In this day and age, hidden microphones and cameras are getting ever smaller. And with the size that they can be, they’re easier to hide. Something as inconspicuous as a smoke detector. To you it alerts for smoke, to others it’s an opportunity to mask a hidden microphone. Clever as they can be, you can be more so.
If you suspect someone bugged your house with a hidden microphone, you can use the guide below to detect them without hiring a professional. Of course, hiring a professional is almost always the better choice, but when the option isn’t available, you need a Plan B.
Looking For Physical Signs of Hidden Microphones
In an effort to catch any and all hidden microphones and other surveillance devices, doing a physical sweep of your area is absolutely necessary. Devices used for malicious intent come in all shapes and sizes, which means they can be anywhere. In other words? You have to be smarter than the person who planted them there.
Believe it or not, hidden microphones do have some telling signs as well as some obvious hiding places, and some not-so-obvious locations. People can be pretty sneaky.
1. Use Your Ears
Fortunately for you, hidden surveillance devices such as microphones and cameras give off a buzzing or clicking noise. While the creep would love it if they were completely silent, it’s a dead giveaway that someone planted a listening device.
What you want to do is cancel as much noise as you possibly can. During the night is best as the sounds of traffic and everyday life will be reduced, but if that’s not an option, close the door, window blinds, and windows.
Once you’ve canceled as much noise as possible, move to various parts of the room. Stop in one location and listen for clicking noises. If you cup your hands around your ears like a funnel, it can help you locate any humming, buzzing or clicking. Move about the room until you’ve swept through the entire area.
2. Aim Your Sights on Smoke Detectors
One of the most common places to find hidden microphones is within the room’s smoke detector. Considering they’re usually placed in the center of the area, they offer a perfect spot for eavesdropping. On top of that, they can provide a power source as surveillance devices need a power source for their 24/7 routine.
Pop the smoke detector out and look for anything that looks suspicious. Generally speaking, smoke detectors don’t have any kind of exposed wiring. If you see any, then it’s a safe bet to assume it’s a hidden microphone.
3. Everyday Furniture Should Be a Target Too
When you entered the room for the first time, what jumped out at you? If you thought the furniture seemed strangely placed, a vase placed in an awkward location or a random decoration that doesn’t match the room—it could be a trap.
It’s incredibly common for people to hide microphones in everyday objects, from furniture to the tissue box on the table. But for the best results, it has to be placed so sound can be picked up. This is why it matters how a piece of furniture is placed, such as a vase or picture frame. Look under vases, lampshades, behind curtains, under tables and chairs. Nothing is off-limits, and there are no wrong answers.
4. What’s This Wire For?
As mentioned before, microphones and surveillance devices generally need a power supply. Battery powered ones do exist, but you might not always face a battery powered one. In order to power the devices, you’ll find wires that either don’t lead to anywhere in the area or wires you don’t recognize.
Check every outlet and follow the power cable of every device. If you find one that isn’t accounted for, unplug it.
Uncovering Hidden Microphones with Detectors
So, you’ve searched every inch of the room and found nothing out of the ordinary, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet.
1. Give Someone a Call
Did you know phone calls can help expose the existence of surveillance devices, such as hidden microphones and cameras? The reason it works has to do with the devices themselves emitting a small, but detectable electromagnetic field, at least when they’re sending data. The only device you need to detect the electromagnetic field is your smartphone.
First, make a phone call to a friend or your parents, preferably in a way that keeps them on the phone—a natural conversation. While you’re talking on the phone, move around the room. If there’s a hidden microphone nearby, you’ll start to hear interference during your chat. That is a clear sign that you’ve entered the device’s electromagnetic field.
You can double-check by turning off other electronics in the area, such as radios, speakers, and televisions. If you want to be less conspicuous, try using an AM/FM radio as they too can pick up on the electromagnetic field. The closer you are to the sound, the more interference it will cause.
Who would have thought something as simple as making a phone call or a radio could be so helpful?
2. Search For Devices Connected to Wi-Fi
If someone is trying to bug the area, chances are they want that data transmitted back to a server of some kind. That means they need access to a network. And what better way to do so than by Wi-Fi? Better yet, free Wi-Fi.
What does that mean for you? Well, if it’s connected to a nearby Wi-Fi signal, that means you can pick up on it. In fact, there’s an app called Fing (Android | iOS) that can identify devices sharing the same network as you.
3. Use an RF Detector
If you have some cash to spend, then you can always invest in some equipment, such as an RF detector. The goal behind the detector is to pick up on radio frequencies. If a radio signal is nearby, the RF detector will find it.
Now, before you start scanning the area, you need to do some prep work. Start by turning off every signal electronic in the area. Anything that’s capable of giving off a radio signal should be shut down. When that is said and done, turn on your RF detector. Sweep around the room, aiming it at various parts of the location. If the detector starts to beep, crackle or buzz, you’ve found yourself a radio signal and, quite possibly, a hidden microphone and or camera.
People can be rather crafty with their creepy, and highly illegal, hobby. From bugging your phones, to hiding a hidden camera behind a two-way mirror—nothing is off-limits. With the kind of effort these people put into hiding microphones and cameras, that means you need to put in an equal amount of effort to find them and expose them.