How to Detect if You Are Being Spied on Through Your Cell Phone

By Techwalla Contributor

On March 8, 2010, Good Morning America reported that a woman's ex-boyfriend was stalking her through her cell phone. He knew every step she made and heard every conversation she had, even when her cell phone was not in use. This is a frightening reality, with many companies making free cell phone spyware available to just about anyone.

Things You'll Need

  • Cell Phone

Step 1

Watch for the following signs to detect if someone is accessing your personal life through your cell phone:-- your phone lights up when not in use-- you are receiving unsolicited text messages-- your phone and battery feel abnormally hot to the touch-- your camera flash goes off when you aren't taking pictures-- you hear ambient background noise when using your cell phone-- someone has knowledge of your personal agenda and you know you haven't shared it with him.Any of these signs suggest that there is spyware on your cell phone and someone is tracking you through your cell phone.

Step 2

Review your activity around the time your phone started acting strangely. Did you lose your phone? Was it stolen and returned? Did you lend it to someone (even someone you trust)? Did you leave it out in a public place where somebody could have taken it briefly without your knowledge? Was there any time when you were without your cell phone? If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions, someone may have downloaded spyware onto your cell phone.

Step 3

Open up your phone's "Applications" menu and review all software downloaded on your cell phone. Is there an application there that you do not recognize? If so, run an Internet search on the application to see if you can identify what it is and how it's used.

Step 4

Take your cell phone into your cell phone provider's store if you suspect that you have spyware on your device. Ask the store employee to completely erase your device and restore it back the factory settings. You will lose all of your data on your phone, but it is worth it to remove any spyware and the resulting invasion of your privacy. You can also reset your device to its factory settings yourself, but it's better to have a professional who is versed in removing cell phone spyware do this for you; she may know of some extra steps to ensure the phone is clean that you do not.

Step 5

Purchase a new phone if you are concerned the spyware has not or cannot be removed. Your safest bet to "remove" spyware from your phone is to purchase a completely new one. While at your cell phone provider's store, discuss the possibility of a phone swap; perhaps the store will do this for free since your device has been compromised.

Step 6

Change your phone number. While you are at your cell phone provider's store, ask for a new number. In the days of land-line phones, many harassing prank calls were stopped with a simple phone number change. Changing your phone number will stop the cyber harassment as well, as whoever downloaded the spyware will not have your new phone number.

Step 7

Use caution once your phone is clean or you have a new one. Do not share your new number with anyone you do not trust. Do not lend your phone to strangers, or even family members and friends, without monitoring what they are doing when using your cell phone. Do not leave your phone out in the open for somebody to grab. Keep your cell phone close to you at all times, and turn off your network connections when you are not using them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take the appropriate steps to protect yourself by filing a police report with your local authorities if you were able to confirm that your cell phone had spyware on it.
  • Do not back up any data from your cell phone prior to having the device reset; you might back up the spyware without realizing it.
  • Do not copy your old phone's data to the new one (if you purchase a new one) for the exact same reason.