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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 :: 692 comments

[Editor's note 2/9/17: Since this article was written five years ago, many new phone hacking methods have been developed and/or discovered. We've created a new article to cover those various hacks in our new story: How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked. Please go there for the latest information. We're keeping this story active for the issues and useful advice contained in the 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.)

(Editor's Note 12/16/14 (Josh Kirschner): In some of my comments below, I noted the unlikelihood of spying on iPhones that were not jailbroken. However, since many of those comments were made, certain holes were identified in iOS that exploit the iPhone's connection to trusted networks and devices to allow someone with access to the network or device to download significant amounts of personal data. Jailbreaking the iPhone was not required. Fortunately, those holes have been patched in iOS 8. For more information, see: http://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=3820]

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.



Discussion loading

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Simple Solution

From Kevin D. Murray on June 18, 2012 :: 9:21 am

“She just wants a phone to keep in her car for an emergency.” If this is the case, just have her discontinue her cell phone service. The phone will continue to be able to dial 911 at no charge, she will cut off the harasser, and save money. Just remember to recharge the phone once in a while.

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7 phones ruined

From Carol on June 18, 2012 :: 9:55 am

One solution, stop using phones for awhile.  Soon the creeper will get tired of keeping an eye on her, and if she doesn’t have a phone there’s nothing to spy on.  Give it a long time, say six months to a year, then try again.  The creeper will have moved on by then.

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How is this possible?

From Joyce Dowling on June 18, 2012 :: 8:43 pm

My sister drove to another town to pick up a track phone from our Mother. It was left to her(my Mom)as part of a good friends estate.  My sister turned it on.After she had it on a few minutes the bars appeared that signaled he was in phone.By the time she drove 35 minutes home she could not reset the phone. The information in phone was changed. she had not entered her name or phone number on that phone.Is there a way that someone can physically track her?
I have run the malware scan on my PC when her IPhone said malware a month ago. I was loaded. It took a computer tech 1hour to clean it out, I now have protection. I run a scan every other day.
My sister does not own a computer that is why she had a smart phone.
I had blocked all her cell numbers from my phone so he could not call them as he had tried a couple times.
It is so bizarre but it seems all she has to do is tiuch a phone and suddenly this nut has access.

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It's not

From Suzanne Kantra on June 19, 2012 :: 11:00 am

What you’re describing just isn’t possible. I’m not sure if you’re misinterpreting something as normal as cell phone reception bars as a break in attempt or there’s another disconnect between what’s actually happening and your story, but it just isn’t adding up. I suggest your sister bring her phone into the carrier’s store so they can examine it and explain to her what’s going on.

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Geesh

From Me on December 03, 2014 :: 4:19 pm

How is everything not possible according to you? My husband & I are being hacked on our phones by his crazy son.. People have told me many things “aren’t possible”.. well, then how is it happening? Sprint says no one can hack our system.. yeah, of course, cause the white house was just attacked.. but sprint has much better fire walls right?  Was also told someone had to have your phone to install spyware in it.. nope again.. so instead of putting this girl down and telling her that her story isn’t adding up.. try living it!  Nothing makes sense.. but it’s happening.. makes you feel crazy.. then there is people like you.. that make you feel worse, say that they are lying, or making stuff up.. why would she? why would we? Hackers are obviously smart, they can do things most normal people wouldn’t think was even possible.. I wouldn’t until it actually happened to us.. so instead of putting this girl down, either help her, or don’t comment..
by the way.. how do you trace a person who hacked your phone? so we have concrete proof? any ideas on that one?

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hacked

From scase on May 08, 2015 :: 12:39 am

This is the second time my phone is ben hacked or snooping going on I’m bringing it to police is there a way to prevent it from happening the third time I hard reset it bit I lost subscriptions and accoubts I don’t want to loose that money again any suggestions iwish I could face this thief

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think beyond the phone

From Bitch Thickums on June 22, 2015 :: 7:50 am

Option #1 Maybe some creeper planted secret cameras in the sister’s house and is having a ball pretending like he is in india and frequents chatroom, but really he is the landlord or the sick perverted cable guy who is watching all this go down.

Option #2 Maybe your sister has delusional disorder or psychosis and is imagining all this and needs medication.

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INTAPPING

From Janet Curtis on January 08, 2018 :: 9:45 pm

We kn ow for sure that our niece is tapping moms cordless! she told US and we said we do not agee tobe recorded! but shes says i dont know how to remove it. like hell she doesnt shes a felon shes on paroll and we said w know the fds are recording our phone but she doesnt even use it for her calls the feds should be tracking her cell phones and the police wont even take it eriously in california and refuse to remove it! other officers said that is illegal and they Could go check on it and where it is and remove it even pres charges on her for doing it. so why cant anyone answer how to untap instead of how to find out who how to tap! geez its so hard to get the right answer who the hell will take this jerk back to jail and fine her and remove this crap shes done to my now isolated 91 yr old mom?

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This sounds all familiar to what I'm experiencing

From Hackervictimofaloser on December 14, 2013 :: 3:38 am

Every thing you have mentioned is possible cuz it’s happening to me also everything you have mentioned., ! The reason why he is able to keep hacking and tracking you. Cuz no matter what he had hacked all your main friends or etc that you keep in contact the most also. This works like a chain reaction. Once he hacked you, he was able to act like you using your phone number to contact your sister or friends to hack them also. Trust me this is going on with my moms phone also. He would push numbers in when I was on a automated message menu for businesses. Also done it to mine on a few phone when I was talking to a couple different women each time. He also had sent me a text from my friends number portraying to be my friend.  And would intercept my calls when I’m calling out or someone calling in to make the call not go though to the receiving end. But will still ring on the callers end.  So the guy that keeps getting yours or your sister’s new # it’s cuz she didn’t get a new phone and number ether or your friends. I’m dealing with the same thing all cuz this guys GF told me she was single and we had sex that night. And ever since then I’ve been being followed and my computers, iPad, iPhone, android and router been getting hacked into. My iPhones contacts already gotten deleted 3 times so far. And also data’s been missing, phone freezing up and all the other signs as mentioned in many post, from all over the internet and news, OF all the signs of a tracked & hacked victims phone.. And I’m sorry to say this to the OP Suzanne Kantra but I had lookout on it and a security, anti- virus app called trustR and he bypassed both and ever since he hacked it the first time my security, anti-virus app would not scan anymore. They don’t need your phone anymore. It’s possible with just a phone number now. So it ain’t just smartphones , Even a cheaply assurance wireless phones and the others that the states give to people on food stamps or assistance.

But lately I seen up at best-buy that they had a real security and virus software specifically for iPads, iPhones iPods, and iMacs for $80..

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stealth phone

From holiness1 on May 29, 2015 :: 11:58 am

One can purchase a refurbished Samsung G600 with stealth features on ebay.  One can also purchase an activated, roaming free anonymous SIM card on ebay.  These phones have dynamic IMEI amongst other features and are very secure.  If one has better means, an XCELL stealth phone can be purchased.  Your sister may, simply, be one of millions who are gang-stalked which means that the government is involved.

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Go off the grid

From Varesha on March 30, 2017 :: 11:04 am

Hi Joyce,
This actually might be a blessing in disguise. You and your sis go off the grid and live life like back in the 80’s. No wifi, no cellphones, no computers! Those were good days, everyone lived just fine without all this technology. Just get an old fashioned landline to call friends and a message machine. Keep the cell with no service for 911 like someone said if you want. You guys will have a better quality of life and this guy will disappear.

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IT IS POSSIBLE

From I.B. Stottlemyer on July 11, 2012 :: 7:16 pm

It happened to me. First if you google or search HACK,ANDROID,BLUETOOTH or HACK,iPHONE,BLUETOOTH you will see if you put your phone on wi-fi long enough for the goofball to get some malware on your phone, it hides in the simcard.  Factory resets don’t work because now he has your MEID, you MAC identifier and the places you go and the sites you hang out on.  Next the bluetooth is barking at your computers in your house.  Most people don’t secure their bluetooth interface and a connection is made slicker than ice on an alaskan bridge.  Now malware is on your laptop or home computer.  You get a brand new phone and the minute you go into your house or office, you are dead again.  It truely blows your mind.  I thought I was loosing mine.  How can I keep rebuilding windows after a low level format of the hard drive or even going to Best Buy and buying a brand new hard drive that is blank and doing an install in the woods on my laptop?  Simple, once the bluetooth phone spreads the virus or malware to your machine it boroughs into the bios chips.  This is where the software is located to start your computer bootstrap process.  Have you ever gone to HP or Toshiba or Lenovo and downloaded the latest bios?  Well if they can write to your read only memory chip so can the bad guys.  It wasn’t until I completely updated the bios chip on the mother board with a new bios did I get rid of the infection.  People this problem looked impossible to solve, but now that I know how it’s done it’s quite ingenious.  Start with researching the cell phone hack, then suspect your blue tooth and go and try to turn it off on your computers in your house.  If not, it is probably too late and your bios has been infected and so your computer keeps spreading the cheer to everyone and anything that will listen to bluetooth.  Bluetooth,very very bad….Secure it folks.  Stop this nonsense now.

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Possible, but very unlikely

From Josh Kirschner on July 17, 2012 :: 1:56 am

Fortunately, bluetooth hacking is not an issue anymore. All phones and laptops released over the last couple of years have updated bluetooth security that prevents pairing without the consent of the user.

According to security experts at Norton I spoke with, some of things that are described could theoretically happen, but the probability of them happening is extremely low. BIOS viruses generally have to be written to attack a specific hardware configuration, which makes them very inefficient to create and distribute. Not impossible, but also not something the average user should worry about.

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my phone is downloading all these wierd apps

From ryan on May 28, 2017 :: 11:34 am

my phone is acting completly bizarre. i cant even text on it and all these apps are popping up on it that i never even put on there and then some how my email got doubled. my internet was wiped out and someone downloaded google plus on it

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My sons phone is under my email sence he is a child

From Denene Kargel on May 03, 2018 :: 5:54 am

Ok I am first going to say I am very sorry .. I am not very smart about this stuff..  I have a android and my son has this cheap android but very cheap… he loves it. Not much space .. he is 10. Problem he will be at my ex husbands house… his company is trash plan and simple… my child needs a phone that in a Situation he can get help..  I used my gmail account and set up my sons gmail account…. all my stuff shows up on his… I mean my ex couldgrab it and be like wonder what ur moms up to.  And find out. . Help.. I gotta get this fixed….

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Icon Picture

From Jennifer on July 16, 2012 :: 1:10 pm

Hi,
Can you describe what the icon looks like. I suspect my husband installed this in my phone. I’m not sure if it is what you’re describing. It is in the right location and it has the same name. I did reset the phone but it didn’t work.

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What Icon/name are you seeing

From Josh Kirschner on July 17, 2012 :: 1:58 am

What Icon/name are you seeing that concerns you?

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Droid Phone Control

From Jennifer on July 19, 2012 :: 4:09 am

Hi Josh,
I attached a link with the picture. Is this the Android phone control that Christina mentions above?

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maybe you can use a

From panper on July 15, 2014 :: 12:27 am

maybe you can use a spy app on your husband and then you can find what you are always confused.
There are lot of Keyloggers, you can try this for free.
http://download.cnet.com/Aobo-Keylogger-Free/3000-2162_4-76037890.html

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Quick question

From Sara on July 19, 2012 :: 1:37 am

If one knew of their spouse being sneaky and talking on one of the free talk and text apps is there any way to bug the phone to find out for sure!

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http://gyazo.com/aacd92df4c47b0d4afcae3d8a3f6b400

From Jennifer on July 19, 2012 :: 4:17 am

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Android Phone Control

From Jennifer on July 19, 2012 :: 4:58 am

Josh,
I found this icon in “manage applications” under the name of “Android System.” It looks like two connected gears. Can you confirm that this is what Christina is talking about?
Thanks!

http://gyazo.com/aacd92df4c47b0d4afcae3d8a3f6b400

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I see the same name/icon

From Josh Kirschner on July 19, 2012 :: 9:00 am

I see the same name/icon on my Android device, so looks normal. But to check if you have the specific spyware Christina was referring to, here is how to check by launching the application (dial the phone number): http://laucass.forumactif.org/t28-phone-control-faq-english.

Let me know what you find out.

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OMG!!!

From no thank on September 26, 2012 :: 9:06 pm

My phone has the Android System thing in the application manager!  How do i find out who is spying on me?? or when this was installed?  how do they monitor what i’m doing?  is the info sent via text or email to them?  do they log into a website to view what i’ve been up to?  WTH?!

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Did you confirm it's the spying app?

From Josh Kirschner on September 26, 2012 :: 10:06 pm

Did you follow the steps of the link I included above to confirm if you have the actual spying app or just the normal system icon?

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Try this

From Josh Kirschner on September 27, 2012 :: 10:28 am

To launch the application: use the phone dialer to dial 74283 and press the call button (as if you call number 74283). If the application launches, you know you have a problem.

Unfortunately, the application configuration enables the spy to change this code, so it’s not a guarantee that it will work. If you have doubts, the safest bet is to do a factory restore on your device.

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Is it the spying app or no?

From No Thank You on September 27, 2012 :: 10:56 am

I dialed the number you said, and nothing happened.  An automatic message from Verizon said the “feature update could not be completed”.  Does this mean that it is not the spying app?

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It doesn't necessarily mean the

From Josh Kirschner on September 27, 2012 :: 12:15 pm

It doesn’t necessarily mean the spy app isn’t there, since the person who installed it could have changed the code on install. However, unless you have some particular reason to think someone is spying on you, it’s highly unlikely that you have a problem.

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Tried this link

From Kelly everett on December 13, 2016 :: 12:23 am

It would be nice if I spoke ax NY of the languages your link took me to! Wth

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Use this link for archive of Laucass site

From Josh Kirschner on December 13, 2016 :: 3:44 pm

The laucass site no longer exists. Use this link instead to get the archived version: http://web.archive.org/web/20130227053541/http://laucass.forumactif.org/t28-phone-control-faq-english

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Phone Hacking

From Dushyant Sarvaiya on July 19, 2012 :: 5:08 am

hi all, I am feeling that my boss has hacked my phone and is constantly viewing all I do over the phone.

Its a company phone so fine he may check my official company usage. But can he also check what websites I run and data I exchange on those website if my phone is connected with wifi??

Thanks

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Maybe

From Josh Kirschner on July 19, 2012 :: 10:07 am

It’s certainly possible that he or your company has installed software on your phone that can track what sites you visit. That would be the case whether you’re using cellular data or Wi-Fi. It’s possible that key-logging software would also allow them to track the data you’re sending, but that is much less likely. Since it is a company device, there’s probably nothing illegal about that. Though if it were to do more, such as capture video and/or sound through the camera without your knowledge, that may violate privacy/wiretapping laws. (lawyers, feel free to comment further)

As a general policy, it’s safest to assume that your company is tracking every site you visit on their devices/network and email you send through company accounts and act accordingly.

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Boyfriend Spying On Me!

From Ali on July 26, 2012 :: 7:08 pm

Ok… Not that I am defending myself, I am not doing anything wrong… however, if I can;t even have a conversation with my Mother,talkng about how much of a jerk he is, only to turn around and have my boyfriend come home all mad at me ( for no reason… hmmm ) my phones battery is completely drained after only an hour! Ugh! Please help!

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You don't have a tech problem.

From Suzanne Kantra on July 29, 2012 :: 10:15 am

You don’t have a tech problem, you have a boyfriend problem. Why would you stay in a relationship with so little trust and so much emotional abuse? Factory reset your phone and your relationship.

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help

From rob on July 29, 2012 :: 8:35 am

i factory reset my phone. i went back into my settings applications and running service and i still see android manager and i can’t press it or anything am i still compromised?

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Android manager is also the

From Suzanne Kantra on July 29, 2012 :: 10:12 am

Android manager is also the name of a normal Android process. To check if you have the specific spyware Christina was referring to, check to see if you can launch the spyware application by following these steps (dial the phone number): http://laucass.forumactif.org/t28-phone-control-faq-english.

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Tried this link

From Kelly on December 13, 2016 :: 12:17 am

Tapped on link for help and it’s not in english…none of them are wtheck?

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Site no longer exists

From Josh Kirschner on December 13, 2016 :: 3:43 pm

That site no longer exists. Use this link instead to get the archived version: http://web.archive.org/web/20130227053541/http://laucass.forumactif.org/t28-phone-control-faq-english

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Help me Out of prayers

From Lauralove on July 30, 2012 :: 4:45 pm

I have been a victim of a hacker on my phone for over 3 years. Its caused me so much pain and anger. I have an idea of who it may be but police and phone companys look at me as if I’m crazy! I’ve ran out of options.. Worse of all I think my husband may be involved and is aware, Please help me at your own risk cause I know my emails are checked aswell! I’d like to put these people behind bars. It has caused so much problems in my life along with children lifes. If you have any information on who I can notify too of this crime please inform me!  God Bless

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Sorry for late hour

From Katrina on November 02, 2016 :: 10:49 pm

I’m sorry for the late hour but I am truly in the same position as you?
I’m in such a position that I am sure he cane ref my emails and everyone I do!
If you have anything at all that can can help me in my situation, which is not nice, please help me.
My phone bleeps on calls not in my contacts
How’ taking a photo and says memory is full
Strange photos nothing to do with me

Safari history for years nothing to do with me
So much more
I feel people would think in going mental
Tracking devices proof and so much more bit I’m scared to have my case investigated
Please give me your outcome X X z

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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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Your story sounds like mine

From Kim on July 08, 2015 :: 4:57 pm

Very similar to my story. Though it’s been going on longer than three years. You have no idea how many times I’ve had to hot card my bank card, my credit cards, change routers, phones, passwords, and deal with fraud that has caused my excellent credit to become in the low 5’s score.  I pay more for services and products now and can’t get a loan to save my life if I needed to. Who can help me? Ha ha ha. What a joke. No one!  I’m just _____ outta luck. And these people just keep going on n on to the next keeping me in the loo cuz they can and they know I have no backing. It’s devastating. I’m depressed. I need help in so many ways but I don’t know where to reach.  My husband does nothing to show support even though his credit has also taken huge hits in the negative from fraud as well. Good luck to you.

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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 adviceā€¦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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