If you suspect that your phone or cellphone is being tapped, there are a few clues to look for that will confirm your suspicions. Many of these clues can also come from other sources, so look for multiple clues rather than just one thing. Once you have enough evidence, you can go to the appropriate authorities and ask for help. You can pay attention to this if you suspect that someone has installed a listening device in your phone.
Part 1 of 5: The first suspicion
Step 1. It's worrying when your secrets get out
If certain private information that only a select few people know about suddenly becomes public, the leak may be caused by a phone tap, especially if you recently discussed that specific information over the phone.
- This is especially important if you hold a certain position that makes you a prime target for spying. For example, if you have a top job at a powerful, innovative company, you run the risk of becoming a victim of an underworld that trades in information.
- On the other hand, it could also be that your phone is tapped because you are in a divorce dispute. Your near-ex may try to tap your phone to find out information that will be useful during the divorce proceedings.
- If you want to test this, you can do so by passing false information over the phone to someone you trust. If this comes out, then you know someone has been listening in on you.
Step 2. Be very alert if you have recently been the victim of a break-in
If your home was recently broken into but nothing of real value was taken, that alone is enough to suggest that something strange is going on. Sometimes this is an indication that someone has broken in just to install listening devices.
Part 2 of 5: Directions to any phone
Step 1. Listen for background noises
If you hear a lot of noise or some other form of background noise when you talk to other people on the phone, there's a chance that the noise is coming from the interference caused by a tap.
- This in itself is not the most reliable indication, as an echo, noise or clicking noises can also be caused by random interference or a bad connection.
- Noise, scratches and popping sounds can be caused by capacitors that discharge when connected together.
- A high-pitched whistle is an even better indication.
- You can also check for sounds that your ears can't hear by using a radio sensor that is set to a certain low frequency. If the indicator flashes several times per minute, your phone may be tapped.
Step 2. Use your phone near other electrical appliances
If you suspect your phone is being tapped, walk to a radio or television when you're on a call. Even if there's no audible interference in the phone, if you're standing right next to another electrical device, there's a good chance that you'll hear a noise.
- Also watch out for malfunctions when you're not using the phone. An active wireless phone signal can interfere with data transfer even without additional software or hardware on your phone, but an inactive signal cannot.
- Some bugs and taps use frequencies that are close to the FM radio band, so if your radio is distorting when you listen to it in mono and you have the radio set to the far end of the band, you may be affected by the aforementioned devices.
- Likewise, a tap can disrupt TV frequencies from the UHF channel. Use a TV with an antenna to check the room for interference.
Step 3. Listen to your phone when you are not using it
Your phone should be silent when not in use. If you hear beeps, clicks, or other sounds coming from your phone, you may have listening devices or software installed on it.
- Pay special attention to whether you hear a pulsating, constant noise.
- If so, it could mean that the microphone and speaker are active even when the phone is not in use, through a hookswitch bypass. Every conversation you have can then be monitored up to 6 m from the telephone.
- If it is a landline and you hear a dial tone when the receiver is on-hook, this can also be an indication of a tap. Use an amplifier to confirm this sound is there.
Part 3 of 5: Directions for a mobile tap
Step 1. Pay attention to the temperature of the battery
If your phone gets unusually warm when it's not in use and you don't know any other reason why, it could be software running in the background that is constantly using your battery.
Of course, an overheated battery can simply mean that it's being asked too much. This is especially true if your mobile is older than a year, as batteries tend to deteriorate over time
Step 2. Pay attention to how often you have to charge the battery
If your phone's battery suddenly runs out and you have to charge it twice as often as usual, it could be that the battery is dying because of the power-hungry software running constantly in the background.
- Also check how often you use the mobile. If you've been using it a lot lately, you probably need to keep charging the battery. This check only works if you barely touch the mobile, or if you haven't used it more than usual.
- You can check your battery life with an app like BatteryLife LX or Battery LED.
- Also know that a battery does not charge as well over time. If your mobile or smartphone is older than a year, it could simply be an old, frequently used battery.
Step 3. Try to turn off your mobile
If the shutdown is slow or unsuccessful, this could be an indication that someone else has taken control of your phone through a tap.
- Pay close attention to whether your mobile takes longer than usual to shut down or whether the backlight stays on even after shutting down.
- While this could be a sign that your phone is being tapped, it could also simply be a problem with your phone's hardware or software and nothing to do with a tap.
Step 4. Watch for random activity
If your phone lights up, shuts down, boots up, or starts installing an app without you doing anything, someone may be trying to hack into your phone and take it over with a tap.
On the other hand, any of these phenomena can occur due to a random failure during data transmission
Step 5. Also pay attention to if you get any unusual text messages
If you recently received a text message containing seemingly random strings of characters from an unknown source, this is a red flag indicating that an amateur is trying to tap your phone.
Some programs use an SMS to send commands to a mobile. If these programs are installed carelessly, messages like this can appear
Step 6. Also pay close attention to your phone bill
If you have suddenly started to use a lot more data and you know that this is not because of your consumption, then it may be that someone else is using your data via a tap.
Many spying programs send logs of your phone data to online servers and use your calling minutes to do so. Older programs used huge amounts of data, making them easier to track down, but newer programs don't, making them easier to hide
Part 4 of 5: Signs that your landline is being tapped
Step 1. Check your environment
If you suspect that your landline is being tapped, check carefully to see if there is anything strange going on in the area. If things are out of place, such as a couch or desk, don't immediately dismiss this as an attack of paranoia. It could be an indication that someone has been snooping around your house.
- Someone who installs listening devices in your home may move furniture to get to the wiring or telephone lines, so this is something to watch out for.
- Pay particular attention to the wall plate. If it appears that the wall plates around your phone or elsewhere in the house have moved or shifted, they may have been tampered with.
Step 2. Examine the phone box Outside
You may not know what a telephone box looks like inside, but even if you have only a vague idea, you should look. If the cabinet looks like it has been tampered with, or if the contents are compromised, someone may have installed listening devices.
- If you see hardware that appears to have been installed in a hurry, even if you don't know what it is, consider having someone check it.
- Take a good look at the "not to touch" part of the closet. This side needs a special Allen wrench to open, and if it looks like it's been tampered with, you've got a problem.
Step 3. Pay special attention to the number of unknown cars near your house
Count the number of company cars you see. If there are unknown trucks or cars in the vicinity of your house, it may be a listening post, intended for maintenance and monitoring of the tap.
- This is especially a clue when it comes to blinded cars and vans, where no one gets out.
- In general, people eavesdropping on your landline will be approximately 150 to 213 m from your home. The cars often have tinted glass.
Step 4. Be suspicious of mysterious repairmen
If someone comes along who claims to be a repairman for the phone company, but you've never called about this yourself, it could be a trap. Do not let him/her in and call your telephone company (or the company the so-called repairman would work for) to confirm the repairman's identity.
- If you call the company, use the phone number known to you or in the phone book. Do not rely on the phone number given to you by the mysterious repairman.
- Even if you get a confirmation, don't lose sight of the repairman while he is at it.
Part 5 of 5: Getting your suspicions confirmed
Step 1. Use a wiretap/tap detector
A tap detector is a device that you can connect to your phone. As the name suggests, it can recognize incoming signals and taps, so now you know for sure that you are being tapped.
The usability of these devices is not always certain, but it is in any case necessary that they can recognize electrical or signal changes over a telephone line. Look for a device that can measure impedance and capacitance, in addition to changes in high signal frequencies
Step 2. Install an app
There are apps for smartphones that you can install to detect taps by watching for tapping signals and unauthorized access to the data on your phone.
- There is disagreement about the effectiveness of these apps, so you do not get conclusive proof with this either. Some of these apps are only suitable for discovering bugs posted by other apps.
- Apps that claim to detect bugs include SpyWarn™ (patent pending) and Reveal: Anti SMS Spy.
Step 3. Ask your phone provider for help
If you have good reason to believe that you are being bugged, you can ask the telephone company to check with specialized equipment.
- A standard landline analysis performed by the telephone company is sufficient to discover most illegal wiretaps, wiretapping devices, low frequency devices and telephone line splicing.
- Note that if you've asked the phone company to check for wiretaps and bugs, but the company refuses to do so or does the test very casually, there's a chance it's a government request.
Step 4. Go to the police
If you have strong indications that your phone is actually being tapped, you can always ask the police to check this. In addition, they are of course the appropriate authority to help identify and arrest the person responsible.