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How to know if your land line is tapped

Updated July 19, 2017

The act of tapping a land line phone, also known as wiretapping, is when a third party intercepts and monitors your phone conversations, usually by a hidden means. Although very few legal wire taps are authorised in the United States, new technology has made illegal wiretapping much easier. People working on confidential business projects, involved in high profile legal cases or with government are often potential targets for being tapped.

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  1. Listen for strange sounds or drastic volume changes when on the phone. If there's consistently static and popping or hiss on your phone line, it can indicate an amateur tap. Other signs of a potential tap include noise coming from your phone when it's hung up and TV and radio frequency interference in your home.

  2. Pay attention to whether people are aware of any of your confidential personal or business information when they shouldn't be.

  3. Inspect your electrical socket wall plates, smoke alarms or light switches to see if they look slightly displaced. These are common hiding spot for tracking devices. Also, look for any small discolouration on your walls or ceilings that may have recently appeared.

  4. Record the number of times your phone rings but nobody is on the other line when you pick up. This can indicate a slave device is tapping your line.

  5. Call your phone company and tell the representative you suspect your land line is being tapped. Most phone companies will investigate the matter for free and will notify both you and your local authorities about the tap and remove any tracking device on your line. However, if the tap is legal, your phone company will not notify you. Instead you will receive papers from the courts no later than 90 days after the legal tap has terminated.

  6. Contact your local police immediately if you discover an illegal wire tap on your line. Discontinue use of your land line phone. Consider hiring an attorney to take legal action against the party that has illegally tapped your line.

  7. Warning

    A highly sophisticated wiretap will be very difficult to detect on your own. Beware of any electronic devices claiming to detect wire taps. There is no product that can 100 per cent validate whether or not your line is being monitored.

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About the Author

Chris Caruso

Based in New York City, Chris Caruso has been a contributing writer since 1999. His work has appeared in publications such as "Frank 151," "Rebirth Magazine" and "Pound Magazine." Caruso holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Ryerson University in Toronto.

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