How Stalkers Can Use Your Own Phone Against You

phone stalking, Rolling Meadows family law attorneyCyberstalking is becoming an increasingly common component of domestic abuse. Most cell phones have GPS and location features which could be providing an abuser with a victim’s exact location, and it happens more than you might think.

To determine the extent of the problem, NPR interviewed 70 domestic violence shelters across the United States, and the results are staggering.  Nearly 85 percent of shelters reported that they work with victims whose abusers used GPS to stalk and harass them.  Even more disturbing, three-quarters of shelters have found hidden apps on victims’ mobile devices used to eavesdrop on conversations. Most domestic abuse shelters encourage victims to turn off the location services on their cell phones and to disconnect from social media apps like Facebook to help prevent this.

The Main Goal of Stalking Is to Gain Control

Cell phones are not the only risk related to being cyberstalked. A woman in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, discovered a GPS tracking device in her shoes, which was feeding location information to her abuser. Many abusers will use the information gathered from these types of malware to harass their victims and gain power over them. For example, an abuser may constantly question the victims’ whereabouts and forbid them from going to certain homes or locations.

According to Cindy Southworth from the National Network to End Domestic Violence, stalking behavior is mainly aimed at making a victim feel powerless and controlled.  She writes, “The strategy of offenders is to have complete and utter domination and control of their victims, so it’s not enough that they just monitor the victim.” She says abusers may push the issue by challenging their victims with questions like “Why were you telling your therapist this?” and “Why did you tell your sister that?” or “Why did you go to the mall today when I told you couldn’t leave the house?”

Spyware is disturbingly easy to download onto an unsuspecting victim’s computer, tablet, or phone.  The software allows the abuser to record keystrokes, conversations, location and more. Southworth encourages women and men in abusive situations to be aware of their devices and to be on the lookout for an abuser who knows more personal information than he or she should.

Seek Legal Help

If you have been the victim of cyberstalking by a current or ex-partner, or any other member of your family, an experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorney at Cosley Law Office can help. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation today and get the assistance you need in finding the security you deserve.

 

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2014/09/15/346149979/smartphones-are-used-to-stalk-control-domestic-abuse-victims

http://nnedv.org/resources/safetynetdocs.html

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