How to Check if Your Phone is Tapped

By Patrice Lesco

Telephone wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping allow others to access your telephone signal or listen in to your telephone conversations. Determining whether someone is doing either will require you to work with your telephone company as well as be your own investigator.

Actions

Step 1

Call the telephone company that provides your service for your home telephone. The telephone company will normally check the line for taps without cost to you and advise you if there is an illegal device monitoring your telephone line. In addition, the telephone company will notify law enforcement officials if there is an illegal wire tap detected.

Step 2

Inspect your home telephone line physically for devices that might be attached to your telephone line or connected to the telephone boxes on the interior or exterior of your home. Two products that can be used as attachments on the telephone line are the pen register and the trap and trace device. The pen register will record those numbers dialed out on your phone, while the trap and trace device will record the numbers of incoming calls. Either of these products can be used legally by state or federal organizations with a court order and by some telephone companies.

Step 3

Monitor the charge life of your cell phone and its temperature. If you believe that your cellular calls are being listened to, your cell phone battery will have a short charge life because when your cell phone is being tapped, the tap uses the charge from the cell phone as well. In addition, the battery will be warm to the touch even when the phone has not been used.

Step 4

Monitor your cell phone and note instances in which the cell phone lights up for no apparent reason. If this occurs often, your cell phone may be tapped.

Step 5

Listen for beeps of clicks on the cell phone line when you are using it. While these noises might not indicate that your line is tapped on a home phone, they are indicators of wiretapping on a cellular line.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be advised that if the telephone company finds that there is a legal tap on your telephone line, they will not notify you. You will, nevertheless, be notified once any legal tap is removed from the line, usually within 90 days of such removal, by the organization that has been listening to your calls. This action is required by law.
  • Call law enforcement in your area if you find a device on your line. If the device is the result of an illegal wire tap, law enforcement officials will be able to make a report of it and potentially find the perpetrator so that charges can be filed against the individual.
  • If you suspect that your cell phone is being tapped, the best action to take is to purchase a cell phone with prepaid service and be careful whom you give the telephone number to. These numbers are not easily accessible by those who tap lines.
  • You can also remove the battery from your cell phone when the phone is not in use to prevent someone from having access to your telephone line.
  • Anyone can purchase surveillance equipment that will allow him to listen in on your telephone calls. This includes equipment that picks up conversations through home intercom systems and baby monitors. The equipment cannot be detected in most cases.
  • Furthermore, there are a number of companies that contend that they have equipment that can be purchased that will allow you to detect wire taps on your phone, but this equipment will only detect when someone listens in on a home extension or cuts a telephone wire on your line.