Are you trapped in an abusive relationship? If your spouse is monitoring your movements or spying on you in an attempt to control you, be aware that he or she may have taken steps to monitor your online activity. With the arrival of today’s Cyber Monday, there’s no better time to learn steps you can take to stay safe and prevent cyber spying or cyber stalking from happening to you:
Be Discrete: Be very careful what personal information you share online on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. It is very easy to gather information about places you visit and people you interact with based on your posts, pictures, likes and comments. If you have recently left an overly controlling abusive spouse and want to keep your location secure, consider taking a break altogether from social media.
Monitor What Friends and Family are Posting: While you may be careful to mask your online activities or are sure to refrain from posting where you may be visiting, your friends and family may be posting information about your activities or whereabouts. Be sure to let them know that you have a safety concern and that you need them to refrain from posting too much information about you online. Arrange an alternative form of communication with your trusted inner circle to safely stay in touch.
Trust Your Instincts: If you have a sense that your online or cellphone activities are being monitored, they probably are. Take immediate steps to block the person’s access to you online, if possible. Change email addresses and step up privacy settings on social media. If feasible, buy a Trac phone-type cell phone for personal calls.
Monitor Data Usage and Online History: Spying apps can be downloaded to smartphones and tracking software can be uploaded to computers. Even if these applications or programs are invisible to the layperson, they do tend to utilize a lot of data, so keep watch on your cellphone data usage. If you suddenly see an unknown icon or program on your computer, bring it to a trusted computer expert to have your device inspected for tracking software.
Use strong passwords and change them frequently: Make sure you have passwords on your phone, computer and all online accounts. Keep your passwords private and be sure to change your passwords on a regular and ongoing basis. Your passwords should be complicated enough that your partner cannot easily guess them.
Have a “safe” computer: In the case of emergency, or if you are certain that your computer is being monitored, identify a safe computer where you can email friends, family members or domestic violence organizations. Such safe computers can be at your local library or internet café. As always, be aware of your surroundings in these settings.
Your safety and the safety of your children is paramount and should be your first concern. In the case of an emergency, leave the area immediately if possible. Call 911. If you cannot leave the relationship right now, be sure to have a strong domestic violence safety plan in place, including a list of addresses and phone numbers of friends, family members and your local domestic violence shelter.
If you would like more information regarding domestic violence law and how to obtain a restraining order in New Jersey, please contact us to schedule your initial confidential consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate family law attorneys.
Watch our Free Presentation: Domestic Violence 101: A Guide For Spousal Abuse Victims In New Jersey from Weinberger Law Group