromise your account security.
We highly recommend checking your followers’ list from time to time and deleting any suspicious accounts with no profile photos and posts published, strange nicknames, and such. Also, if a profile you don’t recognize likes and comments on your posts too often, this person might be a stalker.
Secure your Instagram account by making it private, allowing only approved followers to view your posts. Adjust message settings to receive messages solely from those you follow and block any specific account stalking you to prevent interaction. If threatened, report the stalker through Instagram, document inappropriate actions with screenshots, and exercise caution in sharing sensitive details on your profile.