Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Listening device found in car

Sherlock Investigations got a call on a Sunday from a client in Staten Island who thought her cellphone might be bugged. I asked if it was a smart phone? “No,” she replied. “Just an ordinary cellphone.” Thinking it was not bugged, I asked, “Where do you mostly talk on your phone.”
“In my car,” she said. “Maybe your car is bugged,” I said. 
So I, and my equipment, headed to Staten Island. She told me she was going through a nasty divorce. Her husband owned a chain of pharmaceutical companies and traveled a lot. 
Her car was parked on the street. It was a new Jeep SUV. I inspected the car top to bottom. Nothing. Sitting in the driver’s seat, I still had the feeling that the car was bugged. 
I looked into the rearview mirror. Then I saw it. It was burred screw on the map light just above the mirror. Knowing that it was a new car I knew that it was unlikely the bulb in the map light had been replaced. It was more like that it had been tampered with.  
I removed the two screws in the map light and found a tiny microphone and small circuit board—about the size of a postage stamp—with two wires leading from them. One wire went to the battery, and the other went to a cellphone hidden in the roof. 
When the estranged husband wanted to listen in to his wife on her cellphone, he would call the hidden cellphone. Of course, it didn’t ring. If his wife was in the car at the time and on her phone, he could listen to her side of the conversation. 
I cut the wires and removed the phone. All the numbers he called from on trips around the country were on the registered on the phone. My client told me that two weeks ago her husband had taken the car in for “servicing.” She thought he was being uncharacteristically nice.
She gave the spy cellphone and my written report to her lawyer. What her husband did was a crime. I don't know the outcome of the divorce or the illegal bugging.
A physical inspection is necessary in finding potential hidden eavesdropping devices. If you need a free consultation please contact me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to find bugging devices.

I looked on the Internet for “how to find bugging devices in your house of car.” What I found was misleading.
The article said, “Listen carefully to electronic devices that use a receiver.” It said, “If you get a buzzing noise you may have a bugging device.” 
People call me all the time and they say there’s a funny noise or clicking on their phone. If your phone is wiretapped there won’t be any noise at all. If the authorities tap your phone they do it from the central office of the phone company. It, too, is silent, and undetectable.
“Check under furniture or other nooks and crannies where you’re getting reception problems.” This is partly correct. Most of the eavesdropping equipment I’ve found were located by a physical inspection.
In fact, Research Electronics International, a leading manufacturer of counter-surveillance equipment and one of the foremost training facilities for Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures (TSCM), says, “A physical search is the root of all counter-surveillance work. It also overlaps other procedures. Be thorough and look closely for anything suspicious. Your physical search may be the only method to uncover wired microphones, fiber optic microphones, passive resonators, inactive remote controlled ‘dormant’ devices, or devices which are not generally detectable with counter-surveillance equipment.” 
The next piece of information they give I must qualify. The article said to “purchase a professional bug detector.” Unless you know how to operate it it is useless. You have to understand the radio spectrum and GPS trackers thoroughly.
The next piece of advice I highly agree with. “Hire a professional specialization in bug device inspection.” It costs money to do a bug sweep. But, stealing your secrets, or invading your privacy costs more. 
A professional TSCM specialist will give you piece of mind. Not only will they do a thorough job looking for any eavesdropping equipment, if they find it, they will document it, remove it, and turn it over to the authorities.
Speaking of the authorities, the next piece of advice the article gives is “call the FBI.” The FBI or police don’t care if you think there are cameras watching you, or you think there’s eavesdropping devices in your car, home or business. In fact, they will probably think you are nuts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is the cost of a bug sweep worth it?

Electronic eavesdropping sweeps can be expensive. (The Technical Division of Sherlock Investigations is in the mid-range category.) The more sophisticated the threat the more expensive sweeps can be.

In the world of corporate espionage or government espionage the devices used are extremely sophisticated. The security office of corporations and embassies often have their own sweep teams.

Most people, though, don’t deal in such high-security threats. Still, they need protection, because the threats are often real.

As often happens, an employee that leaves to join or start another company often steals secrets. Occasionally, he will bug the previous office so that information can continue to be transmitted to a listening post elsewhere.

Business partners can have a parting of the ways. Before the partner leaves, and while he still has the authority, he might have an extension of the office phone installed in his home. Just having it installed is legal. Eavesdropping is not.

In divorce situations, occasionally the wife complains that her soon-to-be-ex inexplicably knows things about her. She tells us "it's as if he tapped my phone or placed a bug in my home or car". He may have done just that.

Considering what people can learn about you, the cost of electronic sweeps is relatively inexpensive. In fact, some firms have precautionary sweeps done on a regular basis throughout the year.

Remember, Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (Bug Sweeps) is a technical skill , not an investigative one. Beware of the private investigator who uses a bug detector obtained from the Internet. Unless he is highly trained, it is useless.

If you need a skilled consultant, contact us.

Friday, February 10, 2012

GPS trackers and cell phones as bugs

I’m getting more calls about GPS trackers than anything else. I sweep at least one car a week. Last year I swept only one car a month.

I asked Jimmie Mesis, the owner of PIgear.com and PIMagazine.com, how many GPS trackers are sold each year. He said, “Hundreds of thousands.” He should know.
I’ve located quite a few so far on cars I’ve swept. They’ve been all attached with magnets underneath the car. They’re very visible in a small black plastic box.
They’re motion-activated, so you actually have to move the car if you want to use a cell phone finder to reveal their presence. 
By the way, cell phones have been the “bug” of choice lately. They don’t ring, they’re easily concealable, and they can be called from anywhere in the world. And, you can hear all the conversation in the room where it’s been hidden. 

Thursday, February 09, 2012

GPS trackers

Hundreds of thousands of GPS trackers are sold each year in the United States. Applications for this live GPS tracking device range from covert tracking, fleet personnel management, theft notification and recovery, athletics tracking, medical patient tracking, infant/children tracking, asset tracking, and freight tracking. Basically any realtime tracking you can think of.
Small in size (less than 3” wide, 4” long and 1” inch thick), with no external antenna, it could be put underneath your vehicle in a few seconds with powerful magnets.
Police, private investigators, spying mates, and employers can all follow the target vehicle from any Internet (either wifi or 3G) connected computer. It sends out a signal every 10 seconds to let them know where the vehicle is in real time. There is a motion-detector on GPS trackers that allow the rechargeable battery to last up 10 days.
You can buy them in spy stores or many online stores. PIgear.com sells the PGPTX5 live GPS tracker.  It is a tracker that is very easy to use and has no software to install.
One could be on your car and you don’t even know it. We know GPS trackers. We’ve located dozens on vehicles. An vehicle inspection takes about an hour.