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I Think My Apartment is Bugged: What Can I Do?

I'm looking for advice from the community about getting rid of surveillance devices.
I'm looking for advice from the community. I have good reason to think my apartment is bugged. I've heard that people should trust their instincts about this kind of thing. I need some piece of mind and want to get rid of the bugs if they are really there.

So, how do I find the surveillance devise(s) and remove them? Is there someone I can call to help me?

Try google 10.Dec.2004 14:41


for spy equipment.

In the meantime give them disinformation.

This is not a simple thing to do. 10.Dec.2004 15:04


Hire someone to sweep your place. Their are many forms of listening devices and any single detection device you purchase will not cover all the possibilities. Your telephone could be bugged. There could be a device in the handset, on the line or it could be intercepted by computer at the telephone company office. Some listening devices use radio transmission, some use infra-red some use utra-high-frequency sound. One could bounce a laser off of your window and detect the vibrations sound will make, thereby translating it back into sound.

Your computer could be a source of bugging.

As for your computer, unplug any microphone or video camera when you are not using it. Get a firewall and install it. Do a virus/trojan-horse sweep of your machine.

Look for people probing your trashcan. If you are using a cordless phone, get a phone with a cord and use it instead.

think clearly 10.Dec.2004 15:09


if you're not involved in something like the ELF, you need to think why would anybody, govt included, be trying to listen in on you.

most of us are extremely small fish in this evil world.

don't get overly paranoid

Just because your paranoid, doesn't mean they are not listening! 10.Dec.2004 15:13


Check out this site.


Eavesdropping has now become so widespread that if you have any confidential information that could, in any way, be of interest or profitable to another party . . . you can be almost certain that someone
is at the very least monitoring your telephone conversations".

Did you know that today's eavesdropper can now "Listen-In" to your room conversations from truly incredible distances? That innocent looking Electric Outlet at the base of the wall can
actually be picking up and transmitting every word . . . and every whisper . . . of your most private conversations. And, that harmless looking lamp can be hiding a Miniature Eavesdropping
Device that is revealing your most confidential discussions, or leaking out valuable information to unscrupulous individuals.
(like John Ashcroft or the Portland terroism task force!)

if you find a bug 10.Dec.2004 16:19

here what to do...

get a science fair Telsa coil (they're under $70.00) and plug it in and ramp up to highest set.
Put aluminum foil behind the bug...small piece will do.
Put Telsa coil about 12 inches away from bug.
Flip switch and instantly an arc will strike the bug/aluminum foil, and...
that's the end of the bug...one dead bug...and...the poor sonofawitch at the other end listening
in will need to see a doctor pretty quick as his ears are going to be hurting and he'll never
hear the same again, and the equipment will be totally fucked! ha! ha! ha!

you might want to check out this 10.Dec.2004 16:35


If you find a bug??? 10.Dec.2004 18:42


If you find a bug, just cut the damned wires!!! No need for aluminum foil or other fancy gadgets, just cut the damned wires.

If you can't find the bugs, then you're either overly paranoid, or THEY are much better than you think they are!

Thanks 10.Dec.2004 19:07

please help

Thanks for posting the advice.

I really don't appreciate the insinuations that I'm paranoid though. Like I said in the original post I have good reason to think my apartment is bugged. While I'm out and about there's not much I can do to protect myself from those who are surveilling me and want to hurt me but I would like to feel relatively safe in my own apartment. I posted this here because I thought people might know about debugging and or know someone in Portland who has countersurveillance equipment and does this kind of thing for people (it's pretty expensive to get good equipment).

Anyway, to those of you who've been helpful, thanks.

please don't pay any attention to the 10.Dec.2004 20:13

professional TROLLS

that debunk/accuse you of being "paranoid"...they're doing what they get paid to do...debunk! Usually, these debunking-trolls are paid from PJTTP's petty cash fund...carton of cigs or case of beer to just troll about here and debunk whenever they can anything that strikes their fancy. So ignore them and do take surveillance bugs seriously...especially here in Portland! Good luck on getting your apartment de-bugged!

What makes you think it's bugged? 10.Dec.2004 20:43


If a professional decided to bug your apartment (for whatever reason), you would likely never even know it.

In these high-tech times we live in, fixed locations (like an apartment) that are connected to your identity (through rental agreements, utility bills, etc) are not all that secure, anyway - unless hardened against this sort of thing, big$$. Neither are locations connected to individuals that anyone would have a professional interest in. Best to get into the habit of simply not discussing certain things in certain places, whether it's your very own apartment or not. Sorry, my friend.

on bugs and being paranoid 10.Dec.2004 21:02


One truth of being an activist is that if you are doing effective organizing and you have some leadership and visibility on the issue that you are working on, then YES, you are probably being listened to in some way. Maybe bugged, maybe spied on, maybe trash being gone through.
Some of us who have been in that position, or may still be, have a rule about converstations over the phone or elsewhere. We always assume that we are being listened to and discuss sensitive or confidentional things in private 1-1 meetings or in small groups with people we trust, only.
Otherwise, continue to act in an open and honest way, as if you have nothing to hide. Trust your instincts, but, don't let paranioa stop you from doing what you know is right. It can sharpen your awareness about security issues- and that's very useful.

Re:Surveillance bugs 11.Dec.2004 01:51

Pete (Australia)

Hey, you Don't have to destroy the bugs (if there is one, there is usually more as well - particularly some where in or under your car[along with a tracking Tag responder as well, which are around the size of a shirt button or OO sized capsule] you can have HEAPS and HEAPS of FUN if you manage to locate any, and the other party are unaware of it (just use your imagination, and don't forget to rub it in to 'em good and proper when the penny drops for them). It is best to calmly and quietly try and find or figure out just who it is that is bugging you first though.

Destroying them can get you in trouble as well (well in Australia it can). I know a person who accidently found an active FM bug set up in his car[it turned out to be care of the Drug Squad], when he went to install wiring work for a new set of spotties a few years back. A further deliberate search and broadspectrum FM sweeping turned tured up one extra device (well camoflaged) affixed under the vehicle [tracking responder] and two in his unit. He took delight in destroying them and posting the remains back to Police HQ, with a little note saying he'd delighted in trashing them and that they could now have their little toys back. Guess what? They fucking came and CHARGED him with willfull destruction of Government property! TRUE!

Also, in 1991, I made the mistake of making a very short confirmation call to a friend on the telephone, regarding the purchase of a number of handgrenades that were then going to be sent into East Timor for the Falintil, and WITHIN THE HOUR I had no less than the Regional Heads of BOTH the Federal Police and the Commonwealth Police at my door with a small possť in tow. These days it's best policy to assume that you ARE being watched and listened to any where you are, whoever you are (even if that is not the case). Go on the side of caution, especially if you are politically active against the the designs and intentions of "you know who".

an undesirable situation 11.Dec.2004 02:59

spared so far

If you're looking for piece of mind, do not see the movie "the conversation" with gene hackman.

pop culture delivers some clues 11.Dec.2004 12:02


The NPR radio program called 'This American Life' with Ira Glass recently featured a series of vignettes about spying which were interesting and informative. If you go to that website (?) you could probably get a transcript or general idea--what it was is that the vignettes were fictional pieces based on real or semi-real situations, and there was the notice that not all of the stories were true at all, that is, some of them had no truth to them. But interesting sonetheless.

And the movie 'Enemy of the State' where Will Smith runs and runs from the secret agents. Its silly but there might be some truth to it. As far as a movie, its garbage though.

There are scores of movies about spying and the culture of spying. I won't mention the Bond movies because they don't get too much into the technicalities of the secret agent's life.

Um... Or maybe not 11.Dec.2004 12:49


It seems to me that turning to Hollywood for info on government bugs is probably not the best thing to do. My advice? I've heard that modern government bugs are so small that it is virtually impossible to find them. If it's a private detective agency, though, you may be able to locate them. Or maybe you should just not talk about secret stuff in your apartment, which is always a good idea anyway. You could always test it by saying loudly and repeatedly that you're going to exchange drugs or something at a certain time and place, and then see if cops show up.

Let it go... 11.Dec.2004 12:56


You only have one viable solution, and it will only save you from physcial bus located in a house, not phone traps or computer surveilance. Have a friend find a new place for you and a few other people. Don't go there till the day you are supposed to move in, and make a rule that someone always needs to be home. Set up battery powered motion alarms in rooms with doors at night, and heavily secure the windows. Give up on your current place and understand that you can never be copletely safe.

As someone who has been the victim of FBI surveilance, the best advice I can give you for your current house is to let it go. The fact is that with modern electronic survielance you are unlikely to to ever find the bugs. If you do find them, destroying them is a federal crime. In Canada in the mid-90's Animal Liberation activist Darren Thurston found a bug in his home and moments after discovering it there was a knock at his door. CIS had come to reclaim the bug- it's government property. You can spend a fortune hiring people to come and sweep for bugs, but the tools most Private Investigators have will really only stop a snooping spouse or an amateur using commercially available equipment.

So the best thing to do is give no information away to those pursuing you. Never use the phone or e-mail to discuss anything of value. Learn to relax as best as you can in this modern age of surveilance, and keep fighting as you are able.

more details? 11.Dec.2004 14:44

spared so far

I'm not convinced that people can be convicted of willfull destruction of government property (destroying bugs planted by government agencies) unless it can be established that victims actually knew in advance of the destruction that the bugs were in fact government property. What? Are they labeled "Property of the Canadian Government" or something? Also..."the conversation" isn't so much a source of information about surveillance gear as it is a creative example of the potential downside of being overly pre-occupied with being the target of surveillance.

What I would do 11.Dec.2004 14:58

me again

I mostly agree with Josh, that there really isn't a way to get rid of bugs. Threrefore I disagree with him that moving out would be a good solution. Having someone always home isn't practical for most people, plus they can monitor what you say without ever entering your house (as someone earlier pointed out, supersonic ears and the like can listen to you from hundreds of yards away).
So I would try not to worry about it, and only talk about secretive stuff while out of the house.
If I were you, I wouldn't worry about minor crimes, like using drugs, or dumpster diving or whatnot, so much as larger things, like monkeywrenching, graffitti, etc. But that's just me, and many folks would probably disagree. Although the feds won't probably kick down your door for smoking a joint, they may use it against you later if what you are doing isn't illegal, but they don't like it and theywant to put you away.
Obviously, never use email, phone, mail, or internet postings to exchange secret information. Only talking to someone outside is fairly safe (and even then, if the government thinks that you are REALLY important, which is unlikely, they could have someone follow you with a supersonic ear)

Paranoia 11.Dec.2004 15:58


will destroy yaaaaaaaa

Re: Anti-surveillence/espionage 12.Dec.2004 03:48

Peter (Australia)

Oh yeah, Josh, I thought it also worth mentioning. If you happen to be into the planning of very full on actions, etc, it's good to have A): very trusted collegues/collaborators - of those that matter and actually turn the wheels, and B): to maintain some very secret and secure DEAD LETTER mail drop points amongst that small circle. Have a number of them and a special code sign or code word signaling just which drop there is a confidential communication waiting at (your actual Dead Letter drops should be in situations that do not allow any body surveilling you to actually see you "delivering the mail")

..and, "bigger things"..."like graffitti", Me again? You're a bad, bad person!

Okay fine 12.Dec.2004 08:24

me again

Okay, so graffitti isn't that big. I just included it becuase it's probably something the cops would go to the trouble to arrest you for.

Here's a few ideas 12.Dec.2004 12:58

silly red

OK so you think your bugged. Here's were i would go from there. First get a handheld reciever, AM and FM. You can usually find them at Goodwill or other thrift shops prety cheap, but make sure that it works well. The next thing you'll want to do and his part sort of sucks is to go through your house will the reciever turned all the way up slowly going through all of channels slowly while making sure that there is constant talking going on in your home. Most transmitters (bugs)send out either on low band FM or AM signal, and if your bugged you should be able to here whats going on in your apartment with the reciever.

the other thing that I would advise is going though your aparment and checking all the outlets. Most bugs do not have there own power sorce so they have to be hard wired into your home. Usually they'll be in outlets or lights because that were it is easist to get to and wire them in. But if you check those out and find nothing what should work is any time you want to have a meet that you don't want them to hear, go to your power box and turn off the power to your home. Then only discuss where you are going to have your meeting, but better yet write it on a piece of paper that you will burn and make sure that you write on a glass or metal surfae so that it leaves no inprint. Remember that they could also be listening from acroos the street without bugs so be very carefull what you talk about. Have meeting outside in nosie ridden areas (ie: next to heavy traffic, airports, white water, that sort of thing). Take care and don't get caught!

In love and war,

silly red

I Think I Just Found One! 07.May.2005 07:04

Spherea (in KCMO Apt.)

Not sure though... Never really seen one in person, you know? Apparently, a bad technician who installed it! I just "stumbled upon it!" Will have by guy check it. AnyWho, my girlfriend lives in Germany. I've been feeling uncomfortable about my apartment for a couple years now. She and I don't talk about anything of great importance - you know, girl talk, but I could not "shake the feeling that we always had a third party on our backs."

This is real people. I guess there is no such thing as "personal privacy" in the world anymore.

Ho-Ha 01.Dec.2005 16:26


Maybe you have a hearing device in your ear that you don't know is there. Don't go to the emergency room to have it checked out. Go to a hearing specialist in private practice if you think this might be the case.

I hear you.... 20.Dec.2005 11:51

heidi heidi202@aol.com

I lived in NYC and I was convinced that my apartment was bugged. It was as if a person was listening to every move I made. I was married and one afternnoon I brought a stranger into the apratment the "they" went crazy, calling every second.

I finally moved.

so late to answer 20.Jan.2006 05:08


It might be that you are being followed by a privet detective. Go over your activities and see if someone would wnat to know your every move. If you are out of the apartment for a good long time every day then the bug could be anywhere but if your leavings only are for a short time then the bugs will be closer to the doors as getting out is important. Buy a white noise generator only a few $ and place one in the room where you think the bug is located. as they are so cheep you can get one for every room. It will jam the bug but not perfectly. so place ment as close to where you may suspect they might be. Good luck.

I believe I am bugged too... 05.Mar.2006 07:01


I beleive an ex is the culprit. I came home one day to find that I got the feeling someone had been in my place and nothign was taken. Shortly after, I started receiving e-mails pertaining to converstaions that I had in my apartment. That's I how I knew. So I intentionally spoke of made up crap. That too showed up in the header info of the wacky e-mails. So it has been confirmed.

I dont' have the money to do a sweep or move. But I wanted to know HOW to find the bugs through the radio as someone had mentioned. Sounds simple enough but I feel I need help.

I am not paranoid or crazy. Apparetnly, bugging people is a common/popular thing to do and very easy.

Any comments except the negative are welcome.