'I feared I'd be killed if I'd stayed longer'
Tralee woman leaves Bali home behind after cyber attack
A Tralee entrepreneur has been forced to abandon her villa in Bali, leaving behind thousands of euros worth of personal possessions because of cyber bullying which she claims left her fearing for her safety.
Debbie Sugrue (25) from Tralee is a model and social media influencer who works for several international companies promoting their products. Debbie moved to Australia in 2011, and eventually to Indonesia where she and her New Zealand born partner purchased a villa in Bali nine months ago.
But Debbie has since abandoned Bali saying she feared for her life when an escalation in cyber-attacks left her feeling intimidated and severely shaken.
"In terms of my safety, I felt it was getting to the point where I had to leave and that if I stayed any longer I would be killed. These people contacted over 80 businesses I work for, fabricating lies about me. It got so bad in the end that they started to threaten me. Even during the drive to the airport I felt someone was following me."
Debbie explained how the culprits knew she had recently purchased a villa and threatened to make her life a misery to the extent she wouldn't be able to leave it. Debbie feels the bullies achieved their objective when she started to feel genuinely fearful of leaving her home. This was the final straw for Debbie and she and her partner decided to leave for New Zealand. Instagram also contacted Debbie to inform her that several accounts were created threatening violence and harm towards her.
"Obviously we don't know who these people are or where they are located; this makes it all the more frightening. They were even writing paragraphs upon paragraphs to my business sponsors slating me.
"I now don't know what to do and I've left behind several thousand of pounds worth of property and possessions. It was my partner's parents in New Zealand who finally told us to get the hell out of there. I fear these people are trying to hold me to ransom. We felt that if something happened to us here we would have no one to help as it's not like back home where you can just call the police. I feared I would have been killed had I stayed any longer."
Debbie now hopes by telling her story it will help expose the dangers of cyber bullying. As a social media influencer, Debbie is fully aware that on occasion the online troll can be a problem, but this spate of attacks started to threaten her safety.
"In the finish, the companies I work with said this is getting serious and I need to get out of Indonesia. I also just want to reach out to other people suffering cyber bullying. People need to take cyber bullying serious and be careful when online," said Debbie.