HOW TO TELL IF YOUR HOUSE IS BUGGED
If you were to ask us, there's no feeling worse than when you think somebody might be watching you. But despite the feeling, every time you turn around, there's nothing there except the eerie feeling that there are invisible eyes still following you wherever you go.
This can only be described as the creeps. And today, although there's much good that comes from hidden listening devices, cameras, and other surveillance gear, criminals can also use these devices for more nefarious purposes, such as stealing your personal identification information, gaining access to your online accounts, or worse.
So, for anyone who has ever felt as if their home or place of business may be bugged, we've put together the following guide on how to search any space for hidden spy devices. Keep reading, and we'll explore everything there is to know about searching for hidden GPS tracking devices, eavesdropping devices, cameras, and more!
See Related: Counter Surveillance (the art of spying on spies)
WARNING SIGNS THAT YOU HAVE BEEN BUGGED
The often smaller size of today's micro-eavesdropping devices and hidden cameras can make them hard to spot. Therefore, it's not always easy to tell whether or not you've been bugged.
However, there are some sure-fire signs that somebody else has been in your personal space, which may indicate that it's time to do an even more thorough search for hidden cameras or eavesdropping devices in the area.
Let's take a look!
If you or your family have recently fallen victim to a burglary or a home invasion, it might be time to perform a deeper search for surveillance devices. If you've ever left your home in a neat and orderly fashion but came home to find some of your stuff moved around suspiciously, it might mean that somebody has been in your home while you were out.
However, just because somebody has broken into your home, it's not necessarily a guarantee of how to tell if your house is bugged. But it will make it plausible to deduce that somebody has been in your own private personal space, which means that any personal information or items you may have stored in that space at the time of the burglary could now be compromised. We strongly suggest thoroughly searching your area for signs that somebody has installed a hidden camera or an audio bug in your home if this ever happens.
Suppose you think your home or business is being repeatedly broken into. In that case, you can invest in a CCTV security camera system or launch your own sting operations with a hidden nanny camera!
TV INTERFERENCE WITH RADIO OR TV
Again, it's important to note that a wide variety of external factors can cause radio signal interference. Therefore, just because you're experiencing a bit of minor interference with your radio or TV signal, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're home has been bugged.
However, if you suddenly experience interference signals when there weren't any before. And this happens at or around the time of any other incident that may have sparked a suspicion that your home has been bugged; it's likely a good idea to perform a physical search of your home for such small wireless eavesdropping devices. We also recommend using a bug detector or a camera lens finder to help locate hidden bugs or hidden camera devices.
OTHER WARNING SIGNS
Criminals can hide hidden bugs and wireless devices virtually anywhere in your home, including inside light switches or fixtures, electrical outlets, on your phone line, in your smoke detectors, or even inside an FM radio, all of which makes them extremely hard to spot with the naked eye.
Therefore, by learning about listening bugs, wiretaps, and other hidden tracking devices, you can learn about the best places to look for these devices and the tools needed to find them.
WHAT ARE LISTENING BUGS AND WIRETAPS?
Both listening bugs and wiretaps are used to perform the collection of audio surveillance. However, both types of surveillance devices are used in different fashions.
Listening bugs are typically smaller devices planted into everyday household items to collect audio surveillance. In some cases, criminals may also use listening bugs combined with a GPS tracking device to collect audio and location-based surveillance data.
However, they are most often used as a multi-device connected via a wireless connection to another central device used to store or transmit the data externally.
Similar to listening bugs, wiretaps are used to collect audio surveillance. However, unlike listening bugs, wiretaps are devices installed directly to a phone line (landline).
Criminals can also use wiretaps to monitor a phone line's audio feed in real-time or set them up to detect audio signals and automatically start recording phone conversations when they happen, which can be stored and reviewed later.
Finding Listening Devices
Because modern surveillance devices are so small, finding listening devices in your home or place of business is easier said than done. If you suspect that your home may be bugged, we suggest starting with a basic physical scan of the premise to try and see if you can find anything that may be out of place and may indicate where a spy may hide such devices.
Suppose you suspect that your phone line may be bugged, whether landline or cell phone, you can sometimes tell that you're being recorded or listened to if your call suddenly developed strange interference noises, which weren't previously noticeable. However, because many other external factors can cause interference like this, it's not always a guaranteed way to tell if your line is bugged.
If you are still using a landline telephone, you can use a device such as the multi-functional bug detector and hidden camera finder, which has built-in anti-laser tapping and anti-wire telephone tapping technology for hard lines even with VOX communication. The other major benefit is that this bug detector also sweeps for wireless bugging devices and can even find hardwired hidden cameras or GPS trackers!
USE SEVERAL TYPES OF COUNTER SURVEILLANCE TOOLS TO HELP LOCATE ILLEGAL SURREPTITIOUS AUDIO OR VIDEO DEVICES
See Related: Tools To Find Hidden Cameras
The absolute best way to tell whether or not someone is spying on you is to use a listening device detector, also known as an RF detector or bug detector. An RF detector is a counter surveillance device that can easily detect unseen RF frequencies emitted by hidden audio recording devices or hidden cameras in your vicinity, which may be transmitting a wireless signal that someone could be using to look live from their smartphone or tablet.
When you turn these detector devices on, they'll typically give you reading via a visual or audio signal when hidden devices are in your surroundings. Note that some other wireless devices in your home may also emit RF frequencies. So you'll need to use your discretion and perform a thorough manual inspection of any areas that your RF detector may have reacted to. Another great tool is a portable hidden camera detector that helps locate illegal video cameras; these counter surveillance tools are great for traveling and staying in motels, hotels, or BnB's.
WHAT DOES A LISTENING DEVICE LOOK LIKE?
Unfortunately, wiretaps and hidden listening devices come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, which means that it can be hard to explain what a listening device might look like. That said, typically, if you find any smaller devices attached to your home's landlines or other wiring, especially if it's a device that you find suspicious or that may not have been there before, it could be a listening device.
Bugs and wiretaps are typically tiny and might be hidden inside your home phone, electrical outlets, light switches, fake plants, under the couch or bed, TV stands, and inside of vehicles, like under seats, under the dash, behind the radio console, in between the seats or in the pockets of the front seats. Therefore, if you suspect you're being spied upon, make sure to check these prime locations. FM radios and a speaker, whether wired or wireless, can also be prime locations where a spy may hide these devices. Be sure to check these spots as well.
HOW DO I DETECT A HIDDEN VIDEO CAMERA IN MY HOME?
Today, hidden wireless cameras are being built smaller than the size of your fingertip, which means that a thief or criminal can hide them virtually anywhere in your home. So, how can you find a hidden camera when you suspect that somebody might be keeping an eye on you?
TURN OFF THE LIGHTS
Many remote video devices have a camera lens that will emit an infrared signal to record footage in low-light settings. Therefore, if you turn out all the lights, you may be able to spot the infrared light being emitted by a remote device or use a portable camera detector with an LCD IR finder which allows you to scan around any room after you've turned the lights off to find suspiciously bright LED lights that you cannot see with your own eyes allowing for you quickly locate invisible infrared LED nods.
Again, you can also choose to use an RF detector or hidden camera detector, which looks just like a small handheld television, to help you detect and pinpoint the exact location of a suspected secret device.
LISTENING DEVICES REQUIRE POWER
Another critical fact to remember is that listening devices and hidden cameras require a power source to function. Therefore, to detect hidden cameras, you'll want to search any areas near your electrical outlets, light switches, or fixtures, which are prime locations to install spying devices or any other type of similar listening device. You'll also want to check along any extension cable or 12-volt power supply cables, which can also be tapped as a source of power for a remote device.
AVOID DISCLOSING SENSITIVE INFORMATION
It is a poorly trained spy that will hide eavesdropping devices in plain sight. Therefore, you can never really be too sure whether or not you're being watched, especially when you're out and about in public.
That said, sometimes, your safest bet is to adopt better security habits in your personal life, both on and offline, which can prevent you from being targeted by illegal surveillance. Do your best to avoid disclosing any sensitive information during your everyday conversations, avoid talking about your finances in public settings, and keep your devices safe and up-to-date using the latest cybersecurity and VPN software available.
Remember that once a hacker or criminal gains access to your sensitive information, such as your bank account or any other online accounts that you may link to your bank account, they can potentially take over your entire identity, giving them access to your money, credit, and anything else they can get their hands on!
Therefore, even though it's essential to learn how to find hidden devices in your home or office, it's also a good idea to adopt good digital hygiene when it comes to any sensitive personal identification information, such as your account pins and passwords, your name and address, your SIN or social security number, etc.
Another simple yet often effective method of telling if your house is bugged is to turn off any wired or wireless electronics you know of in the room. And then, stand still and listen carefully for any out-of-place noises that a remote device may be emitting. Often, hidden recording devices will make a hushed humming sound as they collect and transmit data remotely.
Therefore, by being very quiet and listening carefully, you might be able to find a hidden device in a room without using any detection technology. Suppose a remote device has a built-in hard drive or storage bank. In that case, you might also be able to hear a quiet hum or grinding noise as the machine works hard to regulate its internal temperature and process the data that it's collecting in the process. With all of your wireless turned off, it's also one of the best times to sweep with a digital RF detector, IE bug detector. You allow the bug sweeper to work more effectively since there are fewer wireless signals for the sweeper to compete with, causing fewer false-positive readings.
CELL PHONE DETECTION
Because hidden devices are wireless, they need to emit radio frequencies that sometimes interfere with your cell phone signal. Many apps for both iOS and Android claim to detect hidden devices in your vicinity. However, these devices are not always accurate and won't necessarily give you a definite answer as to whether or not your home has been bugged. However, as with searching for hidden audio bugs, you may also experience strange interference noise during a cellphone call if your phone is near a remote device that's emitting a wireless RF signal.
HOW DO I FIND A SPY DEVICE IN MY CAR?
Today, it's not uncommon for service or delivery trucks to be equipped with GPS tracking devices, which help companies keep track of their fleets. However, in the wrong hands, criminals and spies can also use similar tracking and GPS devices to invade your privacy and track your location.
If you suspect that your car, truck, van, or any other vehicle has been bugged, you'll want to use the same methods described above to scan the space for hidden electronic devices that might be keeping tabs on you.
In the end, learning about modern surveillance devices will help you know where to look. And don't forget that using a hidden camera detector or an RF signal detector is the best way to know for sure whether your home, office, place of business, or vehicle has been bugged with hidden microphones, cameras, phone line wiretaps, or any other type of illegal surreptitious surveillance devices.