Signs to Look for if Your Home Is Electronically Bugged

By Gerald Elliott
A telephone may develop problems because of electronic bugging.

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It's distressing to think that your home may be electronically bugged. A bugging device allows eavesdroppers to know intimate details about your life. To put your mind at ease, you can check your house or apartment for signs of electronic eavesdropping. This will help determine whether your home is actually bugged.

Burglary or Theft

One of the signs that an electronic bugging device has been installed in your home is a theft or burglary in which nothing was taken. Check whether the eavesdroppers disturbed any furniture or left behind any drywall dust or other debris from their work. Window locks may have been disturbed or have unusual marks on them.


Your phone may develop a pop, crackle, static or scratching noise when you use it. The cause is from two conductors being wired together, which creates an electric discharge in your phone's handset. Noises may come from your phone when it's on the hook, including a dial tone.


Your radio may develop interference that can't be corrected by moving the antenna. Many bugging devices use frequencies that can interfere with radio reception. When a radio comes close to a listening device, a high-pitched sound comes from the speakers.


Your television may develop sudden, unexplained interference problems. A TV antenna attracts radio frequencies (RF), which electronic bugging devices use. You may notice a line or white spots on the TV screen. Such interference occurs primarily with a television that's connected to an external antenna. However, high-frequency bugging devices can cause the same symptoms with cable TV.


A small hole may be drilled in a smoke detector for a microphone.

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You may notice a small hole has appeared in a smoke detector, clock or lamp. Many electronic bugging devices require eavesdroppers to drill a tiny hole in such an item. This improves the reception of the microphone they have installed inside it.

About the Author

Gerald Elliott published his first article in 1980 in the "Stanford Daily" newspaper. Since 1988, Elliott has written and edited articles for the "Los Angeles Times," the "San Diego Union Tribune" and Ingenuity Design Solutions. Elliott received his Bachelor of Arts with a major in literature in 1970 from Stanford University.

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