Brad Robinson: Is Your Home Bugged? Ten Warning Signs Of Covert Eavesdropping

By Brad Robinson, Private Investigator

Brad RobinsonPeople who are in a relationship with a sociopath, or who recently escaped from such a relationship, often get the feeling that their ex is watching them, listening to them, spying on them. This might be your imagination getting the best of you, but often these suspicions are correct.

With the increasing online prevalence of readily available, inexpensive listening devices, spycams, phone taps, etc., and YouTube instructional videos on how to secretly install them, this is a growing threat to anyone who values their privacy. There are warning signs.

Warning signs

Here are a few that may be of use:

  • People seem to know too much regarding your private and/or business activities.
  • You have noticed strange sounds (static, scratching or popping) or volume changes on your phone lines.
  • Your television or AM/FM radio has suddenly developed strange interference.
  • Electrical wall plates appear to have been moved slightly or “jarred.”
  • A dime-sized discoloration has suddenly appeared on the wall or ceiling.
  • White dry-wall dust or debris is noticed on the floor next to the wall.
  • You notice small pieces of ceiling tiles, or “grit” on the floor, or on the surface area of furniture. Also, you may observe a cracked, chipped, or gouged ceiling tile, or ones that are sagging, or not properly set into the track.
  • Your door locks suddenly don’t “feel right,” they suddenly start to get “sticky,” or they completely fail.
  • Furniture has been moved slightly, and no one knows why.
  • Things “seem” to have been rummaged through, but nothing is missing (at least that you noticed).

Suspicions are correct; now what?

If any of the above seems to apply to you, what can you do? You have a few options.

You can accept the likelihood that your privacy has been compromised and resolve to never again say or do anything in your home that your suspected eavesdropper can use against you.

You could try a do-it-yourself sweep of your home. However, without the proper equipment and training, you are very unlikely to discover one of today’s tiny, well-concealed devices.

You can hire a semi-qualified professional. Many private investigators and security agents claim to be able to perform bug sweeps. For a small (or sometimes a large) fee, they will show up with a small “detector” they purchased on eBay, take a quick walk around your home and proclaim it “safe.” This false sense of security can actually be more damaging than switching your brain to “acceptance mode,” as described above.

Hire a professional

The best solution is usually to contact a specialist in Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures (TSCM). These professionals have the experience, up-to-date training and cutting edge gear (often retailing at $100,000 or more) to do the job right! A genuine TSCM inspection is a tedious and time-consuming process (often taking 4-6 hours or more), but it is the only way to provide true peace of mind if one has serious concerns that they are the target of illicit eavesdropping.

Brad Robinson is an ex-CIA operative and currently Senior Partner with The Millennium Group, a full-service investigative and security consulting firm staffed by former federal agents. They offer a variety of romance fraud-related investigations nationwide, including TSCM inspections of residences, offices and vehicles. Visit their website at or phone them at 855-SPY-TEAM.


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Thanks Brad. This is really valuable information. I know of Lovefraud readers who have had their home bugged. It’s frightening.


My ex spath used a software from California called Spector Soft. He bugged my computers. It is a key stroke tracker so he could read all my emails, banking info etc.

I used an experienced IT guy to find it and remove it.

Then I hired for 15,000 a retired FBI agent to sweep my home, car, etc.


Hi Brad,
Thank you so much for this post. I have often believed either my car and or my home are bugged because of the info my ex seems to have about me or my activities . He is a former police officer and works security details now, so he has the means and knowledge to do this. Can you explain what you mean about locks being “sticky?” For the past few months, all 3 deadbolts on the doors to my home have become very difficult to turn. I find it strange that they all became this way around the same time. With one door in particular, I have to force the deadbolt to turn to lock or unlock the door.

Thank you!

Glad you found the article useful. By “sticky” locks we are referring to locks that suddenly become more difficult to operate or feel like the internal workings have gummed up. Quality locks operate more smoothly as they age. If the opposite is true, it may be a sign that they have been picked or “bumped” (a scary, new, intrusion method being taught on YouTube these days), which can cause damage to the locking mechanism. If three of your locks developed problems at around the same time, I would urge you to have all three replaced immediately. Deadbolts are a good choice but upgrade to a higher-end make, such as Medico, that is tamper resistant.


Thank you for your response! I didn’t think much of it until reading your article. Now I am very concerned and will do as you recommend.
Again, than you so much for taking the tie to reply.

Brad – is it possible for someone to intentionally interfere with faxes being received?

Yes. Unusual static or other interference on a phone, fax or modem line can be indicative of someone (e.g., an eavesdropper) fiddling with the lines such as those in the junction box attached to the outside of most homes.


Thanks Brad. What does “A dime-sized discoloration has suddenly appeared on the wall or ceiling” mean. can you elaborate?

One popular version of listening device is called a “pinhole” or “spike” microphone. The actual listening (receiving) end of this device is very small and requires a opening (in a wall or ceiling) not much larger than a pin. The rest of the device is a bit larger, however, and requires a hole about the size of a dime to be drilled. The device is then inserted and covered with caulk or putty. The tiny hole left for the spike mic to “hear” is nearly invisible but the installation often leaves a dime-sized discoloration when the caulk used by the eavesdropper does not match the existing paint.


Would spraying or covering suspicious marks be feasible? If so, what products would you suggest?

Yes, that could work. You could use a thin film of any type of spackle or putty or, in a pinch, even toothpaste. Remember, however, that for every microphone or spycam you find, there may be two that you missed.


Are there any things you can do to “jam” electronic listening devices? Would turning up the volume on TV’s or Radios be sufficient protection against eavesdropping during important conversations?


My ex sociopath husband used the DVD player for camera and audio. Additionally, be aware if you see your spouse in your neighborhood or close to your home there are listening devices that can be obtained at any spyware store that can hear as far as the length of a football field.


and through walls!


Maybe I missed it—but I didn’t see much mention of bugging cars. My daughter’s sociopath put a GPS tracking device in her car. I had an intuitive feeling that this happened based upon a comment that he made through her attorney. When my husband searched the car—sure enough— there it was!
It’s really horrible having to deal with someone like this when it seems like the court system doesn’t seem to recognize this as a problem—especially where children are concerned. It’s not always in the best interest of the child to have both parents. But good luck getting a judge to see it.

Yes, the bugging and tracking of vehicles is another area of growing concern and will be the topic of a separate, upcoming article here on Stay tuned!


As is often the case, I don’t know of many ‘victims’ who can afford this service. But thanks for the information.


Soconfused…here is another article for you to read.


KeepingOn, one more….do a search at the top with this article author he has more good advise on the subject.

Follow your gut!!

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