How to Find Spy Devices in Your Home
Reasons You Might Be a Target for Spying
How do you know if you are being surveilled? How do you know if you aren't? These days, private surveillance is becoming more and more common. Reasons that someone may be spying on you include:
- You own a company.
- You have an important, responsible, or secretive job.
- You have to attend confidential interviews or meetings.
- You are a scientist, politician, journalist, attorney, judge, police officer, or local government official.
- Your partner or spouse believes you are having an affair.
- You are getting divorced.
- You are petitioning for sole custody of your children.
- You are a suspected activist.
- You have logged in to certain websites.
- Your neighbor hates you.
- You were arrested for, but never convicted of, terrorist-related crime.
- Your friend, neighbor, or relative is under suspicion.
- You have recently made a substantial insurance claim.
- You are very wealthy or possess something valuable.
- You are a celebrity.
- You are the victim of a stalker.
Warning Signs That You're Being Watched
If you believe you may be a target for a covert operation, the first thing to do is look for evidence that someone is watching or listening to your private conversations. Here are the warning signs to look out for:
- Someone you know (your partner, a colleague, or neighbor) may inadvertently let slip something that you said in privacy, that they could only have overheard. If you question them, they will glibly deflect you by saying they guessed, that someone else told them, or that they made an assumption. Don't argue or pursue the point.
- If information appears in the press that no one except you and your trusted friends/personnel have access to, that's a major sign that you are under surveillance.
- A stalker likes his victim to be aware that he has access to private conversations—it adds to the fear-factor—and he will often find ways to let you know you are being watched, followed, or listened to.
- If your home was broken into or burgled, even if nothing significant was taken. You may not even notice if a door was left open or a window forced and you won't ever notice that someone has been inside your home. Make sure your children tell you if they discover an unlocked door that isn't usually left unlocked, or an open window downstairs.
Who's Monitoring Your Cell Phone?
Signs Your Cell Phone Is Tapped or Bugged
- Is your battery losing its charge? If you see sudden drops in your phone's charge when you have not been using it, or if you find yourself suddenly needing to charge it more often, this may mean that the battery is being depleted by someone who's remotely activating your microphone or accessing voice or text messages.
- Does your phone seem to have a mind of its own? If it turns off and on by itself or won't shut down (or hesitates before it will), makes noises (especially a pulsating, static noise that hints that the mic or speaker is active), randomly starts installing apps, or if the light is still lit after you shut it off, this may mean someone is controlling it remotely.
- Do you hear electronic blips and pops from computers, phones, televisions, and radios? Since phone transmissions often interfere with other electronic devices, and many phone tapping devices use frequencies that might interfere with your electronics, if you hear electronic echo or static coming from devices when you're not on your phone, it might indicate remote activity.
- Is your phone warm, even when you haven't been using it? This is a sign that the phone is working and depleting the battery.
- Do you get SMS text messages that look like random, meaningless strings of numbers and symbols? This may indicate fumbled attempts at coded transmissions.
- Have you seen an unexplained jump in the cost of your data? If your phone bills shoot up for no apparent reason, someone else may be running up your data bill.
Solutions: Keep in mind that these signs might only mean that you need a new battery, regular transmission of data is being interrupted by a poor connection, you need to call your provider and argue about the cost of your plan, there was a glitch in the hardware or software, or your phone is on the fritz. There are many useful apps that help you monitor your battery use. If you take the battery out of your phone when it's not in use, this can deter unwanted activity.
Signs That Your Landline Is Bugged
- Do you hear small noises on your phone during a conversation? Indications of a line tap are volume changes, minor drops (i.e. tiny gaps in the other person's speech), static, popping noises, hissing, or any other unusual sounds. These occur when two connectors are hooked up, such as a wiretap to a phone line. Listen for anything unusual as you hang up the phone.
- Is your telephone making odd sounds when it not in use? This would indicate that the phone itself is being used as a listening device. In other words, it is acting as a microphone and will pick up any conversation in the room.
- If you can hear a dial tone even when your phone is on the hook, this is a sign that it may have been tapped.
- Silent phone calls (when you pick up but it sounds like no one is there) may mean that the phone has been hooked up to a slave device. Listen out for electronic sounds like buzzing or high-pitched beeping. At the same time, silent calls are common these days and usually caused by computer error, so by themselves, they are not cause for concern.
What to do: Locate the B-Box or cross-connect box for your phone and check the two wires ("cable pair") associated with your landline. Are there any extra cables or devices attached? A service technician can help you, or you can hire a company to do a wire tap connection sweep.
How to Check for Surveillance Devices with an FM Radio
Tune your radio into a silent spot at the high end of the FM band. Carry the radio around the room. If it begins to make odd sounds such as a high-pitched squeal, move it until the sound reaches its loudest pitch. You may be familiar with this feedback phenomenon when it happens with speakers. Well, when it occurs with an FM radio, it's because of the same thing – the radio is picking up transmissions from the bug and can often lead you right to it.
You can also do a similar sweep with a small hand-held TV. Check channels 2, 7, 13, 14, 50-60, and 66-68 for marked interference. It works with analog or digital.
Locating Hidden Spy Cameras
A simple cost-effective method to detect hidden spy cameras is to wait until dark. Turn off all the lights and block out any light from outside. Grab a cardboard tube - a roll of paper towel is ideal. Turn on your smart phone's flashlight, or use a regular flashlight.
Hold the tube up to one eye and close the other. Hold the flashlight next to the tube. Now slowly scan every inch of the room. You are looking for a tiny light with a halo, which is the reflection of the camera lens.
How to Search for Spy Bugs
- Wait until dark, switch off the lights, and shine a strong flashlight at mirrors. Move the light thoroughly over the surface of the mirror. Any bugging device hidden there will be revealed.
- When the house is empty and traffic noise outside has subsided, walk around and switch off all electrical appliances, such as the refrigerator and computers. Be still and listen. Walk around the house quietly and listen out for any soft buzzing or bleeping. Track down the source. Chances are, there will be an innocent explanation for it.
- Check every switch plate and wall socket by first looking at it and then trying to move it. If it has been recently disturbed, may be visually out of alignment or it may move a little. This is a favorite place for bug installation. Turn off the power, unscrew the plate, and see if there's anything behind it that shouldn't be there. Also check smoke detectors, wall and ceiling light fittings, and lamps. Warning: Don't go poking screwdrivers anywhere near live electrical wiring.
- Look out for paint discoloration on walls or ceilings. A small, circular mark may be an indication of a micro-camera or listening device. Check the baseboards for bumps or signs of disturbance.
- Use your flashlight and hands to thoroughly examine every piece of furniture. Run your fingers along out-of-sight edges. Turn the furniture upside down. Look at upholstery carefully for small holes.
- Take notice of tiny patches of white dust from dry walls on baseboards or on sills. See if you can determine where it came from. It could be debris from the installation of a tiny pinhole camera.
- Examine every ornament and other innocuous objects in a room – pictures are good places to hide devices, and so are pillows.
- Try all the door locks to make sure they feel and work the same as usual. A lock that has been tampered with may exhibit stiffness, sticking, or feel very loose.
Bug Detector Devices
An electronic device, such as this is reasonably priced, and able to track electronic devices hidden in the home by picking up their tiny electromagnetic signal. You carry it around your home or office, and it will give an audible warning when it is within 10 meters of a audio bug or hidden camera. Ensure you turn off all 'innocent' devices and remove cellphones, laptops, etcetera, prior to scanning a room otherwise you'll get a false signal. bug detector
Bug detectors can usually find audio or video transmitters as they operate on simple RF frequencies. This is why your FM radio is capable of detecting such devices. However, these bug detectors are much more sensitive so it may well be worthwhile investing in one for your peace of mind.
There are also GPS bug detectors which work to find tracking devices hidden on your person or in your car.
Somebody is Watching Me
- Related article
Somebody is watching me... and I need to know what to do. Get the feeling you are not alone? Your life is being monitored by some unknown person or organization?
I'd Love to Know Your Experience, But...
The comments section is becoming way too long. I can now only accept comments that are directly related to the topic of the article, i.e. discovering actual hardware, phone apps, or evidence of bugging in your home.
And, while I appreciate you sharing your personal accounts, there's nothing I can actually do, other than offer the advice given above and in the comments. I'm really sorry, but unless your comment is on topic, it will be deleted.
Any questions you have, must be asked right here on this page, either in the Q&A section or in the comments. I cannot respond to direct inquiries via email.
Thanks so much for reading.
Questions & Answers
I hear there's an app for smartphones that can detect spying devices. Is it worth trying?
Yes, there are apps for both Android and iPhone that can detect the magnetic pulse of a device and the tiny light of a hidden camera. However, I haven't used them so don't know how effective they are. Search on your preferred app platform for 'Hidden Device Detector'.
I heard noises coming from my TV at 4 am and I'm sure that I've been hacked or being spied on. I don't have any internet connection except on my cell phone. The TV is a ROKU. Can someone see me and hear me through the TV?
It's more likely to be updating itself. If you've no reason to think someone might be spying on you, they probably aren't.
I've had a stalker for over 2 years now. I contacted police and have done anything and everything I could think of. I want to find the devices in which he can see me, it looks like it's in the lighting fixtures. When it is in use the light bulbs burn out, but I can't tell where the spy device is at. Can you help?
You have to collect proof. You have to locate the devices, using the suggestions I've made, both in the article and in the comments section.
People must become pro-active and fight back, not literally, but to thwart their stalker.
1. Never interact with them or give them the satisfaction of knowing you are frightened.
2. Gather proof. I cannot say this often enough.
3. Ensure he cannot break in. Make sure there are security locks on windows and doors.
4. Make technology work in your favor. These days you can install apps on your phone that work with cameras in your home so you can see who comes to the door, wherever you happen to be.
5. Do install your own cameras all over your home. If you can get a recording of a stalker entering your home, you have proof.
6. Purchase a bug scanner and use it. A cash layout of $20-$60 is a low price to pay for peace of mind.
7. Keep a record of everything - even if you don't think it's that important. Silent phone calls, strange vehicles lurking outside, people hanging around, etc.
8. Keep a loud whistle on you at all times. If you get any weird calls, blow the whistle as loud as you can down the phone. Also always carry a rape alarm.
It's your life; you need to protect it and get this person out of it. Meanwhile, take commonsense precautions, but do not allow them to ruin your life. You can be cleverer than them.
How do you look for trackers in a garage that's packed with junk?
Well, most high-quality bug sweepers have a good enough range to cover a whole garage from the door. However, if yours is one that requires you to get closer to the walls, then there's no solution other than to clean out the garage. It's a good reason to get it done.
Remember that if there is any electronic equipment in there or anything with batteries, then it could cause a false reading.
© 2012 Bev G