1. Select a discrete app icon.
For those trying to escape an abusive partner, taking every safety precaution you can is not paranoid—it’s smart. An abuser will often stop at nothing to retain power and control over their victim, which includes stalking and snooping to find out what you’re doing at all hours of the day.
Despite clearing your browsing history on a computer, your activity on any device—computer, tablet or phone—is never 100 percent private. There are always sneaky ways to uncover someone’s Internet history, phone logs or deleted text messages. Consider that an abusive partner could have installed software, without your knowledge, to not only track your search history but also your physical whereabouts when you have the device on you. Stay safe by following these important tips regarding your online activity.
- If you’re looking to talk to someone about an abuser, don’t do it through email or text messaging. This will leave a trail that your abuser can easily pick up on. Instead, use a safe phone (one at work, another business, a friend’s phone or a pay phone) and find an advocate near you on our Find Help page.
- When searching online for information about domestic violence, shelters or other resources, use a public library computer or a computer lab.
- Clearing your search history on your home computer can alert your abuser to your activity. Avoid using your home computer for any help-related searching.
- Lock your phone and tablet’s home screens and don’t choose a password your abuser can easily guess, such as a birthday or house number.
- Change your passwords often (every week to two weeks would be smart) on all your devices and your email.
- Do not use an email system that will pop up automatically on your computer, such as Outlook.
- A phone, even in silent mode, can serve as a tracking device. If you’re fleeing your abuser, leave your phone behind. You can always get a new one later.
- Remember: Any cell phone that can be turned on and has a signal can call 911, even when it is not activated and even if the account has lapsed due to late or no payment.
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