In the last decade, bug sweeps are now one of our most requested services. With the rise in technology becoming more affordable, compact, and adaptable, it is more accessible for those with nefarious intent to eavesdrop on a victim to steal valuable intelligence. A victim of being bugged could be blackmailed by the suspect or have their information sold to a competitor.
Common reasons a client is susceptible to being bugged include:
- Involved in a lawsuit
- About to or have downsized
- In a competitive industry that relies on insider knowledge (marketing, fashion, automotive, product development, medical, technology, advertising, etc.)
- Is involved in government affairs or politics
Personal affairs: Is filing or in the middle of a divorce
- Involved in a custody battle (it is common for the children to have devices hidden in their things or during visits)
- In the process of getting married
- Filed an insurance claim
- Is or previously was in a position of power or influence, in business or politics
- Is a minister or religious leader
- Suspects the person eavesdropping is someone close to them who work in law enforcement, security, or the judicial system.
While you should always conduct due diligence beyond the face value of what a client tells you, if a client doesn’t disclose any of these warning signs and are not a high-risk client, there is a very high chance they are not being tracked or eavesdropped through devices.
However, when you do an intake with your client, if they note any of the warning signs below, it is advised to gather more information and move forward with a bug sweep or TCSM inspection:
People have found out about personal matters or confidential business secrets, or just seem to know too much about their activities.
This is the most telling sign that they may have been bugged: The client has noticed people they have never disclosed to know about their personal and business affairs. If it is a business, there are signs that a competitor or vendor has obtained the business’s internal information.
In the Home and Office
Evidence of a break-in, but nothing was stolen
Even if there is no overt evidence, the client may notice that something “seems off,” such as furniture or objects have been moved slightly, closets and drawers seem to have been rummaged through, or dusty areas have been disturbed. Additionally, a client may note that suddenly a new object was added to the home after the break-in, such as clocks, signage, picture frames, tissue boxes, lamps, and radios.
Wall fixtures have been shifted slightly
Some of the most popular hidden surveillance devices are designed to go inside or behind electrical outlets, light switches, smoke alarms, and lighting. Hidden camera lenses can be as small as the head of a screw, making them ideal to conceal in common wall fixtures.
Notice a strange vehicle parked near the home or office frequently with no one inside
Devices that transmit the recordings via wifi or RF may require the eavesdropper to be stationed nearby. Service or delivery trucks are commonly used: If you see the same or similar vehicle more than three times, there may be an eavesdropper. Vehicles with black or tinted windows allow the perpetrator to conceal them in the back of the vehicle to monitor the devices. Ladders or pipe racks on a vehicle can help conceal and antenna or beacon.
Interference in landlines, radios, or televisions
The client has noticed that their radio, landline, or television has been acting “weird.” This includes increased interference, a solid faint tone or high-pitched squeal on the phone, (note that beeping or high pitched noises could just be a result of a fax machine dialing the wrong number) or their radio loses signal in areas it never lost signal before.
Common objects have a small hole or reflective surface
Many spy stores sell a popular common home and office products such as lamps, clocks, tissue boxes, plant boxes, or exit signs, with a camera or microphone pre-installed, containing a small hole or reflective spot to hold the camera lens. A client has noticed that these products “just appeared” or these things have changed slightly in appearance.
In the Office
Ceiling tiles appear disturbed, discolored, or damaged, or have ceiling dust on the floor
A common installation location for hidden listening devices is inside the ceiling tiles: Their accessibility makes them a prime target. The client may have noticed that tiles have shifted, are not properly set in the frame, or recently were damaged. Note any recent maintenance issues in the building: These signs could be a result of a pipe leaking or new construction.
Bump in the vinyl baseboard
The vinyl-style baseboards are more popular in offices than in homes. A small bump or deformity in the vinyl baseboard along the floor may be a sign that someone hides and adhered to a wire or microphone behind the baseboard.
A client recently received gifts from vendors
If the client suspects that a competitor or vendor is spying on them, a common tactic is to place listening bugs inside “gifts”, such as pens, clocks, briefcases, adaptors, etc., Ask the client if any gifts have been given to them, and what specifically.
In Their Vehicle
Their car appears to have been broken into, but nothing was taken
Something inside the vehicle seems “off”, but nothing was taken. The client may have noticed that the seating was moved, (even though they are the primary driver and have not lent the car to anyone or any service technician recently) the car was rummaged through, or there are new items in the vehicle. This may have occurred multiple times, as the eavesdropper may need to retrieve the device to download the data or recharge the battery.
The car seems to be taking longer to start
Some tracking and eavesdropping devices may be connected to the car battery, using the power source when the engine is off. While it may not completely drain the battery, it can cause the car to stutter a bit as the remaining power tries to start the engine. This is not as common now as devices are moving more to use internal batteries and going into an “idle” mode when movement or sound is not detected to conserve power.
Electronics in the car are behaving erratically
The electronics in the car, including the radio and displays, are acting strange, which could result of interference from a covert surveillance device.
Others seem to know the client’s whereabouts
GPS tracking devices can be attached to a car with something as simple and discreet as a strong magnet. Common areas include under the engine bay, rear bumper, inside the dashboard, and behind the wheel well.
Client suspects they are being followed while driving
If there is a hidden microphone or camera in the car, the suspect may need to stay within a certain range of the device to acquire the recordings. The client noticed that the same vehicle was following behind them, or frequently parked near their car.
While this list is not exhaustive or that these are definitive indicators that a client is bugged, it is enough to warrant further investigation. Seeing these signs in our own agency has resulted in finding covert devices approximately 80% of the time. It is imperative that you analyze the context of your client's situation and perform proper due diligence to ensure you offer the best type of services for your client's needs and give them peace of mind.
GPS Phone Tracking
GPS tracking is a valuable tool: Whether you are a parent keeping track of your kids as they go to and from school, monitoring your teenager as they become a more independent driver, or a business owner who wants to maximize efficiency and transparency in your fleet. Having a GPS tracking device in your vehicle or in a backpack is a great way to keep tabs on your loved ones.
GPS Phone Tracking: Is it enough?
Smartphones have come out with their own tracking capabilities, with Apple's Find My Friend for iPhone and iPad on iCloud and several apps available for Android. (although Google recently started to roll out the ability to share location via Google Maps) These apps allow the convenience of tracking loved ones through their smartphones under their current phone contracts. These apps are usually low or no cost, but as the adage goes: You get what you pay for.
Disadvantages to Phone Tracking
Battery and Data
You are limited to the battery capabilities of the phone, which combined with using other apps during use, can cause decreased battery life and performance on the phone, making it an easy excuse for those you are tracking to avoid being tracked. GPS tracking on a phone is notorious for racking up data, which could cause throttling or overage charges in your phone bill.
Easy to Turn Off
Amid privacy concerns, apps cannot force a user to keep GPS tracking on their phone: Which means that the user could turn off the tracking and attribute it to glitches, signal problems, or a dead battery. The other issue is that tracking apps can easily be manipulated: For example, some apps have reported that if the user is on a call, the tracking can stop in the duration of the phone call.
More Likely to Be Lost or Stolen
Phones are more likely to be stolen out of a vehicle than a tracking device, which while the phone can still be tracked, there is no guarantee you will be able to get the phone back. Plus if the thief does a factory reset on the phone, there is a chance that you will not be able to continue tracking it. (especially if you use the iPhone/iPad tracking with iCloud or Google Maps tracking)
Benefits of Using a GPS Tracking Device
No drain on phone battery or data
iTrail uses the Verizon CDMA network to transfer data, (which is included in the subscription to iTrail) and their product specifies that the device can run for 14 days from a full charge with 1 hour of movement per day. The device will also go to sleep if the vehicle is idle for a certain amount of time. By using a separate GPS device, it reduces data usage on your cellphone plan and saves battery for the user.
Some phone tracking apps have alert systems, but devices like iTrail have alert systems to notify you if the driver goes above a certain speed, if they press the S.O.S button, turned off the device, if they departed or arrived at a certain destination, if they go outside a set geo-fence or travel area, or the battery is low. These alerts can be sent either via email or text to your phone.
The iTrail device measures approximately at 3″x2″1″, making it easy to place in a glove compartment or backpack. KJB Security also offers a magnet case if you want to mount it to the vehicle.
Some apps either only show real-time tracking or are limited in history reports. ITrail Live allows you to review past data, including speed and location pings.
GPS tracking has become a vital tool in keeping track of loved ones or of a fleet if you run a field-based business. While smartphones have advanced considerably in the last few years in GPS tracking, they are not perfect when it comes to battery life and preventing someone from manipulating the phone settings. Having a dedicated GPS tracking device is the more efficient way to record a person’s travels.
Call us at 1-888-698-0077 for more information on using GPS tracking devices
We are available 24/7
Investigations, by definition, involve the collection of information. Depending on the type of investigation being carried out, different methods may be used to collect such information.
All investigations involve the gathering of facts--usually this is done through overt interviews with witnesses and experts, review of documents or evidence, and the collection of information using reports and forms and the like. These methods often suffice in getting to the bottom of the matter at hand. However, when someone who is the subject of an investigation is trying to hide something, it might be necessary to employ more unorthodox techniques to find out what’s really going on. It is situations like this where covert surveillance can be a valuable tool.
Preparing for your wedding is exciting and overwhelming. The majority of brides and grooms go into their marriages hoping that they have found their soul mate. In fact, they hope for their marriage to last forever. The problem arises when the bride or groom suspects their partner is cheating on them. This will make them doubt whether or not this is the right person for them. This is where hiring a private investigator who can conduct covert surveillance services come in handy. These services will allow the bride or groom to track their mate and find concrete evidence to prove or disprove their suspicions of infidelity.
Any company will face challenges, and the key to success is obvious – keep your bottom line in the black. Bringing income into the business is important, but so is reducing the overall costs that your company incurs regularly.
There are a lot of different things to consider in terms of reducing costs, and it's common for some areas to be overlooked completely. Insurance fraud and worker's compensation investigations, in particular, need to be addressed, and while it may not seem like your company needs them, the opposite could be true.
Thanks to Hollywood and television, it's very common for people to assume that they have a full understanding of what a private investigator does. But the reality is often far different – instead of getting drawn into dangerous espionage, most private detectives handle investigations that are a bit more low-key. However, one thing that we do indeed do is run surveillance – in a number of different ways and for a number of different reasons. (more…)
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Of our various forms of social media we use, YouTube is one that we can give our customers a visual view of the investigation services we offer. Some of our videos range from GPS Tracking to inspection of a recovered vehicle.
1) "NY Private Investigator- Infidelity Suspicions? Catch your cheating spouse or partner"
This video goes into a visual perspective of how we provide services that will help you catch your partner who is suspected (or actually is) cheating on you and get the evidence up front.
There are many different methods to establish, verify, and prove infidelity in a relationship or marriage. The methods used for each particular case is individual in nature as is the specifics of each client’s case. Our private detectives will aim to provide the necessary evidence to prove your case with irrefutable, undeniable proof. Identifying any suspect's in these cases is vital; we provide accurate details such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and place of employment. The main reasons clients typically hire a New York private investigation agency for this type of investigation is for such things as child custody, peace of mind, and protection of assets.
2) "How to find GPS tracking or listening bugs in a vehicle"
This video shows step-by-step of how to detect a tracking/listening bug in your vehicle. This video will show you where on the vehicle to check, such as compartments that can be hidden on the inside of the car. The video will show you what devices you can use to detect these bugs as well as common places where they can be kept. Also shown is what a bug would typically look like.
Camera detectors are very useful tools for experienced investigators. Although camera detectors would be most useful to private investigators, camera detectors can be used by a wide range of personnel in law enforcement and related fields.
The main purpose of camera detectors is self-explanatory given the name. A client may want a sweep of a certain place to detect certain devices such as bugs and cameras. Camera detectors scan the area for hidden or wireless devices that may be monitoring. Depending on the setting of the device, the alert will be either LED, vibration, or a multitude of other alarms.
Body worn cameras are some of the best and most advanced devices around for undercover surveillance. If you want to get footage while being the least obvious, body worn cameras are for you! The top three personal favorites are the B3000, HatCamCSU, and the SunDVR800. The B3000 is a camera that is disguised as a button on your shirt. This is a perfect idea when you are wearing any sort of button down shirt (usually with black buttons since the camera is black). You can get a great angle from where the button camera is positioned when the target is in front of you. The HatCamCSU is perfect if you want the same angle as the B3000 and you want to be discreet. The HatCamCSU is an ordinary hat that does not stand out so you can be as covert as possible. The SunDVR800 is another great choice for filming on a sunny day. The SunDVR800 is one of the best ideas for covert filming. While getting the most range, the target will not see where you are looking either.