How to Find a Listening Device

Listening devices, which usually consist of a miniature radio transmitter with a microphone, are small, compact and difficult to detect. Used lawfully—with a warrant—by police and intelligence agencies to surreptitiously listen to and record conversations as part of investigations, they may also be used in such a way as to result in unlawful invasion of privacy. A few steps may help you detect the presence of such a device.

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Learning how to find a listening device might protect your privacy.

Step

Search the room where you believe the listening device has been hidden. Be detailed in your search and look in every nook and cranny. Check around paintings, mirrors, plants, stuffed animals, smoke detectors, lamps, books and picture frames.

Step

Check for wires. If you find a cord that is not plugged into any of the outlets in the room it may be attached to a microphone. Wireless devices, however, are common.

Step

Turn off all known sources of noise, such as a computer or a fan. Listen for static, clicks or other electronic noises.

Step

Turn off all the lights in the room and look for a red or green light. Some devices have a power light that lets the user know they are recording.

Step

If there is a telephone in the room you are searching, disconnect it and take it apart. Check around the phone as well; listening devices may be hidden in an object near a phone.

Step

Purchase a listening device detector. Available products range in price from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars.