Mobile phones with GPS navigator on screen.Debi called to ask that her vehicle be checked for an unauthorized GPS unit. She admits that she has been sneaking around behind Tom’s back (her boyfriend) but it was because she was planning a special birthday event for him. Tom’s best friend, Ryan, let it slip that Tom told him she was at a certain location and there was no way he could have known that. Now she suspects Tom has put a GPS unit on her car and is tracking her movements.

When someone asks about bug detection, which includes GPS units, we have to ask a lot of questions. A bug sweep is technically called Technical Surveillance Countermeasures or TSCM. And, frankly, we are discovering that more often than a hidden GPS, spy equipment is installed on a cell phone.

A GPS unit will simply reveal your location or route and spyware on your mobile phone can also do that. However, with a cell phone spy, the bad guy can also:

  • Listen in on phone conversations
  • Read text messages
  • Read email
  • Listen in on conversations within range of a phone on a table or desk

So the question is, wouldn’t a bad guy, if he wanted to keep tabs on your movements and activities, be better served with cell phone surveillance? He would get more information and the spyware is much more difficult to detect than a GPS unit.

Another alternative is that eavesdropping devices have been installed, but they are located in a certain place. If a listening device is put in the bottom of an air freshener or tissue box in a car the conversations within range could be recorded and locations could be potentially determined by the conversation. Other listening devices or cameras could be installed in household items – smoke detectors, clocks, among bric-a-brac, but those would be stationary.

When is contacted by anyone who thinks they are the subject of covert surveillance, we offer a variety of options. First, we listen to what the client is experiencing. Based on our experience in spy surveillance equipment, we offer different possible scenarios for electronic surveillance and then look for the most probable.

In Debi’s case, the covert surveillance equipment ended up being spyware on her phone, which was removed. What happened with her and Tom? Like most cases, once we find the facts and share them, it is up to our client to share what happened in the end.

If you suspect you’re being watched, talk to an investigator, don’t rush to judgment.

-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations