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My Ex is Using my Phone to Spy on Me

Domestic Violence & Abuse
Written by Legal Aid WV


I have a client who thinks her husband has been tracking her on her phone and has hacked into her Facebook account. I’ve asked her why she thinks he is doing so, but she has difficulty explaining why she thinks this. They’ve been separated since 2011, so it seems unlikely he would have installed spyware on her phone by physically taking it and installing it. I found an article from a few years ago that provides some clues for people who think their phone might have spyware installed on it without their knowledge. Among the signs are: unusual sounds during calls, decreased battery capacity, phone shows activity when not in use, phones take a long time to shut down, battery temperature feels warm, receiving unusual texts, and increased data usage. Here’s the full article: https://www.bullguard.com/blog/2015/05/how-to-tell-if-your-cell-phone-is-tracked-tapped-or-monitored-by-spy-software.html

A more recent article explains the types of spyware and what it can do to your phone, and how it is specifically marketed to people who have abusive tendencies and believe their partners are cheating on them. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/xymngz/how-to-protect-yourself-from-creepy-phone-snooping-spyware.

I had a client a few years ago who thought her phone was being hacked, and so she asked her much younger niece to look at her phone. Her niece determined that her phone had indeed been hacked. The respondent (ex-boyfriend) provided written conversations between our client and other people about arranging to meet for some type of exchange. Upon presenting this information in family court, the respondent readily admitted he had installed spyware on our client’s phone because he wanted to prove she was using illegal drugs. The family court judge was very unhappy with him, used that information as an admission that he was engaging in stalking behavior and decided to grant a domestic violence protective order against him.

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