internet & technology safety

 

SAFETY ALERT: If you are being abused or stalked, we recommend that you use a computer that your abuser does not know about because abusers often check to see what sites you have visited. If you are in danger, please call 911, the Georgia Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-33-HAVEN, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (TTY 1-800-787-3224).

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Internet and Technology Safety

If you are in danger, please try to use a safer computer that your abuser does not have direct or remote (hacking) access to. 

Abusers are often controlling and want to know your every move.  Abusers can use many forms of technology as part of their pattern of abuse, including monitoring your internet use and computer activity.  Your abuser does not need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor your internet use and computer activity.  Abusers may use programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers, and other hacking tools.  It is impossible to completely delete or clear all of the “footprints” of your computer or online activities.

If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are.  Here are some tips:

  • Be careful how you use your computer since an abuser may become suspicious if you suddenly change your internet use or computer activities.  You may want to keep using your home computer for normal activities.  But use a safer computer for activities such as researching your escape plan, looking for a new place to live or work, purchasing transportation tickets, or asking for help to end an abusive relationship.
  • When possible, use a safer computer and an account that your abuser does not know about.  Computers can store a lot of information about what you research on the internet, the emails and instant messages you send, the internet-based phone and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities.  It may be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a community technology center, at a trusted friend’s house, or in a location that your abuser cannot access.   When choosing new password, make selections that your abuser would not think of.  Avoid passwords that your abuser might be able to figure.  E.g., your children’s names, your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, etc.
  • Email and Instant/Text Messaging are not safe, confidential ways to communicate about the danger or abuse in your life.  If possible, call a hotline instead.  If you must use email or IM, use a safer computer and an account that your abuser does not know about.
  • If you must use email or IM, consider creating an additional email account on a safer computer.  Do not create or check this new email from a computer your abuser could access, in case it is monitored.  Use an anonymous name, and account: (example:  bluecat@email.com, not YourRealName@email.com).  Look for free web-based email accounts, and do not provide detailed information about yourself when setting up the account.
  • “Corded” phones or landlines are more private and less interceptable than cordless phones or analog cell phones.
  • Digital phone services or internet phone services provide very detailed logs of every call that is incoming or outgoing and can be viewed on-line almost immediately.
  • Dialing *69 on a touchtone phone provides the last number dialed from that phone. Most phones have a list of recent outgoing calls.  If you are concerned that your abuser may check your phone, use a safer phone.

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