Cellphone Hacked? It Happens

Earlier this week, I discovered that someone hacked my phone. One of my very closest friends called to tell me that a man was answering my phone. At first, I thought that it was just an error. Sometimes phone lines get a little wonky, and I figured that was what was happening. Then another friend of mine called me. The same man answered my phone. Now I was beginning to wonder what was going on. The second friend called to ask me who my new boyfriend was. That was a stumper because I am currently unattached and comfortable with that circumstance. When I mentioned that I didn’t have one, he asked me who the guy was because he’d gotten him at least a few times, and the guy was laughing in the background about hacking my system.

That’s when I knew that something was off. My phone had felt hot a few times in the evening, and calls were consistently dropping. Any of you that are on your phone a lot know how frustrating that can be. A light bulb went off in my head. Was it possible that hacking occurred? I went to my phone carrier’s website and established a chat connection with an agent. They checked out my phone, and sure enough, someone was having a field day by draining my data and using the call forwarding features. My mom shares the account with me because we have a business together, and hers also hacked.

The agent took me through a few steps, and they took the call forwarding option away. They encouraged me to add a call filter to help prevent this from happening again. What I found when researching how to protect yourself against this action blew my mind. This type of scenario occurs far too often, and in our age of technology, we are all susceptible to becoming victims.

Within a matter of minutes, the agent fixed my issue. This scenario made me wonder what some of the signs to discover if your phone might be the victim of a hack. Here are some of the tips I found.

6 Signs someone may have hacked your phone

Noticeable decrease in battery life

Phones have a life with their battery. If the phone is new, the battery expects to last longer. If the battery decreases sooner than it should, it may be because of malware. People use malware and spy apps to steal information from devices. The battery life doesn’t always mean you are experiencing issues, but it does raise suspicion if the phone isn’t ancient.  

Sluggish performance

Phones can be like people.  When people are running tired, we need to refuel. Phones need juice like battery power. Without a source of energy, they can’t do their job efficiently.  

 Do you find your cellphone frequently freezing or specific applications crashing? This action could be down to malware that overloads the phone’s resources or clashes with other applications.

You may also experience continued running of applications despite efforts to close them or even have the phone itself crash and restart repeatedly. It never hurts to run a deep cleaner on your Android or iPhone. If anyone wants to recommend any programs, please feel free. I’m always willing to learn about different apps that work the best.  

High data usage

Another sign of a compromised phone is an unusually high data bill at the end of the month, which can come from malware or spy apps running in the background, sending information back to its server.

Outgoing calls or texts you didn’t send

If you see lists of calls or texts to numbers you don’t know, be wary – these could be premium-rate numbers that malware is forcing your phone to contact, the proceeds of which land in the cyber-criminals wallet. In this case, check your phone bill for any costs you don’t recognize.

Mystery pop-ups

Adware is notorious for linking itself with malware. Companies track our activities with cookies based on sites we explore. Pop-ups don’t necessarily mean that you’ve experienced a hack. But it needs to be reiterated that you need to be cautious of the pop-ups that you receive.  

Unusual activity on any accounts linked to the device

The bottom line is that any activity that doesn’t look right could be associated with any of your online accounts that you use with your mobile. Keep an eye out for anything suspicious. If you notice anything that is off, change your passwords on a device that isn’t your mobile. Identity fraud is a severe issue.  

If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms of a hacked smartphone, the best first step is to download a mobile security app.

For Android, several sites I researched like Bitdefender or McAfee for their robust feature sets and high ratings from independent malware analysis labs.

While it’s very frustrating to experience hacking, remember that many people are scamming vulnerable people. Seniors are a high-risk group for being hacked. Sometimes the people closest to us are the ones that are hacking our lines. They may be insecure and want to track your movements or want to steal from you without you realizing what’s happened until it’s too late.  

Keep your eyes open and research everything. If you suspect that your phone system has become compromised, you may want to run diagnostics with an anti-virus program. Technology is a fantastic tool that we use to keep up with one another, but it is also one of the most vulnerable tools to attack us when distributed into corrupt hands. I hope none of you ever experience this problem, but if you do, protect your information. Once someone steals your information, they have access to your life. I hope you all have a great weekend.  

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