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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog as for me. It would be great to read something more about this theme. The only thing that blog misses is a few photos of such devices as gps blocker.