Who's stalking: what to know about mobile spyware

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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

All my phone's have been hard restart and clean from encryption from pc hard drives to sd . That's what anyone would say. Say if you had a new phone would you read all policies and terms. Would you check out the voip for different phone numbers that were packets getting send to you. Should which I can't see the txt like just now my phone I can't see the words you check if the txt fro. Website and select all to see the words are placed right or if it's not clear. Or why ppl have been getting random calls.

09/24/2016 @ 6:20 pm received a phone call from 000-000-0000, 09/25/2016 phone beeping, had to recharge it. How do I reset phone?

The instructions that came with your phone should explain how to reset it.

As I purchased prepaid phone cards at Walmart for my straight talk phone. I've noticed that they are shorting me seven days a month and since I'm totally disabled..it really stinks..might suggest u look into it.

If you bought something that wasn't as advertised, you can report it to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Your comments here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

STOP!, getting into my personal matter for identify personal mobile or Internet and thank you!

How can I check my phone to see if it's stalking apps on THERE

I was being tracked by my ex. I changed my number. How can I tell?

Who should you contact if law enforcement has been notified and they do not seem concerned unless you are physically being threatened?

You can read the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s technology safety tips. Additional help is available through the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Awesome !!!! I'll be sharing this info

This is really fantastic info Thank you

True artist of cryptology will use a cycle U.I. OR OPERATING SYSTEM. BEST TIPS I CAN TELL YOU YOU IS HAVE UR WIFI N BLUETOOTH ALWAYS OFF. USE WI-MAXX COMPUTATION, USE A FAKE O.S. SO WHEN UR HACKED THERE IN YOUR MAZE... AMAZING, AMAZE THEM! P.S. FOR BEGINNERS USE AFASTER CPU BIT BY BIT COMPUTATION. PROTECT AND LEARN EVERYTHING REGARDING ISDN. P.S.S. AT THE END IF THE DAY ITS ALK electromagnetic waves don't throw away the other half of Maxwell's equations, analyse them. Bc even broken clocks are tight twice a day. Hint standard division is wrong, that's why you end up having to do an ad-hoc renormalization process

Your very smart. My x is stalking me. Somehow he can mess with my electrical of my home. Theres either a sonic nausea or hes hacked into the apartments n causes me to be very sick but only in certain areas of my home. Gmail me please. Please .please ty

We don't post personal email addresses on the blog.

You can read these technology tips for domestic violence and stalking victims, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s technology safety tips.

You can get more help from the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you think you are in danger right now, call 911.

I'm not concerned with being stalked by an ex, rather I'm concerned with being "stalked" by the US government. What is the FTC doing to get the NSA, FBI, and etc to stop spying on the American people?

Privacy act of 74 means alot.

.....good to know.

Please fix this problem

This is very good information. Very helpful! Even though I'm not being stalked or anything, and even if you aren't this is useful information to carry around with you incase you know someone who is.

I was stalked by this method as well as other technology methods completely unaware!!! The problem began as far back as our dating, then well into our early marriage. I went to my local police and they were stumped of what to do. I divorced him and changed all devices including the car I drive. Everything was wired and bugged.

I've been stalk for over three years plus by Barbara brown last known workplace was at mc Donald's in fort mc Murray Ab she now as one of her male friends stalking my family and our mobile phones remotely they can change my password block my call and text email modify the phone os and so an the most disgusting part is when you are on a call and they hold down the dial tone button if there is any info how to get them behind bars please post the info thanks

Great article! Thank you for helping us stay safe on the internet.

Great information, Can someone please help me with this , I've complained and told everyone and I get no where. I dated a guy who works for IBM it ended this past May 2016, He did a remodel in my house , but didn't finish it, Since May every phone I purchase gets hacked , There is something in or around my house that hacks my stuff before I even know it, and its not detected, I wont bring my laptop home . The same thing happens at my mothers home 15 miles away.

If you think someone has hacked your devices, follow the steps listed in the blog post. The resources listed in the blog post may be able to help you or direct you to someone who can help you check your devices.

please help the same thing happens to me my husband girlfriend wiork in telecommunication use to at comcast and now at charter. Everythingthing in telecommunication fraud has happen to me . please contact me at            even know they get on everything. i change me passwords everything and it's hard to hide my phone number because we have kids tigerher

I believe my phone has some kind of spyware installed on it. My phone, however, was shut off when I believe this was done, Is it possible for this to happen when your phone is shut off?

If you think a stalking app was installed on your phone, you can follow the steps listed in the blog post. One of the resources listed in the blog post may be able to answer your question and help you check your phone.

Pls help me!! I have a exboss whom is stalking on me. I know it was him.. there r many time while chatting on whatsapp.. he would suddenly slip of his mouth by saying something that has total no link with him.! Is something personal of myself or between my group of Frens n the current company I'm working for. He know every single movement of me. I have change so many mobile phone and number too the past 1 years.. but nothing helps. I have done all like factory reset, antivirus hide ip, cell spy catches and stuff like that but none help. I'm doing research everyday and resencelly study alot on my phone log. There was something weird I don't understand. Any kind soul pls advice. The log was written of something like ~ Spybot Portable ~ image photo copying batch file ~ u trace netblock ~ satellite fiber ~ ota Above are the few I'm suspicious about yet I'm a technology idiot. Pls advice me of anyways I could stop all tis. I'm helpless and is really mentally draining for me.

OK... I read the article. The thing is I have a real cheap phone that I couldn't tell he did it. But I just synced my old phone with my new phone and on this awesome good phone it's showing up. It's his e mail and my phone number. He is tracking me and we have been broke up for over a year now! My question is: Now I know how do I get if off my phone without his password. He won't give me the password he just was laughing!!!!

I think that my ex is stalking me. He constantly starts calling me but only when I go out of town with my friends or new boyfriend. He was very controlling and mentally abusive. I am very scared of what he is capable of doing. We live in a very small town and the police are of know help. The system is not for the victim. I am at a loss. I can not have a concealed to carry permit. It is awful to feel this way.

It isn't my ex stalking me, there is a girl at work that is harassing me and stalking me and has other people doing it. I don't know what kind of lies she is telling them to get them to do this. This has been going on for about 2 years. She has seen everything on my phone and no doubt had the camera on too. She has seen and heard very personal things. I know this has to be against the law apps like this just were any psycho can get a hold of them and connect to your phone and listen, watch, and no everything you say and do, along with passwords and personal information. What can be done about this?

This blog has some ideas for you. 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. 

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