Is Your Spouse Spying on You?
You may trust your spouse – but does your spouse trust you? You may have something to hide or you may have nothing to hide. But either way knowing that you’re being spied on feels like a terrible invasion of your privacy. So it may be important for you to know whether your partner is spying on you.
Some forms of spying aren’t just offensive, they’re illegal. Information a spouse uncovers about you via illegal spying can’t be used against you directly in a divorce action or custody battle. However, if the illegally obtained information leads to legal sources of information, and your spouse can cover his or her tracks, then your spouse’s spying could end up hurting you in court.
The fact that your spouse is spying on you is also a warning sign that your relationship is in serious trouble.
GPS trackers on cars, hacking social media passwords and emails, looking up shared data on the cloud, key stroke trackers, Find My iPhone, and nanny cameras are just a few of the options available to track a person’s every move.
Almost all these technologies were designed for legitimate monitoring of children and employees. But the reality is, untrusting spouses are using them to monitor each other.
Reasons For Spying
Your spouse might spy on you for any number of reasons.
Most commonly, spouses who spy are looking for evidence of an affair. But spouses may spy for other reasons as well:
- A spouse may spy to see if you’re drinking, using drugs, or spending time with people your spouse consider dangerous or a bad influence (such as an ex).
- She/he may be concerned that you’re secretly spending more money than you should, or stealing from a family business.
- A spouse may suspect that you’re only pretending to go to work.
- She/he may wonder whether you’re actually going to college classes. Especially if he or she is helping to pay your way.
Some people are just suspicious or paranoid even. If your spouse has been cheated on in the past, then he or she might be particularly concerned about it happening again. If you’re the one who cheated before, then your spouse has good reason to be suspicious.
Some people are insecure. An insecure spouse might want the reassurance that you’re not cheating or lying.
Some people are controlling. They know knowledge is power and they want to have power over other people. Knowing what you’re up to – even if it’s completely innocent – makes them feel like they’re in charge.
If you are cheating or otherwise hiding something, then you may be leaving clues all over the place. A whispered phone conversation, a quick change of computer screens, unexplained expenses, etc. are clues. Maybe your spouse has asked you straight out about these things; or maybe he or she is afraid to. Sometimes your spouse just wants to know the truth – even if it hurts – so he or she can get on with life maybe without you.
Signs which Indicate Your Spouse Is Spying on You
- Your spouse knows exactly where you are at any given time, and who you are with.
- She/he knows the content of your emails and text messages.
- Your spouse keeps “coincidentally” showing up where you are.
- She/he sends unsolicited emails, Facebook messages, social media comments.
- You find unexplained software on your phone or computer.
- You receive many “phishing” emails designed to get you to reveal passwords or other sensitive information. Everybody gets some of these. But actually stalkers use them to offend and to try to compromise your information.
- You or your friends and family begin receiving friend requests from people you don’t know. Sometimes stalkers will create fake social media accounts to try to trick their victims into talking with them and revealing information.
Is it Legal for Spouses to Spy on Each Other?
In the traditional sense, it’s perfectly legal to hire a private investigator. It is also legal for people to look through any personal trash placed on public land.
Putting spyware on a spouse’s phone or computer is generally illegal but very nuanced. If a piece of technology is jointly owned, it is difficult to take any legal action against tracking the activity on the device.
For example, if a car is owned in the name of both spouses, it is possible for one spouse to put a GPS tracker on the car. Or abuse the tracking software in the car’s navigation device and make the argument, it is legal. Putting a tracker on someone else’s car, however, is illegal.
With phones, the rules vary by state. As an example in the State of New Jersey, it is legal to record a telephone conversation if you are a participant on the call. If you are intercepting a call that does not involve you, eavesdropping and recording the conversation is always illegal.
According to federal law, intercepting communication can be considered eavesdropping, wiretapping, hacking, information theft, computer fraud, or even cyber-terrorism. These can all result in felony charges.
Even if the phone was paid for by the snooping spouse, it is still widely considered to be the personal property of the person using it.
Potential Dangers Of Spying
Some people may look to prove their spouse is cheating to obtain more money in the divorce. Certain evidence could be used to impact child custody, child support, or alimony in different ways. A snooping spouse could find proof of planned vacations or large expenses, which could hurt your chances of receiving alimony or might affect how assets are divided in court. Pictures or other evidence of drinking or doing drugs could be seriously damaging in child custody cases and could hurt your relationship with your children, too. Even if the photos are misrepresented, they could still harm your case in court.
How to Protect Yourself From Spying?
With your emails, texts and social media accounts, however, there is more you can do to protect yourself. Here are some helpful steps that you can take to keep your personal data private:
1. Check your passwords
Change your password for all un-shared financial and personal accounts. But if you suspect someone is monitoring you, do this from a safe computer, like at a public library. Never log into any account on a computer you think might be compromised. So do not have the same password for all accounts. keep them private and change them regularly if you think your partner may have access to an account that you do not consent to.
2. Use more security methods other than password
Secure personal electronic devices with a PIN or fingerprint and enable 2-factor authentication. That way, even if someone has compromised your password, your accounts can’t be accessed without your phone.
3. Ensure your mobile phone is not linked up to the family hub or the family iPad
You do not want your personal text messages popping up while your children are playing Angry Birds or your partner is looking up a recipe.
Whilst incidents like this may be harmless, remember that when such devices are all linked up, it gives everyone access to your emails and text messages.
This may lead to more regular snooping and even stalking.
4. Take your device to an expert to check for security breaches or bugging devices
If you are suspicious that someone is taping or recording you in anyway, I would suggest doing this regularly to ensure your electronic devices are clean.
If you discover that there are regular security breaches on your phone, you may wish to report this to the police.
You may also have questions in respect of your relationship and we would suggest speaking to a family lawyer to equip yourself with your rights. And also to equip what steps you can take to protect yourself and potentially remove you from what may be becoming quite a toxic relationship.
There must be trust in a relationship and we are all entitled to a level of privacy. If that trust is being abused, or that privacy is being breached, seek help, and then take steps to protect yourself.