It might sound like a funny prank to pull on a buddy, but installing cell phone spyware is not a joke – nor is it legal - anywhere in the United States.
In fact, the Federal Wiretap Act as part of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (Title III) makes it a federal offense punishable by 5 years in a federal prison and the perpetrator could be subject to civil lawsuits as well.
If you do an Internet search on cell phone tap, spy, bug, monitor or eavesdrop, you may find hundreds of sites that sell cell phone spyware – and many of them say the equipment is legal. It may be legal in some countries of the world, but it’s not legal in the United States, which is the reason most every one of the sites you’ll find are outside America.
At the time we first discovered an incidence of cell phone spying in 2004, we found only two Internet sites selling the software and it was pretty expensive. Now we know of over 500 such sites and the cost has gone way down.
What that means is that the equipment is becoming more common – and someone might just be listening in on your calls, texts and e-mails—turning your phone into a mobile spy – without you even knowing!
No one knows how many phones are victimized and the police departments are deluged with so many requests to investigate that they can’t handle them all.
People are turning to us to complete cell phone forensics to determine if there is someone illegally monitoring their phone. We generate a detailed report and possibly, the identity of the spy. The victim can then hire an attorney and take the evidence to the U.S. Attorney General’s office that can turn it over to the FBI. In any event, the victim can file a civil lawsuit against the spy for damages – which can be huge.
-T. Wilcox, CEO, International Investigators