Though to some it seems like a paranoid fear, phone tapping of both home and cell phones is an increasingly common occurrence in today's technology-driven time. Knowing the signs of wiretapping can be vital to the detection of it. Identity thieves especially tap phones to learn Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, birth dates and other vital information commonly given out over the phone.
The most obvious sign that a phone may be under surveillance is that of the strange noises that sometimes emanate from the phone itself. These noises include buzzing, humming, popping and crackling, like static. A really good indicator of wiretapping is when these noises occur from a phone not in use, though noises can happen both when the phone is and is not being used. Often, the equipment or program (depending on whether you have a house or cell phone) placed on the phone will make some noise, either in running or while recording during a conversation.
When using a cell phone for long periods of time, the battery often becomes warm from the usage. A sign that your phone may have been tapped, however, is when the battery is warm without it having been used recently. This cannot be said of home walk-phones or cell phones that have been on charge recently, however, because batteries almost always become warm during and for a while after charging.
One sign that your cell phone may be under phone surveillance is that it may light up at odd times, when no one is around it. Clever hackers that hack into smartphones and use a program to track the activity and conversations made on that phone may be playing with it while you're not using the phone, causing it to light up at times when it shouldn't be. Many cell phones light up for a second after it's been put down, but that's not necessarily a sign of tapping. This pattern of lighting up would occur several minutes after its last use.
One of the most obvious ways to tell if a phone is wiretapped is to check out your phone, phone jack, answering machine and any other equipment your phone company may include in its installation procedure. If anything new appears or there is anything that can't be explained functionally, call your phone company and request an explanation of the equipment. If the device appears to serve no purpose and is just "extra," you may be a victim of phone surveillance.
With both cell and home phones, the tapper must be in direct contact with the phone in order to tap it, but for different reasons. Home phones generally have to have an extra gadget added to them for tapping to be possible, while cell phones are usually tapped with a program or hack into the phone itself. If you have recently lost your cell phone and recover it later, with any of the above signs of tapping, you may be at risk for tapping. Be sure never to leave your phone alone within easy reach of anyone you don't know and trust.