7 Signs Your Phone Is Being Tapped

7 Signs Your Phone Is Being Tapped

Every type of smartphone can be exposed to unauthorized access, particularly when the device has undergone jailbreaking or rooting, allowing the installation of third-party applications. Identifying whether you’re dealing with a phone tap or a technical problem can require some investigation.

In case you’ve only observed one of the indicators mentioned below, particularly in a sporadic manner, it’s likely that you’re not dealing with a spy app or other type of tapping device. On the other hand, if you encounter several indicators, especially on a regular basis, it’s possible that someone might be eavesdropping on your phone conversations.

An expedient method to halt abnormal activity by a remote hacker, without completely powering off your phone, is to activate airplane mode, which will disable cell data and Wi-Fi. By doing so, you can address the situation offline, such as removing any suspicious apps or resetting your device, and simultaneously prevent any network-related actions.

1. Unusual Background Noise

If you hear irregular background noise, such as pulsating static or high-pitched humming, during voice calls, it could be an indication that your phone is being tapped. Additionally, if you detect unusual sounds like beeping, clicking, or static when you’re not making a call, that’s another warning sign of phone tapping. However, it’s important to keep in mind that peculiar noises do occur on cell and landline calls occasionally, so it’s not always a definite sign of a problem.

You can check for inaudible sounds on your phone using a sound-bandwidth sensor on a low frequency. A sound-bandwidth sensor is a noise-detection application from another phone that can be used to measure sound on a possibly tapped device. If the sensor picks up sounds multiple times within a minute, there’s a chance that your phone may have been tapped.

2. Shorter Battery Life

If your phone’s battery life is significantly shorter than it used to be or if it becomes warm when in use, it’s possible that tapping software is covertly running in the background, which is consuming battery power.

However, if your phone battery is more than a year old, it may be less efficient in holding a charge, and in such a case, you can take specific measures to enhance its life span.

It’s essential to reflect on your phone usage pattern. Have you been making more voice calls or using more apps than usual? If the answer is yes, then that may be the reason your phone’s battery is draining faster than usual.

You notice that your phone battery drains faster than usual
You notice that your phone battery drains faster than usual

If you can’t pinpoint anything that you’ve been doing differently, you can utilize your phone’s settings to acquire detailed information about what’s using the battery or download an app that provides a clear overview of the battery usage.

  • For Android devices, you can either search Settings for battery usage or navigate to Settings, tap Device, and select Battery to see which apps are consuming the most battery power.

After checking the app usage, it’s advisable to recheck after a few days to identify which apps have changed the most. If you frequently use those apps, it’s likely that the battery drain is due to the app usage. However, if you didn’t use the apps much, there may be something unusual going on, such as a virus that has infiltrated your phone. In such a case, deleting the app is recommended.

Related: Can Someone Stalk You Using Your Smartphone?

3. Trouble With Shutting Down

If your smartphone has become unresponsive or is experiencing issues while shutting down, it may indicate that someone has gained unauthorized access to it.

When shutting down your phone, observe whether the shutdown process fails, or if the backlight remains on even after you’ve completed the shutdown process. If you encounter any of these issues, it could be caused by malicious software or a glitch resulting from a recent phone update.

4. Suspicious Activity

If your phone is turning on or off by itself or installing apps without your consent, it’s possible that someone has hacked it using a spy app. This could be an attempt to tap into your calls and monitor your phone activity.

  • Weird Text Messages: If you receive unusual SMS text messages containing garbled letters and numbers from unknown senders, it could be a significant indication that someone is attempting to tap into your phone. This happens because certain tapping apps receive commands through coded SMS messages, leading to the phenomenon of receiving a series of garbled letters and numbers.
  • Pop-Up Ads: If you experience strange pop-up ads and unexplained performance issues on your phone, it could be an indication of the presence of malware or a tapping app. However, it’s also possible that an annoying ad is attempting to sell products to you, which is a more common explanation.
  • Moving Icons: When you’re not actively using your phone, the network activity icons and other progress bars at the top of the screen should not be animated. If you notice that these icons are moving or indicating activity, it could be an indication that someone is remotely using your phone or sending data in the background without your knowledge.
  • Personal Info Shows Up Online: If you find that private data, such as notes, emails, pictures, or any other data that you’ve secured on your phone, has been leaked online without your knowledge, it could be an indication that your phone has been tapped. 

Normally, such data should remain on your phone unless you intentionally choose to share it with others. However, if your phone has been hacked, a malicious user could remotely extract your data and post it online, compromising your privacy and security.

5. Electronic Interference

If you notice unusual sounds or interference when your phone is near other electronic devices, it could indicate that someone is listening in on your calls or trying to intercept your communications. In some cases, tapping devices can emit signals or frequencies that can interfere with nearby electronics, causing static or other unusual sounds. 

If you suspect that your phone is being tapped, it’s important to take immediate steps to protect your privacy and security, such as contacting your service provider or a security expert for help.

Tapping devices that can be used to eavesdrop on your phone calls often operate using frequencies that are close to those used by FM radios. If you hear a high-pitched sound when your radio is set to mono and tuned to the far end of the band, it could indicate that your phone is being tapped and causing interference.

Similarly, some tapping devices operate on frequencies used by UHF channels in TV broadcasts. To check for interference, bring your phone near a TV that uses an antenna and see if there are any unusual sounds or disruptions in the broadcast.

6. Higher Than Usual Phone Bill

If you notice that your phone bill displays an abnormally high surge in text or data usage, it may indicate that someone has hacked into your phone. While downloading a new app that consumes a lot of data or allowing your children to use your device could justify the sudden increase in data usage, it is advisable to be cautious. 

This is because spyware or other malicious apps could be utilizing your cellular data plan to execute their covert activities without your knowledge. Thus, if you spot an abrupt surge in data activity on your phone bill and cannot come up with a plausible explanation, it is wise to seek assistance from your carrier.

7. Third-Party Apps

Downloading third-party apps can pose a risk for potential malware and spyware threats to your phone. If you’ve recently installed apps from sources other than the official app stores, such as the App Store or Google Play Store, you should be cautious.

Even when downloading from official stores, scammers can create fake apps with similar names and icons to popular apps, so it’s essential to conduct a quick Google search of both the app and its developer before installing anything on your phone. This will help ensure that the app and the developer are trustworthy and legitimate.

Do the feds monitor your phone calls?

It’s important to be aware that cell phones and smartphones can be accessed by others without your knowledge or consent, commonly through spy apps. On the other hand, cordless landline phones are more commonly tapped through specialized hardware and software. If you suspect that your phone is compromised, it’s important to take action to secure your device and protect your privacy.

Image Credit: Vadym

It is possible that if you notice any of the signs of a tapped phone, such as reduced battery life, unusual activity, or interference, it could mean that federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI or the Department of Justice are tapping your phone. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these agencies can only tap phones in connection to specific criminal investigations, such as cases involving terrorism, drug trafficking, violent crimes, and counterfeiting. Additionally, obtaining a wiretap requires a great deal of effort and must be authorized by a judge. Therefore, if you suspect that the federal authorities are tapping your phone, it is likely to be a rare and highly specialized occurrence.

Apps that can tell you if you’ve been tapped

It is possible to use apps to help detect if your phone has been hacked or tapped. You can download the DontSpy 2 app for iOS from the App Store or the WireTap Detection Android app from Google Play if you suspect your phone has been hacked. Additionally, there are iOS and Android apps available that can monitor for “suspicious symptoms” of a tapped phone. For instance, if you notice an unexplained surge in your data usage, you can download the Data Usage iOS app or the My Data Manager Android app to assist you in identifying any suspicious or unauthorized apps.

Be cautious with any apps, particularly games, that request permission to access your call history, address book, or contacts list. If you have children, you may also want to enable parental controls to keep them from accidentally downloading malicious apps.

It’s essential to be careful with any apps you download, especially games, that ask for permission to access sensitive information such as your call history, address book, or contacts list. If you have kids, enabling parental controls can prevent them from unintentionally downloading malicious apps.