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Make Sure You’re Not Being Tracked by Ex-partners
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, it takes an average of seven times before a survivor gets away for good from an abuser.
It’s hard to remember how intertwined your data has become in today’s technology based world. Unfortunately, it plays a big role in how abusers control their victims. it even has a new name: “Stalkerware”.
STOP your physical and online freedom from being stolen:
Set Up Your Lockscreen and Passwords
If you don’t already have your lockscreen on your phone set up, do that now. And even if you do have it set up, change your PIN to something completely random so that your abuser can’t figure it out. The same goes for iPads and passwords on any laptops or desktops. Physical access to your devices gives your abuser an immediate view into so many personal aspects of your life, so the first step to protecting yourself is that passcode or password.
Run Separate Antivirus & Malware Scans Regularly
Antivirus & Malware scans aren’t just for stuff coming in from outside anymore — it’s also for detecting what we call “potentially unwanted programs” (PUPs), which include stalkerware, and other potentially malicious apps. A good program (free or premium) will let you know if your devices have any PUPs. [In fact, Avast helped Google remove eight of the most common stalkerware apps from their Play Store last year].
Recheck Your Phone
Once you’ve removed unwanted apps, run a quick check to see if anything was missed. I don’t think that’s likely, but sometimes things do slip through the cracks and I’d rather you be safe than anything else. Reboot your phone into safe mode, go to Settings, and tap Apps or Apps & Notifications. You can uninstall anything you don’t recognize right from there.
Find My iPhone is a great tool that helps Apple users track down missing and stolen devices and also stay in touch with loved ones. But, unfortunately, it can also be used by an abusive partner to track your movements. Make sure that your ex is kicked off of Find My to ensure they won’t be able to tell where you are when you leave.
Disconnect Shared Google Accounts
Unless you tell it not to, Google will keep track of your location history. Disable any shared Google accounts to ensure that they don’t have access to that data. Alternatively, you can turn off location tracking in Google Maps, which might be less obvious to your abuser than kicking them out completely.
Check Location Sharing
Google Maps, iMessages, and Facebook Messenger let people share their locations with whomever they choose. But when you’re leaving an abusive relationship, these features can be used to track you. Go into all three and double-check that you haven’t left location sharing on. Even if you never remember using it in the first place, your ex partner could have turned it on without your knowledge.
Female or Male Victims of Violence: Reach out for help
When you’re ready to leave, reach out for help and support. It’s worth considering using someone else’s device, if that’s an option, as your partner might still have access to yours. Search for domestic violence support organizations in your area and remember —
YOU CAN DO THIS