Making sure your electronic devices and online accounts are not being monitored

During the relationship and after you break up, your partner or ex-partner may try to monitor your electronic devices
and online accounts in order to gain more control over you. This can be very frightening, but there are solutions.

Verified by Scarlet Dawson on 17/11/2023

What to know

One worrying behaviour of many abusers is monitoring their partner or ex-partner's electronic devices and online accounts.

The most frequently monitored devices are: 

  • phones
  • computers 
  • tablets. 

Commonly used technologies are GPS location and spyware that monitor what you do.

What to do

If you think your electronic devices and online accounts are being monitored, it is recommended that you do the following.

  • Observe possible changes in how your devices work: are they slower than usual?
  • Observe your partner or ex-partner’s behaviour: do they know things they shouldn’t? If yes, could they have found this information in a different way?
  • Check the list of your apps: is there one that you have not downloaded and are not familiar with?
  • It is important to be cautious, as your partner or ex-partner may soon realise that you are making these changes, especially if you are still living together:

    • try not to change your behaviour, as this may alert them
    • do not remove apps or software, as this could alert them too
    • do not destroy the suspicious device as it can be used as evidence if you one day wish to request protective measures or make a complaint
    • contact the police or an organisation offering free services called an “association” to get advice on how to proceed.

Log out

Be careful: your partner or ex-partner may realise that you are making these changes immediately. 

If you are concerned that this will increase the risk to your safety, it is recommended that you contact the police or an organisation offering free services known as an "association" that specialises in helping people confronted by domestic abuse. They will be able to advise you on the procedure to follow.

  • Change all your account passwords and check that your partner or ex-partner is not connected to your accounts:

    • email inboxes (e.g. Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo)
    • social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok)
    • meal delivery services (e.g. Deliveroo, Uber Eats)
    • music services (e.g. Spotify, Apple Music)
    • streaming services (e.g. Netflix, Disney+)
    • transport/taxi services (e.g. Uber, G7)
    • fitness services (e.g. Garmin)
    • cloud storage (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud)
    • energy suppliers (electricity, gas)
    • travel services (e.g. Airbnb, SNCF, airlines,
    • car travel services (e.g. Waze, Google Maps, car GPS)
    • banking and finance services (e.g. online banking, Lydia, international transfer accounts)
    • mobile phone services (e.g. Orange, SFR, Bouygues, Free)
    • online gaming (e.g. Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto)
    • online shopping (e.g. Zalando, Amazon)
    • other apps.

    This is not an exhaustive list. After your separation, it is recommended that you check that you have changed your password each time you use an online account.

  • Disable location permissions for all apps on all your devices:

    • phones
    • tablets
    • computers
    • car
    • smart connected items (camera, watch, television, etc.).

    In some cases, or if you do not feel safe, buying a new device is recommended if possible. Do not restore settings from your old device as this may re-install the spyware.

Find support

In France, there are many services that can support you, give you advice, and assist you with procedures and paperwork. Most of them are free of charge.

  • This telephone counselling service is intended for people facing all types of violence and those who support them.

    • This service is free of charge.
    • On the telephone, a trained counsellor will listen to you and support you. They can then direct you to relevant services near you.
    • Languages available: interpretation in all languages.
    • Contact: call 3919, available 24/7. The call will not appear on your telephone bill.
    • For people who are deaf, have difficulties hearing, people with aphasia or who have language impairments, you can access a service adapted for your needs by clicking on the telephone icon at the bottom right of the website
  • The role of the police is to ensure the safety of all people, whatever their situation, even for people without French residency rights. A police officer will be able to advise you and offer assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can contact the police in four main ways:

    • By telephone: call 17, a free number. Languages available: interpretation in all languages.
    • By text message: send an SMS to 114 in French, specifying your exact address.
    • Online: chat service. This service is available in many languages.
    • Go to any police station, i.e. either a “commissariat de police” or a “brigade de gendarmerie”. You can find the closest police station to you on this website. If you don't speak French, they will need to find you an interpreter, this can take some time.
  • Associations” are organisations that offer a range of services.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • The services offered vary considerably from one “association” to another. They can give you advice and sometimes they can assist you with procedures and paperwork.
    • Languages available: mainly French.
    • You will find a list of “associations” specialising in helping victims of violence near you in this directory by selecting your French department.

While the utmost care has gone into providing you with the most accurate and up to date information, this page is not intended to replace legal or professional advice. Laws and procedures change regularly so it is important to consult qualified professionals.

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