What should I do if I believe I may be the victim of electronic eavesdropping?

If you believe that you may be the victim of covert electronic surveillance, spying or an intelligence gathering operation relating to a professional or personal situation, there are a number of steps that you should take immediately.

In eavesdropping situations, time is of the essence and if the spy suspects that you may be engaging a Technical Surveillance Counter Measures (TSCM) firm to inspect the location, the eavesdropper will typically remove their bugs or deactivate them to make them more difficult to locate and will likely reinstall or reactivate the device once the sweep inspection is complete

MSA Investigations recommends the following action:

  • Contact a TSCM Specialist immediately
  • Be very discreet. Only those persons with an absolute need to know should be informed. If possible, avoid discussing the issue in the suspect location, your workplace, home or vehicle.
  • Try to handle the logistics of the operation away from the suspect location.
  • Avoid dong anything that will alert the eavesdropper that you are taking steps to detect their presence or devices.
  • Do not call a TSCM Specialist from a phone within the suspect location (office, home, etc.)
    • Only use a phone away from your home or place of business.
    • Use a public pay phone (if you can find one)
    • If you use a cell phone, try not to use your own and only use a DIGITAL cell phone (most cell phones today are digital).
  • Do not use a fax machine to contact a TSCM Specialist – They are not secure
  • Do not use email to contact a TSCM Specialist
  • Do not attempt to find the device yourself, as this is a very difficult task, even with the right equipment and training. It may also alert others of your concerns.

Additional information

The best results are usually obtained when the TSCM sweep is scheduled at the earliest possible opportunity, consistent with operational security and scheduling considerations.

The longer you wait in conducting a TSCM sweep, the more information you will lose, and the greater the chance that the eavesdropper will discover the client's plan to contract TSCM services and remove the device.

Don’t wait until you have a problem, to contact a Technical Surveillance Counter Measure firm.

You should set up a relationship with a TSCM provider long before you need them and should sign a retainer agreement, if possible, to ensure a timely response and a fixed pricing schedule.

Consider working with a TSCM professional to set up a formal plan of scheduled periodic TSCM sweeps, as part of a broader technical counter surveillance policy.