How to catch anyone spying on your text messages

Just about every connected device you have can be used to spy on you, and this isn’t limited to smart speakers and webcams. Here’s how to stop your TV from tracking you.

It gets worse. I was in the pool recently, and a drone flew overhead. More than a million registered hobby drones are buzzing around the country, and countless unregistered ones, too. Use these steps to avoid being watched.

What about your text messages? Our texts aren’t always private, unfortunately. There are sly ways others can intercept your messages. Here’s how to know if someone is snooping.

iPhone owners, look to your family, friends and roommates

You don’t have to be a tech whiz to intercept Apple iMessage texts. There are a couple of ways to sneak a peek.

First, there’s message forwarding. As the name implies, this feature forwards messages to another device automatically. The problem: someone else can do the same thing. 

Here’s how to check if it’s enabled:

Text messages
Kim Komando reveals how to tell if someone is spying on your text messages.
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  • Go to Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding.
  • If you don’t see Text Message Forwarding, go to Settings > Messages. Turn off iMessage, then turn it back on. 
  • Tap Send & Receive > Use Your Apple ID for iMessage.
  • See any unfamiliar devices? Turn them off.

While you’re at it, use a code to see if your calls and texts are being forwarded.

  • Open the Phone app and tap on the Keypad.
  • Dial *#21# and hit the green call button.

Note: This doesn’t work with every carrier and every model, so results may vary. 

You’ll get a screen with details on the activity of your calls, SMS messages and even faxes. If they are listed as Disabled, you’re OK. Tap Dismiss when you’re finished looking at the data to go back to the regular screen.

If you find any issues with your phone settings, someone likely got into your phone, iCloud account or both. Change your passwords and PINs immediately.

Anyone, not just hackers, can use spyware

Developers advertise spyware to protect your children from predators and make sure bad actors aren’t scamming your loved ones.

Sure, it makes sense, but there’s no preventing someone with bad intentions from using this software to keep tabs on you.

One popular app, mSpy, monitors text messages, calls, and social media interactions. The app can be installed remotely on an iPhone if you have the proper iCloud credentials. For Android phones, someone will need physical access to install it.

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Once that’s done, your messages and more are in another person’s hands.

mSpy certainly isn’t the only app of its kind out there. Other apps to watch out for include SpyBubble, XNSPY, Cocospy, Spyera, EyeZy, uMobix, and Hoverwatch. This is not an exhaustive list, but for the most part, the clues are in the names themselves.

Plus, apps like Dr. Fone let someone access your past messages via iCloud and Android backups. 

Check your phone now

Start by checking your apps. Are there any unfamiliar ones that you don’t remember installing? Get rid of them. This is a good practice to perform regularly.

Delete apps on your iPhone.

  • Touch and hold the app icon on your iPhone.
  • Tap Remove App > Delete App and then tap Delete.

Delete apps on your Android phone.

  • Open the Google Play Store app.
  • At the top right, tap the Profile icon.
  • Tap Manage apps & devices > Manage.
  • Tap the name of the app you want to delete.
  • Tap Uninstall.

There are signs to know if your phone is infected with spyware, malware, or viruses. Look out for strange incidents like your phone shutting down on its own or constantly losing connection during calls. 

Here are more spyware signs to watch for:

  • Spyware consumes a lot of resources, causing your phone to heat up and drain your battery more quickly than expected. 
  • Spying software constantly sends data from your phone to another device, causing significant spikes in data usage.
  • It can slow down your connection speed by redirecting or forwarding your messages elsewhere.

What if you find one of these apps or another one that looks suspicious? Change your PINs and passwords immediately. Next, back up and factory reset your phone.

Plus, I did research and found the best independent news sites. I get freebies from my cable company, you can too. Scammers are going after older folks on Medicare. Here’s what to watch out for and warn your family! 

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

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