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Is Someone Spying on Your Phone?

by on March 30, 2012
in Phones and Mobile, Cell Phones, Tips & How-Tos, Privacy :: 279 comments

You probably know there are plenty of apps you can install on your smartphone to track its location in case it gets lost or stolen. Apple's “Find My iPhone” is one good one and many security apps, such as AVG Mobilation, can track down a phone in seconds.

But what if someone else is tracking you? Is there any chance your boss or spouse could be spying on everything you do on your phone?

It’s easy to do. Spy apps are plentiful and can imperceptibly track text and e-mail messages, location, Web sites you visit, who you call and what photos and videos you shoot. The problem is these apps are difficult to detect and run invisibly in the background.

I decided to track my son and installed an app on his phone called Phone Control by Laucass (free on Google Play). Of course, secretly intercepting electronic communications without the person's knowledge and consent is illegal, so I told my son I was doing it and that I’d only use it if I had good reason.

Every day I receive emails that indicate my son’s location as he’s using his phone out in the world. I can click on those links in my email to see via Google Maps where he is (although I very rarely do). I could also set up the app to send me data about everything else he’s doing on his phone, but that’s not something I personally need—or want—to do.

Signs your phone may have been compromised

Someone borrowed or took your phone

I had to have my son’s phone in hand to install Android Phone Control. Once activated, however, there’s no icon in the application launcher. The app shows up with the name “Android System” in the applications manager so it doesn’t look suspicious. If you think someone could do something like this when you’re not paying attention or asleep, secure your phone with a passcode that isn’t easy to guess.

(Editor's Note 9/26/12: To confirm you have the spyware and not a standard Android app by the same name, follow these steps to open the spy app (dial the phone number.)

(Editor's Note 8/28/13: See our in-depth study of mobile security apps for more detail on 9 of the most common spyware programs and how to detect them.)

Your phone is acting weirdly

Taking forever to shut off, lighting up for no reason, suddenly getting much shorter battery life or running hot when you’re not using it may indicate hidden processes are running in the background.

Your data usage skyrockets for no reason

This could be because your phone is checking in with someone else, using GPS and sending them text messages or emails that communicate where you are and what you’re doing.

What to do if you suspect your phone's being monitored

The best thing to do is perform a factory reset, which you can find as an option in your phone’s settings. Know, however, that in doing so you will lose all data stored on your phone, so back it up first.

If you’re using Apple iCloud or Android 4.0, items like your contacts, photos and music are automatically synced and saved in the cloud. But if you have an older phone, you’ll want to make sure to export your contacts before doing a factory reset. There are various ways to do this depending on what phone you’re using and which operating system it’s running. If you’re not sure, get help from your cellular provider; they can make sure to retain your contacts and other important data during a factory reset.

You'll then want to use a strong passcode to prevent unauthorized access to your device. For Android devices, you can also install an app, like AppNotifier (free on Google Play), that will email you when programs are loaded onto your phone.

(Editor's Note 9/26/12: See our updated recommendations for Android antimalware solutions)

(Editor's Note 8/28/13: See our in-depth study of mobile security apps for our latest recommendations on how to protect yourself.)

You'll then have to tackle the issue of who's doing the monitoring. Keep in mind that if your device was issued by your company or is authorized to access your company's email and other data services, you may have given your consent as part of your employment contract or when access was data access was granted.

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hacker in memphis

From seashell on August 01, 2012 :: 10:32 pm

It is possible. It happen to me. I meet a man on Facebook topic about income tax freeze. This guy begin to tel me how he caught his ex wife by texting her or calling her from his phone see he buys the app and download to his phone the he can text or call if answered he hacks the ihone. He did my phone n computer.he log into my Yahoo email sent emails of a website to all my contacts n when I logg on to my email that morning it said ur email access from diffetent ocation then I c all the emails were return that I supposely sent good info because the return email shows d hacker using a remote location n fake ips. As I was looking at this stuff the guy calls me like what you doing I told him someone hack my PC n d police is at my house so he hung up but he kept texting me asking if I needed help. I told him that he hack my computer he said no but I know he did but why I dont know we never meet face to face only online and phone. He seem nice but he was a hacker. He log pnto my bank account the bank tracked the IP he used and tried cover up because he thinks he so smart. So he keeps hacking my phone n computer since I had not folwed up with the FBI I think its time since he have started back. My phone never holds the charge and it stays very hot and and I was sitting down with no noise in the room and I had my phone in my hand n d speaker vibrated then I vould hear the guy talking but listening in on my phone. I could put the phone down and get rid of it but im not im giving it to the FBI and d emails all the proof because this is sick.and their is more to this story so it is possible. Im sure this guy do this all the time but he over talks by telling the person he have did this then he turns around and do it to the perso and he feels confident that he cant b stop. If had not did this to many others he would have made it this far to m

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suzanne or josh HELP!!!

From katie on August 04, 2012 :: 1:33 pm

Please HELP! my ex boyfriend is following me. I live over an hour away from him and the other day I was in my new car (he never saw this car before)and he was directly in the car behind me in the passenger seat. he was leaning forward trying to see if it was me in my driver’s outside rear view mirror, his friend was driving. I was so scared because he has a terrible temper. I have an iPhone and have important pics/text/videos on for work and cannot restore to factory settings as i do not have an apple computer to save txt messages, etc. Randomly, my phone will light up? what does that mean? is there anyway to install any type of app that will disable his ability to follow me? or show me if he has installed anything on my phone? i’m not very tech savvy…so i truly appreciate your help. thank you in advance.

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There are a lot of

From Josh Kirschner on August 05, 2012 :: 10:48 pm

There are a lot of ways your boyfriend could be tracking you, including just waiting for you in places he’ll know you’ll be (your home, work, friend’s house). It is also possible that he has installed spyware on your iPhone if he had physical access to it. Find My iPhone is one common app that can be used to track your location.

Unfortunately, we don’t have an anti-malware program we can recommend for the iPhone. Apple’s restrictive policies for what apps are able to do on the iPhone has prevented security companies from being able to create apps for the device.

However, you can save your pics and videos to any computer, not just Macs. I don’t have a solution for you with the text messages, perhaps someone else can help out (do you really need to keep your text messages anyhow?)

If you live in a city with an Apple genius bar, you should take your phone in for them to look at. They may also be able to help you transfer your files to a USB drive or SD card. If not, perhaps your phone carrier store can help. And look through all of your apps yourself. See one you don’t recognize? Delete it.

Finally, you may want to consult an attorney to see if you have legal recourse to get a restraining order, especially if there has been past abuse.

Hope you find a solution.

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thank you josh...i have another question

From kate on August 07, 2012 :: 9:47 am

thanks for the info…i have an Iphone, I believe he now has an android…is there a way he can simply input my phone number and track me? i have seen apps on the Iphone that state that if you input someone’s phone number (after downloading the particular app) then you can locate the individual with the phone number. i live over an hour away and on that particular day i was in the country (with not a sole on the road) then back to the city ...honestly it’s creepy…i have checked my iphone and there are no apps downloaded that look suspicious. So, my question is…does an app exist that you can just input someone’s phone number and then locate them without their knowledge? if so, if the phone is turned off will the tracking still work? thank you in advance.

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Check your iCloud settings

From Josh Kirschner on August 07, 2012 :: 5:46 pm

If he has access to your iCloud account, he can track your iPhone through “Find my iPhone” without an actual app being installed (sorry, I wasn’t clear about that the first time).

First, let’s turn off that feature. On your iPhone, go to Settings and select iCloud. Set “Find My iPhone” to “off”.

Next, login to iCloud (at iCloud.com) and change your password so he can’t regain access.

I know of no way that he could track your phone just by using your phone number. Only the authorities could do that and only with a court order. And there is no way the phone could be tracked by anyone when powered down. If he is tracking you through your phone, my money would be on Find My iPhone.

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Just wondering...

From Meow on August 07, 2012 :: 11:09 pm

So my boyfriend claims he has access to my cell phone’s call list and text messages. I’m not sure if he’s doing the hacking or someone else is. A few months ago, I called my carrier and they told me that someone indeed had gotten into my account. (I’m on an account w/ my mom too and she is the main person on it. I’m an add-on line.) My carrier supposedly did something to my line, like limit the access to it so it could only be viewed by the main person (my mom) or something. My bf still claims he can hack into my line though. I do not have a smart phone, it’s a year or 2 behind them so I don’t have apps or anything like that. I don’t believe he physically put anything onto my phone or sent me anything enabling him to hack into it. I guess he was getting into my account on my carrier’s webpage and viewing my info there. I’m hoping that whatever my carrier did a few months ago has kept him out of my account but I’m not 100% sure if it has. I’m due for a new phone soon, but will the info from my current one still be present and accessible? Is there anything I could buy or download to beef up my phone’s security? What should I do? Is there even anything I could really do?
Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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I assume your carrier means

From Josh Kirschner on August 07, 2012 :: 11:29 pm

I assume your carrier means someone accessed your account online? Changing your password to a strong password (and keeping it secret) should fix that problem. You need to also make sure that if your account has a username/password recovery feature, that you ensure your boyfriend can’t use that feature to reset your password by changing the password of any linked email accounts.

It is unlikely he has hacked your current phone, and simply getting a new phone won’t help if your boyfriend has access to your account information online.

Since you asked for any advice…if this is a current boyfriend doing this to you, he really should be an ex-boyfriend. This sounds like a very unhealthy relationship for you.

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Still Wondering...

From Meow on August 08, 2012 :: 2:54 pm

Josh-
None of my person online info (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is linked to my phone. I don’t have a smart phone so I really can’t access those websites well from my dinosaur phone. All of the passwords and billing info for my phone are under my mom’s name. She is the only one that can make any changes on our account. When I called my carrier to find out if we were being hacked, they wouldn’t talk to me, they would only speak to my mom. They put some sort of restriction on my phone. I’m not sure exactly what though. I think she may have had to set up some sort of password. My boyfriend says he can access the call lists from either of our lines and also texts. After calling my carrier and setting all of that up, I believe he is bluffing w/ me sometimes. But I can’t be 100% sure about it because he has also hacked into my Facebook, Twitter, and email accounts.
So here are my questions now; My phone contract is up this month. My mom and I will probably discontinue using our current carrier and go to a new one. So when our contract is up and we don’t renew it, would we be taken out of their system? Or would they keep all of our info on file? Is there anyway to get rid of our personal info w/ that carrier? I just want it gone and inaccessible. I’m thinking I’m going to change my number when I go to a new carrier. Is there anyway he could request to have my current number when I don’t export it to my new phone? If that’s the case, I’ll keep the current number.
I’m not sure what will happen with my boyfriend and I. But what I am sure about is that I do not want him to have any sort of access to my old phone, current phone, or future phone.

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You should ask your carrier

From Josh Kirschner on August 08, 2012 :: 10:09 pm

You should ask your carrier how they will treat your account after you cancel. My guess is that it will still be there to access for reference purposes. In any case, talk to your mom and have her change her password on the account and verify with your carrier that no one else has access or is receiving copies of your statement. That should keep him out.

I’m not sure about whether he could request your number when you leave, that’s another question for your carrier. One option may to “port” your number to Google Voice, so you retain control of the number and then get a new number when you switch carriers. There will likely be a small fee for porting (maybe around $20).

If your boyfriend has hacked into your Facebook, Twitter, and email accounts, either you’re being too open about your passwords or you’re giving him physical access to your computer when you’re logged into your accounts (or, perhaps less likely, he has installed some sort of keylogging malware on your PC). Until he no longer has that physical access, he will keep hacking your information. You need to make a decision about whether you’re ready to make a complete break from him if you want this nonsense to stop. You deserve better.

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Hey Josh...

From Sandy on October 05, 2014 :: 10:25 pm

Josh… First off let me say it is refreshing to hear a man say something like this “Since you asked for any advice…if this is a current boyfriend doing this to you, he really should be an ex-boyfriend. This sounds like a very unhealthy relationship for you.” A lot of girls don’t like to hear this from their parents, older sibling, best friends etc… I am glad you saw it and said something.

Second… I have a general question.  Why hasn’t someone made an app or something that will somehow either disengage texting or turn the phone off altogether when in a moving vehicle?  Just wondering
Thanks

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Thanks, Sandy.

From Josh Kirschner on October 06, 2014 :: 1:15 am

There are apps that will do that. We haven’t covered them for a while, but there are options available from both the carriers and independent app makers.

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Most Appreciated

From Meow on August 09, 2012 :: 12:11 am

Josh-
I will indeed have my mom change the password for the time being and have my current number ported elsewhere when the time comes for a new one. A million thanks for all of the infomation you’ve given me and for talking the time to write back. I just want my phone to be as secure as possible and protected from any future attemps at hacking. Hopefully none of this will happen again.
Thanks again Josh.

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Still Need a Factory Reset?

From FAB on August 10, 2012 :: 3:58 pm

Hello Josh or Suzanne,
I believe that my husband (in process of becoming ex) has downloaded Spyware on my Android phone….he knows specific details about my text messages, verbatim phone conversations, my locations, etc. I just recently downloaded the Anti-Spy PRO app on my phone and it detected just one suspicious app (Qik Video) that I immediately uninstalled. I also downloaded the AppNotifier for the future. At this point, I am wondering if I need to take things a step further and also get a factor reset? I already separated our phone accounts. I was really trying to avoid the reset but if it is necessary and recommended, I will do that. Please share your advice.
(Also, an aside, as discussed in some of the comments earlier, in my experience, law enforcement was also NO SUPPORT!)
Thank you in advance for your assistance!

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Yes, still a good idea.

From Josh Kirschner on August 10, 2012 :: 4:20 pm

Can you confirm exactly which antispyware app you downloaded? We have a list of the ones we recommend here: http://www.techlicious.com/how-to/how-to-protect-your-android-device-from-malware/. Many other apps are next to useless, so it’s important to get that part right. Qik Video is not spyware, so assuming that it was the real Qik Video app, that was a missed call by the antispyware app.

Doing a factory reset is actually really easy (you do it yourself through the “Back up and reset” menu or one of the other system/privacy menus, depending on your version of Android). And you can re-download whatever apps you need when you log back in to Google Play after the reset (they’re stored as “My Apps”, so no need to pay for them again). Depending on your email provider, it should be easy to resync that as well. I use Gmail which makes it a snap to also sync contacts, calendar, etc.

The safest bet will be to do the factory reset and then make sure you have one of our recommended antispyware programs installed.

Sorry to hear about the law enforcement issues, wish we could help resolve that. Have you talked to your divorce attorney about these issues to see if he/she has any advice?

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Hoping to reset properly...

From FAB on August 10, 2012 :: 5:02 pm

Hi Josh,
Thank you for your response. The spyware that I downloaded is the Anti Spy Mobile PRO app. (which I saw recommended on another discussion site.) And while it did not find any spyware, when it returned the Qik Video app as “suspicious” indicating that it had the capability to monitor messaging, records calls, etc, I just wanted it gone!—especially since I don’t use it anyway and my husband is the one who downloaded it on my phone some time ago—but at that time, I didn’t know it could do all of that! What spyware program would you recommend for my phone?

My phone is an Android Charge. Being that I am not the most technologically savvy, I will attempt to follow your guidelines and reset my phone. I just hope to first back up everything properly:/.

Re: divorce attorney…all of the “divorce stuff” is brand new. Thus, I have not even secured an attorney…yet. However, when I do, I want all of my communications/whereabouts/business to be PRIVATE! and right now…it are not!

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The app you downloaded is

From Josh Kirschner on August 10, 2012 :: 5:32 pm

The app you downloaded is not one we would recommend. The developer is not a well known security company, it has not been reviewed by an independent testing company (as far as we were able to determine) and there are grammatical errors in their marketing and app - a strong warning sign that this is not a professionally developed app.

See this link for our recommended antimalware solutions for Android: http://www.techlicious.com/how-to/how-to-protect-your-android-device-from-malware/. Our recommendations have all been validated through independent testing by reputable antimalware labs and are from known security experts. Specifically,  I would recommend avast! Free Mobile Security, F-Secure Mobile Security, Kaspersky Mobile Security, Lookout Security & Antivirus, or McAfee Mobile Security.

If you want to be 100% sure you have privacy when communicating with your (future) attorney, you may want to consider getting an inexpensive prepaid phone specifically for those conversations. Our overview of the plans here: http://www.techlicious.com/guide/choosing-between-a-prepaid-and-contract-cell-phone-plan/, but nay prepaid phone will work for you.

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I take that back

From Josh Kirschner on February 06, 2014 :: 4:47 pm

Since 2012, we have run our own detailed testing on mobile antimalware performance against spyware (see: http://www.techlicious.com/review/mobile-security-apps-perform-dismally-against-spyware/), and the results were eye opening. Many of the major vendors, including those who performed very well in reports from the “independent” testing labs, did very poorly against spyware. In follow up conversations with the security vendors, it’s clear that many, frankly, aren’t taking the threat seriously.

On the other hand, I recently tested Anti Spy Mobile against the same threats and found that it out-performed nearly every “big name” vendor. So Anti Spy Mobile is now on my recommended list for Android spyware detection.

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Any way to save videos?

From FAB on August 10, 2012 :: 6:27 pm

Thank you for all the Great info. and advice Josh! I will be using it all!:) One additional question…I am getting ready to reset my phone, I have backed up/synced my phone, is there any way to save my videos—the ones I have personally recorded? They are too big to email to myself…any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again!

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Yes, that's simple to do

From Josh Kirschner on August 11, 2012 :: 10:26 am

You can easily download videos onto any PC using a USB cable.

1. From the Home screen, press the Menu Key, then
touch Settings ➔ USB Settings ➔ Mass Storage.
2. Attach your phone to the computer with a USB cable. Your phone recognizes the connection and displays USB Storage in use.
3. At the prompt on the computer, select a transfer method.
4. Transfer files from the memory card (they’re usually in a folder called “DCIM/Movies”, “DCIM/Camera” or something similar.

If your videos are stored on your microSD card, you can also just pop that out and stick it in your computer (you will likely need a microSD to SD adapter - very cheap and available at Best Buy or Radio Shack, if you don’t already have one).

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facebook and google maps

From hannah on August 13, 2012 :: 2:05 pm

hi i have just recently noticed that on my facebook messages they is a little tear drop like symbol,not just on my name but on quite a few of the people who i send or recieve messages from ,now if you were to click on that symbol it takes you to google maps and pin points the exact house i or them are in,the exact door number,i have searched my facebook settings to try and find out what it is but i cant find anything please can anyone help me on this, kind regards

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Phone tracking

From Rich Fitzgerald on August 13, 2012 :: 3:31 pm

Very good article. I will share with others. I didn’t read through all the comments, but want to offer that I have found the Google Latitude feature on my family’s smart phones very useful. My children are all over 21, but we are connected by Google Latitude and they only turn it on when they are travelling which is when I care. They know I care which is very nice acknowledgement that I am not overbearing. Otherwise, I don’t really want to know where they are.

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RE: Thanks Josh I have another question

From kate on August 13, 2012 :: 4:39 pm

hi josh, i wrote to you back on 8/7…i just wanted to respond and say “thank you” for helping me try to figure things out…i checked icloud and “find my Iphone” is turned off…thank you for your response ... i appreciate your help!

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You're very welcome!

From Josh Kirschner on August 13, 2012 :: 4:47 pm

You’re very welcome!

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identity stolen

From MH on August 14, 2012 :: 8:56 pm

Hi. My identity was just stolen and I just received a suspicious phone call. Could they have somehow hacked into my phone to hear my calls or be using my phone number? I looked up the number and it says it’s a landline with multiple carriers and when I called back it was just a shady message. Please help!

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highly unlikely

From Josh Kirschner on August 14, 2012 :: 11:58 pm

Unfortunately, spam phone calls are a fact of life. And it would be extremely difficult to actually hack into your phone to hear your calls. Unless, you have some specific reason to think this was related to your identity theft, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. However, if you have concerns, you should call your carrier to notify them that you have been the victim of identity theft and confirm that there haven’t been any changes on the account.

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Thank you !

From ~~ on August 17, 2012 :: 12:35 pm

Thank you Josh! Very reassuring!

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about law enforcement

From Phone Tracked on August 16, 2012 :: 5:30 pm

My boyfriend recently admitted to spying on my phone, he bought and downloaded a program onto my phone that sends him copies of all my texts, my location, basically everything. They get sent to his emails. I was worried about deleting it off my phone and then having no proof for law enforcement, or at least to get a restraining order. What kind of evidence do I need, and will a factory reset cause me to lose my evidence?

I am not actually doing anything I want to hide so I don’t mind having it on my phone for now, I really just want to be able to have evidence.

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A factory reset may cause

From Josh Kirschner on August 16, 2012 :: 10:38 pm

A factory reset may cause you to lose the evidence. You should consult an attorney or law enforcement regarding what evidence you would need.

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I have a BB 9800.

From Jen on August 16, 2012 :: 7:11 pm

I have a BB 9800. I have been to law enforcement and they said they sent the phone to the local FBI lab and found nothing? I know for a fact that I have spyware on my phone and have so for over a year. I see all this great advice but none that offers solutions that actually get someone prosecuted. If the experts can tell us how to detect it and reset our phones than why isn’t there someone I can take my phone to and get this looked at, proven and then prosecuted? It is a nightmare to deal with a person who is doing this and its great you experts know what to look for but how about some ideas on how to prove the crime is taking place and get the SOBs arrested. I am tired of all the websites, blogs and experts saying it spyware exists, tell me who can help ME solve this crime. Humph!

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If you had it examined

From Josh Kirschner on August 16, 2012 :: 10:41 pm

If you had it examined by the FBI lab and they said there was no spyware, it sounds like law enforcement has been quite supportive, they just didn’t find any evidence of a crime. How do you “know for a fact” you have spyware on your phone?

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Work issued iPhone

From Sirius on August 19, 2012 :: 1:37 pm

I was issued an iPhone by my workplace and was told to use it for both work and personal calls and that I could save money by getting rid of my personal cell phone.  The box was already opened and it was on.  Soon after I received the phone the IT person that reports directly to my manager asked if I knew how to login to the employee wifi system so that I would always be connected - I was just using the guest link with disconnects after 5-10 minutes and have not changed that function. Around the same time my manager began quoting my words back to me and telling me that everything eventually gets back to her.  These were phone conversations that were taken in private My iPhone has all of the symptoms of spyware - gets hot, runs out of battery life quickly, acts like it’s getting a call but isn’t, etc.  Is there a way to see what phone numbers are dialing into my iphone to listen in on me?

Thank you for your help.

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Monitoring conversations is likely illegal,

From Josh Kirschner on August 22, 2012 :: 10:54 am

Monitoring conversations is likely illegal, even if the phone was issued by your employer unless they notified you that your communications may be monitored, though these laws vary by state. I would bring either ask your employer directly whether calls are monitored or bring your phone to an Apple store and have them take a look to see what software is installed.

Unless the iPhone was “jailbroken”, it is highly unlikely secret call recording software was installed and, even then, that is not software that is easy to come by. The only call recording solutions I’m aware of involve dialing out through an external service which then records your calls. Unfortunately, there is no anti-spyware software available for the iPhone that we recommend.

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iphone gps

From Taylor on August 20, 2012 :: 9:43 pm

The problem I had today…my friend called me on my android phone while I was driving in town… He was telling what light I stopped at,and as I would turn onto a different street, he was telling me my every move. There were no cars behind me and he said I can see you from the sky view on his GPS, on his iphone. He could even see me recline my seat in the car. He knew when I was home all the time. How can I stop people from finding my location by phone?? I turned off my GPS satellites and my wireless networks. I don’t know if this solved the problem or not…please help me…

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The Find My iPhone feature

From Josh Kirschner on August 22, 2012 :: 10:58 am

The Find My iPhone feature allows you to track your phone if you have access to your iCloud account. But there is no way he could see you reclining your seat! You iPhone can still be tracked through cell towers, even if it has GPS turned off. Make sure you change your password on your iCloud account and check to see if you have the Find My iPhone app installed.

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Can my land line be monitored by scammers?

From James Reasoner on August 20, 2012 :: 9:59 pm

Okay, it’s not a big deal. It just seems that too often, right after I hang up a personal call, a phone solicitor is ringing me up—almost as if they were alerted to activity on my line and pounced. Possible?

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That sounds highly unlikely. If

From Josh Kirschner on August 22, 2012 :: 11:01 am

That sounds highly unlikely. If you’re in the U.S., make sure you’re listed on the National Do Not Call registry - https://www.donotcall.gov/ - and tell callers to add you to their “do not call” list. That will stop solicitations from most “legitimate” marketers.

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Thanks for the quick reply.

From James Reasoner on August 22, 2012 :: 6:51 pm

Yep, I’m on that list. Also, I have a Panasonic phone that allows me to block callers; however I only get 30 blocks at a time, and their phone # has to display.

But, do you know how many Jamaican lotteries I’ve won, or how many packages are waiting at the port for personal delivery to my door? I may have to open that bank account in Nigeria after all, what with all the millions rolling in…

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Why did only the name on my husband's contact info. disappear from my iPhone?

From Paula on August 27, 2012 :: 7:49 am

My husband and I are having problems and I had to leave (domestic violence with law enforcement involved in a separate incident about a year ago).  I am now several hundred miles away.  There was an interruption in service on my iphone because the bill was past due.  After paying the bill, I noticed that his name disappeared from my contacts list and favorites, however, his phone number is still there. 

What could this mean?  Why did his name disappear?  Spyware?(either on behalf of my husband or law enforcement)  He does not have a smartphone.

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It doesn't sound like spyware,

From Josh Kirschner on August 27, 2012 :: 10:19 pm

It doesn’t sound like spyware, but I don’t have a good explanation for why that may have happened unless he has access to your account through your carrier and his contact info was stored on your carrier account (e.g., TMobile MobileLife COntacts).

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Possibly an unfriend

From Dale on October 26, 2012 :: 3:35 pm

My wife inadvertently unfriended me on facebook. She had previously just had my number in her phone prior to syncing with facebook. Once you sync with facebook, you get the picture icon from your friends, email addresses and even their cell number. Soooo, if you or your husband unfriend, all that facebook info disappears except for any info you added to the contact info through your phone. Just a thought.

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stalking

From nicole gross on August 30, 2012 :: 9:39 am

well the way i see it is you shouldnt have to stalk your mate or spouse. there should be nothing to hide. if you are getting pictures or sexting or whatever then you deserve to be caught! in my experience its always best to tell the truth so if you want a little on the side then i would just come clean instead of hurting someone that cares about me.its not right or fair to the other person. now if they are just plain crazy i honestly would get rid of the phone period. and if that doesnt stop it then maybe its time to move on.

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Child monitoring

From Alichia on September 01, 2012 :: 8:36 am

I’m not sure if it’s different for each state but I do know in Missouri it is not illegal to monitor your child who is a minor under the age of 18 without their knowledge. Which I’m glad because kids who know will likely dodge allowing information such as text messages to happen on their phone. Then they will just find a way to sneak behind a parents back with out the parent knowing a thing.

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How can someone use an out of state area code??

From Ginger on September 01, 2012 :: 10:05 am

I received a call from a person I had previously communicated with. I no longer wished to speak with this person so I never answered his calls and I donot have the block feature on my cell phone. He lives in CA, which his cell phone area code is 831. My cell rang yesterday and although I did not recoginze the cell number it was from my calling area FL which is 352 area code and the last 7 digits of the number were not his cell number. So I answered thinking it was someone else, He was calling from his cell. Bascially somehow he was able to “rig” his cell phone to make it appear I was receiveing a call in my own area code. How is that possible and what is he using to accomplish this?!!

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The app used is called

From Steve on September 04, 2012 :: 8:15 pm

The app used is called spoofapp. I wish they had a reverse spoofapp. Installed trapcall on my phone and although I don’t receive any phone calls from this person, my family, friends, co-workers, everyone I meet or text gets calls from the same spoofed number. They can make the number any number they want and it also allows them to change between a male/female voice.

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Temporary Lock App

From madeformom on September 03, 2012 :: 10:05 pm

Check out our new Android app

It provides the ability to quickly ‘password protect’ the phone when required.

Search for “Temporary Lock” on the Android ‘play’ Market

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cell phone hacked

From Steve on September 04, 2012 :: 8:06 pm

Here’s my problem. I have an Android that is hacked. If I call someone, the hacker gets the number and calls them with a spoofed number. I just found out that all my texts are hacked too. That they can read them. I’m in the middle of the gulf of Mexico using WiFi on the boat, and the hacker still managed to read my emails on my phone. Once I texted, “this b***h is crazy” and before I laid my phone down, it rang with a voice changer being used saying ” I’m not f***ing crazy”. After that, I changed my number, and before I got home from Sprint, the phone rang with the spoofed number. All I can do is block it because I don’t know what to do. All my pictures I have have been copied and fake Facebook pages been made. Fake profiles on dating websites. My friends that I text get the same number calling them too. I had to remove myself from whitepages.com and completely block facebook. I even notified the police about this telling them that my phone is hacked and that any number called or any texts made from or sent to the phone that person would also be hacked. What can I do since the police department said there isn’t anything they can do because it’s too expensive to get into? I even notified a private detective to look into it and they basically told me “no”. Anyone want a crack at it? I will gladly give up my phone for you to see for yourself.

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Have you tried loading one

From Josh Kirschner on September 04, 2012 :: 10:42 pm

Have you tried loading one of our recommended antimalware solutions for Android: avast! Free Mobile Security, F-Secure Mobile Security, Kaspersky Mobile Security, Lookout Security & Antivirus, or McAfee Mobile Security?

If your phone contains spyware, simply changing your number likely wouldn’t make a difference since the malware would still be on your phone. Did you change your phone as a well?

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I have a paid subscription

From Steve on September 26, 2012 :: 3:08 pm

I have a paid subscription with trapcall, and my anti malware/spyware is Dr Web light and Lookout. Although, I don’t receive any more phone calls from the hacker, they still are able to read emails, texts and listen in on phone conversations. I’ve changed my number 3 times. I even bought a cheap throw away phone for $20. Is there someone who I can give the phone to that can run a scan on or do something to find out who this is to prosecute them? I need to have a smart phone for my job, while I’m travelling.
Also, just to add, anyone that I contact by phone, email, or text through this device also gets hacked. Like I said in my prior post, I will gladly give this phone to anyone who wants to solve this dilemma.

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my ex husband is hacking into my phone

From kazey on September 05, 2012 :: 12:07 pm

So I believe my phone is being hacked by my soon to be ex husband. He has a tendancy of sending some nasty or rather ignorant messages. everyone now and then his messages that he sends me that are upright rude disappear from the conversation yet my responses are still in my phone(text). This is now the second time this has happened where his texts are gone but mines are still there. I do not have this problem with anyone elses text conversation history on my phone. In addition he keeps mentioning i moved on because i am talking to someone but via IM. so i am thinking he may have hacked it. Where can i check? does that sound like its been hacked? is there a way for him to delete his messages to me wtihout physical accesss to my phone? My phone is an android. He has restricted view for when he logs in bc the plan is under my name. my phone is password protected plus we dont live together. I dont know what else can cause this. i’m hoping you can help tell me if it is and what i can do to stop it completely so he cannot keep doing that. thanks.

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"Is My Cell Phone Bugged?" (book)

From Kevin D. Murray on September 05, 2012 :: 12:41 pm

“Where can i check?”

Kazey,

There is a fairly simple procedure in the book that will give you a reliable indication about spyware being on your phone. The accompanying web page also provides a list of “Achilles heals” of the various spyware programs - covert files to look for on your phone. Check out this economical option first. You will likely find you don’t need to invest in expensive commercial software.

More importantly, however, is what to do if it your phone is infected. Instead of solely focusing on the snooping technique, it is important to also focus on the snoop. They are the real problem. A good portion of the text covers this as well.

Since you mentioned your phone runs Android software, keep an eye on SpyWarn.com or IsMyCellPhoneBugged.com for a soon to be released Android app (free and pro versions) based on the book.

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