Monday, April 26, 2010

Finding legal wiretaps

Sherlock Investigations received a call from a business owner telling us that his ex-partner had formed a rival company. We received a call from a woman who was concerned that her husband, whom she was in the process of divorcing, seemed to inexplicably know all her personal business.

We swept the business owner's offices and checked the phones for possible wiretaps. Nothing. We went to the woman’s home and searched the premises for possible taps. Also, nothing.

In both cases, legal phone taps were ordered from the phone company. In the first instance, the former partner originally ordered the phones. The phone company knew his name and assumed he was still associated with the business. Before he left the firm to start the rival business, he ordered an OPX to go to his new place of business. An OPX is an Off Premise Extension. With an extension phone he could record the bids presented to clients from the former company.

In the case of the woman, the phone was in her husband’s name. He had an FX installed on the line where he and his wife lived together. An FX is a Foreign Exchange going to a different area code. He told the phone company that he needed an extension for his vacation home--where he actually lived. When the phone rang, he picked it up after his wife did and was able to listen-in.

It’s illegal to eavesdrop on people’s phone conversations, but nevertheless it is done all the time. If you suspect your phone is being tapped, call the phone company’s business office and ask if there is an OPX or FX on your line, or just ask them if there is an extension on your phone.

For professional counsel contact me.

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