Friday, October 23, 2009

Wiretaps & Bug Checks at Galleon

A week ago, Raj Rajaratnam, 52, of the Galleon Group, was arrested for alleged insider trader. Authorities said he made some $20 million on insider trading deals. The billionaire posted bail of a $100 million.

Mr. Rajaratnam says he's innocent. If convicted, he faces 20 years in prison.

The case evolves from FBI wiretaps. At first, it looked like the FBI got court-ordered wiretaps on Galleon's phones. If so, the FBI places the taps in the Central Office of the phone company, and routes the incoming and outgoing calls to FBI headquarters where they are monitored and recorded. If authorities tap the phones from the Central Office, there is no way the wiretap can be detected, even with the most sophisticated equipment. (There is a device sold on the Internet that claims to detect wiretaps downline at the Central Office, but it's claims are bogus.)

When performing wiretap and bug detection we tell people that if they think the Feds are listening to their phone calls we turn down the job. One time the owner of a chain of supermarkets called me. He wanted his office swept for bugs. Then he told me that IRS agents had raided his office the day before, and he thought that they might have left eavesdropping devices behind. I said, "I'm glad you told me that. We can't do the sweep."

Of course, the Feds don't always tap the phones. Sometimes they install electronic transmitting devices where they think they'll pick up something of interest. If you find and remove a government-placed eavesdropping device, you could possibly get charged with obstruction of justice. It's not worth accepting the job.

Now, it looks like a former employee of the Galleon Group got in caught herself for insider trading. When in trouble, some people cast the blame on another person. So, she agreed to work as an FBI informant. Published reports say that she taped four damning phone conversations with Mr. Rajartnam. Originally, I thought the FBI got a court-ordered wiretap on Galleon's phones. Now, it could be that she just installed a simple recorder on her phone, and recorded the conversations with Mr. Rajaratnam.

I always tell people, never say anything on the telephone that you don't want the world to know about. This includes cell phones, too.

Also, it's better not to break the law.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Charles Manson

Susan Atkins died in prison last week of brain cancer. Atkins, 61, belonged to the infamous Manson Family cult. She, along with others in the Manson Family, was in prison for killing 8 or 9 people. I met Atkins one time, as well as "Squeaky" Fromm, Patricia Krenwinkle, and Leslie Van Houten.

I met Manson earlier, in 1967. As an evangelical preacher (Yes, I've led a checkered past.), I was trying to convert lost souls for Jesus on Sunset Strip. One night I got into a debate with a guy who was also recruiting. Bearded, with a leather-brimmed hat, shoulder length hair that looked unclean, he was very intense.

I used to quote the Bible a lot. I tried that on him, telling him something that Jesus had said.

"I am Jesus, the son of God!," he retorted.

"Whoa!," I thought. This guy is nuts.

In trying to convert people, the law of averages applies, like a salesperson selling something. The more people you pitch to, the more you'll sell, or convert.

I decided to focus on other prospects, because I wasn't getting anywhere with this guy. I told him that my name was Skipp, and held out my hand. He shook it, and said his name was Charlie.

The next time I saw Charlie was on the front page of the Los Angeles Times.

When I met the "Manson Girls" a couple of years later, Manson had been arrested and was being held in the county jail in downtown Los Angeles. The so-called Manson Girls sat on the street holding a vigil just outside the jail. They had a Volkswagen bus that they slept in at night.

To supplement my income, I worked for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. At lunch time I went on the street to talk to the Manson Girls. One day, they gave me a manuscript that Manson had written and signed. They said they smuggled it out of jail. They gave it to me to read, on the promise that I would return it.

Return it? I was afraid of those girls! Of course I would return it. First, though, I photocopied it, and returned the original. Somewhere I lost the photocopy. All I can remember today is that Manson didn't make any sense at all. Still, I wish I had retained it.

Susan Atkins became a born-again Christian in prison, as well as some of the others in the Manson Family. She tried to get paroled several times. Originally, she was sentenced to death, but the Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty for a while, so she was sentenced to life in prison.

When someone is sentenced, I think they should serve their full sentence. (I'm against the death penalty.) There should be no getting out for "good behavior." What about the time they misbehaved? That's what got them imprisoned. So what if they became a born-again Christian, or a devout Jew, or some other thing? Life is short. Eternity is long.

To contact me, or Sherlock Investigations, click here:

DIY Bug Sweeps

Private Eye Offers Free Debugging Manual

Can you imagine what people are learning about your personal life or business if they’ve tapped your phone or bugged your home, car, or secretly watching you on a hidden video camera?
Skipp Porteous , a Manhattan-based private investigator, has written a fully-illustrated do-it-yourself manual called Locating Wiretaps and Bugs...Without Any Special Equipment! Porteous has lots of experience as he’s been locating electronic listening for corporations and individuals for years. He founded Sherlock Investigations in 1995.
“Any honest TSCM (Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures) expert will tell you that most wiretaps and bugs in homes and small offices” Porteous says, “are found with a visual inspection, not with high-tech expensive equipment.”
In the free manual, downloadable in PDF form, Porteous shows how you can locate clandestine listening devices without any special, high-tech equipment. “The key,” Porteous says, “is to know what to look for.”
He says that when you finish reading this manual, you’ll know what to look for, and you’ll be ready to check out your own home, vehicle, or small office for bugs, wiretaps and hidden cameras.
Sweeping for eavesdropping devices with advanced electronic equipment can be expensive. Yet, the most important part of any assignment consists of a very thorough visual/physical search.
Locating Wiretaps and Bugs…Without Any Special Equipment! is used in TSCM classes at the World Institute for Security Enhancement.
Note: This manual will not teach you how to install bugs or wiretaps, as that is illegal. If you think that very expensive, sophisticated eavesdropping devices have been employed against you, you should call a TSCM expert.

Contact Sherlock Investigations:
Phone: 212-579-4302

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hunting for D.B. Cooper

Even though I've exchanged e-mails and chatted with Skipp Porteous by phone during the course of a couple years, I have yet to meet him. I'm looking forward to it one day.

Skipp and I have a few things in common: we are both private investigators, and we both spend our free time hunting for DB Cooper. Of course, Skipp has his beautiful angels working with him, I work mostly alone.

Skipp and I do not share a suspect list. We bounce ideas off of each other and examine hypotheticals that could support some of the more credible theories about the DB Cooper case. Skipp was seen on National Geographic's tv special and I was heard on the Coast to Coast radio show. We both believe that the DB Cooper mystery is solveable and we each carry a portfolio of active investigation in the case.

Skipp and I also share the belief that the FBI has not been forthcoming with the public when it comes to DB Cooper. The FBI refers to this case as "NORJAK," the only unsolved case of air piracy/extortion in the United States. Could it be that the FBI is haunted by this case, or does it more resemble a pesky fly that won't leave the dinner table? Take your pick. When it comes to solving bank robberies, the FBI is pretty good. But when a particular robber escapes by company jet and then jumps out the back end into a November storm with a parachute and a bag full of money, the FBI flounders. Sure, the FBI did catch McCoy and others who copied DB, but they were now prepared to defend against known criminal tactics. A criminal with original design is hard to catch, though. For DB Cooper it has been 38 years on the uncaptured list, an eye-sore for the pursuer.

Recently, the FBI announced that it was assembling a "Citizens Sleuth Group" (CSG) to broaden the scope of opportunity to catch DB Cooper. In part, Skipp Porteous can take some credit for this, in part, maybe I can. In 2004, I sued the Department of Justice in a Seattle federal court to release some of the NORJAK file to the public. In 2008, Skipp outed a new DB Cooper suspect through an article in New York Magazine, based on his investigative work for a client. Shortly thereafter, the FBI started releasing more details about DB Cooper and upped their efforts to get the public involved. These arrangements are usually broached through compelling efforts of others................oh, those pesky flies.

Skipp and I have made numerous attempts during the past two years to coordinate with the FBI in certain matters regarding the Cooper case. For the most part, we have been ignored, despite our professional backgrounds and our knowledge about the case. What is puzzling is that the FBI has made public appearances with certain individuals from the CSG. It can be assumed that these individuals have access to the FBI NORJAK files and the evidence room where Cooper-related "material articles" are stored. Skipp and my repeated requests to the FBI for access to these items go ignored.

The question we both ask, then, is on what basis does the FBI discriminate or use discretionary authorization in the sharing of its material evidence to the public?
Skipp and I would like nothing better than to see the DB Cooper case solved. Sure, one of us, or both of us, would like to be in on the resolution to this mystery. But after nearly four decades of tantalizing the public with a brilliant and daring escape, does the real DB Cooper really care who solves his case?

Galen G. Cook
Attorney at Law

Note from Skipp: Although I've been approached by several P.I.s and/or writers, I've never had a guest author on this blog. Recently, when talking to Galen, I invited him to write something. He has a different suspect in mind, but it doesn't matter. Both of us want to see the D.B. Cooper case solved.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wiretaps & Bugs...How to Locate Them

This is Part 3 in the series of Locating Wiretaps and Bugs....Without Any Special Equipment, by Skipp Porteous.


Next, go into your basement, or wherever the telephone interface is in your house. This is just opposite the wall where the telephone junction box is on the outside. There is usually a small plastic box (white or beige) with a cable that contains at least one pair of red and green and at least one pair of black and yellow wires coming in from outside.

The next step is very important, and a little tricky. One-by-one, follow all the wire pairs coming out of the interface. They may go directly to one phone, or several extensions in the house. The number of wires will depend upon how many phone lines you have, and how many extensions.

If a wire goes up into a wall, or some other inaccessible place, don’t worry about it. What you are looking for are bugs or wiretaps that are easy to place.

And always be on the lookout for a bug spliced to a phone line. These transmitters are usually wrapped in electrician’s tape, so as you examine the phone lines coming from the telephone interface, look for “fat” sections of the phone wire, covered with black, or another color, electrician’s tape.

This is why you need to follow each wire with your fingers. If you simply eye the wires, a clever wiretapper will splice a recorder or transmitter several feet down the wire and hide that part of the wire under something.
As you follow the paired wires, be sure that they go to a telephone, or just end with nothing attached to them. Of course, paired wires with nothing attached to them are possible places for future possible attack, so you should keep an eye on these.
If you find a pair of wires going to a recorder, bingo! The recorder may be battery operated, or be plugged into the house current.

As a second line of defense, locate all the outlets in the basement. There are two important things to check on the outlets. First, if there is anything plugged into them, follow the cords. You should know what’s on the other end of every plug.
Sometimes you may miss a recorder attached to your phone line when trying to follow all the wires. But, you’ll still catch it when following all the cords that are plugged into outlets.

Remember, if a person uses a battery operated recorder, he’ll have to have access once in a while to change the batteries. Therefore, sometimes running the recorder off the house current is more convenient.

Also, while checking the outlets, you may find a recorder that’s not attached to a phone line. The first bug I ever found was like this. I found a plug in an outlet, and traced the cord to a small wooden box fastened to the basement ceiling. The wooden box had a door and a latch and padlock. Fortunately, it was unlocked. I opened the door and found a tape recorder inside. A wire went from the top of the box and through a hole in the basement ceiling. I knew I was below the living room, so I went upstairs, and slid the couch away from the wall. I discovered a small microphone under the couch, with a cord going to the wooden box in the basement.

In any room where eavesdropping is a concern, take the face plate off all the outlets. Of course, if you find an outlet near the furnace, you probably shouldn’t be concerned about an eavesdropper listening in that part of the basement. But, if you have a home office in the basement, or any kind of room where you fear eavesdroppers, take the face plate off the outlets in that room.

Below is a typical wall outlet. There is often electrician’s tape around the box containing the outlet. This is normal. But you’ll notice that there is nothing else in there. On the Internet one may purchase wall outlets that contain a miniature microphone, transmitter, and antenna.

Train your flashlight carefully, looking at all sides of the outlet. If you see anything attached to it, even a thin wire (the antenna), you may have located a bug. A mismatching outlet would be a strong clue that something is amiss. Unless you know what you’re doings, suspicious outlets should be replaced by an electrician.

There are several other electrical devices that could house a transmitter. They include power strips and plug adapters to expand your outlet for insertion of two or three plugs. If you find any of these attached to an outlet, and you didn’t purchase it, or know where it came from, replace it with one that you purchased.

Remember, you should keep your eye open for any of the devices you see pictured in this booklet, from the Radio Shack telephone recording devices, to the type of bug attached to a 9-volt battery.

Ground Floor

Now, go upstairs.

Here you need to carefully follow all the phone wires as you did in the basement. Know where every wire comes from and where it goes.

Check all the outlets. Inside, start in one corner, and work around the room.Know what is plugged into every outlet.

Next, look in every nook and cranny for:

• Baby monitors (can transmit every sound in a room up to a half mile)
• Recorders
• Unaccounted-for cell phones
• Transmitters hidden in ordinary objects
• Video cameras hidden in ordinary objects


After thoroughly inspecting the ground floor, do the same upstairs, if you have one. Be sure to check all the outlets and trace any phone wires. Remember, bugs are usually placed in areas where you have conversations, whether on the phone or otherwise. So, you’re probably safe in not searching hallways, stairways, etc.


In the attic, look for antennas, recorders, and receivers. Also, check any phone wires with spliced-in recorders and transmitters.

An antenna could simply be a vertical wire, or a TV-type antenna. An antenna in the attic will transmit conversations for several miles.

Sometimes radio receivers and recorders are placed in the attic, using it as a “listening post.” If you find something suspicious, trace the wire/cable to its source. If you find a radio, turn it on; you might hear a transmission from some other part of your house.


If you have a garage, you might find receivers and recorders there. Radio receivers may have a recorder attached. If you locate a suspicious radio receiver in the garage or attic, it means that you may have missed a bug hidden somewhere in your house.

Also check for phone wires attached to a recorder or transmitter.

Video Cameras and Transmitters

Video cameras and transmitters are small enough to be hidden in almost any object, from smoke detectors to Teddy Bears. One question that you have to ask yourself: Where did the item come from?

One small office received a Fedex envelope for an employee that just started his vacation. It was thrown on his desk to await his return. Inside was a (bug) small microphone and transmitter. For several days, it picked up the conversation in the office and transmitted it to an unknown listening post.

When doing a sweep, I always check calculators, clocks, and everything with a battery or that is plugged into the wall. Did you receive a calculator as a gift? A plant? A lamp? The FBI frequently uses a lamp with a built-in hidden camera.

If you’re divorced and your child comes home from a visit with the ex with a new Teddy Bear, the plump toy may have a voice-operated digital recorder or transmitter hidden inside. Thoroughly squeeze the Teddy Bear and you’ll find it.

Look at the photo of the door on page four in the PDF. Without a Hidden Camera Finder, it’s very difficult to locate the camera hidden in the doorframe. This is where the magnifying glass comes in. Routinely inspect surfaces, books, and objects, looking for a tiny hole. If you find a small hole, shine a flashlight in the hole to observe a reflection from a camera lens.

Note: Unless you were away for an extended period of time, probably no one had the time to complete a complicated installation.

If you want more efficiency in locating hidden cameras, wired or wireless, you should order a Spy Finder Hidden Camera Detector from, for just $89. (This is the only suggestion in this booklet for purchasing special equipment.)

Originally developed for the government, the Spy Finder Hidden Camera Detector works on a simple principle. It flashes a beam around its circle of red LED lights. The viewfinder is directly in the center of the lights, so reflections from hidden video camera lenses shine to the center of your eye. When you see a small red light flashing back at you, you’ve located a camera, whether wired or wireless.

The Spy Finder Hidden Camera Detector will also locate hidden cameras that are hidden behind the dark red plastic on a clock radio. This kind of placement of hidden cameras is very common. Of course, if someone recently gave you a clock radio, you should suspect that it contains a hidden camera.

If you happen to have a video camera with the Night Shot, turn on the Night Shot feature and look through the viewfinder. The infrared in the Night Shot will see right through the dark red plastic common on the face of clock radios.

If you’re directly in front of a hidden camera lens, and you shine an ordinary flashlight at it, you’ll also see the reflection from the flashlight. If you don’t want to spring for the Spy Finder Hidden Camera Detector, use this method in your search. Remember though, you have to be directly in front of the camera.

Sometimes I get calls from people who think the person in the apartment upstairs is watching them with a hidden video camera. They invariably say that wherever they walk in their apartment, that they can hear the person following them upstairs, walking in the same places.

Video cameras are almost impossible to place in a floor to spy on a downstairs apartment. In New York City the floors are made of solid concrete. Even if you have wooden floors, it would create a mess in your apartment if someone started drilling in his floor to place a camera.
A note on Computers

The purpose of this booklet is to locate physical eavesdropping objects, devices that you can see. There are programs that can reside on your computer’s hard-drive that only a computer technician can detect.

Here is a rule: Never open an attachment to an email from a person that you do not know. Spyware is typically placed on your computer when you open an attachment. If you receive email, and click on an attachment, and nothing apparently happens, you may have allowed spyware to be placed on your computer.

You also have to be aware of physical key loggers. Unlike spyware, they are something that you can see. Key loggers record every keystroke that you make, including passwords, email, etc. They take a couple of different forms. One, attached between your computer and the cord going to your keyboard is pictured below. While the one pictured is blue, it could also be black or white. (Filters on computer cables look very similar, but you can differentiate them because they cannot be detached.)

When key loggers are employed, the person installing them has to retrieve them at some time in the future. They attach them to their own computer and a program downloads everything you typed on your computer while the key logger was installed.

How to sweep a small office

A small office sweep is similar to doing a sweep in a house. One of the main differences is that an office probably will have more electronic equipment, such as telephones, calculators and other small electronic equipment.
You should especially be careful of gifts you’ve recently received. I said “recently” because of what I wrote earlier in this booklet: that all bugs must have a power source. The power either comes from the wiring in the building, or batteries (in the case of phone taps, the phone line). Batteries do not last forever, so either someone has to get in to change them, or they’ll just go dead.

If you received a gift calculator just a few days ago, you should be suspicious of the gift. If you received one six months ago, if it had a bug, it’s dead now, so you don’t have to worry about it. (If you’re suspicious about, say, a calculator that you received as a gift, simply remove the batteries.)

You should be wary of any gifts you receive that you’re likely to use in the office, even plants. A transmitter can be placed in almost anything.

While this manual doesn’t tell you how to tell electronically if a telephone is tapped, you still can know with a reasonable amount of certainty whether your phone is safe. Employing the same method described for tracing phone wires in a home, you’ll want to do the same in an office. This will likely be more difficult in a small office than in a house, as there may be more phones. Also, you should start your search in the phone closet.

The phone closet will vary from office to office. It may literally be in a closet, or in a room dedicated to phone and computer equipment. At first, looking at the phone panel may be overwhelming.

Again, just like with the telephone interface on the outside of a house, what you’re looking for here are recorders and transmitters. Remember, electronic eavesdropping equipment needs a power source, either the buildings current, batteries, or the power in the DC-powered phone wires.

First, look at all the electrical outlets in the phone closet. Trace every plug in an outlet back to it source. Be sure that there are no plugged-in recorders. I’ve found cassette recorders in phone closets, but they were on Play, not on Record. They were playing music when the phones were on hold.

Next, look for recorders and transmitters on the phone lines themselves. These will be powered either by batteries or the phone lines themselves. This step may be time-consuming, but worth it. And remember, batteries are sometimes larger that the bugs or taps.

Systematically, follow every wire. If a wire goes into the ceiling or wall, follow it as far as you can. Use your flashlight if needed.
When following wires, look for “fat” taped wires...a small bulge in a phone wire. Carefully examine any that you find, as they could contain transmitters powered by the phone line’s direct current.

Examine the telephones themselves by taking the cover off. Some phone covers snap off, but most have about four screws on the bottom that will have to be removed. If there are any alligator clips in the phone, such as black-plastic-enclosed clips as in the photo below, know that your phone is tapped. There should be no alligator clips or electrical tape on any wires. All the wires should have a permanent look. There should be no loose wires or sloppy wiring.

Offices often have more than one phone that are identical in outward appearance. If there are two or more phones, take the covers off all of them and place them next to each other. All the phones should look identical on the inside. If one phone has “extra” parts, the phone is probably tapped.

(To be continued.)

If you would like the fully-illustrated PDB, free, Locating Wiretaps and Bugs....Without Any Special Equipment, click on our website site and then click on the photo by Electronic Sweeps and Wiretap Detection. Click here to start

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Locating Wiretaps and Bugs...Without Any Special Equipment!

This is part 2 of Locating Wiretaps and Bugs...Without Any Special Equipment

By Skipp Porteous

A Brooklyn rabbi always knew the latest gossip on his neighbors. He parlayed this into a thriving counseling/advice business. One day someone from his building went to the basement. He found the rabbi sitting on a wooden crate jotting notes on a pad. Between his ear and shoulder he cradled a “butt set,” with alligator clips attached to one of his neighbor’s phone lines.

(A “butt set” is simply a telephone handset. You see telephone service people carrying them on their belts. They’re usually yellow, orange, or blue.)

How people learn information about you

There are a number of ways that people can learn information about you. Probably number one (surprise!) on the list is gossip. Almost everyone has one friend that they feel that they can trust. Of course, that friend, in turn, has a friend that they can trust. Pretty soon, something confidential you uttered to your closest friend is shared with her closest friend (which may not be you), and on and on. Suddenly, the whole world knows (at least, those whom you didn’t want to know) what you think you shared in confidence with your friend. Be very careful who you share confidential information with, if anyone.

I did a sweep in upstate New York. My client’s maid caught someone going through the trash behind the house. Many people think that once they throw something in the trash, it’s gone forever. Not so! Private investigators garner valuable information about people through “dumpster dives.” Notes, receipts, credit card bills, drug paraphernalia, condoms, etc., are often found in people’s trash. This is why you should shred or burn confidential information before tossing it out.

Sometimes people swear to me that their cell phone is bugged, because something that they said on their cell phone was found out by someone else. One way that this can happen is through lip-reading. That’s right, lip-reading. There are several ways that this can be done. A lip-reader can “hear” what you say on your cell phone from 12 feet away by observing your mouth, and even further when using binoculars. A person who wants to find out what you’re saying on your cell phone when out in public simply has to videotape you. This can be done from quite a distance. Then all they have to do is show the video to a lip-reader to get the “translation.”

Along this same line, people can simply overhear you when in public. You might be talking to a person next to you, or having a conversation on your cell phone. Recently, while in the supermarket I heard a man talking on his cell phone. Standing near him, I learned where he’d be that night with whom, what time, and quite a bit about their sex life.

Finally, and why you bought this booklet, there’s electronic eavesdropping.

Equipment you need to have.
• Good flashlight
• A mirror with handle (see photo below)
• A large magnifying glass
• A Phillips and a Flathead screwdriver

I use the mirror on the left to look under cars, high shelves in homes and offices, etc. The mirror on the right is ideal for looking under dashboards. TO AVOID POSSIBLE ELECTRICAL SHOCK, BE SURE YOUR MIRROR IS PLASTIC, NOT METAL.

A simple magnifying glass is handy to have.

Additional Useful equipment:
• Spy Finder Hidden Camera Detector ($89)
• Butt set (homemade or purchased)

Spy Finder Hidden Camera Detector

With alligator clips purchased from Radio Shack, and a regular handset, you can make your own butt set. Simply cut the plug at the end of the cord, strip the wires, and attach alligator clips to the red and green wires.

How to sweep a house.

1. Outside
2. Basement
3. Ground floor
4. Upstairs
5. Attic
6. Garage

Whether sweeping a house, small office, or vehicle, always be consistent and methodical. In a house, I always start with the outside.


Determine if the phone cable coming to the junction box on the outside of your house comes directly from the telephone pole, or from an underground conduit. If it comes from an underground conduit, then you must locate the telephone junction box in your neighborhood.

In rural areas the phone line to your house likely comes directly from the telephone pole. In urban areas there is probably a junction box close to your house.

Typical junction boxes are pictured in the PDF. Some modern ones are round. They can be opened with a flat-bladed screwdriver. (It is not illegal to check your telephone line for wiretaps.)

Inside you’ll find rows of terminals with red and green or yellow and black wires attached to the terminals. You’re looking for your telephone line. Occasionally, the terminals are labeled with the corresponding phone numbers. If they’re not, using your butt set (purchased from Radio Shack, Home Depot, the Internet, or your homemade butt set), attach the alligator clips to each pair of wires (green and red). If you hear a dial tone, dial 1-800-444-4444. A computerized voice will tell you the number that you’re calling from. Do this until you find your phone number. (No dial tone indicates that the terminal is not in service. If you hear conversation on a line, disconnect quickly.)

(Don’t do this exercise in the rain. Phone wires carry only about 48 volts of direct current, but that still can produce quite a kick.)

When you find your line, mark it for the future. If there are other pairs of wires attached to the terminal on your line, and they go to another terminal, your phone is tapped. Follow the wires to the other terminal. Then clip your butt set to the terminal and dial 800-444-444. Now you’ll know the number of the person who tapped your phone!

Look carefully at your terminal. Compare it to the other terminals in the junction box. See if there is anything unusual about yours, or that anything is attached to your line.

Second, go to the phone junction box on the outside of the house. This is also a very easy place to tap your phone.

If you open the phone junction box, you’ll see the main cable coming into the junction box from the telephone pole distributing box, or the neighborhood junction box. There will be a ground wire leaving the box to a water pipe or other suitable ground. This wire will likely go into the ground and may be attached to a visible pipe driven into the ground. There are also red and green, and yellow and black wires going into the house. Landlines, including cordless phones, use these wires once they go into the house, at the telephone interface, which is described later.

There are two things to look for. First, look for colored (they may be enclosed in a gray or black cable) wires going into the ground, a bush, or to your neighbor’s house. The colored wires should be going into the house and nowhere else.
Also, look for anything attached to any of the colored wires in the junction box. What you’re looking for is a transmitter. If the transmitter happens to be powered by the phone line there will be no battery attached. The transmitter could be quite small, and wrapped in black, or other-colored tape. A transmitter will contain small circuit board, diodes and other parts that may be unfamiliar to you. (See example in the PDF.)

Again, this is a popular place to tap a phone. Some eavesdroppers will actually bury a recorder in the ground below the junction box, or place it under the porch or deck. Be sure there are no colored wires going anywhere besides in your house.
Note: A person could also go to your junction box at night, clip a butt set to your phone line and eavesdrop on your phone conversations in the dark.

If you live in an apartment, go to the basement and locate the phone closet. You’ll find a telephone junction box there. It may be locked, so you’ll have to get someone to open it. Most of them are unlocked. Using your butt set, follow the instructions above regarding the neighborhood junction box.

(To be continued.)

If you would like a full-illustrated version of this PDF, go to our website and click on the pic called Electronic Sweeps and Wiretap Detection. To go to our site click here

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Locating Wiretaps and Bugs...Without Any Special Equipment!

In the days ahead, I'm going to reproduce the entire PDF I wrote titled "Bug Off! Locating Wiretaps and Bugs...Without Any Special Equipment!"

Bug Off! Locating wiretaps and bugs –
without any special equipment.

By Skipp Porteous

Can you imagine what people are learning about your personal life or business if they've tapped your phone, bugged your home, car, or office, or are secretly watching you on a hidden video camera?

• Do people know your secrets or personal business?
• Does someone always know where you go in your car?
• Are you scheduling highly confidential meetings or conferences?
• Is confidential information about your business leaking out?
• Does your phone often ring once and then stop?
• Did you have a break-in at your home or business and nothing was taken?
• Do you have an overly suspicious spouse or significant other?
• Do others know about your conversations even when you talk from the privacy of your vehicle?
• Do you think you might be under video surveillance?
• Are you going through a divorce?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your home, office, vehicle or computer may be "bugged," or otherwise compromised. Don't order a "bug detector" or "phone tap detector" off the Internet. This equipment is mostly junk. And even the good equipment is useless unless you are trained to use it.

A little-known secret

Any honest TSCM (Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures) expert will tell you that most wiretaps and bugs in homes or small offices are found with visual inspection, not with high-tech expensive equipment.

In this manual I’m going to show you how you can locate clandestine listening devices without any special, high-tech equipment. The key is to know what to look for. When you finish reading this manual, you’ll know what to look for, and you’ll be ready to check out your own home, vehicle, or small office for bugs, wiretaps and hidden cameras.

When I conduct an electronic sweep in the New York Metro area, I typically charge up to $600 an hour, and most sweeps take two to six hours! While I employ advanced electronic equipment, the most important part of any assignment consists of a very thorough visual/physical search.

You, too, will be able to conduct your own sweeps, saving you hundreds, and even thousands of dollars.

This manual will not teach you how to install wiretaps or bugs, as this is against the law in every jurisdiction in the United States. And, if you have reason to think that any kind of law enforcement agency has you under electronic surveillance, your best bet is to purchase a pre-paid cell phone. Use it for a month, then toss it out and get another one.

Why? Law enforcement agencies wiretap a landline telephone at the phone company’s central office, not in a home or office. There is no way that you or I, or anyone else can detect it. They will even tap the pay phones in your neighborhood, or anywhere else that you’re known to hang out. If you have cell phone service, they have the authority and equipment to tap your cell phone too.

Buy a prepaid cell phone with cash so that there is no paper trail to you. If you find yourself in this position, this manual will not help you, and neither will any legitimate TSCM person.

We constantly receive inquiries from people who think that their cell phone is tapped. I’ll go into that later, but the chances are that your cell phone is not tapped. (Increasingly, smart phones, such as the iPhone and Blackberry, are vulnerable.)

Wiretaps, “bugs”, and video cameras

There is a difference between wiretaps and bugs. A wiretap is a device attached to the telephone or telephone line that either records both sides of a conversation, or transmits the conversation to a listening post, where it is usually recorded. A wiretap always involves a telephone, and may or may not have a microphone. A wiretap either picks up the conversation directly from the phone line, uses the self-contained microphone in the telephone, or uses a special microphone that is installed in the phone.

In this booklet you will learn how to locate wiretaps on the telephone line, or in the telephone set.

A “bug” is a listening device placed in a room, vehicle, etc. A microphone is always one of its components. The microphones in these devices can be very small. A simple example of a bug is a tape recorder, utilizing a built-in microphone or an external microphone. A bug can record the conversation in the room or vehicle itself, or can transmit the conversation to another location, where it can be recorded or simply listened to.

In this booklet you will learn how to locate bugs whether placed in a room, vehicle, or some other location.
Color video cameras can be as small as a dime, but you usually don’t see the camera itself. If anything, all you see is the lens, or the hole it sees through. The hole can be as small as 1/16th of an inch. The 9-volt battery is often larger than the wireless camera! While some cameras can easily be found, others are so cleverly hidden that they can only be found after a careful search. They are typically found in clock radios, lamps, plants, smoke detectors, books, stuffed animals, etc.

Although video cameras can be hard-wired, they usually are wireless. In some places that I’ve swept, there were large potted plants. It was evident that something was peculiar about the plants, as they had a black wire coming out of the back. It wasn’t hard to find the video camera hidden among the leaves. I followed the wire and found a hidden long-play VCR that recorded everything that transpired in the room.

Hard-wired cameras are more difficult to install, since the wires need to be hidden. The wires usually lead to a monitor somewhere and a video recorder. Hard-wired cameras are powered by the house current.
Wireless video cameras are often harder to find. They can be put in almost anything and placed quickly.
In this booklet you will learn how to locate hidden video cameras, regardless of where they are hidden.

(To Be Continued)

If you want to download the fully illustrated PDF, click here and click on the photo labeled Electronic Sweeps and Wiretap Detection.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

FBI Fumbles Again

The strange kidnap and rape case of Jaycee Lee Dugard has grabbed the attention of people from around the world. The suspect, Phillip Garrido, was convicted and jailed for rape in the past. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison, but he served much less time. He wore a GPS tracking bracelet so authorities could know his whereabouts at all times. He reported regularly to his parole officer.

A neighbor reported him to the sheriff a couple of years ago because of the makeshift tents and buildings in his backyard. Yet, when they investigated they didn't find anything unusual.

Furthermore, Jaycee Lee Dugard worked for Garrido at his home-based business card printing company. Several of his customers said that they even had talked to her, with her using a different name. Now, we all know about the Stockholm Syndrome...but still.

I came across the following last week:

"SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- An FBI agent who spent 18 years on the Jaycee Lee Dugard case says the Antioch couple charged in her 1991 abduction were never considered suspects.

Special Agent Chris Campion said the bureau exhausted thousands of leads about Dugard's whereabouts, sometimes with the help of confidential informants and court-ordered wiretaps.

Yet Campion said in the interview posted on the FBI Web site Friday that Phillip and Nancy Garrido ''just did not come up on the radar screen.''"

Here was a man who had been arrested for kidnapping and rape, and he was under observation, yet he was not a suspect in the kidnapping.

Now, I ask you, if the FBI never had Garrido on their suspect list, how can the FBI possibly find D.B. Cooper when they've lost evidence and mismanaged the case for so many years?

Some time ago, the FBI asked us for DNA evidence from our suspect in the D.B. Cooper hijacking, Kenneth Christiansen. We readily provided it, but didn't know that they had lost the most probable DNA evidence in their possession, the cigarette butts that D.B. Cooper smoked on the plane.

Last month, National Geographic TV aired a documentary on D.B. Cooper. They even duplicated the jump wearing what "D.B. Cooper" was wearing at the time, to see if it could be done successfully. The stuntman duplicated the caper flawlessly.

Kenneth Christiansen was featured prominently, but the show concluded that perhaps D.B. Cooper drowned in a river and was dragged 20 miles upstream by a ship's propeller, where they found a little of the money he got in his ransom.

Even the FBI hasn't come to that conclusion! The FBI does feel that he died when he parachuted from the plane, but they've never found and body or the parachute. Maybe that explains it, but I don't think so.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Counterfeit Merchandise

Counterfeit merchandise is the nemesis of owners of Intellectual Property. Intellectual Property owners are aware that the Internet has replaced Canal Street as the leading market in counterfeit merchandise.

Whether counterfeiters have posted on eBay, message boards, or their own web sites, Sherlock Investigations locates the sellers of fake bags, sunglasses, watches, and other luxury goods. We purchase the product, tag it, create a chain of custody, send it to our client's legal department, and, most importantly, find out who is really behind the sale.

We know all the tricks sellers use to hide their true identity.

• Our investigative reports give you everything you need to deliver a Cease and Desist letter, shut down a site, or initiate other legal action.

• Additional services include locating a current address to serve an individual, and "brick and mortar" investigations...from the buy to the confiscation of counterfeit merchandise.

Contact us now, we'll work within your budget. Stop the rip-offs!

Sherlock Investigations supports the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC).

Please note: If you purchase counterfeit merchandise, you are likely supporting terrorism and organized crime. Fake merchandise is for fake people.

To contact Sherlock Investigations click here

Cause Stalking

“Cause stalking” and “gang stalking” are one in the same. “Gang stalking” simply means that many people are involved in the stalking. People who believe in certain causes often feel powerless because popular opinion and/or the laws of the land are against them. The causes they support range from anti-abortion to anti-gay rights. Of course, all people who believe in these causes are not stalkers.

Many stalkers are bullies. They practice the grown-up version of schoolyard bullying. They know of no other way to express themselves. Therefore, they heap psychological warfare on helpless victims.

Some victims have nothing to do with the causes that stalkers espouse. Still others are outspoken and against the particular cause. Some victims are corporate whistle blowers. Stalkers are angry and revengeful and they take their anger out on the innocent.

If you’re a stalking victim, your friends and relatives may think that you’re crazy. Stalkers want to make you crazy, to make you insane, and even drive you to suicide. Destroying you gives them power.

After being stalked for some time, you may start to act crazy, so you can’t blame your friends and relatives for thinking you are.

Stalkers may constantly follow you, videotape you, harass you, spread rumors about you, break into your home and move little things around, place electronic eavesdropping devices in your home, or vandalize your vehicle or home.

We can help you. We’ll listen to your story. We’ll investigate your claims.

Sherlock Investigations doesn’t take every case involving alleged stalking. But don’t fear. Tell us your story. If we think you’re credible, no matter how off the wall you seem to your friends and family, we’ll take the case.

If we take your case, Sherlock Investigations will:

• Conduct counter-surveillance to gather evidence that you are truly being stalked.

• Try to identify and expose the stalkers (this often causes them stop).

• Sweep your home and vehicle for electronic eavesdropping devices.

• Suggest things that you can do to thwart the stalkers.

• Take your case to the authorities if there is hard evidence.

To contact Sherlock Investigations click here

Friday, May 01, 2009

Cell Phone Bugs

It's official. Cell phones can be bugged. And a lot of people are calling Sherlock Investigations about it.
For as little as $59, you can buy spyware on the Internet and place it on almost any cell phone.
People ask, "Is this legal?" No, it's not. I'm sure that the U.S. authorities will crack down on the vendors of this spyware pretty soon. Even when they do, they'll still sell it outside of the U.S. on the Internet.
Remember, modern cell phones are like computers. They can can infected with viruses and have spyware placed on them.
What does spyware do? Well, the person who placed it on your cell phone can listen to both sides of every conversation. They can read your text messages. They can view the photos stored on your phone, and tell where you are at any time. But wait, there's more.
If your cell phone is bugged, the person doing it can call your cell phone (it won't ring) and turn on the microphone. Then they can listen to conversations in the room or car where you are located.
You say, "Well, I'll just turn the phone off when I'm not using it." You might go through the motions of turning it off, but it won't really be off. The only way to really turn it off is to remove the battery.
If your cell phone is bugged it's working overtime. The battery won't last nearly as long as it did when you first got it. Also, the phone will stay warm if the battery is being used.
The Technical Division of Sherlock Investigations has a new service to check cell phones for activity when the phones are supposedly not being used. If you want to take advantage of it, we must have physical possession of your phone for 24 hours. The fee to check your cell phone is $150, plus Fedex charges to get it back to you. We provide free pickup and delivery in Manhattan.
To contact us please click on
Don't call from a cell phone that you think is infected.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bug Sweep in Westport, CT

Recently, the Technical Division of Sherlock Investigations conducted a bug sweep in Westport, CT of a large house and two cars. The house was clean, but we found a microphone in one of the cars (see photo). It was hidden beneath the steering column. We followed the wire from the microphone to a small space under the console. There was nothing attached to the other end, but there was a cell phone connector on the cable. So, at one time the microphone had been attached to a cell phone.

The woman who hired us said that she never had a car phone, and didn't know how the microphone got in her car. Obviously, at one time her car had been bugged, but the person removed it before we checked the car. It was probably after the battery died in the cell phone. With this kind of bug, the person placing it in the vehicle can call the cell phone at any time. The cell phone doesn't ring. They can hear everything that goes on in the car, including one side of the conversation if the driver is talking on her own cell phone.

This kind of car bug is very common. Although the microphone was not very well hidden, sometimes they take quite a while to locate. If the phone is not transmitting at the time, these bugs can only be found with a very careful physical search.

To learn more, or contact Sherlock Investigations, click on

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Can Psychics Know Your Financial Future?

In this recession psychics are reporting a phenomenal increase in business. In good economic times, women go to psychics to find out the future of their love life. Now, men and women are frequenting psychics. Men mostly want to find out if they're going to get laid off, or if their stocks are going to turn around.

Can psychics know this? I say, unequivocally, no. All they can do is guess.

When you go to psychic for a $10 reading the psychic may tell you something that piques your curiosity. The next reading is $100, and so on. By this time your hooked.

Sherlock Investigations has had clients who lost as much as $50,000 to psychics in two years. Some psychics might have a gift, or they might truly want to help people. The only gift they have is understanding human nature. In the end, they want your money, and they know how to get your money.

The first step, is going in for a $10 reading. Don't be a sucker.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bug Sweeps

Spy Shops are reporting a major increase in sales, including listening devices, wireless video transmitters, and easy-to-hide GPS units. The president of one major distributor of these goods said sales were up 141% over last year.
Oprah recently did a show on infidelity in America. She, too, affirmed that Americans are spying on each other. In fact, she even promoted GPS devices to keep track of spouses and boyfriends/girlfriends.

At Sherlock Investigations, we don't promote GPS devices or tap phones. In fact, we're on the defensive. We find and disable them.

Yesterday I talked to four people about sweeps, and scheduled two. Today, the phone has been ringing again with people calling about sweeps.

I also do electronic sweeps for other private investigators who don't have the training or equipment to do it themselves. In the trade, it's called TSCM, technical surveillance counter measures.

Of course, every sweep doesn't involve matrimonial or infidelity cases. About half of my work involves businesses, including some major corporations. Sometimes there's an important board meeting and the officers of the corporation just want to be sure there are no eavesdropping devices in the boardroom.

Recently, I swept a conference room in a hotel in Washington, DC for a pharmaceutical company that was planning a conference. After I swept the room, a security company placed a guard at the door 24/7.

A couple of weeks ago I flew to Portland, Maine to sweep a mansion, two smaller houses, and a business. No, nothing was found, which is the case more often than not. The people just want to be secure.

Last week we swept a corporate headquarters in mid-town Manhattan. The company suspected disloyalty by one particular employee. The employee was retired from the FBI. Before I arrived, the suspected employee was fired. At the time of the firing, security guards escorted him out, allowing him only take personal belongings.

Upon sweeping his office, we found a device that recorded all the company's phone conversations to his company-owned laptop computer. It seems that they were right to fire him.

To contact Sherlock Investigations click on