Your personal privacy isn’t as protected as you’d like to believe. As technology continues to improve, it’s easier than ever for someone to listen in on your private conversations. Audio bugs, GPS devices, and hidden cameras. Your computer, cell phone, and tablet also aren’t immune to spying. As TCSM experts, we’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions for individuals and businesses. If you need more information or if you want to schedule a professional sweep for your home or business, contact Spy Catchers LLC now at 1 (800) 373-8726.
Why would someone want to spy on me?
Even if you’re not living your life in the public eye, you’re not immune to being spied on. In fact, eavesdropping, hidden cameras, GPS devices, keyloggers, and other spying devices are commonly used on regular people and business owners. Common reasons someone may be spying on you include:
- You’re involved in a lawsuit of some kind. It could be divorce, child custody, a civil lawsuit (such as a personal injury lawsuit), or worker’s compensation. Of course, those aren’t the only lawsuits that you may be involved in that could cause someone to try and spy on you. Those are just the most common ones.
- You’re involved in intimate personal violence. Also known as domestic violence, the inexpensive nature of these devices could be making you unsafe.
- You have a jealous significant other.
- You’re being stalked by someone you know.
- Your landlord is illegally monitoring you.
- You’re being stalked or targeted by someone you don’t know.
- You own a business and someone is trying to copy your business processes or sabotage your success.
Is it legal for someone to record my conversations?
By “someone,” we’re going to assume you don’t mean a law enforcement official who has a warrant. Whether it is legal for someone to record your conversations depends on state law and who is involved in the conversation. States are classified (generally) as either one-party consent or two-party consent states.
In a one-party consent state, there are two (or more) people involved in a conversation. At least one person involved in the conversation gives permission for it to be recorded. This person does NOT need to inform anyone else that the conversation is being recorded. A two-party consent state means that both parties (or everyone involved in the conversation) must consent to the conversation being recorded.
What are the signs that someone is listening to my conversations?
- Bizarre sounds come from your telephone lines: Unless you know that there’s problem in your area affecting your cell phone, landline, or VOIP provider, you know the regular sounds that exist when you receive calls. Often, audio bugs and software creates an obvious change in quality. You could notice clicks or unusual interference. If you use a cell phone, you may see your screen light up at odd times or you may notice that your battery drains faster than usual.
- You notice business competitors picking up on your business practices: As a business owner, you know that there are competitors in your space. One key warning sign that your phones are bugged is that your competitors suddenly starting getting proposals you would normally win or when you notice that your competitors are using your specific business methodologies.
- Your house is ransacked. Things may or may not be missing.
A ransacked house may or may not result in things that are missing. It’s easy to discount something like this to a burglary. After all, even homes with alarms can still be targeted by some brazen thief. Yet, this could be a sign that someone has been spying on you. If you’re involved in a court case or an unpleasant relationship that you’re trying to end, you may find that key evidence you’ve been holding on to goes missing. The house is in shambles largely because the perpetrator wants to confuse you and make it look like a burglary. If you’ve talked to anyone about the fact that you believe there’s an audio bug, hidden camera or GPS device, someone may break in to remove the device before it can be found. Again, though, they items may be tossed around or stolen simply to make it appear as if someone broke into your home or business.
- You notice strange interference on your radio.
Even if you don’t listen to the radio, you can use one to help detect inexpensive audio bugs. They can cause interference with radio waves because most of those devices use those frequencies. You can use a radio and move it around the room to determine whether the room could be bugged. Listen for high-pitched squeals that you generally don’t hear. If you notice it, then you could be close to the audio bug. Contact Spy Catchers LLC for a professional sweep. This can help you remove the bug and preserve it for law enforcement.
Who is most likely to spy on your business?
Businesses are not immune to audio bugs, hidden cameras, GPS devices, keyloggers, or software that records everything you say or do while you’re involved in a webinar or other web-based meeting. The most likely spies when it comes to business are:
- Disgruntled former employees.
- Current employees who want to strike out on their own, who are upset with you, or who are being paid by competitors to gather information.
- Dishonest competitors who want to sabotage your success or adopt your business secrets as their own.
Where can audio bugs, GPS devices, and cameras be hidden?
The short answer is wherever you’re not likely to notice. There are some pretty scary stories out there about old cell phones being wired to a car battery and being hidden where the driver can’t find it so that the device can be used as an inexpensive GPS device. We’ve all watched the movies that portray ink pens and fake books as hidden cameras or audio devices. Those devices do exist. They’re available for public purchase. And they’re not hard to set up. Here are the four most common environment where you may find one of these devices:
- Your immediate environment: This could be your business office, a conference room, the offices of key employees, or anywhere in the business environment where sensitive information may be discussed in some way. Remember that it doesn’t have to be discussed out loud. Keyloggers and other electronic surveillance devices and apps exist. The living room, the kitchen, and bedrooms are the most common areas where spy devices are placed. They could be placed in the ceiling, under furniture, inside of ripped cushions, inside of potted plants, inside of vases, inside of books, behind framed art, and in other strategic places where it is likely to go unnoticed. In cars, GPS devices may be found inside or outside of the vehicle. This includes under the front or back fender, under the dashboard, inside of the middle console, inside of the glove box, and under the hood. Super creative individuals may attempt to hide them inside of the headrest, in between the seats, under the seats, or in other places where most drivers don’t check for such devices.
- Your cell phone: Eavesdropping or wiretapping isn’t just something that happens on landlines. It can happen on cell phones, too. There are apps that can be hidden on your cell phone that you won’t notice. They could allow someone to listen in on your conversation, read your text messages, and see what you’re doing online.
- In offices, conference rooms, and bedrooms: These devices are so small that they can be hidden in a pin hole, crack in the wall, inside of an electrical outlet, and in other spaces you may not think about. There may or may not be wires that discloses the location of the device. Many of these devices are wireless and allow online access to the content or a live feed of your environment.
What are the signs of a hidden device?
The signs of a hidden device used for spying depends on the type of device. So, let’s talk about some of the signs you may see that indicate that a device may be hidden in your home or business.
- You notice some dust or debris on the floor or on top of your furniture (including tables, chairs, and desks) that seems to be more dust than usual for the location.
- You notice a broken ceiling tile or a ceiling tiles that’s been moved.
- A “maintenance worker” wants access to certain areas at your home or business on a regular basis. They could be checking on the equipment.
- If you won a business, you may notice more foot traffic in an area that is generally considered unauthorized for most people.
- There is a discernable difference in your phone call quality (it doesn’t matter if it’s a landline, VOIP, or cell phone).
- The battery for your cell phone seems to drain faster than usual. Your phone may also seem hot for no reason.
- You get weird texts that may seem like a random string of letters and numbers.
- Wall plates (such as electrical outlets or phone jacks) that were once straight are now crooked.
- There are new decorative items that you know you didn’t ask for or that you didn’t buy. This could even include items that may seem functional, such as a new desk calculator.
If you notice any signs or if you think someone is using a hidden audio device, hidden cameras, or GPS to spy on you, reach out to Spy Catchers LLC right away to schedule your professional bug sweep for your home or office. We want to help you restore your peace of mind.
What happens during a professional bug sweep?
When you schedule an appointment to have a professional TCSM sweeper to look for hidden devices in your home or office, they will:
- Use their expertise to determine the likelihood of whether you’re being spied on
- Use their expertise, education, and professional devices to locate any hidden audio bugs, cameras, or GPS devices. They can also determine whether it’s likely your cell phone, computer, or tablet is being monitored.
- Remove any bug that is found in a way that helps preserve it so that law enforcement or your attorney may advise you on the next steps.
What should I do if I think I’m being spied on?
If you think you’re being spied on, don’t tell anyone. We know that seems a little backwards since you want to get rid of the potential device. However, you don’t know for sure who may have planted it. So, talking about it or its potential existence is a no-no. Even if the person you told wasn’t the person who placed the device, you also don’t know how many potential devices exist. So, talking about it could alert the person who placed it that you know it’s there. They may attempt to retrieve the device before its found.
Don’t change your routine too much. Some variation is normal every once in a while. Yet, totally changing your routine can also act as a red flag that you know about the device. The person who hid it may try to remove it before it can be found.
If you do find a device, don’t try to remove it on your own. We understand why you want it gone. However, these devices can be extremely sensitive. If you attempt to remove it on your own, you could damage it. Damaging it could mean that you never know for sure how it was used or who was using it against you.
Call Spy Catchers LLC. We can help find any hidden device in your home, business, or car. If you’ve already found the device, we can help you remove the device in a way that preserves it so that you can contact your lawyer or law enforcement to learn about your potential legal rights.
Are hidden GPS devices, audio bugs, and hidden cameras legal if I’m involved in child custody and / or divorce?
It depends. If you’re involved in a child custody dispute or divorce, talk to a lawyer to know what the laws are in your state. In some states, it is legal to place a hidden camera in a home with your name on it provided that it doesn’t record audio or it isn’t placed in an area where someone could expect a certain amount of privacy. Whether it’s legal to place a GPS device depends on state law and whether your name is on the vehicle. Talk to an attorney to know what you may or may not do because it could affect whether you win or lose your case.