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Is Someone Stalking You on Instagram? Here's How to Check

Picture of Is Someone Stalking You on Instagram? Here's How to Check

5 min read//


  •  Key takeaways:
  •  Review your privacy settings on Instagram and set your account to private to protect yourself from stalkers.
  •  Pay attention to who is viewing your Instagram stories, especially if you don't know them well.
  •  Check your list of followers for suspicious or fake accounts, and be cautious of excessive liking, interacting, and messaging.

Instagram is a great way to connect with others and share highlights from your life. It is not exactly privacy-friendly, but that is something we have come to accept, for better or for worse. Stalking is a whole different matter, however.

How do you tell if someone is stalking you on Instagram? What are some red flags to look out for and what steps can you take to protect yourself?

How to Tell If Someone Is Spying on Your Instagram

Do you have any reason to think that you are being cyberstalked through Instagram? If the answer is "yes", you're probably wondering how to tell if someone is spying on you. Here's what you should pay attention to.

1. Review Your Privacy Settings

If you suspect someone is stalking you on Instagram, the first thing you should do is review your privacy settings. Tap the three bars in the lower left corner, and navigate to Settings >Who can see your content. Here you can check whether your account is set to "private" or not.

If it's not, set your Instagram account to private so that you can approve all new follow requests. It also means only the people you approved can view your posts, likes, and stories. If your account is public, anyone can view it, leave comments, like your content, and so on.

2. Check Who Is Viewing Your Instagram Stories

Do you post a lot of Instagram stories? If yes, that might help you determine whether you are being stalked. There's an easy way to check Instagram story views: all you need to do is swipe up, and you'll see the usernames of people who viewed it.

If someone you don't know really well, or don't know at all, is viewing all the stories you post, it could be a sign they have an interest in your Instagram activity for some nefarious reason.

3. Go Through Your List of Followers

This may seem obvious, but if you suspect something is wrong, it would be a good idea to comb through your list of followers. Even if your profile is set to private, there's always a possibility you approved a follow request from someone you don't know.

In fact, if someone is stalking you, they might have set up a fake account for that very purpose. In particular, you should pay attention to vague and innocuous-sounding usernames that you don't recognize.

4. Look at Other Profile Interactions

Is a follower liking all of your posts, including old ones, and interacting with your stories all the time? Are you receiving more direct messages than usual, and do any of them contain links? If your profile is set to private, are you getting follow requests constantly? Are they coming from the same account?

These are all things worth paying attention to. If someone is stalking you, there's a good chance they can't help themselves, and are exhibiting a high level of interest in your profile.

5. Take Note of Any Suspicious Activity

If you believe you are being stalked on Instagram, you should also take note of any suspicious activity regarding your account. Has someone tried to access your account? If yes, Instagram will have notified you about that, so comb through your emails (check the spam folder as well).

If somebody close to you, or who used to be close to you, is stalking you, they might have tried guessing your password.

Have an Instagram Stalker? Here's What to Do

If an account ticks all the boxes and continually displays suspicious behavior, and if you are confident they are a stalker, you have several options. However, what you do next depends on who the cyberstalker is. If it's a random online person you've never met, then the issue probably won't be that difficult to solve. But if it's someone you know (for example, a former partner), the matter becomes more complex.

Either way, what you should do first is report the user to Instagram. To do this, go to their profile, and tap the three little dots next to their username. Whether Instagram takes action or not, there's no harm in reporting them. You should also block or restrict the user on Instagram, and set your profile to private, if you haven't already done so.

If you have any reason to believe that the suspected cyberstalker is someone you know, or someone who could harass you in real life, you need to document the stalking. Take screenshots of inappropriate comments, and messages. Record videos if necessary, and do your best to document the evidence.

You should also strongly consider reporting this individual to authorities.

If you are in the United States, you can report them through the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). This is a division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that deals with various types of internet crimes.

You'll have to fill out a couple of forms and share information about what is transpiring, but the whole ordeal shouldn't take more than five or 10 minutes of your time. Of course, you can also contact local law enforcement and ask for help, or consult your friends and family members on what to do next.

If you are not in the US, check whether your country has a cybercrime reporting center, or a hotline through which you could report harassment and stalking. Again, you should definitely contact law enforcement if you think your safety might be at risk. Cyberstalking should not be taken lightly, especially if you are someone who has been in an abusive relationship, or find yourself in similarly vulnerable circumstances.

Deal With Instagram Stalking Before It Goes Too Far

Cyberstalking is a rather broad term that is used to describe a wide range of behaviors; from annoying online interactions that manifest in relatively harmless ways, to more serious criminal activities that can spill over into real life.

Instagram in and of itself is an invasive app in terms of data collection, but there's a big difference between willingly giving up some privacy to enjoy a service, and being spied on without your consent. Keep that in mind the next time you log in.

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