See our updated story: Is Your Spouse Cheating? Tech Clues that Give Them Away
You can’t turn on the news or open a newspaper without seeing a story about Tiger Woods’s family issues—along with salacious text messages and voicemails that he supposedly sent to his alleged mistresses. And Tiger is not alone. There have been many high-profile divorce cases and scandals that came to light through damning evidence generated by or stored on personal tech devices.
Of course, infidelity is not limited to celebrities, sports stars and politicians. According to a report in the New York Times in 2008, the General Social Survey conducted by the University of Chicago shows that 10 percent of spouses—12 percent of men and 7 percent of women—admit to having cheated just within the past year.
Anyone dubious of their spouse's faithfulness should be aware that the technology gadgets they use every day may harbor information on what they’ve been up to. Before crawling through their personal information, we advise consulting an attorney to ensure any electronic-eavesdropping or hacking laws aren't violated—if things get ugly, you don’t want that hanging over your head. And, of course, be prepared to deal with the fallout should your spouse catch you snooping. It goes without saying that following these tips demonstrates a breach of trust between married partners, something that should not be undertaken lightly.
The 10 tech clues to infidelity:
1. Look at the incoming and outgoing calls on your spouse's cell phone.
Are there numerous calls to numbers you don’t recognize, especially at odd hours of the day or night? You can often deterine who owns a particular landline number simply by entering the number into Google search.
2. Check your spouse's cell phone's address book for names you don’t recognize.
Chances are your spouse won’t take the risk of entering the full name of the person he or she is cheating with, so look for numbers that are identified merely with initials or a first name.
3. Check the text messages and email on your spouse's cell phone.
Text messages and emails are the modern means of sending love letters, and your spouse may have kept them on their phone for ongoing enjoyment.
4. Check your spouse's voicemail messages.
Perhaps your spouse chose to save a couple of the steamy ones for later playback.
5. Look for a second cell phone or SIM card.
If your spouse is clever, he or she will be using a second cell phone—or just a second SIM card—-for communicating with their lover. Your spouse may also have been smart enough to purchase a pre-paid phone or SIM, so nothing will appear on your credit-card bills. However, people slip up occasionally. If your spouse calls you from a cell phone number you don’t recognize, that may be cause for suspicion. Try calling the other number when your spouse is home and see how they react. If you happen to find an extra SIM card, stick it in a phone and see what phone numbers are stored on it.
6. Check your spouse’s computer for any incriminating email messages.
Be sure to check the "deleted items" or "trash" folder. People frequently let their discarded emails linger for weeks before they're permanently erased. It’s also possible that your spouse may have a special email address you don’t know about for “private” communications.
7. Check your spouse's computer's browser history.
Is your spouse planning a business trip to Cleveland while browsing hotels in Las Vegas? This is where the browser history can help you out.
Also, the browser history may reveal whether they're visiting email sites (e.g., Gmail, Hotmail) where you might not have known they had an account. Did you get an email from them using the “wrong” email account? If you don’t know your spouse’s login info, most browsers give you the option of storing usernames and passwords, and it’s possible their information was saved.
8. Go online to check your spouse’s frequent- flier account.
Did they purchase an extra ticket with miles? Or are there frequent-flier miles for a trip to Las Vegas when they were supposed to be in Cleveland? It’s amazing that people are dumb enough to try to get miles when they are supposed to be covering their tracks—but they are. You may be able to log in to your spouse's account online if their login info is stored in the browser or password bank, otherwise check their email for their monthly statement.
9. Go online to check your spouse's toll pass history.
If you use E-ZPass or another toll payment system in your cars, check the online statement. Is there unusual activity showing your spouse driving on the New Jersey Turnpike when they’re supposed to be at work in Westchester?
10. Check the previous destinations in your spouse’s navigation system.
Practically every automotive nav system, both built-in and portable, has a list of previous destinations. If the No-Tell Motel is on there and your spouse doesn’t work in the hospitality business, that’s a sign something may be up.