Cell Phone Tapping, Bug Sweeps, Electronic Surveillance


We expect that the majority of people reading this page feel they have a possible reason to be concerned about a phone tap, listening device or hidden video camera. By reading this page before calling anyone, you are taking the right approach. This is an opportunity to become educated about what to do next without vocalizing your suspicions in a way which might be overheard. This page is intended to answer many of your questions before you make the effort of contacting an Technical Surveillance Countermeasures specialist from a secure location.

As expert design and installation professionals, we are familiar with every type of hidden surveillance camera or phone tap and bugging system available, and we know what to look for when retained to conduct technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM), or video and audio ‘bug sweeps’. We are, therefore, in a position to advise you that your concerns are potentially valid if you have noticed any of the following indications.

Technical Indications
  • During telephone conversations, there are audible popping, scratching, or unusual noises present which indicate the presence of a wire, or phone tap. Static or volume changes likewise can be indications of capacity discharge caused by the amateur installation of a phone tap.
  • The telephone handset emits unusual sounds while still on the hook. This can be the result of a ‘switch hook bypass’, which allows the telephone to become a microphone. This is not actually a phone tap — it is a bug which permits eavesdropping to within 25 or 30 feet of the telephone, and is easily found during the sweep if the right equipment is used.
  • The telephone rings but no one is there. However, there is a brief beeping or high-pitched squealing. This can be an indication of an ‘infinity transmitter’ or ‘harmonica bug’, which is also easily detected during a sweep.
  • With the television turned on but the volume turned off, there is a slight herringbone pattern visible on the screen whenever conversation takes place in the room. This could be a strong indication that there is an eavesdropping transmitter hidden in that room, which is, again, easily found during a properly-conducted detection sweep.
  • WARNING!!!! Cell phones can be used as bugs or can be bugged. We have identified multiple foreign suppliers: Israel, Russia, Taiwan, Brazil, India, China, etc., who market ordinary home/office furnishings which conceal cellphone bugs. Example: lamps, electric clocks, clock radios, shreaders, computer monitors, electric pencil sharpners, etc., almost anything that has an electrical cord. These devices can be called from any phone in the world and the perpetrator can eavesdrop on your private conversations. This is absolutely illegal in the US and most other civilized nations. These devices can be ordered overseas and 99% slip past our Customs. This is a huge threat because the vast majority of “bug detectors” can’t find them, especially when they are “asleep”. Even when they are active, you can’t differentiate it from other normal cellphone signals. It requires a highly professional TSCM sweep team to find them.
Circumstantial Indications
  • It appears that others know your activities when they should not.
  • Adversaries appear to know your proprietary information or confidential corporate strategies.
  • Items unexplainably appear in your home or office, such as a lamp, clock, pencil sharpener, radio, picture, or VCR.
  • You have recently been burglarized, but very little of value was stolen.
  • There has been a change of appearance in the ceiling, or dust has unexplainably fallen from the tiles of a dropped ceiling.
  • Objects have been moved or desk drawers are out of order when you return to your home or office.
  • Power adaptors or DC transformers are plugged into electrical outlets, but their cables seem to vanish inside walls or furniture.
What do I Need To Do If I Notice Some of the Indications of a Transmitter, Phone Tap or Cell Phone Tapping?
  • Most importantly, speak to no one about your concerns before you are sure you are in a secure location, and are using a secure telephone.
  • Be sure you can trust who you speak to.
  • Do not confront anyone you might suspect of being involved.
  • Research your options, and contact a qualified specialist.
  • If you see a suspected bug, phone tap or transmitter, do not touch or disturb it. This may be your only evidence indicating guilt.

It is important to understand that a cell phone is never secure from tapping, nor can it be because it operates using radio waves which are easily intercepted with a radio receiver. By simply acquiring the right decryption software, anyone can accomplish cell phone tapping in a non-invasive manner. The only trick for this type of tapping is to know which decryption software to utilize, and from where the target cell phone will be transmitting and receiving. Within the lay population, the concept of bugging and the term ‘cell phone tapping’ have become confused. When a properly-equipped cell phone is disguised and placed for the purpose of eavesdropping, it is ‘bugging’ the room and transmitting via RF waves, not ‘tapping’ into a wire. It is essentially a microphone and transmitter. When activated, a cell phone bug is easily detectible during a sweep.

What Can I Expect From a ‘Bug Sweep’, or TSCM Services Specialist?

Bug Sweeps are something commissioned by people who have serious concerns, and it is often offered by investigators with questionable skills or equipment. You will want to be selective and informed before you retain a “specialist” armed with only a few primitive tools. The technology available for phone taps, bugs and video surveillance is evolving on a daily basis, and the methods for detection of eavesdropping devices and hidden cameras likewise evolves. is dedicated to providing the most technologically recent services by utilizing the latest equipment and training available.

When inquiring with TSCM specialists, be wary of anyone who quotes fees from a generic price list without asking many questions; there are many variables to be considered when determining cost for an effective bug sweep. With over 50 years of experience conducting TSCM sweeps, knows what must be considered when estimating time and cost.

What is Involved in a Bug Sweep?

Whether performing the sweep in a home, office or industrial facility, TSCM sweeps efforts are focused on the same critical issues – only the actual systems may vary. A full-scale countermeasures or bug sweep consists of both a physical inspection and electronic inspection in order to detect devices connected to, or transmitting in/from:

  • Telephone lines
  • Electrical lines
  • Cable lines
  • Data systems
  • Phone system
  • Airwaves
  • Walls, ceilings, furniture, conduits, ventilation, floors, equipment, appliances, fixtures, etc.
Electronic Inspection
  • Thermal imaging to locate devices emitting heat within walls or objects
  • Radar and fiber optic video viewers for internal examination of walls and other inaccessible areas
  • Radio wave analysis
  • Ultrasonic tracing of cable lines
  • Non-linear junction detection of walls or objects for identification of electronic components
  • AC carrier current analysis
  • Cable and fiber optic time domain reflectometry
Physical Inspection

A visual examination checks for bugs, transmitters, or evidence of tampering and damage to the following items:

  • Walls
  • Switches
  • Furniture
  • Ceilings
  • Doorways
  • Access controls
  • Shredders
  • Outlets
  • Decorations
  • Fixtures

Listed below is a brief list of some of the more advanced equipment and techniques used during a countermeasures bug sweep by A variety of other equipment is not listed as it is fairly commonplace, but necessary for detecting video surveillance, a phone tap or bug. While some of these devices might duplicate the operations of other devices, we intend for this overlap or redundancy to increase chances for eavesdropping detection and the level of security provided to our clients. You may click here to see photos of this equipment.

Talan DPA 7000  – telephone and line analyzer.

Time, domain, and frequency domain reflectometer – traces fiber optics, cables and other wires up to 65,000 feet in distance to locate points of interception where an eavesdropping device might be installed.

Orion NJE 4000 non-linear junction detector with DTK toolkit – used to reveal integrated circuits hidden within objects.

CPM-700 – detection of near field RF, VLF, full light spectrum, and anomalies in AC carrier current.

Zapchecker #ABC120 – 1 to 12 GHz microwave field strength detector.

Ultrasonic cable tracing – silently locates and isolates single wires.

Flir High Sensitivity Thermal Imager

Oscar 5000 E Omni Spectral Corelator – with a MTU 2100 to 21 GHz microwave down converter.

Many of our clients have ongoing sensitive reasons to maintain protection against eavesdropping by conducting periodic detections or ‘bug sweeps’. Corporate clients frequently desire to have their premises swept prior to a significant event or meeting not only to neutralize any current eavesdropping activity, but also establish a baseline of normal RF activity. Then during the critical event, monitoring takes place and the baseline is juxtaposed with current RF activity. This is especially worthwhile for detecting any cell phone bugging (or ‘tapping’ as it is commonly called) which might occur.

To meet Martin Wiley and Dan Smith of our TSCM services team, click here

Click here to review the MOST RECENT national index of state recording statutes and laws regarding video and audio recordings.

The following is a list of articles appearing in the REI TSCM Newletter.


The 33TV
Source: www.the33tv.com


The Register
Source: www.theregister.co.uk


Source: www.globeandmail.com


Forbes Magazine
Source: www.forbes.com


The New Scientist
Source: www.newscientist.com


Source: www.wbir.com


Financial Post
Source: www.financialpost.com


Security Management Magazine
Source: www.securitymanagement.com


The Telegraph
Source: www.telegraph.co

When this newest version of ‘ website was launched at the end of last year, it was amazing how many colleagues and competitors contacted the office to question whether or not the TSCM equipment displayed was actually owned by the company. Being quite familiar with this top-line equipment, many of these individuals seemed either doubtful, or determined to deny its actual possession by the company. As a result, we have elected to ‘lay it all out’ for posting on the website — without any glamour. This state-of-the-art, premium TSCM equipment is actually owned, possessed and utilized by the fully-trained TSCM experts employed by . Visit the website.

Any other proof required?

Click on the thumbnails below to view some of the equipment used by our TSCM professionals during a sweep.

TSCM Equipment RoomTSCM Equipment RoomTSCM Equipment RoomOSCOR RF Spectrum Analyze 216hz (OSC5000)OSCOR RF Spectrum Down Converter (MDC2100)
ORION Non Linear Junction Detector (NJE4000)TALAN Telephone and line analyzer (DPA 7000)Time Domain Reflectometers (L) (MA-100 Line Amplifiers) (R)