How to Tell If Your Car Is Bugged In 3 Ways

by Laura C. Jones

Whether you’re a highly influential spokesperson or just a guy trying to live his life, the chance of being bugged is never nonexistent.

With the rise of modern technology, anything is possible. Hidden cameras have been around since the 1940s, with audio surveillance closely following suit, so just imagine how effective bugs and trackers are today. They’re tinier, more durable, and much harder to detect.

If you think your car has been bugged, take action straight away. These days, you can never be too careful. This article shows you how to tell if your car is bugged to protect you and your family from covert eavesdropping activities.

How to Tell If Your Car Is Bugged

Information theft is a multi-million dollar underground industry both in and outside the US. Bugging software does what spies can’t: listen to conversations with your guard down. Although these devices are much less conspicuous, there are several ways to tell if your car is bugged.

1. Look For Unusual Additions In Your Car

Take a look around your car. Don’t just do a quick cursory glance; really look. Is there anything out of place? Is your mug sitting in the same position it was in when you last used it? Have you always had that tissue box in the backseat? Do the items in your glovebox check out?

Do a full sweep around your car. People with less-than-noble intentions situate bugs in places you least expect.

If the tracker knows what they’re doing, they won’t place the device in an obvious location. They might even place it inside the car’s electronics, where it’s away from prying eyes and hands.

Anywhere is fair game; don’t be afraid to get on your hands and knees when checking for bugs.

Here are some target locations to check:

1.1 Underneath the Car

Look underneath the car and check behind the wheels. Search for suspicious devices such as a mini antenna, a taped object, or a small unknown box. If you’re not sure whether the strange device belongs to your car, consult the car’s manual or ask a mechanic.

1.2 A/C or Dashboard

Shine a flashlight in the car’s air conditioning system or behind the dashboard. Dissemble the compartment below the car’s steering wheel so you can check underneath the dashboard properly. If there’s a wire taped inside, it’s one of the first things you’ll spot.

1.3 Hood

Open the hood and give the engine a good once-over. Pay extra attention to where the battery is located, as it tends to have a bit of space to squeeze a device in.

1.4 Data Port and Seating

Check the data port, as devices can be inserted into the port directly. You’ll find the port underneath the driver’s seat.

While you’re there, check both sides of the seating. If possible, detach the removable parts so you can check the seating more thoroughly.

2. Pay Close Attention When Answering Your Phone

If there’s a bug inside your car, you’ll notice strange interferences while you’re on the phone with someone.

You might hear static, scratching, or popping noises on the other end, or sounds coming from your phone’s speakers even after you’ve hung up. You’ll also receive an odd number of calls while you’re in the car but no one is on the other line.

If the tracker used a line extender, an infinity transmitter, or a harmonica bug on your car, you’ll hear an extremely faint or high-pitched beep for just a split second whenever you’re answering your phone.

If it happened only once or twice, it might just be a modem or fax machine calling the wrong number. But if it happens often, there’s definitely something fishy going on the other end of the line.

3. Turn On Your Phone’s Radio

Some tracking devices, like those found in SpyShop bugs, use frequencies within or near the FM radio band. These signals silence the FM radio when it’s in close vicinity of the bug.

Use your phone’s radio to search for transmissions at far corners of the FM radio band.

Turn off the “stereo” function so the radio operates in “mono,” as it’s far more sensitive to FM frequencies than the former.

Then, move it around your car until the radio begins to squeal. This squealing noise is known as feedback detection or loop detection.

If a certain area in your car squeals more than other areas, contact the TSCM (Technical Surveillance Countermeasure) team to do a thorough search of your car.

What Should I Do If I’m Bugged?

If you find a bug in your car, here are some important measures to take:

  • If the bug is wired, don’t rip it out as it might get damaged. Instead, bring the device to the police or contact a TSCM specialist so they can track the person behind the bugging.
  • If the bug is attached with magnets or adhesives, remove it but don’t destroy it. Again, take the bug to the authorities so they can track the person invading your privacy.
  • Until the bug is inspected by the authorities, don’t answer or use your phone inside your car. If you have to talk in your car, don’t voice your suspicion about the bug.
  • Don’t talk about sensitive or private information while riding the car with another person.
  • Be discreet when sending texts or emails to the TSCM or the police.
  • Never use a laptop or an electronic device inside your car.
  • If you’re not bringing in someone for a TSCM inspection, schedule a Vulnerability Analysis or Threat Assessment as soon as possible.
  • If you can’t find the bug but still suspect it’s in your car, contact a professional to do a full sweep of your vehicle.

Final Thoughts

This concludes this article on how to tell if your car is bugged!

When it comes to your privacy and security, you can’t be too careful or cautious. Even if you don’t find a bug, you’ll at least rest assured knowing that no one’s out to track your every move.

If in doubt, it’s always best to contact a professional or a TSCM specialist to do a full sweep of your car. Until then, don’t use your phone or talk about sensitive information while in your car.

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