7 Signs that Your Home Is Bugged

September 16, 2023 - Reading time: 6 minutes

In the current era of technological advancements, concerns regarding privacy and security have amplified significantly. One particular concern is the potential presence of covert surveillance in your home, where discrete listening devices or cameras are utilized to clandestinely monitor your activities. The purpose of this article is to provide you with an overview of the signs that might suggest your home is under surveillance. By recognizing these indications, you can take appropriate measures to safeguard your privacy and maintain the security of your personal space.

An eye looking through a hole in the wall

1. Unfamiliar Sounds or Noises

An evident sign of a surveilled home is the existence of peculiar sounds or noises. Should you detect faint clicking, buzzing, or static sounds while using your electronic devices or during phone calls, it might imply that someone is eavesdropping on your conversations. Furthermore, if you hear unusual sounds emanating from walls, ceilings, or other areas where such sounds should not originate, it is advisable to explore the situation further.

2. Unexpected Interference

Another telltale sign to be wary of is unexpected interference with your electronic devices. Should you experience sudden disruptions in your Wi-Fi signal, encounter radio or television reception issues, or notice erratic behaviour from your electronic gadgets, it could potentially be attributed to nearby surveillance equipment. Covert devices can interfere with the normal functioning of your devices, hence it is important to be vigilant if you observe unexplained technical problems.

3. You are Under Investigation for a Crime

If you are currently under investigation for a crime, then you might find that listening devices could be planted by law enforcement in order to gather evidence against you.

Can the police bug your house after a raid? It could be possible if they have obtained the relevant authorization. However, law enforcement and intelligence agencies can also employ a stealthy approach and plant their devices covertly without you realizing. Ultimately, if your property has been bugged by a government agency then you can expect them to have employed advanced surveillance equipment, which will likely require other advanced equipment to detect.

4. Suspicious Evidence of Intrusion

Physical signs of tampering within your home can also point towards the presence of concealed surveillance devices. Be alert for minuscule holes or marks on walls, furniture, or other objects that appear out of place. Additionally, if you perceive that items have been displaced or rearranged without any logical reason, it might suggest that an unauthorized individual has gained access to your home and fiddled with your belongings. CCTV cameras around your home or a decent burglar alarm system can help alert to any authorized access which might be for the purpose of planting surveillance equipment on your property.

Learn more about our bug sweep service.

5. Abnormal Pet Behaviour

Pets possess an uncanny ability to sense things that humans often cannot. If your typically calm and well-behaved pet begins exhibiting unusual behaviour, such as incessant barking, growling, or restlessness in specific areas of your home, it would be worth investigating further. Animals have heightened hearing capabilities and may potentially detect hidden surveillance devices.

6. Anomalous Phone Conduct

Pay attention to any abnormal conduct displayed by your landline or mobile phone. If you notice peculiar noises, echoes, or fluctuations in volume during phone calls, it might indicate that your conversations are being intercepted. Furthermore, if your phone battery depletes rapidly or if your phone becomes warm even when idle, it could potentially signify the operation of unauthorized software in the background.

7. Unexplained Awareness

Should you harbour suspicions that your home is under surveillance, remain attentive to instances where someone seems to possess knowledge of your private conversations or activities without any justifiable explanation. If sensitive information that has solely been discussed within the confines of your home becomes known to others, it could serve as a strong indication that your privacy has been compromised.


Preserving privacy and security within our homes is of utmost significance. Although the signs outlined in this article can potentially suggest a surveilled home, it is vital to approach the situation cautiously and seek professional assistance if necessary. If you suspect that your home is under surveillance, taking appropriate steps to safeguard your privacy and ensure peace of mind is crucial. Regularly inspecting your surroundings, being cognizant of unusual sounds or behaviours, and seeking professional guidance can aid in maintaining a secure and confidential living environment.

If you suspect that your home or workplace might be bugged, then you could hire an experienced private investigator to search for any surveillance equipment during a professional bug sweep. Our seasoned detectives can help to search for hidden bugs across all areas of the UK - visit our homepage to learn more about us or to request a free quote. 

Can private investigators hack phones or social media?

May 29, 2023 - Reading time: 6 minutes

As leading private investigators based in the UK, we are often asked by our clients to investigate suspicions relating to infidelity... If you suspect that your partner is cheating on you, then finding the truth is understandably a priority for most people. Phones, instant messengers, and social media profiles now form a large part of most people's social lives, and can often contain clues that a person could be cheating on their partner. So, can private investigators hack into phones? Can private investigators hack into social media profiles or instant messengers?

No, private investigators are not allowed to engage in any form of hacking. Hacking into someone's phone messages or social media profiles without their permission or consent is against the law, not only in the UK but also in most other countries around the world. Please do not contact us in order to request any form of hacking service - we will not be able to help you.

Scam alert displayed on a laptop screen

We have recently been contacted by several individuals that hired so-called private investigators in order to hack into a social media profile, instant messenger app, or device... After money was paid for these services, the vendor either took the money and did nothing, or requested even more money and then did nothing after more money was paid. Remember, no legitimate private investigator would ever offer any form of illegal hacking service. In most cases 'hacking services' are nothing more than scams which are being offered by unscrupulous fraudsters in various countries around the world.

Can private investigators trace phone numbers?

Tracing phone numbers is a different topic altogether... In some cases we are able to trace phone numbers in order to link them to specific names or addresses. We also offer people tracing services which can be used to trace individuals for a range of different reasons. 

How can private investigators catch cheaters?

We do not offer any form of hacking services, as explained above. However, this does not mean that we cannot help to investigate infidelity and gather proof if your partner is cheating on you.

If you suspect that your partner is dishonest, then our investigators can help to monitor their activities whilst collecting photos/video as part of our personal surveillance service. In addition to surveillance, we may be able to utilise technology such as GPS trackers to check on the movements of subjects during investigations.

In addition, we also offer a facial recognition background check which in some cases can be used to locate dating website profiles, social media profiles, and even adult material featuring the faces of subjects.

Phone hacking scandals in the UK

Readers in the UK may recall having heard of the 'News Corporation scandal', during which private investigators and journalists were alleged to have hacked into phones, voicemails, and computers. The scandal resulted in private investigator Glenn Mulcaire being convicted after an eight month trial; Andy Coulson, who was former editor to the 'News of The World', was also found guilty on a charge of conspiracy to intercept voicemails (phone hacking). He was ultimately sentenced to 18 months in prison on July 4th 2014.

Prior to the revelation of this scandal which began in the early 2000s, issues relating to the privacy of electronic communications and data had seldom been discussed or thought about. This scandal, and the resulting criminal convictions, further highlight the need for private investigators to remain within the confines of the law at all times whilst gathering information and conducting investigations on behalf of clients.

In recent years of course, numerous more rules and regulation have come into force which govern issues relating to data privacy... Private investigators today understand exactly what they are and are not allowed to do, and no legitimate PI will ever knowingly offer an illegal service.

Are you the victim of electronic surveillance?

If you believe that someone could be taking the step to monitor you electronically by attempting to hack into your devices or accounts, then you should take steps to protect your data and privacy... Changing your passwords and enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible are basic precautions that can be used.

If monitoring software has been installed on your phone or tablet, then in most cases performing a factory reset on the device will remove any unwanted spyware.

Be mindful that if an adversary is willing to take steps to hack into your devices or monitor your communications through spy software, then you should also be mindful about the possibility of them planting discreet microphones or cameras which can be used to monitor and eavesdrop on you. We offer a bug sweeping service across the UK which can be used to locate and remove electronic monitoring devices.

Related articles

Can private investigators check criminal records in the UK?

May 26, 2023 - Reading time: 6 minutes

As a leading detective agency based in the UK, we are frequently instructed by our clients to check on individuals and firms using a number of different methods and techniques. Surveillance cases are typically the bread-and-butter for most private detectives; however we can also help our clients by running comprehensive background checks and compiling data on relevant individuals... But what about criminal records? Can private investigators check criminal records?

Private investigators in the UK are not able to check criminal records without permission from the person being checked - the information is classed as private and confidential. However, a private investigator may still be able to learn about criminal cases associated with an individual without their consent using other means.

What do we mean by this? Well, private investigators are able to utilize what is known as 'open source intelligence' (OSINT) to check individuals and learn about their histories. By using records which are freely available in the public domain, the information uncovered is fully compliant and does not entail the acquisition of confidential or privileged data.

While private investigators cannot directly access police records without permission from the person being checked, we can check an individual's reputation by performing deep searches utilising newspaper and media archives. We can also search through court records, which may shed light on cases where individuals were accused in a criminal case, whether or not their court appearance resulted in a conviction.

Private Investigators UK logo with a retina scanner

Searching court records can often uncover useful information; for example, in one case we were instructed to perform a background check on our client's new partner before she took the step of allowing him to move into her property. Our checks revealed that he had recently appeared in court on charges related to sexual offending. Although our client was alarmed to receive this information, it allowed her to be forewarned and to take the steps necessary to safeguard herself.

In this case, as the subject was not yet convicted of the crime, our checks were able to unearth information where a traditional records check may not have done.

Private investigators are also able to research individuals by performing 'facial recognition background checks', which are another form of an OSINT investigation. By searching for instances of a subject's face on the surface web, we are often able to uncover previously unknown details about their histories. This check has been used by us to locate dating profiles, for example, as well as adult material and media coverage of criminal convictions. As the check relies on information which is freely available in the public domain, permission is not required from the individual being checked.

What is the difference between a CRB (DBS) check and OSINT research?

Criminal record checks (previously called 'CRB checks' and now known as 'DBS checks') can only be performed with permission from the person being checked. Many employers require their candidates to get DBS checks done before they begin employment; some employers may even arrange DBS checks themselves, however the employer will need permission from their candidates in this case.

Criminal background check application form

It is important to note that DBS checks will only show a list of previous convictions, and may not alert to pending court appearances which could result in fresh convictions. We can perform court record searches which would alert to pending court appearances without permission from the individual being checked.

What is the criteria for running a background check?

There could be many different cases where our clients request that we perform background checks which encompass reputational or court record searches on an individual. For example, if your son or daughter enters a new relationship and you have concerns about their partner - a background check could be utilised in order to check on them and bring peace of mind.

While police have strict guidelines and procedures for releasing any confidential data; private investigators are not bound by any similar procedures during the acquisition and dissemination of data which is already in the public domain. 

We are therefore able to assist in a wide range of different cases, including:

  • Pre-matrimonial background checks
  • Employment background checks for prospective employees
  • Tenant background checks
  • Nanny or babysitter background checks
  • Online dating background checks

How to proceed

If you would like a quotation for us to perform repetitional and/or court record searches on an individual, then please feel free to get in touch with one of our experienced team members for help and advice.

Important notes

Our "OSINT background check service" or "court record searches" are not CRB or DBS checks. As part of these services our researchers perform comprehensive checks of data which is in the public domain. These services do not guarantee full discovery of all criminal convictions for several reasons; firstly, some offences may not be recorded in the public domain due to their sensitive nature. In addition, offences can be wiped from the offender's record due to the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 - spent convictions are typically wiped from the records with some exceptions.

Serve Court Papers on Someone in a UK Prison (HMP)

May 19, 2023 - Reading time: 13 minutes

If you need to serve court paperwork on an individual that is currently being held by His Majesty's Prison (HMP) in the UK, then we can help. Working the length and breadth of Great Britain, and even overseas in some cases, our process serving division helps our clients by serving documents on individuals in a wide range of different cases. 

There could be many reasons that you need documents or court paperwork to be served on an individual that is currently being held in a UK prison... For example, landlords that lease properties to individuals who later find themselves being detained in prison, may need to serve documents on their tenant in order to progress eviction proceedings and regain access to their properties.

HM Prison sign

The service of other documents, such as non-molestation orders, statutory demands, claim forms, or divorce petitions in cases where our client needs to divorce a prisoner in the UK, are all relatively common within prisons.

Why you should choose us

Understandably, many of our clients find the prospect of entering a prison or jail in order to serve documents on an inmate to be a daunting and stressful proposition. Our agents are experienced at serving within prisons, we can take the stress out of the situation by carrying out a serve on your behalf.

Instructing an experienced process server can help to ensure that the serve will be carried out professionally and diligently. Furthermore, the use of an independent third party to serve court papers can often help to have a calming effect on the situation, which in tern leads to the desired result in a fast and professional manner.

Service of documents in prison

In cases where we are required to serve documents or court papers on prisoners, it's important to note that prisoners cannot be forced to attend legal visits; if an agent attends a prison and the subject decides that they will refuse to attend then additional fees will be payable to rebook another visit at a future date.

While our rates of success are high, we cannot guarantee success or the prisoner's amiability towards a service in any particular case. 

How to proceed

In order for us to serve documents on a prisoner in the UK, we require the prisoner's full name, date of birth, prisoner number, and the name of the prison which they are currently held in. Please be aware that if the defendant is detained in an unknown prison, then it is unlikely that the prison service will assist by providing information on their current whereabouts. In this case the prisoner's location would need to be established by other means.

We offer free quotes for all work. Please feel free to get in touch with us and mention the type of documents that you need to service, as well as the prison name and location. We will do our best to offer the most speedy and cost effective solution in your case.

Once we have provided a quote which has been accepted, we will then need to receive payment before arranging a prison visit to service the documents... It is not possible to simply arrive at the gates of a prison and request to see a prisoner; a visit will need to be booked in advance. Prison visits often become fully booked quickly, it is therefore advisable to instruct us in as much time as possible in order to ensure a speedy completion.

Contact numbers for prisons & Young Offender Institutes in England and Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

  • HM Prison Altcourse, Liverpool - 01515 222000
  • HM Prison Ashfield, Gloucestershire - 011730 38000
  • HM Prison Askham Grange, North Yorkshire - 01904 772000
  • HM Prison Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire - 01296 444000
  • HM Prison Bedford, Bedfordshire - 01234 373000
  • HM Prison Belmarsh, London - 02083 314400
  • HM Prison Berwyn, Wrexham - 01978 523000
  • HM Prison Birmingham, West Midlands - 0121598 8000
  • HM Prison & YOI Brinsford, Staffordshire - 01902 533450
  • HM Prison Bristol, Bristol - 0117 372 3100
  • HM Prison Brixton, London - 020 8588 6000
  • HM Prison Bronzefield, Surrey - 01784 425690
  • HM Prison Buckley Hall, Greater Manchester - 01706 514300
  • HM Prison & YOI Bullingdon, Oxfordshire - 01869 353100
  • HM Prison Bure, Norfolk - 01603 326000
  • HM Prison Cardiff, Cardiff - 0292092 3100
  • HM Prison Channings Wood, Devon - 01803 812060
  • HM Prison Chelmsford, Essex - 01245 552000
  • HM Prison Coldingley, Surrey - 01483 344300
  • HM Prison & YOI Cookham Wood, Kent - 01634 202500
  • HM Prison Dartmoor, Devon - 01822 322000
  • HM Prison & YOI Deerbolt, County Durham - 01833 633200
  • HM Prison & YOI Doncaster, South Yorkshire - 01302 760870
  • HM Prison Dovegate, Staffordshire - 01283 829400
  • HM Prison Downview, Surrey - 0208196 6300
  • HM Prison Drake Hall, Staffordshire - 01785 774100
  • HM Prison Durham, County Durham - 0191332 3400
  • HM Prison East Sutton Park, Kent - 01622 785000
  • HM Prison Eastwood Park, Gloucestershire - 01454 382100
  • HM Prison Erlestoke, Wiltshire - 01380 814250
  • HM Prison Exeter, Devon - 01392 415650
  • HM Prison Featherstone, Staffordshire - 0300 0606502
  • HM Prison/YOI Feltham, London -  0208844 5000
  • HM Prison Ford, West Sussex - 01903 663000
  • HM Prison Forest Bank, Greater Manchester - 0161925 7000
  • HM Prison & YOI Foston Hall, Derbyshire - 01283 584300
  • HM Prison Five Wells (Wellingborough Prison), Northamptonshire - 01933 718888
  • HM Prison Frankland, County Durham - 0191376 5048
  • HM Prison Full Sutton, East Riding of Yorkshire -  01759 475100
  • HM Prison Garth, Lancashire - 01772 443300
  • HM Prison Gartree, Leicestershire - 01858 426727
  • HM Prison Grendon, Buckinghamshire - 01296 445243
  • HM Prison Guys Marsh, Dorset - 01747 856586
  • HM Prison & YOI Hatfield, South Yorkshire - 01405 746500
  • HM Prison Haverigg, Cumbria - 01229 713000 
  • HM Prison Hewell, Worcestershire - 01527 785000
  • HM Prison High Down, Surrey - 0207147 6300
  • HM Prison Highpoint, Suffolk -  01440 743100
  • HM Prison Hindley, Greater Manchester -  01942 663234
  • HM Prison Hollesley Bay, Suffolk - 01394 412 400
  • HM Prison Holme House, County Durham -  01642 744355
  • HM Prison Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire -  01482 282 200
  • HM Prison Humber, East Riding of Yorkshire - 01430 273000
  • HM Prison/YOI Huntercombe, Oxfordshire - 01491 643100
  • HM Prison/YOI Isis, London - 0203 3564324
  • HM Prison Isle of Wight (Albany), Isle of Wight - 01983 634000
  • HM Prison Kirkham, Lancashire -  01772 675400
  • HM Prison Kirklevington Grange, North Yorkshire - 01642 792600
  • HM Prison Lancaster Farms, Lancashire -  01524 563450 
  • HM Prison Leeds, West Yorkshire - 01132 032600
  • HM Prison Leicester, Leicestershire - 01162 283000
  • HM Prison Lewes, East Sussex - 01273 785100
  • HM Prison Leyhill, Gloucestershire -  01454 264000
  • HM Prison Lincoln, Lincolnshire - 01522 663000
  • HM Prison Lewes, East Sussex - 01273 785100
  • HM Prison Leyhill, Gloucestershire - 01454 264000
  • HM Prison Lincoln, Lincolnshire - 01522 663000
  • HM Prison Lindholme, South Yorkshire - 01302 524700
  • HM Prison Littlehey, Cambridgeshire - 01480 335000
  • HM Prison Liverpool, Merseyside -  0151 5304000
  • HM Prison Long Lartin, Worcestershire - 01386 295100
  • HM Prison & YOI Low Newton, County Durham - 0191 376 4000
  • HM Prison Lowdham Grange, Nottinghamshire - 0115 966 9208 
  • HM Prison Maidstone, Kent - 01622 775 300
  • HM Prison Manchester, Greater Manchester - 0161 817 5600 
  • HM Prison Moorland, South Yorkshire - 01302 523 000
  • HM Prison Morton Hall, Lincolnshire - 0300 303 0649
  • HM Prison New Hall & YOI, West Yorkshire - 01924 803 000
  • HM Prison Northumberland, Northumberland - 01670 383100
  • HM Prison North Sea Camp, Lincolnshire - 01205 769 300
  • HM Prison Norwich, Norfolk - 01603 708 600
  • HM Prison Nottingham, Nottinghamshire - 0115 872 4000
  • HM Prison Oakwood, Staffordshire - 01902 799 700
  • HM Prison Onley, Warwickshire - 01788 523 400
  • HM Prison & YOI Parc, Mid Glamorgan - 01656 300200
  • HM Prison Pentonville, London - 020 7023 7000
  • HM Prison & YOI Peterborough, Cambridgeshire - 01733 217500
  • HM Prison & YOI Portland, Dorset - 01305 715 600 
  • HM Prison Prescoed, Monmouthshire - 01291 675 000
  • HM Prison Preston, Lancashire - 01772 444 550
  • HM Prison Ranby, Nottinghamshire - 01777 862 000
  • HM Prison Risley, Cheshire - 01925 733 000
  • HM Prison & YOI Rochester, Kent - 01634 803 100 
  • HM Prison Rye Hill, Northamptonshire - 01788 523300
  • HM Prison Send, Surrey - 01483 471 000
  • HM Prison Elmley (Sheppey Cluster), Kent - 01795 802 000
  • HM Prison Standford Hill (Sheppey Cluster), Kent - 01795 884 500
  • HM Prison Swaleside (Sheppey Cluster), Kent - 01795 804 100
  • HM Prison Stafford, Staffordshire - 01785 773000
  • HM Prison Stocken, Rutland - 01780 795 100
  • HM Prison & YOI Stoke Heath, Shropshire - 01630 636 000 
  • HM Prison & YOI Styal, Cheshire - 01625 553 000
  • HM Prison Sudbury, Derbyshire - 01283 584 000
  • HM Prison Swansea, Swansea - 01792 485 300
  • HM Prison Swinfen Hall, Staffordshire - 01543 484 000
  • HM Prison Thameside, London - 020 8317 9777
  • HM Prison The Mount, Hertfordshire - 01442 836 300
  • HM Prison The Verne, Dorest - 01305 825 000
  • HM Prison Thorn Cross, Cheshire - 01925 805 100
  • HM Prison Usk, Monmouthshire - 01291 671 600
  • HM Prison Wakefield, West Yorkshire - 01924 612000
  • HM Prison Wandsworth, London - 020 8588 4000
  • HM Prison Warren Hill, Suffolk - 01394 633 400
  • HM Prison Wayland, Norfolk - 01953 804 100
  • HM Prison Wealstun, West Yorkshire - 01937 444 400
  • HM YOI Werrington, Staffordshire - 01782 463300
  • HM YOI Wetherby, West Yorkshire - 01937 544 200
  • HM Prison Whatton, Nottinghamshire - 01949 803 200
  • HM Prison Whitemoor, Cambridgeshire - 01354 602350
  • HM Prison Winchester, Hampshire - 01962 723000
  • HM Prison & YOI Woodhill, Buckinghamshire - 01908 722 000
  • HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs, London - 020 8588 3200
  • HM Prison Wymott, Lancashire - 01772 442000

Contact numbers for prisons & Young Offender Institutes in Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

  • HM Prison Addiewell, West Lothian - 01506 874500
  • HM Prison Barlinnie, Glasgow - 0141 770 2000 
  • HM Prison Castle Huntly, Perth and Kinross - 01382 319329
  • HM Prison & YOI Cornton Vale, Stirling - 01786 832591
  • HM Prison Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway - 01387 261218
  • HM Prison Edinburgh, Edinburgh - 0131 444 3000
  • HM Prison Glenochil, Clackmannanshire - 01259 760471
  • HM Prison & YOI Grampian, Aberdeenshire - 01779 485600
  • HM Prison Greenock, Inverclyde - 01475 787801
  • HM Prison Inverness, Highland - 01463 229000
  • HM Prison Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire - 01563 548800
  • HM Prison Low Moss, East Dunbartonshire - 0141 762 9500
  • HM Prison Perth, Perth and Kinross - 01738 622293
  • HM Prison/YOI Polmont, Falkirk - 01324 711558
  • HM Prison Shotts, North Lanarkshire - 01501 824000

Contact numbers for prisons & Young Offender Institutes in Northern Ireland

  • HM Prison Maghaberry, County Antrim - 028 9261 1888
  • HM Prison Magilligan, County Londonderry - 028 7776 3311
  • HM Prison Hydebank Wood, County Down - 028 90253849 
  • Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre, County Down - 028 9185 4600

UK private investigators

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