How to Detect Hidden Cameras and Listening Devices

Feeling bugged? Experiencing sleepless nights because you feel like you’re being spied on? There are many reasons why you would feel these sneaking suspicions, and if you’re facing security threats, the paranoia is normal. In cases like these, you have to trust your gut. Don’t hire a private investigator right away. The first thing you can do is search for hidden cameras or listening devices in your personal space – at home, in your office, in your car, and any other places you frequent. Hidden cameras and listening devices are diminutive and inconspicuous devices, so they are not easily visible to your untrained eyes, but there’s no reason to distress. You don’t have to be a detective to sweep for these devices, and there are quite a several things you can do.

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Bare Searching

You need to start training your eyes to scrutinize every part and every object in the location where you feel these minuscule devices have been planted on. Everything would depend on your eyes, ears, and memory. You don’t need any special tool; a flashlight would be enough.

Let’s say you’re feeling bugged at home. These devices are extremely unnoticeable, even more so that they’re hidden. Scrupulously examine if any of the furniture and any object is out of place. Also, check if there’s anything new, like a decorative object, that you didn’t place there before. Use your flashlight to inspect all the items in the room like the paintings on your walls, photo frames, wall clocks, and your appliances like television and sound systems. Scan your walls, ceilings, and floors for drill holes and paint patches. If you have a floor carpet, turn it over and inspect if listening devices have been planted underneath or in the carpet itself.

Most hidden cameras and listening devices require an internet connection, and they could make use of your own network. That being said, check for the devices connected to your wireless network. If you find any device connected suspiciously, it would be wise to block it. Also, check if there’s any additional device connected to your router. Furthermore, some devices would use their network. Use your mobile phone or laptop to look for any unfamiliar wireless network with a strong signal, possibly the bug’s own network.

Most hidden devices also rely on a power source rather than batteries since they don’t last very long. Check all your power outlets if there’s any new device connected and check for new cords, wires, and USB cables.

If your hearing is sharp, you can listen around for noises that could point you to the bugs. Wait when everything is quiet, turn off all your appliances, and listen for any unusual noise like a buzzing sound or a beep. Follow the source of the sound, and again, scrutinize!

Bug Detectors

If you don’t fully trust your eyes and ears, you can invest in scanning tools to detect bugs effectively. Below are the common devices used to sweep for bugs.

RF (Radio Frequency) Detectors

Hidden cameras and listening devices transmit signals, so you need RF Detectors to detect transmitters. They can also detect GPS tracking devices. RF Detectors are easy to use; just hold the device and slowly scan the suspected area. The device would emit a sound that gets louder as you get closer to where the transmitter is. There are also RF Detectors that would show a graph instead of emitting a sound. Higher-end RF Detectors have higher price tags but can detect frequencies from 10Hz up to 24GHz. An RF Detector’s price normally ranges from $10 to $200.

Non-Linear Junction Detector (NLJD)

If you want a more advanced device to detect bugs, you can use an NLJD which detects electronics devices containing semiconductors regardless of whether the device is on or off. Don’t be alarmed right away if the NLJD detects something because nails, especially rusty ones, can trigger false alerts. Carefully examine the area once the device detects something to make sure it’s not a false positive.

Infrared (IR) Scanners

IR Scanners are reliable tools that detect hidden cameras, including the night-vision type. These devices usually cost $100-$300. If you don’t have one on hand, you can make use of your flashlight as an alternative. Hidden cameras reflect light back so your unpresuming flashlight can effectively detect them.

These devices can more accurately detect bugs, but one round of scanning isn’t enough. Regularly scan the room or any other place you’re feeling bugged to ensure your safety.

Mobile Phones

If you don’t have any of the aforementioned devices, your handy mobile phone can help you in your search for hidden devices. You can download bug detector apps available for Android and iOS. Popular apps are Hidden Spy Camera Detector, Radarbot, Detectify, and Glint Finder. Some of these apps are free, but some come with a price.

Aside from phone apps, there’s another way that mobile phones can help you in your search. Turn off all the appliances and ask someone to call you. Leave the line open while you walk around the suspected area. Listen for electric interference like snaps, buzzes, or cracks, which indicate that there are hidden devices looming around.

Hire a Professional

If you can’t find anything in your searches, but something’s still bugging you, it’s best to hire a professional for your own peace of mind. They’re more tuned into detecting these stealthily hidden devices. Additionally, they have the best tools and techniques to detect the bugs.

Being under someone’s watch can cause a big discomfort, especially if you are not sure who someone is. Spies normally use hidden cameras and listening devices; they’re small and unnoticeable. Detecting these devices is time-consuming and would definitely test your patience. If you have keen attention to detail, you can use your eyes and ears to scavenge for these devices. Otherwise, you can use various bug detectors or your mobile phones for a more accurate search. There are also professionals that you can call for help if you feel that there are still hidden bugs after thoroughly searching on your own.