Harassing Annoying Emails


The college experience is multi-faceted; it includes both academics and the development of social relationships. While the majority of such relationships are positive, enriching and fulfilling, a few can turn sour.  Bad relationships can sometimes become harassing, threatening and may involve unwanted pursuit types of behavior or even criminal stalking.  While most pursuit situations do not lead to violence, such behaviors should be taken seriously.  At the very least, unwanted types of pursuit behavior can be emotionally consuming and psychologically exhausting.

Therefore, if you are being harassed, bothered, threatened or stalked, the sooner the problem is dealt with by the proper authorities, the easier and faster it will be resolved.

For the first time in 1991, unwanted pursuit type behaviors coupled with credible threats became illegal under California law and will not be tolerated at SMC. 

While the Santa Monica College Police Department can offer advice and assistance regarding safety strategies, the primary responsibility for your safety rests with you. Stalking is a serious problem for which there are no easy answers or solutions. This brochure provides you with various anti-stalking strategies; however, the decision to implement any of the strategies is yours.

For additional information, please call the SMC Police Department at 310-434-4300.

On-Line Tips

The advent of the Internet has brought about a proliferation of annoying and/or harassing email messages directed toward students, staff, and faculty.

  • A report of annoying/harassing emails (653m PC) may be filed. If the email contains any threats, a Criminal Threats (422 PC) report or a report for any other applicable section, such as for a Hate Crime (422.6 PC), may be filed. 

  • When you make copies of the email(s) it must include the Internet headers in the email.

  • Always select a gender-neutral username for your email address or for chat, etc. Don't pick something cute, such as hotcoed@someisp.com or use your first name if it is obviously female. 

  • Don't fill out profiles! When you sign up for your email account, whether it's through your ISP or a free one, fill out as little information about yourself as possible. 

  • Do block or ignore unwanted users. When you are in a chat room always check out what options are available to you and take advantage of the "Block all users except those on my buddy list" or adding unwanted usernames to an ignore list in chat.

  • Watch what you say online. When you do participate online, be careful – only type what you would say to someone's face. If you wouldn't say it to a stranger standing next to you in an elevator, do not say it online.

  • Signature Files. If you use a signature file for all your e-mail messages, newsgroup pots, etc., make sure you know what information is in there. Check to be sure you're not giving out your full name, address, and phone number.

  • Ego Surf. Put your first name and last name in quotes in a search engine and see if there are any results regarding you. You just might be surprised at what you find. 

  • Be very cautious about putting any pictures of yourself online anywhere, or allowing anyone else to publish any photos. Some stalkers become obsessed because of an image. A random e-mail address or screen name is simply much less attractive to most obsessive personalities than a photograph.

In addition, you may consider the following:

  • Contact the system administrator for the Internet Service Provider (ISP) being used by the subject. The system administrator may cut off the subject's access to their server (computer). The ISP may be determined by looking at the address after the @ symbol. [Note: This part can be "spoofed" or falsified.]

  • Send an email to the system administrator for the ISP at abuse@ISP> or webmaster@ISP>. The ISP is determined by the address after the @ symbol.

  • Visit spamcop.net.

  • Visit abuse.net.

  • Use the mail forwarder at abuse.net to help forward complaints to system managers who can act on them.

  • Set up a filter on your email application to screen out any email from the subject. You may contact the system administrator for their department to do this.

653m PC – Telephone Calls or Contact by Electronic Communication Device with Intent to Annoy:

  • Every person who, with intent to annoy…makes contact by means of an electronic communications device with another and addresses to or about the other person any obscene language or addresses to the other person any threat to inflict injury to the person or property of the person addressed or any member of his/her family.

422 PC – Criminal Threats:

  • Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement…by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his/her own safety or for his/her immediate family's safety.

422.6 PC – Interference with Exercise of Civil Rights:

  • No person…shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured by him/her by the Constitution or laws of this state…because of the other person's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation or because he/she perceives that the other person has one or more of those characteristics.

646.9 PC – Stalking:

  • Any person who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his/her safety or the safety of his/her immediate family.

502 PC – Unauthorized Access to Computers, Computer Systems, and Computer Data

  • Knowingly access and without permission alters, damages, deletes, destroys or otherwise uses any data, computer, computer system or computer network in order to either devise or execute any scheme or artifice to defraud, deceive or extort or wrongfully control or obtain money, property or data.

17538.4 B&P – Spam (see 17534 B&P)

  • Must have a removal address for consumer opt-out.

  • Spammer must honor requests for removal.

  • The subject line must have an Aadv label.

17538.45 B&P – Spam

  • May not violate ISP's policy against sending or receiving spam.

  • Defendants must have prior actual notice of the policy and knowledge that the spam was going to be delivered via that ISP.

  • Civil remedy only of actual damages plus $50 per message (up to $25,000/day).

Other Offenses

  • 529 PC – Impersonation

  • 530.5 PC – Identity Theft

  • 535 PC – Mock Auctions, Auction Fraud

  • Title 18 U.S.C. 1030

For more information, please contact:

SMC Police Department
1718 Pearl Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Campus Resources

SMC Police Department

Office of Student Judicial Affairs

Student Sexual Violence Response and Prevention Compliance Administration/Title IX

Other Resources

  • Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office

  • DOJ Computer Crime Section

  • Internet Fraud Complaint Center (FBI and NW3C)

  • Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (619) 298-3396

  • CALPIRG 310-397-3404

  • Symantec

  • American Registry for Internet Numbers

  • Gibson Research Corporation

  • Zone Alarm

  • Neotrace