I Think I Have a Bug!!! Don't Spend $$ Searching for a Microphone Just Yet!


By David Rich, Owner, InvestigativeTactics.net

© 2015

I Think I Have a Bug!!! Don't Spend $$ Searching for a Microphone Just Yet!

© 2015 Investigative Tactics

As with many things Licensed Private Investigators deal with, bug sweeps (also known as Technical Surveillance Counter Measures/TSCM) are a case of either having very long experience through government training & service, a lot of on the job training after continuing research, or a combination of both.  The Licensed Investigator has to know what they are looking for, at and how and where a device can be installed.

Investigative Tactics - Naples Private Investigator/Detective for Bug Sweeps, surveillance, child custody, asset searches and more

Can anyone go to Radio Shack or eBay and buy their own equipment?  Sure.  However, there are many types of “detectors” out there; some have merit when used correctly; others are less than quality equipment. Some of the equipment available costs $100, some $500, others $800.  After that level there is a jump to $2,000, then a bigger jump to $19,000 (w/out the required software), then another price jump to over $30,000…. for one piece of equipment!  Oh yeah, don’t forget about the training too.  All this equipment has its limitations, and one can be sure that the $100 - $800 equipment is very inferior to the $30,000 in what it can do and what its telling the operator.

Besides the equipment, the operator of whatever equipment is being used must know what they are doing, and more importantly, what the equipment is saying to them. So you go out and buy a $500 frequency counter (i.e. a “Bug Detector”)… you turn it on and place it in the middle of the room and it starts to go off immediately! You MUST have a bug!!!  Calm down, chances are it’s your kid cooking some bagel pizzas in the microwave, or it’s your WiFi router, or it’s you cordless home phone, or it’s your cell phone… or many other possibilities.  The skill set for this portion of the sweep is knowing how to weed those false positives out.

Also, the electronics one can buy should not be the only method; a seasoned Licensed Investigator also has to know when it’s time to put down the equipment and perform a “hard” search.  Again, here is a place where there has to be a significant amount of knowledge of what is being looked for and where it’s possible for it to be hidden.  We get calls from folks saying “he knows what I’ve said in my car!”.  Instead of us coming out, you may be able to save yourself some funds by simply looking under the driver’s seat for a hand-held digital voice recorder.  Sure, it’s illegal to put one there, but we’ve seen it happen time and time again.

If you have the feeling that something is not right and that you may be being watched or listened to, take some time to think of “why” this could be happening before taking the next step.  Talk to someone that has some knowledge about these sweeps; it could save you a few hundred dollars on equipment you don’t need (or is junk) or and even help with a decision that you may not really need a sweep at all.