You’re not alone when you’re on your phone. The courts authorized nearly 2,250 wiretaps in 2021 alone. But this number accounts for a small fraction of the phones that were tapped that year.
Anyone can install a bug or app on your phone to access your data and listen in on your conversations. Yet you’re not helpless. You can learn how to tell if your phone is tapped by answering a few basic questions.
What noises do phone taps and tracking apps make? How do they affect your phone? How can you tell if someone has information on you that they should not have?
Get the facts and you can keep yourself safe from hackers and phone tappers for years to come. Here are five signs your phone is tapped.
1. Unusual Noises
Unusual noises are the telltale signs that your phone is tapped. Pay close attention to the background noise while you are on the phone. It’s okay to hear a little noise, but high-pitched hums or pulsating static usually indicate tapping technology.
Fragmentary voices are strong indications that your phone is hacked. Consider recording your phone conversations so you can listen to other people’s voices. Write down when you hear these voices and if they comment on what you are saying.
To test your phone, keep it near you while you are not calling someone. You should hear no noises from your device. Beeping, clicking, or static can indicate someone is trying to access your phone.
If you have difficulty hearing, you can use a sound-bandwidth sensor to detect unusual noises. Place the sensor near your phone for a few hours. If it detects several sounds within a few minutes, your phone may be tapped.
Keep in mind that unusual noises can occur due to interference from other devices or bad connections. As an additional test, you can make a call to a phone in a location you know is away from other devices.
2. Electronic Interference
You can use interference from other devices to your advantage. Your phone should never produce sounds or experience problems when it is turned off. If you do experience problems, you likely have a bug.
Many tapping devices use radio frequencies on the FM radio band. Dial your device to the far end of the band and set it to mono. If you put your phone near the radio and it creates a high-pitched sound, something in your phone is interfering with the radio.
If you don’t have a radio, you can use a television with an antenna. Set the television to an ultra-high frequency channel and then bring your phone near it. If you notice problems with your television, you may have a bug.
3. Battery Issues
Bugs and apps use your battery in order to track your phone and tap your conversations. If you notice your battery winding down, you may have something installed on your phone.
Battery issues can occur due to other problems. Your battery may be broken because you overcharged your phone. Background apps may be draining your battery, or you may have been using your phone more often than you previously used it.
You should bring your phone to a repair specialist so you can get the battery inspected. If they don’t think anything is wrong with your battery, you can then check your phone for tracking software.
Examine the battery life of your phone by checking your settings. Inspect each app and see which one is using the most energy.
Turn off those apps and see if the problem has resolved itself. You should delete apps you do not remember downloading.
While you are checking your battery life, you should check how much data you are using and check the recent activity on your iPhone. A hacker may be using data on your phone to send your information to themselves. Contact your cell phone company and get further information about where your data is going.
4. Unusual Phone Activity
Besides low battery life, there are other suspicious activities you should keep your eye on. These activities usually indicate problems with your phone, but they may not indicate your phone is being tapped. Look for additional clues.
Some tapping apps get commands from hackers through coded messages. But these apps may accidentally send these messages to your phone.
The messages may be impossible for you to decode. They may be very long, with strange letters and combinations of numbers. Some letters may be from other alphabets, or they may be garbled versions of English letters.
You may not know who the sender is. This causes some people to think that they are receiving spam messages.
A hacker may send you a text message to threaten you. They may say that they have your information and will leak it if you don’t pay a ransom.
Do not respond to the hacker. Go to the police and hand over your device to them. Follow instructions from the authorities and do not share any additional information with people you don’t know.
Your loved ones may tell you they are getting texts from your phone. This indicates that someone has access and is trying to send malware to their devices. Tell them to block your phone, delete the messages, and contact their phone company for help.
Many pieces of malware open up pop-up windows when you are using apps or going on the internet. If you are getting pop-up windows out of nowhere, you should stop using your device and take a look at your apps. You should also open up your settings and see if you have any extensions on your web browser that may be creating the windows.
Do not click on the pop-ups. They may download more pieces of malware on your phone or redirect your device to harmful and abusive websites.
You may be reading a page only for your phone to get redirected to another website. This may happen if you click on a link by mistake, but a piece of malware can cause this. If it keeps happening, take your phone to a specialist who can check it for malware.
Slow Loading Speeds
Malware can cause your phone to slow down and crash, even when you’re not running major apps. Keep track of every time your phone struggles to load a page or send a message. If your phone crashes on a regular basis, you should take it in for an inspection.
Check the settings and see which apps are straining your phone’s memory and operating system. Hackers can gain access to common apps like web browsers and use them to spy on your phone. If apps you don’t use often are using up a lot of memory, you may have a tracking app on your device.
5. Unusual Real World Activity
People tap other people’s phones for several reasons. They may want access to the accounts you use on your phone, or they may want to steal your personal information. People may listen in on your conversations so they can stalk you or break into your home when you are not home.
Think about the information you have divulged during your phone conversations. If someone seems to know details they can only know through listening in on you, they may be listening in.
Think about the people you have met recently in locations like the grocery store or train station. It’s okay to bump into someone two or three times over a few weeks, especially if they live in the area. But if they keep showing up to places you mention over the phone, they may be stalking you.
Keep your eye on any vehicles in the area. They may be following you while you talk on the phone so they can listen in and watch you. If you’re driving, make a few sudden turns and see if they are still following you.
If you get a message from a trusted source that your accounts have been hacked into, you should examine your computer and phone. Change your passwords on your devices and create a strong password for each of your accounts.
How to Tell if Your Phone Is Tapped
You can figure out how to tell if your phone is tapped through a few basic steps. Unusual noises and electronic interference are common giveaways, especially if you use an FM radio. Bugs can drain your battery and malware can slow your phone down.
Tracking apps may send you messages accidentally, or you may encounter pop-ups. Someone may divulge that they have information that they could only get by listening to your conversations.
Take your phone to a repair company and download a few safety tools. Family Orbit lets you monitor your family’s phones. Select your plan today.