Terrified People Share The Scariest Encounters They've Had On The Internet.
The internet is the greatest forum of free speech that has ever existed in the history of humanity. It's also a place where you can creep out with little chance of being identified.
This piece is based on an AskReddit thread. Link on the last page.
1. A note-able hacker.
I opened my computer the one day to find that a bunch of setting had been changed. My wallpaper was upside down, my icons shuffled around, my mouse settings were different. It was obvious I had been hacked. Then I realized there was a text file on my desktop. I opened it, and it said how this person had managed to hack me, along with some tips to improve my security. I wasn't even mad, though I was a little unnerved.
2. My ex-extortionist.
I sent very degrading nudes of myself to a "woman" who turned out to be a very creepy man.
He threatened to send them to all of my friends and colleagues if I didnt pay up. The moment that happened, my heart dropped. But then I thought screw it - my sexuality is none of their business" and told the guy to go get a job. He never sent anything.
3. I bet you won a free cruise too...
I was browsing porn for the first time as a teenager and a "WARNING: THIS IS THE [Insert town I live in] POLICE. CALL THIS NUMBER NOW" tab opened. I was scared to death until I realized "If I was in trouble from the police, why would they force open a tab in my browser?"
I used to play online games with a guy who was American, but lived in Japan. Then that tsunami hit, and none of us ever heard from him again.
5. All about that race.
I went online on the game Burnout Paradise. Wasn't sure how it worked because I saw no one else, so I minimized the game and forgot about it. A little bit later I completely forgot about the minimized game, and heard a voice. (continued...)
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I listened closer and it sounded like two guys. I immediately thought someone was hacking me. My mic was plugged in so I said "what are you doing??" the guy goes "just looking at your records dude." I thought like personal bank records etc. He meant my racing records in the game.
I told him to stop and he says something like "why dude you were open?" so I panicked and shut my computer down. Took a few minutes for me to actually make the connection.
6. "Seven days."
Does over the phone count (from the Dial-up days)?
I once was talking with my sister in the kitchen when the phone rang. Caller ID said unknown number.
I picked it up, and all I heard was a recording of our voices, saying something we had said just a minute earlier in our conversation. After about 15 seconds of it, I suddenly heard this loud static-y screeching noise and then the call cut out.
7. You've got (junk) mail.
I was in high school, and I had swollen lymph nodes around my nether regions. I took pictures from all kinds of angles so I could show the doctor after school without having to expose myself in person.
Fast forward to computer class, and I'm logging into my google account to pull up my power point on the projector. As I'm trying to log into Drive, to my terror, I see 5 thumbnails of my junk displayed in the queue for auto-upload to Google+.
Luckily, no one noticed. I was always the weirdo outcast kid, so if the other students caught wind that this happened, my life would have been over promptly.
8. You threat your life.
This was like 2010, and I was gaming online. I was arguing with a dude who was raging and threatening me. There was brief pause in the conversation and I thought it was over. Then he came back and said, "Hello [real name], you still think I can't find you?" (continued...)
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"You think you can hide from me?" I told him I wasn't hiding and he should walk through my front door because I left it unlocked for him.
To this day I have no idea how he found out my real name.
9. Caught in a web.
There were multiple posts of me on some shady site asking people in my area if anyone had nudes of me and someone wrote a detailed fantasy of having sex with me. The part that freaked me out is that they had taken pictures of my face off of social media. I deleted a massive amount of stuff online after that.
10. You can pay bail by giving me your credit card number.
I got a popup once that informed me I had underage pornography on my computer (which I did not) and the police were on their way to my house. It instructed me to call a 1-800 number. When I read the first line of "you have child pornography on your computer" my heart stopped beating and I froze. But then I was like "how would calling a 1-800 number help me?" It was then I realized it was a scam. Still pretty terrifying.
11. Shoot the Messenger.
Back in the good ol' MSN days when I was 11 and new to the internet and just added any old random on Messenger to chat to.
Ended up talking to this girl who was ostensibly from a few towns over.
Got to the point where 'she' demanded that I travelled down to where she was because I was now her boyfriend. Sent her one picture of me and never received one back from her. Obviously, being naive and young at the time, I just stopped talking to her somewhere along the line and didn't think anything of it. But thinking back now, I'm pretty sure that was a sex offender.
12. Watching them watch.
A stranger emailed me a video of myself that was taken at the mall (that I didn't know was being taken, when I was 15). I never figured out who it was or why.
13. What are the odds?
Out of curiosity, on one of my typical Internet rabbit hole days, I was reading stories about people committing suicide and looked at a bunch of websites on the topic. That was when something incredibly coincidental happened. (continued...)
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All of the sudden my best friend from 15 years ago, who I hadn't spoken to in a while, texts me and says "don't do it man." When I call him up, says it was completely random.
14. That's why you don't give your number out.
I met somebody on a game when I was 15 years old. He was much older than I was, maybe late 20s, and he lived one state away from me. I gave my phone number out to anybody back then, I liked texting people. I was texting this guy, and sending him innocent pictures of myself per his request. He started demanding that I send him naked pictures of myself, which I wasn't comfortable with.
I stopped texting him because those type of people irritated me. He messaged me with my full address one day, and asked me if it was familiar. He told me he was going to hunt me down if I didn't send him the pictures he wanted. I kept asking him how he got my address, as he only knew my first name.
Turned out since we both had the same type of phone, he could track my location via the pictures I sent him. I changed my number and haven't given my number out on the internet since.
15. Slip through the cracks.
This guy I very briefly dated won't leave me alone. I've blocked him on everything, but he keeps finding cracks to slip through.
Long story short, he played weird games and I wasn't into it. I told him that I didn't want to talk to him, and to not contact me anymore. He said he wouldn't, then continued to bombard me with spam-like messages about everything from what he was watching on TV to the weather. I blocked him on my phone.
Months after doing this, I found a voicemail from him in my "blocked messages" folder. It was new. He tried friending me on Facebook. I blocked him. He posted a missed connection on Craigslist with my first name and city saying he missed me. He super liked me on Tinder.
I just wonder what crack he'll slip through next, or if he'll try to show up at my home or work.
16. Mad, bad, or dad?
This was back when dial-up was still a thing. When I was 13, I had received a phone call. I picked up and it sounded like my dad, and the man said nothing otherwise. Both my mom and I had full on conversations with this guy for a week straight. (continued...)
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He said he's very close to being home, and that we should leave the door unlocked. So we did, and my dad had come back from his trip. My mom had started asking about something he said, and he didn't know what she was talking about. Dad claimed he never spoke to us the whole week as he didn't have reception in the woods.
We called the phone company and were told that the lines may have been crossed. Meaning that whomever we were speaking to, lived on the same street. I think something went wrong because of our crappy dial-up, but why the guy pretended to by my dad... that I don't know.
17. Say that you love me.
As a girl, the creepiest stuff is some of the messages I've received from men online on various websites.
Guys so desperate for sex, they offer to pay me for it. Sending message after message asking to meet up even when I don't reply. Sending penis pics. Being told all the stuff they want to do to me.
18. You can't even disappear in peace these days.
A couple of years ago I disappeared for a while. There were pictures of me on online news. (Im fine now, I had a mental health issue at that time.) They used my Facebook profile picture on the news. I started getting lots of creepy hey babe message and genital pics on Facebook from strange old men. I changed my pic and they stopped: these guys were reverse-searching my pic from the news. Gross.
19. Fighting fire with fire?
This is a lesson on why you should be careful about what you say and do online. So if you haven't heard of a website called YouNow its a place where you livestream and people watch. I don't really get the point of it but it's fun and easy to troll.
One day I stumble across a girl who was pretty young. She was crying and saying how someone she thought was a friend was spreading lies on YouNow.
I go find the other girl and she is saying nasty stuff, like "I hate her. I was only her friend so I could ruin her life easier." So I decided to step in. (continued...)
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The mean girls username was her first and last nam. She was also wearing a sweatshirt with her high school's name on it. After a short Google search I found her Facebook and email accounts. I sent her an email telling her to be nicer.
I then dug around and found out all sorts of random details: her number on the soft ball team, her dance clubs name, and her parents names and phone numbers.
I then screen capped some mean stuff she had snap chatted the first girl (she showed her phone screen to the camera). I started telling her in the chat to calm down or I'd text her mom what she had been saying. She called my bluff and I sent her an email with all the information I had. Then in the YouNow chat I told her to check her emails, which she did. She started crying and apologizing.
I ended up texting the mom the screen shots and then promptly blocked her number. I never found out the end of it but I hope the bullying stopped.
I think I did the right thing, but it was scary to me how easy it was to find all that information.
20. Now that was a close call.
This one's different. I was some guy's scariest moment.
I was on a sex role-playing forum, wherein people pretend to be fictional characters and write out sex scenes. Blah, blah, blahbasically text-based cyber sex.
I found one guy who had a lot of the same turn-ons as I did, so we decided to give role-play a shot.
About two minutes in, I realized something was VERY off about the guy I was roleplaying with. His choice of words, his sentence structure, the types of typos he made even his choice of plot. It all made me very sure that this guy had to be young. (Thank god our discussion had been relatively mild, and hadn't gotten to the cyber sex yet!) The site I was on required its users to be 18+, but I was convinced that this guy was younger nonetheless.
I excused myself, and googled the guy's username. Within about 30 seconds, I found his twitter, his real name, and then his Facebook. The guy was like 14.
So, I PMed the guy back and told him every single thing I found out about him, in a hope to scare him into being more careful online.
I also reported his username to the mods.
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.