Stalkers Can Use Phone GPS to Track Every Move

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010  |  Updated 12:15 AM CDT
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Stalkers Can Use Phone GPS to Track Every Move

NBCDFW.com

Most cell phone carriers offer GPS tracking on family plans that is intended to allow parents to track their children.

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Cell phones have location functions to help callers who dial 911, but some stalkers are co-opting the tracking technology.

SafeHaven of Tarrant County said women have been tracked to its hidden shelter by their cell phones.

"We have actually changed our intake process to add questions about what technology they have on them, if there is a GPS program in it, and then we inform them how to deactivate it and encourage them to get rid of the phone altogether," Sarah McClellan-Brandt said.

By law, cell phones are required to have tracking technology to help emergency crews find callers.

Most cell phone carriers offer GPS tracking on family plans that is intended to allow parents to track their children. But it's just as easy for an abusive spouse to activate the tracking.

Such programs can only be deactivated by the account holder.

Stalkers can also buy GPS software and install it on a phone when the owner isn't looking.

"When they want to hurt you or scare you, they will do whatever it takes," said Aida Mitchell, who was stalked by her former husband. "It's a power thing."

The cell phone carrier can tell a cell phone owner if he or she is being tracked by looking up the selected features on the account.

Phone owners can also go to their carrier's retail store to have it inspected for additional software that may have been installed.

NBCDFW's Meredith Land contributed to this report.

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