How to tell if your cell phone is being tapped

Updated April 17, 2017

According to ABC News Reporter Brian Ross, a federal law enforcement official confirmed for ABC News that the government was tracking its cell phone calls in an effort to identify confidential sources. If law-abiding news reporters are being put under the invisible federal microscope, it comes as no surprise that millions of Americans now fear that they too are being tapped. If you would like to put your mind at ease and finally validate or rightfully dismiss what you suspect to be a federal phone tap on your cell phone, follow these steps.

Listen for pulsating static. It is common to hear a pulsating static noise when you are on a call. However, if you are able to hear the same pulsating static when you are not using your cell phone, this can be an indication that your cell phone has been tapped. It is important to distinguish pulsating static and plain old bad reception. Both sound similar--however, pulsating static will have a timely pulse within the static as if someone was on the other end switching back and forth between lines.

Check for overheating. Have you noticed that when you are on a call your cell phone seems to heat up? It is perfectly normal for a cellphone to conduct heat when you are on a call because the phone is in direct use, which causes the battery to become active, therefore producing heat. However, if you are not on a call and your cell phone seems to be as hot as it would be if you were on a 40 minute phone call, it is very likely that your cell phone line has been compromised.

Notice a drained battery. If your cellphone seems to be losing its battery life faster than usual and you haven't made any calls, this is a sign that your cell phone might be tapped. When a cell phone is tapped it loses its battery life faster. A tapped cell phone is constantly recording conversations in the room, even when your phone appears to be idle, hence the drainage of the battery.

Note any inexplicable activity. Has your phone ever lit up, shut down, installed a program or powered up all on its own? Unless there is a reasonable explanation, such as having a preset automatic update function on your cell phone or receiving a call while your ringer was on silent, these are all indicators that your phone is tapped and being controlled by someone other than you.

Consider whether you have a suspicious spouse. If your spouse has any reasonable doubts concerning your faithfulness, it is possible that he or she could be the person tapping your phone. In early 2008, a device that is marketed as "The Cell Phone Spy--Sim Card Reader" was made available to the general public. Your spouse might be using this device to check your deleted SMS messages and cell phone activity.


Keep your cool. If you are a law-abiding American citizen, it is highly unlikely that you will be the target of a federal cell phone tap.

Things You'll Need

  • Cell phone
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About the Author

Based in the countryside of New York, Jazmin Espinal has been writing for Demand Studios since 2008. When writing for the Studio, Espinal excels on creating content in the topics of home decor, business development, time management, health and personal care.