- Have you noticed little noises on your phone during a conversation? Indications of a tapping are changes in volume, minor drops (i.e. tiny holes in the other person’s speech), static noises, clicking noises, hissing noises or any other unusual noise. These occur when two connectors are connected, such as wiretapping to a telephone line. Listen to something unusual when you hang up the phone.
- Your phone may make unusual noises when not in use. This would indicate that the phone itself is being used as a listening device. In other words, it acts like a microphone and picks up any conversation in the room.
- Silent phone calls (when you go off-hook, but it looks like no one is there) can mean the phone has been connected to a slave device. Listen to electronic sounds like buzzing or high-pitched beeps. At the same time, silent calls are common these days and usually caused by a computer error, so by themselves they are not cause for concern.
How to tell if your phone is bugged
Modern technology has made it possible for anyone – not just spies and government agencies – to hijack your private communications. Fortunately, there are ways to tell if you’re being watched.
Step 1 Check the battery life Take note of your battery life. The phone’s battery is being used when it sends voice or text information to the source of the bug, or if someone activates the microphone remotely. If the battery life is significantly shorter than in the past, even after purchasing a new battery, your phone may be defective.
There are phone apps that monitor battery life and history.
2nd step Smell your phone. Check the temperature of your phone. The battery in your battery heats up as it is used. So when you have not been on the phone, if the phone is hot, you may have been using it without your knowledge.
Step 3 Watch for strange activity Watch for activity unusual from your phone. If your phone suddenly turns on and turns off by itself, has difficulty turning off, or does not turn off at all, it may be subject to unauthorized use.
Step 4 Watch for coded text messages Watch for coded text messages. If you get a text message that looks like data encoding, with numbers and symbols instead of words, it may indicate misdirected attempts to transmit data by someone else.
Step 5 Listen to the background noise. Listen to the noise background when you are on a call. Echoes, static, or clicking sounds can be caused by line or transmission interference, or by the equipment being used by someone dialing your call.
Step 6 Pay attention to your phone bill. Inspect your phone bill every month. If it indicates a peak in text or data transmission, someone else can use it.
Step 7 Check for unusual interference Look at nearby electronic equipment. It is common for phone transmissions to interfere with signals from other phones, computers, radios, and televisions. However, if electronic interference occurs when you are not using the phone, it may be used by someone else.
Step 8 Determine if your land line is tapped Find out if your field line is tapped by locating your service area interface, also known as a B box or patch box. Determine which pair of cables, called a cable pair, is associated with your phone number and check to see if any duplicate lines or electronic devices are connected.
How to check surveillance devices with an FM radio
Tune your radio in a quiet location at the higher end of the FM band. Carry the radio into the room. If it starts producing strange sounds such as a high-pitched squealing, move it around until the sound reaches its maximum pitch. You may be familiar with this feedback phenomenon when it happens with speakers. Well, when it happens with an FM radio, it is because of the same thing – the radio picks up the bug transmissions and can often lead you right to it.
You can also do a similar sweep with a small handheld television. Check channels 2, 7, 13, 14, 50-60 and 66-68 for marked interference. It works with analog or digital.
How to check for spy bugs
- Wait until the night, turn off the lights, and shine a strong flashlight at the mirrors. Move the light all the way over the mirror surface. Any listening device hidden there will be revealed.
- When the house is empty and the traffic noise outside has subsided, walk on and turn off all electrical appliances, such as refrigerators and computers. Keep calm and listen. Take a leisurely stroll around the house and listen for any soft buzzing or bellowing. Find the source. Chances are, there will be an innocent explanation for it.
- Check each switch plate and wall outlet by looking at it first, then trying to move it. If it has been recently disturbed, it may be visually misaligned or move a little. It is a favorite place to install bugs. Turn off the device, unscrew the plate and see if there is anything behind that shouldn’t be there. Also check smoke detectors, wall and ceiling fixtures, and lamps. Caution: Do not bring screwdrivers near live electric cables.
- Watch out for discoloration of paint on walls or ceilings. A small circular mark can be an indication of a micro-camera or a listening device. Check the baseboards for dents or signs of disturbance.
- Use your flashlight and your hands to scrutinize each piece of furniture. Run your fingers along the edges out of sight. Turn the furniture over. Look carefully at the upholstery for the small holes.
- Take note of the small spots of white dust on the dry walls on the baseboards or on the sills. See if you can figure out where it came from. It could be debris from the installation of a tiny pinhole camera.
- Examine every ornament and other harmless items in a room – pictures are good places to hide devices, and so are pillows.
- Try out all door locks to make sure they feel and work as usual. A lock that has been tampered with may become stiff, sticky, or feel very loose.
Bug detection devices
An electronic device, like this RF Anti-Spy Bug Detector is very reasonably priced, and able to track electronic devices hidden around the house by picking up their small electromagnetic signal. You wear it around your home or office, and it will give an audible warning when it is near a bug or a hidden camera. Make sure to turn off all ‘innocent’ devices and remove cellphones, laptops, etc., before scanning a room, otherwise you will get a false signal.
Bug detectors can usually find audio or video transmitters as they operate on simple RF frequencies. That is why your FM radio is able to detect such devices. However, these bug detectors are much more sensitive, so it may be worth investing in one for your peace of mind.
There are also GPS bug detectors that work to find tracking devices hidden in your car.
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