When most people think of bugged phone lines, hidden wires, and other secret surveillance techniques, they often think of old fashion spy methods, or even the Watergate scandal of 1972, but wiretapping certainly didn’t end in the ‘70s. In fact, this covert monitoring tactic is on the rise, especially in corporate America. The percentages of businesses and homes found to have monitoring devices has risen in 2013 to approximately sixteen percent, from only four percent in the ‘70s.
This trend may be disheartening, but it should come as little surprise considering how much technology has improved, and how easily data can be transferred and recording devices can be concealed. The United States State Department recently estimated that over 800 million dollars of illegal monitoring technology is brought into the country per year, and installed into corporate offices.
This loss of privacy leads to very costly losses of trade secrets and other sensitive industry information for companies. It is important for organizations to watch for the following signs that their offices or home may be wiretapped.
Sign #1 – Privileged Information is Made Public
When your private and confidential business information has been made public, this is one of the clearest signs that your home or office is being monitored. Underground agents make billions of dollars every year unearthing confidential business records and selling them to competing companies or to the media. If colleagues or the press seem to have unauthorized access to business secrets, there is likely a security problem, which could involve illegal surveillance.
Sign #2 – Unauthorized Servicemen on the Property
All services and repairs should be carefully monitored and only completed by trusted and reputable companies. One way illegal eavesdropping technologies and equipment are installed to the property is by having workers show up to perform deliveries, maintenance, or repairs. While they are in the office, they also install the recording equipment. In some cases, they will go so far as to cause the building to have some time of power outage in order to sweep in and provide the emergency service. Corporations should definitely watch out for servicemen that call or show up without being requested.
Sign #3 – Intellectual Property Theft
Theft of intellectual property is more nuanced than the theft of confidential information. This type of theft involves occurs when competitors have gotten access to the ideas, inventions, designs, or concepts that were created by the company. When competitors are rushing to market with the corporation’s original ideas, this is a sign of possible wiretapping.
Sign #4 – Phones or Other Electronics Performing Strangely
Depending upon the skill of the eavesdropper, the recording device may cause telephones, or other electronic devices that they may be attached to, to perform oddly. A wiretapped telephone may produce strange static sounds, changes in volume, or a bad connection when the listening device has been activated.
Sign #5 – Office Gifts Provided by Competitors
While a gift from a colleague can be a sign of good will, it can also be a cover for a secret recording device. Corporations should always be suspicious of gifts such as lamps, clocks, pens, or any other gift that could be housing a listening device. Eavesdroppers may also pose as random sales people, providing gifts or samples that have embedded devices as well.
The best way to ensure that your office or home is not being recorded in any way is to hire a trained and experienced private investigator. If installed by professionals, recording devices can be very difficult to find, but the experienced investigators at Prudential Associates know all of the possible hiding places and can do a thorough sweep of your building.
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