Stalking apps are apps or software that someone can download onto an individual’s phone to secretly track or monitor them. Once they are installed, the apps can share detailed information such as: call history, text messages, photos, GPS locations, and browser history without the user’s knowledge.
Although stalking apps can be a valuable tool (to monitor the activities of children), stalking apps can also be used maliciously, in most cases to enable domestic abuse.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, if an abuser has installed a stalking app, your phone will probably look the same, but there may be signs that suggest 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.
- The phone’s battery drains faster, without any difference in your phone usage.
- There is an unexplained increase in your data use.
- There are unexpected changes in your phone’s settings.
Users who suspect an illegitimate stalking app on their device should consider the following steps:
- Get help before removing spyware: Abusers may escalate their abuse if they suspect the user is cutting off access. As such, talk with law enforcement or a domestic violence advocate about safety planning.
- Get a new smartphone or reset your phone. It might be safest to get a new smartphone with an account to which the abuser does not have access.
If you believe to be a stalking victim, contact Lardiere McNair DiNicola & Stonebrook, Ltd., so we can address your concerns and advise you on all available options.