How to Sweep for Bugs?
Tips To Help You Sweep For Bugs Without Expensive Technology
Although we keep saying the life of a private investigator is not exactly what the movies make it out to be, especially when it comes to the technology used, bugs are real and sophisticated. The technology for electronic eavesdropping is available to buy and the prices are quite affordable, so almost anyone can acquire such devices if they plan to spy on someone. What most people don’t know is that planting bugs into someone’s house, office, hotel room, car etc. is illegal. Whether it’s a husband who wants to spy on his wife while he’s out of town or an employer who wants to know if his employee is stealing from him, there are plenty of people willing to break the law to satisfy their curiosity. Under no circumstances, a civilian, even a private investigator, can use these devices for surveillance.
Bugs can come as hidden cameras, microphones or other types of monitoring devices, and they keep getting smaller and smaller, and harder and harder to detect. However, here are some tips to help you sweep for bugs without having to invest in world-class electronic eavesdropping detection technology.
Pay attention to your surroundings
If you’re suspecting that you have bugs planted in the house or anywhere else in your surroundings, you just need to take a close look around and notice the little things. See if everything is at its place or check for new things that might have made your way into your house, office, car etc. Installing such devices requires moving objects or pieces of furniture, so keep an eye for even the slightest changes. Bugs are really small and can be glued to various objects, hidden in small holes behind paintings, or even placed in plain sight.
Another smart thing to do is to check the list of devices connected to your router. If you see something you know nothing about, you’re probably on the right path to identify the bug. However, not many bugs need to access your internet. Some come with their one hotspot or SIM card and that’s why it might help to check from strong signals around your location. Many bugs work on batteries, but this means they have a limited lifespan, so the pros prefer to use bugs with wires. It doesn’t hurt to check for new wires in your house too. They’re usually in the walls, outlets, power strips, and extension cords.
Use scanning tools
Surprisingly, the price for the equipment used to sweep a room for bugs is exorbitant for mere mortals. Usually, if someone suspects their privacy has been invaded, they contact a private investigator who has the right technology to perform technical surveillance countermeasures or, in simpler words, to sweep for bugs. However, there are a few affordable scanning tools that can perform a basic sweep. One type of scanner won’t be able to test for all types of bugs since professional bugs incorporate mechanisms meant to defeat scanners, so you’ll probably have to purchase different types of scanning tools to cover all your bases.
If you decide to purchase a radiofrequency detector, you need to turn off all your wireless devices, including routers and set-top boxes and then scan for transmitters. The scanning process is quite simple. All you have to do is move the device slowly around the space. Don’t forget to check your clothes and bags too. The tool will indicate any device that broadcasts a radio signal. The more affordable commercial bugs use a range between 8 and 10 MHz and some of them can create static or sound distortions when using a commercial radio in their proximity. A white noise machine or even an app can work to track the bug signal.
If you suspect you’re also being watched, it’s a good idea to check for night-vision cameras too. You can use infrared scanners or IR and visible light emitters which are more affordable. Even a flashlight will do the job if you want to scan for reflections of camera lenses. There also are cool apps, like Glint Finder for Android and Spy Hidden Camera Detector for iOS that can help you with this.
Call the experts
For more advanced checks, you’ll probably need the help of private investigators who have the possibility to invest in advanced detection technology that can cost even $20,000. Since bug sweeps need to be conducted periodically, they also have at their disposal spectrum analyzers that create a baseline with various readings. This allows them to detect anomalies and watch for changes.
However, before investing money in acquiring scanning tools or hiring a private investigator, you need to make sure the security threat is real. Most of the times, it isn’t. And check first in the usual spots you know from your favorite detective shows: plants, paintings, clocks, fans, headboards, tables etc.