Is your Phone being tracked

Services for Real Estate Pros with Inc

The owner of your favorite restaurant may be tracking your every move—via your smartphone. Not because he’s a snoop, but because he believes knowing when and where you go for entertainment will benefit his business.


And how did he pull this caper off? There’s are companys out there, that place sensors in businesses within a confined location to track shoppers as they ambulate about town.

The sensors track signals emitted from Wi-Fi-enabled mobiles. The mobile-user’s movements in daily life create a profile of that user. Gee, how invasive is that?

The business owners with these sensors justify the invasion by using the profile knowledge to promote their business. But are you cool with that?

Another sensor technology analyzes actual foot traffic patterns onsite. Large retailers you visit sometimes have these sensors, following your every move in the store. They might know if you are pregnant, have the flu or have a hot date that night. They will send you offers based on your needs. Some say this is kinda creepy.

It’s a booming business: tracking peoples’ daily movement patterns via their smartphone. But you can relax somewhat, because this technology does not reveal any names, just movement patterns. Still, it’s something you should be aware of.

But don’t relax too much, because some of these same services will run free Wi-Fi services on site or at local coffee shops and restaurants that people can log into with Facebook—doing so will reveal their name, age and social media profile.

Phone tracking is a godsend to business owners, however, because they can create promotions based on profiles: E.g., upon learning that most clientele are over age 50, a health club might decide to play mostly ‘70s music.

Nevertheless, as phone tracking booms, privacy concerns also boom. Do you want someone to track all your doctor visits, then sell this data to marketers based on what disease the tracking profile thinks you have? This seems to be where it’s all headed.

Companies in the U.S. still are not required to get your permission to collect and share your data for the most part. But you just never know what may come next.

Some helpful Information

  • Do you know what your cellphone carrier knows—about you? Because your phone sends signals to cell towers, your carrier knows your location. Phone companies sell this information to retailers and other entities.
  • The recent Apple iOS7 update launched a little known feature that tracks your every move. You might want to turn it off. Go to Settings/Privacy/Location Services then scroll all the way down to the bottom to “System Services” and scroll all the way down to “Freqent Locations” and check it out. It knows your History! Turn that puppy off!
  • One option is to turn the Wi-Fi off on your phone. It doesn’t have to be on when you’re driving from the gym to the donut shop to the computer store.
  • A better option is to download and install Hotspot Shield VPN that encrypts your wireless internet and surfing activities.
  • An iPhone has more settings in “Settings/Privacy/Location Services” that control which apps can monitor your location. Determine which ones you want on. Think “minimize my footprint”
  • Android users should turn off location tracking.
  • Like to take photos with your mobile? Guess what: iPhone saves the location where you took the shots, which is no secret once you post the photos on FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. This isn’t such a good idea. Shutting down location based apps will help here too.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Joni Bailey 02/15/2014 12:09 AM
  2. Bob Crane 02/16/2014 12:41 PM
ActiveRain Community
mobile phone security
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Brian Rugg
Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-818-6700 - Georgetown, TX
Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est

50 years from now we will lament and regret all the privacy we have willingly given up via all these new technologies. 

Feb 15, 2014 10:55 AM #38
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

After reading this, I think I'll go back to may land line.  It is incredible how we are tracked.  There needs to be an opt out.

Feb 15, 2014 11:19 AM #39
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Very informative stuff here. I didn't even know that the "frequent locations" thing existed until I read your post.

Feb 15, 2014 11:32 AM #40
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Makes me wonder where this is all leading to. It is creepy and I do not accept being tracked and spied on. 

Feb 15, 2014 11:46 AM #41
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

There's so much randomness that to throw people off with a lot of folks I bet.


Love and light,


Feb 15, 2014 12:56 PM #42
Jack O'Neal
HomeSmart Elite Group - Gilbert, AZ

Good info Robert!  Big Brother is always watching us!  Need to be careful with where we use our cell phones!

Feb 15, 2014 01:18 PM #43
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Robert, great tips on how to protect from phone tracking - to an extent. Not possible to hide ourselves in most cases, though. 

Feb 15, 2014 03:04 PM #44
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


This whole data collection has gotten out of hand...both commercial and government. Thanks for the tips to cut a little bit out.


Feb 15, 2014 04:52 PM #45
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Robert, great post. It's scary how much of our information is out there . . . .


Feb 15, 2014 05:42 PM #46
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

That is really interesting. Thank you for the informative and well written post.

Feb 15, 2014 05:52 PM #47
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Wow Robert!  I just turned off the location tracker based upon wifi that was running on my iPad.. there was a whole list of apps that were turned on below the main setting... they all went away.  I really don't need location services turned on for weather, since I just pull it up on my phone.  One less device to worry about anyway, I hope.. it seems we just never know what all is tracking us.  Even the recent news report that hackers could use Chrome to turn on your web Camera caused me to delete Chrome from all of my computers except one.  Thanks for the very informative post.. I'm subscribing. 

Feb 15, 2014 08:36 PM #48
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Robert, this is good information. Thanks for the tips. You never know who may be watching.

Feb 15, 2014 10:19 PM #49
Brad Lauritzen
Santiago Financial, Inc. - Riverside, CA
Manufactured & Mobile Home Lending

Really good information. I've noticed that my Android will say that I don't have my location turned on and I'm like "good". But I'm going to look at the Hotspot as  well....I'm always dogging those black obama helicopters

Feb 15, 2014 11:54 PM #50
Rob Ernst
Certified Structure Inspector - Reno, NV
Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor

I have heard allo about this type of thing. The large stores and casinos here are looking to use this to know when your near the competition or out of town. They get your this info once you text for special offers. Then depending on where you go they can target you for specials again. For a town like Reno this means if you step foot in to the competitions casino another one can send you a tonight only special offer or if your an out of town visitor they can send you the weekend special once you get back home to draw you back. 

Feb 15, 2014 11:56 PM #51
Lynn Afton
Greenridge Realty Oakmont - Big Rapids, MI
REALTOR® Near Big Rapids, MI, Mecosta County

Tracking without your permission is very invasive and creepy.  Who knows what use for this information they will come up with next.  Just turn off the wi-fi and location services when you are not using them.

Feb 16, 2014 01:31 AM #52
Lisa Friedman
Great American Dream Realty - Essex, VT
30 Years of Real Estate Experience!

This was very interesting to read. Thank you for the added knowledge. This seems vry invasive to me.

Feb 16, 2014 02:06 AM #53
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Google does the very same thing. Has for a long time. Turn off the GPS tracker that smart phones come with. Tough to hide anymore.

Feb 16, 2014 06:01 AM #55
Tg Glazer - The Right Realtor® for the Right Results!
Coldwell Banker, Westfield, NJ - Cranford, NJ
Westfield/Cranford, NJ area

Personally, I'm not really concerned about this.  In fact, I've found it can be quite beneficial.

When I was in San Francisco for NAR National Conference this past November, I walked into one of the myriad of Starbucks (and I do mean MYRIAD! I actually have a picture that I took from inside of one Starbucks, looking at another Starbucks across the street!!).  While on line, I got a text message informing me that there was an available Groupon to purchase a $10 Starbucks card for $5.

Guess what I did?

Feb 16, 2014 10:45 AM #56
Fred Sed
Fred Sed Group ~ Your Premier Southern California Realtors - Irvine, CA
Your Southern Cali Realtor, Why? Because Fred Se

Thanks for the information Robert! I knew I was being tracked, but some of the information my phone gives companies is suprising sometimes!

Feb 17, 2014 04:12 AM #57
Stephanie Arnett
ERA Town & Campus Realty - Starkville, MS
SRS, IMSD, Broker Associate, REALTOR

Thanks for the inf

Feb 17, 2014 06:24 AM #58
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