Been watching too many spy movies?
That’s the usual reaction when you tell someone you suspect your car may be bugged.
Better to find out for sure if someone placed a tracker or a recording device inside your vehicle, before letting anyone in on your suspicions.
If you have the actual device as proof, no one will doubt you.
But how do you do that, without hiring a professional and paying them a lot of money?
Easy. Keep reading to learn exactly how to tell if your car is bugged, and how to locate that bug.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Find Out If Your Car Is Bugged
- 1.1 Best Way To Find Bugs In Your Car
- 1.2 Common Types Of Bugs
- 1.3 Searching For Car Bugs: What To Look For
- 1.4 Smartphone Apps To Help Find Bugs In Your Car
- 1.5 What To Do If You Find A Bug
- 1.6 Related Questions
- 2 How To Tell If Your Car Is Bugged: Conclusion
How To Find Out If Your Car Is Bugged
Many people think you can hear an audio recording device hidden in your car, but this isn’t usually the case.
These devices don’t generally make noises that are audible to the human ear. That’s why you want to make sure you inspect, and double-inspect, your car!
That said, some listening devices could make a sound. If you hear any unusual high-pitched, beeping, or buzzing sounds, it pays to investigate them further. But don’t assume you’re in the clear, just because you don’t hear anything.
Best Way To Find Bugs In Your Car
Use An RF Detector
Even if you don’t hear any weird noises, you should screen your car for bugs using of an RF detector. This is a device that scans the area for radio frequencies, like those emitted by hidden microphones.
You can purchase an RF detector online. Once you have this device, simply turn it on and wave it around in your car. If it crackles or beeps because it’s detecting frequencies, you know that your car might be bugged.
Lift Your Car
If you believe your car is bugged (because you RF detector indicates it could be), but you can’t find anything inside your car, it might not be on the inside.
If the person who bugged your car couldn’t gain access to the inside, a GPS device could have been put underneath the car
In order to do a thorough search of the undercarriage, go to a car shop and ask them to raise your vehicle on a car lift so you can look underneath it.
Check the area between the back wheels as this is a common place for trackers to be placed. You should also check for anything that seems stuck to the vehicle.
Common Types Of Bugs
There are a variety of bugs that can be placed in your car. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common ones.
When scouring your car for tracking devices, you should keep an eye out for two kinds that could be used on your car:
Monitored GPS Devices
These are devices that send real-time location tracking information to a smartphone or computer. They basically work in a similar way to a cell phone.
They can be battery-operated or hardwired into the power supply of your car. You will usually find a monitored GPS device inside your car.
Unmonitored Tracking Devices
These devices work a little differently. They basically record and store information on a built-in hard drive, so that it can be accessed at a later stage.
These trackers can be used primarily to gather information about where you go with your car. They are more likely to be placed underneath your car, since the person who put it there needs to retrieve it to gain access to the data.
These can be planted inside your car to record your private conversations. These devices are sometimes referred to as a wire or bug, and they are made up of tiny radio transmitters and microphones.
They can be really tiny – up to the size of the head of a pin! This can make them difficult to notice just by digging around in your car.
These devices run on batteries. They can be fastened to your car with the use of an adhesive or magnet.
Searching For Car Bugs: What To Look For
It’s not always easy to tell if your car has been filled with spy devices. You have to inspect it thoroughly. Here’s how to tell if your car is bugged.
Look For Wires
Start by looking inside the car for any strange wires. All audio devices have to be connected to a power source. This might be a built-in battery, or the car’s power system, in which case, there will be wires. Don’t forget to check inside areas like the light fixtures.
Look For Out Of Place Everyday Items
Check any items that look like everyday objects, but that you don’t remember being there before. Bugs don’t usually look obvious or strange. They’re usually hiding in plain sight!
So, if you see anything that you don’t remember belonging to you, take a closer look. The same goes for that recent gift you received from a friend or acquaintance. It might just be a bug.
Check Under The Hood
Open up the hood and give the engine a good once over. Look for any out of place devices. Pay extra attention to the battery.
Check The Data Port
This is a convenient place for bugs because the devices can be plugged into the port directly. This port is located underneath the driver’s seat. If you notice anything suspicious, make sure you pull it out.
Smartphone Apps To Help Find Bugs In Your Car
You can use your smartphone to download an app that will detect a camera in your car. An example is Hidden Camera Detector (available on iPhone) that uses your smartphone’s camera and flash to find hidden spy cameras.
Light from the flash strikes the camera lens and reflects off it, alerting you to the device being hidden in your car. However, it can also be used to detect a variety of other devices. It might not be as effective if someone knows how to hide a camera in their car.
It has a Bluetooth, network, and Wi-Fi scanner so that you can find spy devices like GPS trackers. It also has an online scanner that can sweep your car for devices that can be accessed remotely over the internet.
Another spy-detecting app worth trying is DontSpy2 (available on iPhone). It works by making use of your phone’s magnetometer (which is used by the compass) to pick up magnetic fields released by spy bugs, hidden cameras, microphones, and cell phones.
What To Do If You Find A Bug
If you’ve found a listening device or camera in your car, you’re probably going to be really angry.
Your first impulse might be to rip it out if it’s connected with wires. But this is not advisable.
It could damage the device, which means if you bring it to the police they won’t be able to access the recorded footage. This will effectively blow the evidence you could use against the person who planted the bug.
But if you find bugs that have other ways of being attached to your car, for example with adhesives or magnets, you should remove these.
But don’t destroy the bugs. Take them to the police so that they can hopefully help you track down the person who’s been invading your privacy.
You might consider leaving the bugs intact in order to give the person who is bugging your car some false information. This might make sense if you suspect you know who the person is and what they want from you.
But this is risky. You don’t know what else the person is capable of, and it’s probably within your best interests to alert the police about the discovery of the bugs.
What are wiretapping devices?
These are attached to telephones, so you won’t find them in your car. They tap telephone lines so that they can record either one, or both, sides of telephone conversations. Some of them are capable of recording conversations automatically.
Can police find the person who planted the bug in your car?
The police can often track down the person. They can subpoena the manufacturer of the bug for customer records and use these to track down the person who bought the tracking device. The real question is whether the cops will be motivated to do this. They are not generally overly helpful.
You could always just leave the bug in place, to help you figure out who put it there. Just don’t have any important conversations in the car, or use a jammer to block the listening device temporarily.
How To Tell If Your Car Is Bugged: Conclusion
It’s a frightening thought that someone might have placed a bug in your car. But it happens.
If you’re a person of interest, or you’re linked to someone who is, there’s an even greater chance that someone could have bugged your car.
Hopefully you now have a good idea how to find a bug in your car. If you follow the instructions laid out above, you should be able to find anything someone may have planted in your vehicle.
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