How Do You Know If Your Cell Phone Is Tapped?

By Colleen Collins

There are more than 500 different spyware, or malware, software products for tapping cell phones. Add to that the abundance of ads on the Internet where people can easily purchase such spyware, with instructions for downloading it onto any cell phone, and it's smart to know the signs if your cell phone has been tapped so you can protect yours and others' privacy.

Step 1

Experience too many coincidences? If people know private facts that you've only shared in phone conversations, have learned business secrets only those in a private room might know, or even show up repeatedly at locations you've texted or discussed over your phone, your cell phone might be tapped.

Step 2

Check the battery. If your cell phone battery is unusually hot when you haven't been using or charging it recently, this might indicate a spyware program is running on it.

Step 3

Witness lights blinking unexpectedly? If you see lights blinking unexpectedly on your phone, especially when you're not using it, this might indicate a spyware program is active on your phone.

Step 4

Hear noises? Surveillance devices might make noises, such as a faint scratching or popping, in the background while you're on the phone. Also, if your phone is turned off, yet you hear noises coming from it, it might be that spyware has turned it into a microphone that can pick up your conversations in the near vicinity, sometimes up to 20 feet, from the cell phone.

Step 5

Receive threats? It's not always the case that you need to look for clues that spyware has been downloaded to your cell phone--it might be you receive threatening messages directly over the cell phone, either in voice or text messages.

Tips & Warnings

  • To protect your cell phone from someone illegally downloading spyware onto it, never leave your cell phone unattended, never loan it out except to trusted friends and family, create a password for access, take out the battery when you're not using the phone, and never accept Internet connection invitations unless you know and trust who sent them.