BEWARE THE RISE OF THE SPOUSAL HACKER: People planning to get divorced should change their email addresses as soon as they have separated in order to prevent spouses from hacking into their accounts and finding information which can be used against them.

Nicola McInnes, head of family law at Gorvins Solicitors, has issued a warning about the rise of the so-called spousal hackers after an increasing number of clients have complained that their divorcing partner has broken into their email accounts and social media sites such as Facebook.

Advisory Measures to Protect Sensitive Information

Says Nicola: “It’s critical for anyone planning a divorce to change their email address and change all their social media passwords to stop their warring partner having access to sensitive information which could give them an advantage during divorce proceedings.”

“We’ve found that hacking spouses are particularly keen to find any emails we may have sent which contain advice as to our client’s entitlement or because they believe their divorcing spouse is hiding income or assets. I had one case when we felt the husband was always a step ahead and my client was convinced that he had read emails we had exchanged.”

Risks of Social Media and Email Hacking During Divorce

“Facebook profiles are also targeted because they may contain information that can be referred to in court papers. Some clients have told me that their exes have even threatened to disclose the private photographs they’ve found on social media accounts as a way of getting what they want.”

Almost one in five (18%) couples in the UK argue regularly or consider separating, a study suggests. Under the 1990 Computer Misuse Act, breaking into or “hacking” someone else’s email account can lead to criminal charges and, if proven, someone could face a two-year prison sentence – even if it was a prank. Yet it has increased exponentially since the inception of the internet.

Added Nicola: “People are understandably resistant to or resentful of being forced into changing passwords and email accounts. Unfortunately, the alternative is being placed in a vulnerable position at an already distressing time.”

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