Hidden bug recorders and other surveillance devices are not something the average person worries about. Without surveillance detection equipment, searching for tiny bugs or recording devices relies on one of two factors: observation or sudden issues suddenly becoming noticeable. Surveillance equipment is available online or through electronics and spy shops. This means that the possibility of bug recorders being placed in your home or office is real and the potential for such bugs would depend on personal and professional factors that paint you as a target for espionage or surveillance.
One possible cause for concern regarding bug recorders could be a sudden, random break-in of a home or office during which nothing was stolen. The location may look burglarized from documents and items thrown about, but once cleaned up you will wonder what the motivation for the break-in was. If nothing was taken there is a possibility that the motivation for the break-in was simply to provide access to the space in order to plant bug recorders and the mess the culprit left behind simply a distraction from the true motivation.
Gifts that seem extremely "out of the blue" from someone who is not a close friend, family member or other loved one, should be considered suspicious. Items such as CD players, radios, clocks or other table-top electronics, as well as decorative items that are likely to be placed in key rooms may have strategically integrated recording devices built or placed inside. The safest option is to simply refuse the gift or discard it immediately. Alternatively, careful inspection of the gift would help uncover any bug recording devices that are visible. If the item is non-electronic, you may submerge it in water and hope that any recording devices inside are short-circuited, while electronic devices should be thoroughly inspected.
New Items in a Room
Anything new that appears suddenly in a room, home or office should be inspected. Common items to watch for are a new clock on the wall or desk, lamps, radios or CD players, though ultimately anything that just "appears" should be questioned.
If in a home, when away from the home ask family members if they know where the new item came from; if in an office, ask the office manager and others from work if they noticed the new item or saw who placed it there. It's best to conduct inquiries away from the item or location, if possible, to avoid alerting anyone who may be listening in.
Interference or Odd Sounds
Occasionally, bug recorders will interfere with television or radio signals in the area. If a radio is used at work or in a home office, for example, and always kept on the same station then it should be considered odd to turn on the radio and have the station fuzzy.
Likewise, the occurrence of new, random humming, clicking or other odd sounds when on the phone, as well as volume fluctuations or other occurrences may indicate the presence of a nearby bug recorder. Inspect the phones and cell phones, taking them apart as needed to inspect inside for bugs. It should be noted that if a bug is found but it seems painfully obvious, it is possibly a decoy to distract you from the real listening device.
- International Spy Shop: Warning Signs That You Have Been Bugged
- "Ultimate Spy"; H. Keith Melton; 2009
- Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images Stockbyte/Valueline/Getty Images
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