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What should I do if I received a death threat this morning?

Receiving a death threat is a serious matter that should be reported to the police immediately, even if you don't believe the threat is credible.

Law enforcement can investigate the source and take appropriate action.

Documented evidence of the threat, such as the message content, date/time, and any identifying information about the sender, is crucial for a police investigation.

Save any physical letters or screenshots of digital messages.

Avoid responding directly to the person making the threat, as this could potentially escalate the situation.

Instead, focus on your personal safety and cooperating with authorities.

Consider temporarily changing your daily routine and avoiding predictable patterns to make it harder for the person to locate you.

This may include temporarily staying with friends or family.

Online death threats can have severe psychological impacts, including heightened anxiety, depression, and even physical symptoms like hair loss and weight changes.

Seeking counseling support is important.

The FBI classifies death threats as a form of cybercrime and can get involved in the investigation if the threat crosses state lines or involves other federal crimes.

Many states have specific laws criminalizing death threats, with penalties ranging from misdemeanors to felonies depending on the circumstances.

Experts recommend not deleting any messages or evidence related to the threat, as this information will be crucial for law enforcement's investigation.

In some cases, obtaining a restraining order may be an option to legally prohibit the person from contacting you or coming near you.

Strengthening home security, such as installing security cameras or changing locks, can provide an added sense of safety while the threat is being addressed.

Victim support organizations and hotlines can provide confidential guidance and resources for dealing with the emotional and practical impacts of receiving a death threat.

If the threat seems imminent or you feel your life is in immediate danger, do not hesitate to call emergency services right away.

Documenting the timeline of events, including any previous interactions or conflicts with the person making the threat, can help law enforcement build a stronger case.

Consulting a lawyer, even if just for an initial consultation, can provide valuable insights into your legal rights and options for addressing the threat.

Avoid sharing details about the threat on social media, as this could inadvertently give the person making the threat more attention or amplify the situation.

If the threat is related to your employment, work with your employer to ensure your safety in the workplace and explore options for temporary remote work or leave.

Beware of scammers who may try to exploit the fear and uncertainty around death threats by demanding payment to "make the threat go away." Verify the legitimacy of any such claims.

Practicing stress management techniques, such as mindfulness or counseling, can help mitigate the psychological impact of receiving a death threat.

In some cases, the person making the threat may have a history of mental illness or criminal behavior, which can inform the law enforcement's approach to the investigation.

Maintaining a clear record of all communications, actions taken, and any related incidents can strengthen the case if legal proceedings become necessary.

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