90% of Bug Sweeps can be handled with a simple “physical search.”
Most P.I.’s don’t want me to say this out loud, but 90% of Bug Sweeps can be handled with a simple “physical search” of the premises. We have been handling bug sweeps for years, and although we do find a “hidden bug” from time-to-time (we find GPS trackers a bit more often), only a very small percentage of the searches actually required any kind of sophisticated TSCM (Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures) equipment to discover the bugs.
I’m not saying that covert listening devices and spy cameras aren’t out there. They’re readily available online and you can have a top-notch, easily-hidden, eavesdropping device FedEx’d to your door by tomorrow morning for under $200. The term, “Spy Camera,” is an highly-searched phrase on Google, and there’s a reason for that.
The First Step in Conducting Your Own Bug Sweep
Obviously, if you’re going to do your own physical search, you need to know what you’re looking for.
As the first step in your physical search, I recommend taking a look at the different hidden cameras available online. You can do this by conducting a search for “spy cams” on Google. This will give you an idea of what a typical spy camera might look like and where a hidden listening device may be hidden. We buy most of our hidden cameras and listening devices from www.spytecinc.com.
As can be seen, most devices can be hidden in plain sight, right out in the open. You’ll see that you can also find “bug detectors” on the same websites where you can buy the bugs, sometimes for just a few hundred dollars. You might recognize some of these cheap “bug sweep” devices as the ones that amateur bugsweeps utilize.
We’ve already bought and tried out many of the cheaper bug sweep devices before investing almost $100K in our current TSCM equipment. Our experience was that they were a total waste of money. More importantly, they are a waste of time. Not only are they unreliable, but they provide a false sense of security to those who are most vulnerable. This, in my opinion, is worse than the worry that results from “not knowing.”
For an example of what professional-grade bug sweep looks like, you can check out the TSCM services page on our website (www.integrityohio.com).
Of course, there are some “bug” devices, usually, only in the rarest of cases. These are installed by professionals or people who are very technically savvy. This can only be uncovered with sophisticated TSCM equipment. We have the equipment & training to find those too. But I can assure you, in most cases, a physical search will usually do the trick.
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Paul Baeppler is currently a full-time police lieutenant with 25 years on the job. He also runs several private investigation and security businesses, licensed in Ohio, California and New York.