Do you feel monitored? Trust your instincts. Abusive people are usually controlling and might want to know everything you do, so if you think that they are monitoring you when you use your computer, phone, car, or other devices, it’s possible that this is happening.
If you are in danger or if you are currently living with an abusive person, please try to use a computer, phone, or device (smartphone, tablet, etc.) that the abusive person does not have direct or remote access to. There are many ways in which someone can access a computer or other device remotely without your knowledge and they don’t need to be programmers or have special skills to do so.
E-mails, text messaging, instant messaging, or chats are not safe or confidential. If you need to discuss how to escape or how to find help, call a domestic violence hotline, and try using a safe line if possible.
Though it could be safer to use a computer in a public library or at the home of someone you trust, there are still risks. While looking for resources or help, it might be safer to not sign-in to any accounts that you think could be hacked. For example, if someone has hacked into your Facebook or email account, they could know where you are if you signed-in to said account from a different computer or device.
Your activities such as web searches and online banking as well as your private information can be stored by computers and other devices that you use, and there is no way to completely delete or clear this information.
If you are being monitored, it might be dangerous to change your activities such as deleting your browsing history when you don’t typically do so or turning off your phone’s location services when you’ve never done so before. You could continue to use a computer, device or account that has been hacked in a way that doesn’t arise suspicions. You can search for everyday things, and not anything related to your plans to find resources, get help, or escape.
We know technology can be very helpful, so if you want to plan how to use technology in a safer way, please contact us (815-562-8890), the nearest domestic abuse agency near you, or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233).
Some of the information above is from the NNEDV website. We've added and modified some things. You can learn more about technology safety at NNEDV's Technology Safety and Privacy website.