Kameron Krause and her girlfriends raised their glasses across the aisle as they left Chicago and jetted to Las Vegas to celebrate both, her upcoming birthday and her recent divorce. Although amicable, her and her husband had grown apart. Kameron was an independent earner, already making plans for a new business and fresh start but what she hadn’t planned for was a new love, or rather, a new obsession.
The Las Vegas glamour was the perfect backdrop for her transition to the next portion of her life. The music was loud and cocktails were flowing when a man named Benjamin walked up to the pool. Kameron was enjoying her friends, when he asked to sit down. “Sure,” she agreed. Connection was her forte and their impromptu conversation lasted the entire night.
Benjamin was an unlikely match for Kameron. He was tall, lanky, and topped with prematurely graying hair. Due to his hyper intelligence and nerd-like demeanor, it was no surprise that he was a Harvard graduate. But he lived across the country in Hermosa Beach and appeared to be a safe adjustment into the dating scene. Unbeknownst to the young and beautiful Kameron, Benjamin was someone altogether different than safe and friendly. She would find out six months later.
They exchanged numbers and tentatively set plans to visit one another. From July through December, they would travel to one an other’s home trading off Chicago visits with those to California. Benjamin was kind and nice to spend time with. He seemed to do anything to captivate her and earn her affection For example, when she bought a new computer, he jumped at the chance to set it up for her.
While it was clear Benjamin was falling for Kameron, She was in means enamored by him, always resisting his frequent attempts to further their relationship. Together, they rung in the new year in a tropical Galapagos Islands. While there, Benjamin once again pushed his desire to take their relationship to the next level. This pressure sparked an argument that ultimately ended their relationship.
From there, they flew back to Kameron’s Lincoln Park High Rise. They agreed to end their one-sided relationship. Benjamin headed to the airport, bound to LAX. Only a few hours later, Benjamin called Kameron. He went on and on about his love for her and was distraught leaving things the way they did. “Please just one more night together,” he begged. For the sake of amity, Kameron reluctantly allowed him to come back-just for the night.
Their conversation over wine seemed to smooth things over creating a gentler end to their relationship. He left the next morning and that was the end of Benjamin. Or, so she thought.
Four months later in April, Kameron met another man while skiing in Colorado. It was spontaneous and light, both of them not pursuing anything serious. After a few dates, he began receiving strange texts from an unknown number. What’s weirder, this only happened when he was with Kameron. The messages warned him about Kameron. Explicitly claiming she had various sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), she was unstable, and to save himself by not getting involved with her. Despite the casual state of their relationship, she was mortified!
Wanting to know who sent these mysterious and false texts, she looked up the phone number. It was a dead end as she learned the number was associated with a burner phone. She assured the Colorado man that none of the accusations were true. Things ended between them and and nothing else came of it. Kameron couldn’t shake the mystery and was haunted by wondering who would do this, moreover, that someone knew who she was with, when she was with him, and had his phone number.
A friend recommended she hire a cyber security team to check her devices and to discover if anyone besides herself had access. A team came to her home and scanned everything; her computer, iPad, and cell phone.
What they found was bone chilling.
Computer software had been downloaded onto her computer at 3:00 am the night Benjamin appeared at her door. How could he have done this, Kameron thought. While Kameron slept, Benjamin must have snuck out of the bedroom, sat in front of her bright screen, and installed software that would link to all her devices. Whether she wanted him or not, he tethered himself to her and would not be let go easily.
Kameron was furious and felt violated. She called him, “what are you doing?”
He played ignorant. “I would never do that to you or anyone. I have no idea what you’re even talking about,” Benjamin insisted.
She knew he was lying but felt unable to pursue anything further. His obsession seemed harmless, more like an annoying creep.
Six months later, now a year since she broke up with Benjamin, she traveled to the island of Maui with a group of friends and her children. Men and women were on this trip. One them was a mutual friend of her and her ex-husband’s and was the only one who wanted to drive the Road to Hana. So Kamerone and him were texting back and forth making plans when all of the sudden he received a text. And another text. And another one. So, he called Kameron to let her know.
“Who are they from? What do they say?” She asked.
The friend was confused. “They say you are dirty, sick in the head, and to stay away from you.” He chuckled, “He must think I’m your boyfriend.”
Kameron didn’t appreciate the humor because she knew this had to be Benjamin and he had gone too far. She looked up the number and not surprisingly, the phone number, just as the first one, was associated with a burner phone and even though it was a different number than the one who texted the man from Colorado, the defaming and alarming messages were the same.
Kameron was uncompromising. She flew back to Chicago and this time filed a police report. She also began the arduous process of abandoning and replacing all her technological devices While doing so, she recalled different times she spent with Benjamin. All those months ago, soon after he set up her computer, she received a notification that someone from an unrecognized device tried logging into her Apple ID. At the time, he spun a lie that the message was only a glitch sent out to everyone with an Apple ID.
The gravity of the situation hit over and over again. She succumbed to the realization that he was probably watching her through her computer camera and had been this entire year. She was sickened imagining him salivating over her as he watched her like a reality T.V. show.
She cancelled every credit card, changed her passwords online, and took every measure possible to ensure he had no access to her at all. She was confident that Benjamin was gone for good and eliminated from her life in every way.
Two years later, Kameron moved to Manhattan Beach and launched a successful business. Her life was unfolding just the way she intended it too. She was building a profitable company and was enjoying financial security while exploring the world with friends and family. She also became very cautious and discerning when it came to dating.
And then a couple of odd things happened.
First, she downloaded the WAZE app to help navigate traffic and it said a profile was already created under the name “Kammie”, a childhood nickname of hers. This was strange because she didn’t remember ever creating a WAZE account. One week later, she logged into the app to find it welcomed her with the name of “K-Boo”. This was the nickname Benjamin called her.
Right then, she knew that Benjamin had returned, or never left, and the threat of being stalked was still upon her.
Just a few days later, she was hustling her children to school by way of golf cart. She kissed them goodbye and took off and the quick right turn toppled over her coffee cup. Kameron slammed on the brakes to reach for it and as she did, a shiny black Audi halted just shy of her small bumper. The screeching sound jolted her upright. Thoroughly spooked, she turned around and peered through the onyx-tinted windows trying to see who nearly hit her. The driver window lowered and there was Benjamin’s white head peering out of the driver window.
“Hey Kameron, fancy meeting you here.”
She knew her life was in danger and her security was completely breached She made small talk just so she could safely get away. “Fancy meeting you here too Benjamin.” Seemingly unsuspicious, she drove off. She hurried through her front and called the police. While waiting for them to come take a statement, her friend who had stayed over the night before asked if it was black Audi. “Yes, it was! How’d you know?”
Her friend replied, “It was sitting out front this morning.”
At the same time, Benjamin began flooding Kameron’s phone with text messages of how great it was to see her and that it must have been fate. He suggested they get together and waited with three faded dots dancing on his phone.
Kameron would respond soon enough.
The police regrettably told her that the only thing she could do was to file a police report every time she encounters him. Once enough reports build up, they could issue a restraining order.
Kameron was horrified by this seemingly helpless position. She had been the victim of a relentless stalker and was fed up. Bravely, she text her abhorrent predator a picture of the police report. She then threatened to utilize her social influence and every other avenue to ruin his life if she ever saw or heard from him again.
Kameron’s firm display of power made an impact because Benjamin has not been heard from since.
During Kameron’s most vulnerable plea for help, she was told nothing could be done. However, the police were wrong. There was much more Kameron could do than file repeated reports. She’s spent the last few years proving that idea wrong. Kameron created the Kamshield webcam cover that goes over your computer camera, progressing cyber security for all of us. She is committed to educating individuals and parents about safety and cyber security.