Telephone Bug Detectors

Written by Christa Gatewood
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There are several different kinds of telephone bugs out there that you should be aware of if you suspect your telephone is tapped. First, there are hardwired recording devices that are connected to a telephone line and wired to some kind of recording device. This is not a particularly good choice for covert operations because the wires can be a dead giveaway, and the recorder will have to be relatively close to the subject.

Second, there are wireless recording devices. This involves connecting a transmitter to a phone line that sends a RF signal to a receiver on a recorder. These are often used in covert operations. Finally, there are hook switch bypass taps that are installed into the telephone hardware. These taps modify the phone itself so that either the earphone or the microphone becomes a listening device. These taps convert the phone into a room monitor.

When an Exterminator Just Won't Do

When you suspect your phone might have a tap on it, there are some ways to know for sure. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to detect a down-wire tap, but you can detect and sometimes disable line taps on the premises and in the telephone. There are several levels of tap detectors available at different price points.

On the inexpensive side, for less than $30 you can install a tap detector on your line that will alert you when there is a change in voltage on the phone line. A change in voltage indicates that another extension has been picked up. It will also disable devices powered through the line, line-activated devices and voltage-activated devices. On the expensive side, for about an extra $200, you can get a detector with added features. These features can include, but are not limited to, regulating the line voltage and using a simulated tone to render voice-activated machines ineffective.

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