You are here

Who's stalking: what to know about mobile spyware

Share this page

Do you think an abusive partner or ex is monitoring you through your phone? They might be using stalking apps (spyware) that secretly track your devices. Here’s information about what stalking apps are, how to tell if they’re on your device, and what to do if they are.

What are stalking apps?

Stalking applications are apps or software that someone can download onto your phone to track or monitor you. They can share detailed information about your phone activities – like phone conversations, text and email messages, photos, and account passwords – without your knowledge. Some stalking apps also advertise that they can turn on a phone’s microphone and camera remotely so that the monitoring person can see and hear what’s happening around the phone, even when it’s not being used.

How can I tell if a stalking app is installed on my phone?

If an abuser has installed a stalking app on your phone, your phone will probably look the same. No new icon will be displayed, and most anti-virus software won’t detect it. But these clues may suggest that a stalking app could have been installed:

  • The abuser has had physical access to your phone;
  • The abuser knows a lot of very specific information about you, including your exact locations, the content of conversations you’ve had, what you’ve texted and to whom, and what you’ve searched for online;
  • The phone’s battery drains faster, without any difference in your phone usage;
  • There are unexplained data usage charges on your bill; or
  • You have trouble turning off the phone.

What can I do if I think a stalking app is installed on my phone?

If there’s a stalking app on your phone, here are some steps to consider:

  • Get help. Law enforcement and domestic violence advocates can help you if you believe a stalking app has been installed on your phone. 
  • Check to see if your phone has been “rooted” or “jailbroken.” Stalking apps aren’t sold through typical app stores. In addition, they usually can be installed only on a phone that has been “rooted” or “jailbroken,” which allows a person full control over the phone’s operating system. If your phone is rooted or jailbroken and you didn’t do it, a stalking app could be installed. “Root checker” apps can quickly tell you whether a phone has been rooted or jailbroken. 
  • Back up your phone. Before making any changes to your phone, consider backing it up, which could help to save any potential evidence of abusive behavior. Local law enforcement may be able to help you to preserve evidence. However, do not sync your backup to a new phone, to prevent the spyware from reinstalling.
  • Reset your phone.  The only way to effectively remove a stalking app from a phone is to reset it and re-install the manufacturer’s operating system.

Remember that taking any of these steps could tip-off your abuser – especially if you use your phone to research your options, make a call, or have a conversation near your phone. If you are concerned your phone might be monitored, consider leaving it behind when you are seeking help. Do what is best in your particular situation.  

Want to learn more? Check out our technology tips for domestic violence and stalking victims and the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s technology safety tips. Additional help is available through the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you think you might be in danger right now, call 911.

Tagged with: app, harass, mobile, monitor

Comments

I am being followed and stalked 24 hours a day by the people who live across the hall from my former apt in NYC. Its been so bad I left the apartment and have been living in hostels,shelters and hotels for the past 5 months. I have no idea how they are doing this. I've made several recordings. I am followed in to showers, bathroom stalls, to my workplace, where my work is hacked and deleted or altered repeatedly. I have no idea what to do. It seems NYPD knows nothing of apps or whatever that enables these people to do this. Can somebody tell me how something like this is happening and where I can go for help. I am near homeless now because the hostels are getting way to expensive to live in. I assume I can't put my email address hear but can somebody reply to this message. Somebody has given these people access to something that they are literally using to terrorize people and my fear is nobody's not going to do anything until its too late. Thank you-

You may want to go online to this resource center for crime victims or call 855-484-2846. This FTC article tells what to do if your email was hacked.

Jmc My heart buy for you as someone who knows how you feel! There seems to be somewhat of a group of stalkers that get off on making others miserable. WHY, I truly wish I had a good explanation to give both of us. It is beyond my comprehension to think or believe someone I don’t know Hates me with what seems to be such passion. It is terrorizing! So for me I have to pray and pray a lot. I use to only pray they would stop. Today I also pray for there souls and for wisdom. Hang in

I got a text message from a number I didn't know and it had my name with a question mark. When I tried to call, it said it was invalid... What should I do?

I have a real problem. Accused of abuse that I did not do, I'm the 2 person accused. His name is David I don't know his last name, or where he lives in FL. Uses social media to have people make rude remarks, I am no idea what he tells people to make them act so cruelly "if you can here to hide forget it" Managers of stores following me. Employees "how could you do that" I go into places, and people look at their pads "it's her" so he must have a picture of me. I can go no where with a complaint as I do not know him nor his last name. I ask people and they have a scripted reply "I don't know what your talking about. I tried to help myself went to police took a lie detector test. I am a good person but after 18 years of this nut making puppets of people. David needs some serious help. Stalked with no way out

I would just like to say, if you believe that the one your dating, married too or whatever is the one that's doing this to you then leave. I have went through so much in the past 4 years with any kind of device I would get that now when I'm anywhere near him I draw up. I went from being a very happy person that stayed out of trouble and away from those that caused it to being very depressed and withdrawn. He has tried to convince me that psycho (although I probably am now to an extent), that I'm doing all this mess to any device I touch even his that I don't touch. He's stolen every email I've had, made websites under my name an name spelled almost the same as if I had online businesses over seas. He's turned family an friends against me making them believe I'm causing all the problems. Any phone number I get he somehow makes it to where I can only call certain numbers an only certain ones can call in. He has caused me to lose everything I've ever had, charised and loved. The only thing he hasn't taken from me yet is my life. I never thought in a million years that somebody could take a person as strong minded and independent as myself an break them down to nothing but it can and will happen if you stay around that person. I thought he loved me like I did him but I was badly mistaken and a person like him live to destroy what good people are in the world

OMG...Im not crazy. I have been in this degrading heartbreaking relationship for almost 6 years And you my dear have described it to a T!
OMG IT'S NOT ME! BabyGirl...Thats exactly what happens. What happened to me. I pray to God that I will recover and be whole again. Thank you

Someone has been calling my phone almost every night for at least 2 months. I started putting my phone on do not disturb from 11-4 am. Last night they left a very creepy text. I block every number they call me from. It obviously from one of them burner phone calling apps. I’m pretty freaked out and it takes a lot to creep me out. I’m going to the police department today. Will they be able to trace the calls? I have kids and this last text was very scary. I don’t want to change all my stuff and hide I want this person caught. Any other ideas?

everyone with cell phone looks at me n laughs or scowls at me. This has been going on 2 years. They get on my texts see private pics of me n know everything I do in my apt. I can't go anywhere. a relative got me the phone n used to work at mobile phone store. my passwords don't work. ppl have even threatened me. How do I handle this? I'm scared.

My husband started hacking my phone and iCloud in November of 2017. I live in a small town and I was told if we got divorced he could be stopped. Everyone seems to busy to help me and our divorce was final in March 2018. I can’t take much more. He’s put me on sites and has taken over my entire identity blocking my passwords. Please help

What about "Electric Harassment "Audio 2-way implants like they did with the spy kitties during the war times...Now being done but updated for personal use or abuse unlawful...situations? that could be hidden in your body" with no permission" probably a revenge activity or try to get rid of you or land jacking thugging by force.. and not even through law or court order? Just asking as it is written on how people are being stalked tracked vocally abused by voice technology that is hidden with you unaware that it is not your imaginations!) Some people are frightened by those fraud act institutional and set ups and mental problem set up gigs to make you look bad and entrapment illegally compound you activities and vocal assault included! Would you let your family be attack by these whom ever where they are when ever they want type a thing!?

I have a parallel situation to one or two comments. This girl is using people she knows in her network to show up wherever I am. I believe my phone has spyware as well. I've reset it twice completely. It's not right. I notice cars in a repetitive pattern every single day. Their network does drugs as well. Facts. They came from this church. But I think it's based on fake wokeness. I believe they are really disturbed individuals. When i started moving on that's when she and them will pin you down and make you feel low. I at one point had a lot of hope for the situation. To reverse. Or to somehow work out. But after lots of time you realize it will never happen. That they are just belittling people. And bullies. I will never forget what they have done. I'm very certain about the outcome being nothing of involvement with any of them in the future. They are cowards.

A peson over in chili, WI over heard someone say : They hack car keys, the smart meter and internet telephone and TV sets to listen, stalk follow anywhere you go "They do the enemy of the states Movie activity thing now ...and even put SPY implants in you that do the same thing without your knowledge! And he says Police/FBI can't do anything about it even if it does you in! I don't believe what that person said this person he overheard say.... how-ever reading about mind control and Cell phone implants in recordable teeth and even in the jaw bone and also now Tattoos ...Can you trust anyone around you anymore? and this is what we want for Security of the USA to just ignore!?Just think a spy or anyone could be anywhere getting all our plans secrets and identities and money! Not Smart/Dangerous if you ask me and if it is not monitored for every little airwaves/electric or body implant implanted "Covert" or made to not look like covert transmissions of any kind!!

My bf moblies both hacked he said someone is recording as he talking to me. 3wk later mine was hacked. He said don't pick up any private calls which I got why he say this does this mean they hackers. Also police are investigating people who are calling him. I had my Facebook account spied on. Texts read. Contact taken and put back. Apps turned on and off. My bank account hacked. Warm battery than usually. Anyway shed light on this. How long does police take to investigate a business moblie.

Hacker started in hotel now gained access to phone up addresses and put something on car

About 2 1/2 months ago an acquaintance I lived with Left her phone with the neighbor who I told her was a crook. Since then my Identity’s been stolen because I was in her contacts. To prove it to myself it was the neighbor I sent this roommate A snotty message regarding the neighbor. Next morning the joke was on me. All the icons disappeared on the phone then many of my contacts became pinned, like a pushpin on them. They hacked into all my emails, documents, credit cards but more importantly people I love are now affected. They’ve sent freaky photos, Intercepted texts and are generally causing havoc at all around me. This is difficult to prove Since the intercepted emails first came in then disappeared, Then reappeared. Changed phone lines phone number but since my info is on the dark web they have access every time my name pops up for a purchase or Giving my information to carriers. How does one deal with the situation? Go underground?

You can get help with identity theft at www.IdentityTheft.gov.

You can report what happened and create a report to law enforcement. You can use the report to law enforcement to help fix problems caused by identity theft. You can use the report to get fraudulent information removed from your credit report, and to dispute inaccurate information that was put on your credit report. Go to www.IdentityTheft.gov to start your report.

How long does it take for a response from the cyber security investigations to find the person who stole my info

Pages

Leave a Comment