“They know where I am all the time, and I can’t figure out how they’re tracking me.”
There are numerous ways a stalker or psychopath can track you. Earlier, I covered how they can do that with a GPS unit attached to your vehicle (see my post – GPS Vehicle Tracking: Stalking Made Easy).
But how can they do it with your cellphone?
Other ways you can be followed is via the GPS functionality on your cellphone. It’s a catch-22, isn’t it! You think you have your cellphone for safety or emergencies – in case you are attacked and have to call the police – but it is a complete shock to stalking and domestic violence victims when they discover that their phone has been leading their stalker or abuser right to them.
If phone companies can pinpoint where their customers’ cellphones are (within a radius of less than 100 feet)and rescue lost drivers, help find kidnapping victims or even let parents keep tabs on their kids, then so can a stalker.
In the U.S. alone, the Justice Department estimated that more than 25,000 adults last year were victims of GPS stalking.
Let’s examine one of the larger American cellphone providers. I read that AT&T has something called the FamilyMap program,free for 30 days, and can be activated by just making a quick phone call. The website says, “Know where your kids and loved ones are at any time!”
The program is geared towards parents, but stalkers and crazy exes can take advantage of the cheap cost of trailing you too, especially if they are footing the bill. AT&T charges only $9.99 a month to track up to two phones, $14.99 for up to five. FamilyMap users must agree to “terms-of-use” stating that they may not use the system to “harrass, stalk, threaten” or otherwise harm anyone.
Here is a short clip about how it works…
So what can you do if you are in this kind of situation?
If you do not pay for the phone but are only the end user (the owner can do what they damn well please), then you may as well accept the personal privacy infringrments. Or, you can always chuck your phone and get a new one. Users don’t have the right to refuse to be tracked by the account holder. But like the reporter says in this video, turning off the phone and taking the battery out can stop the GPS tracking. You will know when the tracking function has been activated on your phone because you will receive a notification, by text message. So at the very least, you have warning.
If you pay for your own cellphone service, but your ex or stalker may have gotten access to the account, call your carrier. Advise them you have a dangerous stalker, ask for a new phone number, and put a special password (code word) on your account. Anytime someone calls your account, including you, a password will have to be provided. Also, inform the police. Cellphone companies will deactivate a tracking function if law-enforcement officials inform them it is being used for stalking. The good thing is you will still have the GPS feature working (and only accessible (by the phone company, legitimate law authorities and rescue workers), should you have an emergency.
If that still does not work for you, and you are still being tracked by your cellphone, ask the cellphone carrier if they can give you an untraceable cellphone; they may have a program specifically aimed at domestic-violence victims.
Not only can the GPS on your cellphone lead a stalker or psychopath to your door, but there are other cellphone monitoring technologies that can be used to track you. With all the smartphones on the market, new software products are tested out daily. Your activities can be listened to by an unwanted pursuer via spy software installed on your phone. Countless tech companies (and geeky individuals) have made programs that can be loaded onto your cell phone. The software can tap into your text messages, look you up with GPS, monitor your calls live, and even listen to conversations from your speakerphone when you are not even using your cell.
iSEC Partners, a cyber-security firm, describes in one of their reports how anyone can track a phone within a tight radius. All a stalker would need is your cellphone number, a computer and some knowledge of how cellular networks work. Basically, people who shouldn’t have access to your location, can get the information for next to nothing.
One such product, MobileSpy, marketed by Retina-X Studios LLC, is compatible with iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android phones. For only $99.97 a year, a person can load MobileSpy onto someone’s cellphone and track that phone’s location. They flog the software for concerned or overprotective parents and for companies to keep tabs on their employees’ cellphone use. Other popular brands are known as World Tracker, Flexispy, e-stealth and Spyphone. The possibilities with these rapidly developing technologies are endless.
To have a software program installed on your phone, like the one mentioned above, it usually requires a person to physically get hold of the phone to download software onto it. Any type of smartphone can be a target, and some phones can be bugged via wifi, bluetooth, and e-mail as well.
Here’s a short video on how these software programs work, and how they can end up on your phone.
Note: This video is from 2009, and nowadays it can take just minutes, not hours, for the software to install on your cellphone. Crazy, isn’t it!
In another post, I will cover a few ways that you can use these kinds of technologies against your stalker – and possibly even catch them in the act of stalking you. Yes – stalking the stalker – one of the many ways to protect yourself and maintain The Upper Hand.
Until next time… keep safe and sane…