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Stalking is dangerous and unpredictable. Do Not rely on this page to make life and death decisions. Gather as much information as possible from many sources and make informed decisions. See Note near the bottom of this page.
 

21st Century Survival. Skills for surviving in the modern world.


Protect Yourself From A Stalker

A Stalker can have an effect on your life and well being that goes far beyond what friends and others can imagine. If you have mutual friends with the stalker he or she may even turn them against you by belittling your concerns or accusing you of mistreatment. To others it may seem that you are just imagining it all, blowing things out of proportion or they may not want to take sides. But the truth is your probably not blowing things out of proportion, in fact, you may be keeping the worst of it to your self and there may be good reason for concern. The answer though is not fear but knowledge of what you can do to protect yourself.

 

 "For many reasons, stalking behaviors are quite diverse. Stalkers may ambush their targets, phone repeatedly, pursue or follow their targets, make obscene or threatening phone calls, display weapons, trespass, or vandalize property. They may send numerous letters, deliver unwanted gifts, or restrain or confine the objects of their obsessions. As a means of controlling the behavior of their targets, stalkers may threaten to commit suicide or harm the victims, the victims’ families, or even the victims’ pets. Perpetrators may attempt to limit the amount of contact targets have with their families and friends and may insist on knowing the whereabouts of targets and what they are doing at all times. What they all have in common, however, is a persistent pattern of unwanted behaviors that interfere with other persons’ abilities to control their own lives."
United States Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Robert A. Wood and Nona L. Wood

Image Source U.S. Department of Justice     Office of Justice Programs     National Institute of Justice


 

Source U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
National Institute of Justice

 Stalking generally refers to harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following

 A person, appearing at a person’s home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person’s property. These actions may or may not be accompanied by a credible threat of serious harm, and they may or may not be precursors to an assault or murder. Legal definitions of stalking vary widely from State to State.

When asked to describe specific activities their stalkers engaged in to harass and terrorize them, women were significantly more likely than men to report that their stalkers followed them, spied on them, or stood outside their home or place of work or recreation . Women were also significantly more likely to report that their stalkers made unsolicited phone calls. About equal percentages of female and male victims reported that their stalkers sent them unwanted letters or items, vandalized their property, or killed or threatened to kill a family pet.

Prevalence of Stalking

• Stalking is more prevalent than previously thought: 8 percent of women and 2 percent of men in the United States  have been stalked at some time in their life; an estimated 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men are stalked annually. Given these findings, stalking should be treated as a legitimate criminal justice and public health concern.

• Although stalking is a gender-neutral crime, most (78 percent) stalking victims are female and most (87 percent) stalking perpetrators are male.

Source U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
National Institute of Justice

• Most stalking cases involve perpetrators and victims who know each other; 23 percent of all female victims and 36 percent of all male victims are stalked by strangers.

• Women are significantly more likely than men (59 percent and 30 percent, respectively) to be stalked by intimate partners, about half of whom stalk their partners while the relationship is intact. Since most stalking cases involve victims and perpetrators who know each other, future research should focus on intimate and acquaintance stalking, rather than “celebrity” stalking.

• There is a strong link between stalking and other forms of violence in intimate relationships: 81 percent of women who were stalked by a current or former husband or cohabiting partner were also physically assaulted by that partner and 31 percent were also sexually assaulted by that partner. It is imperative, therefore, that America’s criminal justice community receive comprehensive training on the special safety needs of victims of intimate partner stalking.

 

Stalker Personality Traits and Motivations

Stalking is often motivated by the stalkers’ desire to control, or instill fear in, their victim. The Stalker may wish to force the victim to remain in a relationship with the Stalker or the Stalker may feel mistreated by the victim for some reason and so resorts to stalking to get revenge.

Stalkers are often categorized into the following groups.

Simple Obsession: This is the most common type. The stalker is usually a male, and the victim an ex-spouse, ex- lover, or former boss. The stalking sometimes results from the stalker's feeling the victim has mistreated him or her. In intimate relationships, the stalking frequently begins before a breakup.

Love obsession: The stalker is a stranger or casual acquaintance to the victim, but is obsessed and begins a campaign of harassment (from simple messages, gifts or other ways to get attention to abusive manipulative behavior) to make the victim aware of his or her existence. This type often stalks a celebrity or public figure, but may also stalk anyone they may become obsessed with.

Erotomania (abnormally strong sexual desire): The stalker falsely believes that the victim is in love with him or her, and that, but for some external obstacle or interference (another person or circumstance), they would be together. The victim may be rich or famous, or in a position of power (e.g., a movie star, employer, or political figure). In this situation, the stalker could also pose a great risk to those close to the victim (e.g., a spouse or lover perceived to be "in the way").

Mentally Ill: As is demonstrated in the chart above a small group of stalkers are mentally ill (7% in the survey) or effected by Drug or Alcohol abuse. Within this group are the extremely dangerous psychotic stalkers (only a very tiny minority of stalking incidents involve such individuals) who may be preparing to sexually assault and or murder the victim.

Clues That You Are A Victim of Stalking and Counter Measures

Note: Many experts advise that getting a restraining order may cause the stalker to become violent. You must weigh this decision along with all others for yourself. You need to assume responsibility for your own security and not ignore the situation.

If you can answer yes to any of the following situations then you should consider that you might be the victim of stalking, but remember stalking is a pattern of conduct, not a single occurrence. However if multiple situations below are occurring, even if on single occasions then you should still consider that the person may be stalking you. The sooner you realize what is happening the better. Remember your stalker may not realize or see nothing wrong with his or her actions but none the less in these circumstances the actions are often harassing, manipulative, abusive and or threatening not to mention criminal.

You are receiving unwanted cards or gifts.

While a normal person who wants attention may send a card or gift to someone they wish to form a relationship with or repair a relationship they formerly had, such a person knows when to quit. The Stalker will only continue or escalate the unwanted actions even if the victim ignores the stalker or says no to such items. The Stalker will likely escalate to other behaviors including abusive and or manipulative behavior.

The Stalker may use these cards gifts or messages as a further excuse to contact you to see if you received the item(s). These actions are an attempt to force you to recognize and give attention to the stalker even if you are attempting to ignore the situation.

Should this person have my address or know where I work? If not then how did they come by such information? This may be a real clue that this person is researching your identity and gathering information. The Stalker may be using the internet, phone book, your personal checks, Id or other means to contact you. These actions in themselves are a invasion of your privacy and would not be committed by a person who respects proper boundaries. A person seeking normal attention would simply speak to you when the occasion arises.

A Stalker may also leave personal items that he will have to retrieve from you later thus creating more opportunities for contact.

A Stalker may leave pornography or other symbolic items to send a message to you. This may tell you more about the person you are dealing with and what their intentions are. You may wish to seek professional help before matters escalate to violence.

Arrange for calls to be screened. Find out who is on the line and why they are calling.

Have visitors screened at work and have them sign a log as a visitor or delivery person with their name address and the reason for their visit, check their ID as a company policy.

Get Caller ID, don't answer anonymous or blocked calls


A person is leaving unwanted telephone or e-mail messages for you.

Anyone you know may call you but why is this person calling or emailing. These calls may be an attempt to force you to talk to the stalker. The Stalker may make many excuses to make such contact but the bottom line is these constant messages may be designed to

  • Find out what you are doing

  • Find out where you are

  • Find out if you are home or not (such as hang up calls)

  • Force you to talk to the Stalker

  • Stay in the "Know" about your personal life

  • To reinforce the supposed relationship with the stalker

  • Use invasive questions designed to intimidate you into giving up your private information or trick you into doing so.

  • Use intimidation, seduction or other means to accomplish the stalkers goal of inducing fear or force you into making undesirable actions or decisions.

Save all messages and log them as possible evidence of harassment if needed.

Do not reply, once you tell the person clearly you do not want this communication again do not reply afterwards. The Stalker is trying to force you to give them attention.

Some people will pursue what they want as long as they think there is ANY CHANCE that they might get it. Make sure the person knows (not by threats but by firmness ) when you say why are you calling? that they are informed in direct words that you don't want their calls it is time for them to move on to something else with their life.


A person discloses to you personal information they have uncovered about you.

Why does this person have this information? Where did they get it?
A Stalker may be telling you without saying the words "I am aware of what you are doing. I know where you are. I have power over you. I can harm you."

This information may be useful to help you discern if a mutual friend (I use that term loosely) is working knowingly or unknowingly in the stalkers behalf. This person should be cut from your list of trusted individuals and personal information closely guarded from such a person. Feed them meaningless information only and ignore requests or questions that you shouldn't answer by giving vague unsure answers. You are rightfully a more private person now. They may take this information directly or indirectly into the stalkers hands.


A person is disseminating personal information about you to others

The stalker may be attempting to wreck your personal relationships, thus harming you and or getting other perceived obstacles (friends, relatives or others) out of the stalkers way. The Stalker could also be trying to convince others that there exists a relationship between you and the stalker. This may also be an attempt to smear your good name to support the stalkers feeling of being mistreated by you.

The stalker may even take on your identity and attempt to wreck your life socially, financially or in other ways. Assuming your internet user names, email, change your billing addresses, cancel services or otherwise represent themselves as you. This can cause a great deal of misery.


The Stalker may be following you.

You may simply notice that you run into a person more often than is to be expected. You may see them in places you frequent or at any other time. It is not normal to run into the same person any more than other people you may know, it is very unusual to see a stranger in the same places as yourself regularly. This may simply take a little observation and covertly notice who is around you both close and at a distance. What cars may frequently drive by or park in your neighborhood and around your work.  Who may walk by your home or business on any regular basis. If you begin seeing this person regularly this may be a clue that you are being followed or this person is lying in wait at places the stalker knows you may be.


The Stalker may be visiting you at work.

They may suddenly be interested in your services or start appearing to drop off those flowers, a note or other item. For whatever reason the visits occur the stalker may be attempting to force you to

  • Acknowledge their presence

  • Speak to them

  • Enforce the idea that a relationship exists between you and them in front of your coworkers

  • Embarrass you or cause you to lose your job.

  • Keep tabs on what you are doing.

  • Find out who your coworkers are and perhaps even ascertain your relationship to them and so on.


The Stalker may wait or stalk outside your home.

If the stalker knowingly allows you to know he is present. This is very dangerous because the stalker is invading your personal life perhaps just to show you that he can. This may be meant as a threat or intimidation aimed at controlling you or a prelude to escalation to assault, burglary, voyeurism, sexual assault or murder.

If you discover the Stalker without his or her knowledge the danger is not decreased but this knowledge should still put you on alert to the danger and the need to take security precautions as well as informing authorities.

Look for subtle clues such as foot prints under your windows (soft dirt (dirt you have softened) will provide clues), disturbed bushes or shrubs near your home. A light (read unnoticeable in the low light) sprinkling of flour on hard surfaces may easily reveal foot prints if there is dew in the grass. Take note of hiding places around your home (bushes, unlocked buildings so on) and eliminate them if possible.

Get help from professionals, detectives, lawyers, law enforcement.


The Stalker may send you photographs taken of you without consent

This may be meant to intimidate and be a threat to your well being. Take it seriously.

Get help from professionals, detectives, lawyers, law enforcement.


The Stalker may monitor your Internet history and computer usage

It may be wise to get a new internet service and or change all passwords


The Stalker may use technology to gather images of or information about you.

Do not post information about yourself, remove any posted information before this happens. Have any information blocked in search engines and removed or sealed (as in public or utility records, credit and so on get an unlisted phone number, get another line if possible for close friends to reach you. Leave the original line connected to an answering machine to gather evidence. Make sure the machine will maintain the messages (do not delete them)  or have a removable tape.)

SpyGear4U.com


You may be assaulted by the Stalker.

Violence against women is primarily partner violence. The survey confirms previous reports that U.S. women are primarily raped and/or physically assaulted by intimate partners:22 76 percent of the women who were raped and/or physically assaulted since the age of 18 were assaulted by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, or date; 17 percent were victimized by an acquaintance, such as a friend, neighbor, or coworker; 14 percent were victimized by a stranger; and 9 percent were victimized by a relative other than a husband . By comparison, the survey found that U.S. men are primarily raped and physically assaulted by strangers and acquaintances, not intimate partners.

Violence against women is primarily male violence. The survey also found that most violence perpetrated against adults is perpetrated by males: 93 percent of the women and 86 percent of the men who were raped and/or physically assaulted since the age of 18 were assaulted by a male. In comparison only 11 percent of these women and 23 percent of these men were assaulted by a female. Given these findings, adult violence prevention strategies should focus primarily on the risks posed by male perpetrators.


The Stalker may violate protective orders

Many stalkers violate protective orders, if you have a protective order and intend to enforce it you should be prepared to call 911 at all times, the stalker may try to catch you off guard.


The Stalker may Sexually Assault you.

Sexual Assault Information
Courtesy of Office on Women's Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault and abuse is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, including:

  • inappropriate touching

  • vaginal, anal, or oral penetration

  • sexual intercourse that you say no to

  • rape

  • attempted rape

  • child molestation

Sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples of this are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public), incest (sexual contact between family members), and sexual harassment. It can happen in different situations, by a stranger in an isolated place, on a date, or in the home by someone you know.

Rape is a common form of sexual assault. It is committed in many situations — on a date, by a friend or an acquaintance, or when you think you are alone. Educate yourself on “date rape” drugs. They can be slipped into a drink when a victim is not looking. Never leave your drink unattended — no matter where you are. Try to always be aware of your surroundings. Date rape drugs make a person unable to resist assault and can cause memory loss so the victim doesn’t know what happened.

What do I do if I’ve been sexually assaulted?

Take steps right away if you’ve been sexually assaulted.

  • Get away from the attacker to a safe place as fast as you can. Then call 911 or the police.

  • Call a friend or family member you trust. You also can call a crisis center or a hotline to talk with a counselor. One hotline is the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal. It is important to get counseling from a trusted professional.

  • Do not wash, comb, or clean any part of your body. Do not change clothes if possible, so the hospital staff can collect evidence. Do not touch or change anything at the scene of the assault.

  • Go to your nearest hospital emergency room as soon as possible. You need to be examined, treated for any injuries, and screened for possible sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or pregnancy. The doctor will collect evidence using a rape kit for fibers, hairs, saliva, semen, or clothing that the attacker may have left behind.

  • You or the hospital staff can call the police from the emergency room to file a report.

  • Ask the hospital staff about possible support groups you can attend right away.

Where else can I go for help?

If you are sexually assaulted, it is not your fault. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support. Help is available. You can call these organizations:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD)

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

There are many organizations and hotlines in every state and territory. These crisis centers and agencies work hard to stop assaults and help victims. You can find contact information for these organizations at http://www.womenshealth.gov/violence/state/. You also can obtain the numbers of shelters, counseling services, and legal assistance in your phone book.

 

How can I protect myself from being sexually assaulted?

There are things you can do to reduce your chances of being sexually assaulted. Follow these tips from the National Crime Prevention Council.

  • Be aware of your surroundings — who’s out there and what’s going on.

  • Walk with confidence. The more confident you look, the stronger you appear.

  • Don’t let drugs or alcohol cloud your judgment.

  • Be assertive — don’t let anyone violate your space.

  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in your surroundings, leave.

  • Don’t prop open self-locking doors.

  • Lock your door and your windows, even if you leave for just a few minutes.

  • Watch your keys. Don’t lend them. Don’t leave them. Don’t lose them. And don’t put your name and address on the key ring.

  • Watch out for unwanted visitors. Know who’s on the other side of the door before you open it.

  • Be wary of isolated spots, like underground garages, offices after business hours, and apartment laundry rooms.

  • Avoid walking or jogging alone, especially at night. Vary your route. Stay in well-traveled, well-lit areas.

  • Have your key ready to use before you reach the door — home, car, or work.

  • Park in well-lit areas and lock the car, even if you’ll only be gone a few minutes.

  • Drive on well-traveled streets, with doors and windows locked.

  • Never hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker.

  • Keep your car in good shape with plenty of gas in the tank.

  • In case of car trouble, call for help on your cellular phone. If you don’t have a phone, put the hood up, lock the doors, and put a banner in the rear mirror that says, “Help. Call police.”

How can I help someone who has been sexually assaulted?

You can help someone who is abused or who has been assaulted by listening and offering comfort. Go with her or him to the police, the hospital, or to counseling. Reinforce the message that she or he is not at fault and that it is natural to feel angry and ashamed.

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The Stalker may vandalize your property

The stalker may vandalize property to get back at you for some perceived wrong or to invade your life and space and so feel power over you through intimidation and threat.

A Stalker may also vandalize your property as a means to make contact with you to provide assistance. For example:

A stalker may flatten your tire and then appear to repair the tire when you need help.
The Stalker may siphon your gas and then appear to help you when you run out.
The Stalker may cause a dead battery and then offer to help.


The Stalker may burglarize your home or otherwise steal from you

The stalker may be seeking more personal information, may install wireless cameras to keep track of you or to engage in voyeurism. The Stalker may bug your phone. The stalker if given access to your cell phone may be able to set up GPS tracking so that he can track your every move.

The stalker may be invading your personal space as a threat to your safety or because it makes the stalker feel power over you.

The Stalker in many of the instances here be reducing you to an object whom he wants or feels he has power over and wants or feels he can control. This allows the stalker to invade your life, while unwanted, or even commit murder or other violent actions without feeling the remorse or seeing the injustice and criminality for doings so.

Get help from professionals, detectives, lawyers, law enforcement.

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The Stalker may threaten you or others

The Stalker may be retaliating for some perceived wrong or your resistance to the unwanted attention. You cannot reason with a person with no reasoning ability. If they had any this wouldn't be happening!

The stalker may be invading your personal space as a threat to your safety or because it makes the stalker feel power over you.

The Stalker in many of the instances here be reducing you to an object whom he wants or feels he has power over and wants or feels he can control. This allows the stalker to invade your life while unwanted or even commit murder or other violent actions without feeling the remorse or seeing the injustice and criminality for doings so.

Get help from professionals, detectives, lawyers, law enforcement.

 


The Stalker may kill or threaten to kill your pet(s).
 

The stalker may be invading your personal space as a threat to your safety or because it makes the stalker feel power over you.

The Stalker may be retaliating for some perceived wrong or your resistance to the unwanted attention. You cannot reason with a person with no reasoning ability. If they had any this wouldn't be happening!

The Stalker in many of the instances here be reducing you to an object whom he wants or feels he has power over and wants or feels he can control. This allows the stalker to invade your life while unwanted or even commit murder or other violent actions without feeling the remorse or seeing the injustice and criminality for doings so.

Get help from professionals, detectives, lawyers, law enforcement.

 

 

Strategies For Dealing With A Stalker

Some Counter Measures

Some ideas for thought

Tell others and get help. DO NOT keep this a secret. This will go along way in protecting you even if the stalker gets upset, it is only because keeping others uninformed is to the stalkers advantage. The Stalker may in fact be attempting to isolate you from others and keep others from discussing or knowing what is happening to you. Do Not let that happen. Do Not maintain association with others who are sympathetic to the stalker, simply find other things to do and go on with your life.

Keep a log of events with times and dates for evidence later.

  • Outside lighting with motion sensors come on when someone approaches.

  • Porch lights where the bulb is completely enclosed and difficult to change will discourage bulb removal.

  • Get a  dog.

  • Alert apartment managers and security, show them a photo (or give description) of the person.

  • Alert neighbors and show them a photo (or give description) and have them call if they see the person or call police if you are in danger.

  • Get an alarm system in the home. If you can't afford a monitored alarm get persoal door, window or motion sensing alarms, they are very inexpensive.

  • Park where you have clear visibility, alert a trusted person to watch you as you arrive and call the police or security if necessary.

  • Check your car completely, with a flashlight if necessary BEFORE getting in or opening the door.

  • Check around your car and all outdoor or public areas before entering, Be alert.

  • If anything seems "wrong" exit any area including your home and seek help, your eyes, ears or nose may be sending you important messages to escape.

  • Get an escort to your car from the department store or work.

  • Get security cameras and a recording device placed around your home (apartments may have cameras) to get video evidence of the persons presence.

  • Do not post information about yourself, remove any posted information before this happens. Have any information blocked in search engines and removed or sealed

  •  Seal  public or utility records, credit and so on

  • Get an unlisted phone number, get another line if possible for close friends to reach you, only give this number to trusted friends and family. Leave the original line connected to an answering machine to gather evidence. Make sure the machine will maintain the messages (do not delete them)  or have a removable tape.)

  • Remove personal information from your checks, get a P.O. Box for all mail, use the PO Box address whenever possible. (A private PO Box at a mail business outside your area may work even better.)

  • Do not put your Social Security number on anything.

  • Save all messages and log them as possible evidence of harassment if needed.

  • Keep a log of events with event descriptions, dates, times and any evidence.(a simple notebook where you write dates times and descriptions of events)

  • Do not reply to these attempts for attention, once you tell the person clearly you do not want this communication again do not reply afterwards. The Stalker is trying to force you to give them attention.

  • Some people will pursue what they want as long as they think there is ANY CHANCE that they might get it. Make sure the person knows (not by threats but by firmness ) when you say why are you calling? that they are informed in direct words that you don't want their calls it is time for them to move on to something else with their life.

  • Consult with the Police from the beginning, if you do not want them to contact the person or file a restraining order explain your concerns to them. If the officer is cold or unhelpful it is because he or she lacks training. Contact organizations in your community, state and national resources for help.

  • Hire a private security firm or private detective and or consult a lawyer

 

Use These Resources

If you are in immediate danger, you should call 911.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TDD 1-800-787-3224.
You can reach the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
Stalking Hotline number is 1-800-FYI-CALL (1-800-394-2255).

Safe Horizon.com Hotline and Resources

Healthy Woman.org - Violence Against Women

Privacy Rights Clearing House - Are You A Victim of Stalking

The Women's Center - Domestic Violence and Stalking

Stalking Resource Center - Stalking Laws

Department of Justice - Guide For Police - Stalking (pdf)

Tips for Stalking Protection

Cyber Angels Cyberstalking

Find A Lawyer

Love Me Not

Stalking Behavior

Stalking Help

Stalking Victims.com Has Many Resources and a forum

US National Resources

More Information

For more information on sexual assault, contact the National Women’s Health Information Center at 800-994-9662 or the following organizations:

Division of Violence Prevention, NCIPC, CDC, HHS
Phone: (770) 488-4362
Internet Address: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/dvp.htm

Office on Violence Against Women, OJP, DOJ
Phone: (800) 799-7233
Internet Address: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/vawo

National Center for Victims of Crime
Phone: (800) 394-2255
Internet Address: http://www.ncvc.org

National Crime Prevention Council
Phone: (202) 466-6272
Internet Address: http://www.ncpc.org

National Domestic Violence Hotline
Phone: (800) 799-SAFE
Internet Address: http://www.ndvh.org

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Phone: (877) 739-3895
Internet Address: http://www.nsvrc.org

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
Phone: (202) 544-1034
Internet Address: http://www.rainn.org

 

Note: The situations presented here are not meant to be all inclusive or to fit your circumstances, any similarities are merely coincidental to this subject. Stalking can be a prelude to murder or other violent actions. The counter measures included here are not meant to be advice to you in your situation.  Please seek professional help and the help of local and national authorities if you believe you are being stalked. Nothing in this article should be taken as advice nor is it intended as advice useful for any purpose nor is it for or about any situation. You must make decisions for yourself Ready for Anything Now is not liable in any way for the use of this information, no matter the circumstances. See also disclaimer and conditions of use at the bottom of the page.

 

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