The short answer is yes—anyone with your cell phone number can track your GPS location. Hacking is often invisible, so how do you protect yourself?
In the past, tracking someone’s location meant that you had to install a GPS tracker on their vehicle. Now, tracking a cell phone location in real-time with nothing more than a phone number is possible.
Whether you use an iPhone or Android phone, tracking you without your knowledge may only require getting you to click a link or download an app. It's not always clear that you're granting permission to share your location data.
In fact, you can find offers all over the internet advertising tracking services. Most major cell phone carriers offer services that allow sharing your location between friends and family members. Some spy apps even draw you in by offering to catch your cheating spouse.
If you value your privacy as much as we do, spyware and tracking apps are cause for concern.
Phone Tracking Apps
While Apple's "Find My" app, Google Maps, and the popular free version of an app called Life360 make it handy for tracking family members, can this technology cross the line? And can someone track your phone number without your permission? Absolutely.
Beware of companies such as Localize.mobi offering to track the location of both Android and iOS phones for a monthly fee. Here's how it works:
1) The user enters a cell phone number to track on the Localize.mobi website.
2) The site sends a text to the target device with customizable wording and a link.
3) If the target device owner clicks the link, their phone's location appears under "located numbers" on a map.
The sneaky thing about tracking apps like this is that no app or software is required, and the target device owner may not understand that clicking a link allows someone to track them. And just like that, privacy and security are compromised.
Is Life360 safe?
While the Life360 free app can be helpful for parents watching over their children, particularly teens and new drivers, it also presents security risks.
The Life360 terms of service agreements require ‘permission-based tracking.’ To participate in mobile tracking from someone like your employer, you must respond affirmatively to the text message Life360 sends you before it tracks your location and delivers that data to your tracker.
Using a service like Life360, your family would also have to opt in and give permission to the tracking, or you would opt in on behalf of your minor child. While marketed as an app that promotes family and driver safety, users should be aware that Life360 has been known to sell its user data to third-party companies.
Does Life360 sell your data?
Life360 has stored and sold location information, history, and driving stats to advertisers, insurance companies, and other third parties. Most users were unaware of this until it was exposed online. In January of 2022, Life360 announced that they would stop selling users' location data.
It's up to users to decide if they trust a tracking app with their sensitive personal information. Even if personal data isn't sold,all it takes is one security breach to compromise location data and other private information.
If you're looking to use Life360 to catch your cheating spouse, keep in mind that installing tracking software on the electronic device of a spouse, significant other, or unsuspecting person isn't legal in the US. You could find yourself facing hefty federal fines and imprisonment for doing it.
Cell Phone Tracking by IP Address
Cell phone tracking by IP address is a practice that allows law enforcement and cell phone carriers to identify the physical location of a cellular device. This information is gathered from a user’s IP address, which is assigned to their phone, and provides specific location information based on the network to which their device is connected.
The U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Marshals Service have all relied on cell phone tracking technology of some form to track individuals in investigations like robberies and kidnappings, as well as fugitives who are sought after by law enforcement.
Do Cell Phone Companies Track Cell Phones?
Cell phone companies track the location of their cell phones, but this tracking may not be as precise as that provided by law enforcement. The practice is most often done through the company's IP address system, which periodically logs each device's assigned Internet Protocol (IP) address. IPs are used to identify computers on the Internet and determine where they are located.
Cell phone companies can also track the location of their cell phones through GPS, a technology that identifies the location of devices by sending radio signals to satellites in orbit and mapping the time it takes for these signals to arrive at their destination.
But what happens if this tracking technology falls into the wrong hands? You've got to protect yourself.
How Do I Protect Myself From GPS Tracking?
There are many ways to protect yourself from GPS tracking. Here are our recommendations:
1) Turn off location services.
If you want to protect yourself from GPS tracking, ensure that your phone is not connected to any social media apps or online maps. If you're using an older model cell phone and want to avoid being tracked, turn off the GPS function altogether.
2) Use encrypted messaging apps.
The best encrypted instant messaging apps put your privacy and security first. Apps such as Signal and WhatsApp are popular for Android and iPhone users. These messaging apps have powerful encryption software that makes messages unreadable to anyone intercepting them without your permission.
3) Know who has access to your phone.
It's important to know where your phone is at all times and, most importantly, who has it. If someone can physically access your phone, they could install any number of malicious GPS tracking apps. Maintain a secure password or Face ID. Only share passwords with trusted individuals.
4) Keep your phone in a Faraday sleeve.
Utilize a Faraday cage product when your phone is not in use.A Faraday cage is a device that is designed to block electromagnetic radiation and radio waves. The cage consists of two or more conducting surfaces that enclose airspace between them.
Putting your phone into a Faraday sleeve instantly cuts off ALL signals to and from your phone. Faraday phone sleeves make tracking impossible so long as it remains inside the sleeve.
How to Block GPS Tracking with SLNT Products:
If you still ask, "Can people track your phone number?" and wonder how to protect yourself, do yourself a favor and buy a Faraday product today. With Silent Pocket®, patented technology blocks all signals from reaching your mobile devices, creating a 'Faraday cage' around them. This impenetrable shield blocks radio frequency signals emitted and received by your device. Security doesn’t get any simpler than this.
Your privacy and peace of mind are in your hands. Explore our SLNT collections to determine which security product is right for you.
I had to upgrade my phone and was extremely concerned with the 5G capabilities. This bag completely blocks ALL signals. I place my phone in my bag when I go to bed at night! Would 100% not only purchase again, but would purchase for friends/family, too! 5 stars!!
I purchased the SLNT pocket that an iphone 11 with an Otter Box fits in. The quality of the finished product is HIGH. I'm not addicted to my phone, so this allows me to place the phone in the pocket before traveling about daily without dropping digital crumbs along the way that could be used to reverse engineer my personal movements, locations and destinations with greater ease. I value my privacy due it being a fundamental human right despite what any judge or agency claims to the contrary.
I was very pleased to realize that this particular SLNT fits into my back pants pocket!!! The width is 'just right'. Now that's attention to detail. This is my 3rd SLNT and I recommend them to a lot of folks. Most have never heard of such a product, let alone the reason to have one and use it.
To anyone considering these products, as others have said, just get it! We live in an age where we need it. Location tracking is digital stalking. I really appreciate that some dirtbag won't be able to pull info out of my device either. Thank You SLNT, nice job.
4-5 starts.... well made, great function ...not only do I feel like I've helped secure my privacy but when I place the phone in the pocket I am able to disconnect from tech and have quiet private time with less stress and fewer distractions. Psychologically its been a great aid to me.