CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Our cell phones are indispensable, it seems.
They help us get directions, find the best deals in stores, and lead us to the nearest restaurant or gas stations.
But the very technology that helps us, can also have a dark side. Our phones are tracking us wherever we go.
“Wow! That’s kind of scary,” says Mikelle Darden as she pulls away her ear buds and checks her phone.
Darden didn’t have a clue her phone is mapping where she’s been.
“Go to your settings,” we tell her as she looks at the location history on her iPhone. Three places in Florida pop right up.
“Let’s punch in Madison, Florida,” we say. Mikelle had no idea she was being tracked by her own phone.
“If we asked you, so, Mikelle, why did you go to those places, does this concern you?”
Mikelle answers, “Yeah, yeah it does. Wow that’s crazy.”
Brandon Hackney is an android user.
"It’s kind of frightening, scary to hear that people have access to something like that,” he tells us.
All this information could potentially be used against you. When you’re tracked, your stops are mapped out. You can find the number of places where you’ve been, the addresses and even how long you were there.
Melissa Brown is chair of the technology committee for the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She says our electronic trails can be used as evidence.
“Even beyond a family court case, there’s information in the iPhone that’s being sent out without most people even realizing how much information they’re giving to other people. And it can be quite useful. It’s a smoking gun that helps, what I like to think, settle a case.”
If your privacy is a concern, you can turn off the location services. But be aware you can still be tracked. Cell towers can show where you’ve been.
Experts warn, be aware.
Hackney agrees, “It makes the world a scary place and the things you have to watch out for.”
You can turn off the location services, but you may not want to do that if there’s a chance you’ll lose your phone in a cab or on a bus.
For you iPhone users, try not to turn off the location services if there's a chance you'll lose your phone, say in a cab or on a bus.
On the android devices we tested, you have to opt in to show your locations, called "my Places."
Here are step-by-step instructions for finding your location services on an iPhone:
1) Go to “settings” on your screen, scroll down and click “Privacy.”
2) Click “Location Services”
3) Scroll down and click “System Services”
4) Click “Frequent Locations.” From there you can click on each location, then address.
For Android devices, here are the instructions for finding location services:
1) Go to “Settings” and hit the “More” button
2) Go to “Location Services" and hit “My Places.”