Over the past four decades, we have lectured and written extensively about electronic eavesdropping detection sweeps – or “bug sweeps” as the service is known to the public. The technology used to monitor and watch people illegally has changed dramatically since the late 1960’s. Today there are hundreds (if not thousands) of options readily available to buy on the Internet. And as this technology changes, we also have to continually invest in the latest technology to assist us in finding the newer cameras and listening devices.
The cost of these illegal devices has gone down while the actual products have become more sophisticated and smaller.
The cost of these illegal devices has gone down while the actual products have become more sophisticated and smaller. Be it cameras, monitoring devices powered by battery, or those placed on phone lines, the cost is generally less than an average night out. Conversely, the cost of the equipment we buy and make ourselves to detect this nefarious activity has skyrocketed.
The common scenarios play out like this:
- A husband wants to monitor his soon to be ex-wife’s activities in the bedroom. He moves out of the residence, but before he officially leaves, he places a camera in a strategic position in the master bedroom.
- An ex-employee wants to keep tabs on his former business associates. As part of his plan, he pays the cleaning crew to let him secretly get into the office and the phone room to put listening devices in the company boardroom, the President’s office and that of the Chief Financial Officer.
In either case, the total expenditure is usually less than a few hundred dollars.
The technicians we use on our staff to find these illegal bugs and cameras must have world-class equipment to detect all types of monitoring and listening devices. In our world, we can’t just be 99% sure that nothing has been hidden. Our sweeps must be full-ranging and leave no stone unturned. It is similar to how the Secret Service operates: the President of the United States may never, ever be attacked by an assailant, hit by bullets or ever die on their watch. Failure is unacceptable.
To assure we are 100% confident in our ability to locate hidden devices, we must regularly purchase (and in some cases develop) the latest detection equipment, which ranges from $5,000.00 to $100,000.00
We typically use three technicians. Each has a minimum of 25 years as law enforcement officials with direct experience monitoring wiretaps, pen registers and electronic detection of devices placed by the “bad guys”. The key is this: We use very sophisticated equipment in the hands of experienced technicians unsurpassed within the current investigative establishment.
There are many wannabes and con-artists in the bug detection business.
There are many wannabes and con-artists in the bug detection business. These people simply buy a magic wand from an electronics store and consider themselves bug sweep experts. They will charge you $300.00 to $400.00 to literally fake a sweep and put on a show for their unsuspecting clients. This can be totally avoided.
We are very transparent in what we do and how much we charge. If you can beat our prices, I will guarantee you are dealing with a fraud. If we could do it for less, we would.
Here is the gold standard bar:
We will perform a residential or corporate office sweep on areas 3,000 sq. ft. (or less) for $5,800.00. This is for a 2-day, 3-phase operation in the Southern California area. If you live somewhere else, you will need to pay for travel and expenses to your area.
If you are a business or corporation, then the best estimate for pricing is the following:
Take the square footage of the area where the offices and phones are located. Do not be concerned with the plant or manufacturing areas. Take that figure and multiply it by $1.50. Hence, if you have 7,000 square feet of office, the cost should be around $10,500.00
We are often asked about how many times we find something. During the period from the late 1960’s to the mid 1980’s the find rate was about 4%. After the Seoul Olympics in 1988, people returned to the U.S. with newly-purchased monitoring devices. Since that year, the “find” rate has increased steadily to where we locate a monitoring device or camera about 16% of the time.
There is an 84% chance that no bug will be found.
Let me tell you something other private investigators may not point out. Some less-than-honorable investigators will prey on the paranoid and the alarming 16% percentage. But look at the math. These figures, which are shared by the top-echelon investigators, means there is an 84% chance that no bug will be found because there are none. Keep that in mind before you spend your hard earned money.
Years ago, one statistic that we were all sure would never change was the difference between how many listening devices we found versus cameras. From the late 1960’s to about 2006, the find ratio was about 90% listening devices and 10% cameras. During the past 10 years, it was about 50/50. This year, for the very first time, cameras have consistently been found more often at the rate of 55% to 45%.
I’d guess the increase in camera finds is because of two things. First, high-end cameras that are contained in plants, clocks, fans, and headboards are difficult to detect by the layman. Second, for some reason, control-freak husbands want to monitor their wife’s bedroom activities during divorce proceedings. I know that’s a head-scratcher, but there are somethings in life you just can’t make up.
This post was originally posted on August 19, 2016.