You need to make sure that whomever you hire has the right equipment, training and experience. Here is a list of questions you should ask anyone you are considering to conduct a TSCM bug sweep of your home, business, or vehicle:
Question #1 – What is the value of the equipment you will be using on my sweep? The average dollar value of the professional TSCM bug detection equipment used by a technician to do a thorough bug sweep is usually $100,000 plus. Unfortunately, most private investigators promoting bug sweeps use spy shop equipment you could have purchased yourself for a few hundred dollars. Unfortunately, most spy shop devices are ineffective and simple RF detectors that will also detect radio stations, Wi-Fi routers, Bluetooth devices, and these might even belong to your neighbors. That’s why we don’t recommend buying such device as they will usually indicate the presence of some sort of signal.
Question #2 – What type of equipment will you use to sweep my residence? The unique bug detection equipment used by professional TSCM technicians are very expensive and in most cases are the same used by many government agencies. Please understand that there is no single piece of equipment that can detect audio bugs, hidden video cameras, telephone wiretaps, or GPS tracker hidden in or under a vehicle. Most professional TSCM technicians will use at least 10 unique government grade devices. Here is a list of detection equipment your technician MUST have and use on your sweep or DO NOT hire them:
– Spectrum Analyzer – (Average Cost $25,000-$47,000) The most common industry standard spectrum analyzer is either the REI OSCOR Blue or OSCOR Green GHz. These devices will scan the radio spectrum from 10Khz to 24GHz and identify LIVE frequencies in the airwaves. The technician will take an outdoor reference scan and then compare it to one or more inside residence scans. The analyzer will identify those signals that are stronger in the residence or target area, which then need to be demodulated to determine the signal source or threat. There certainly are other spectrum analyzer manufacturers such as the REI OSCOR 5000, which is an older model that only scans up to 3Ghz (or 12GHz with the microwave down converter). Other analyzers include the Anritsu, Krestel, and Textronics. Just make sure that the spectrum analyzer they plan to use can scan frequencies to at least 8 Ghz. If they don’t have any of the units described above, DO NOT hire them!
– Non-Linear Junction Detector – (Average Cost $14,000 – $20,000) Not all bugging devices transmit a radio signal such as a digital recorders, or the bugging device may be off during the sweep. Therefore, the NLJD is designed to locate the presence of ANY electronic devices as small as a grain of rice. This is an extremely essential tool as the bugging device could be concealed inside furniture, fixtures, or everyday devices that could easily be missed by a physical search. The most common NLJD is the REI Orion 2.4 or the Orion HGO-4000 . If your TSCM technician doesn’t have a NLJD, DO NOT hire them!
– TALAN Telephone & Line Analyzer (Average Cost $19,000 – $21,000) This device is designed to conduct a comprehensive sweep and analysis of your telephone lines. With the advent of digital and VOIP telephone lines, old school test equipment is no longer sufficient. The TALAN is able to analyze, inspect and test digital telephone lines for taps and eavesdropping devices. The new VOIP analysis software allows the technician to test internet protocol packet traffic for source and destination addresses, header type, and packet statistics. This device is essential for commercial or office bug sweeps, and is also best used on residence phone lines connected to local cable service.
– Countermeasure Amplifier (Average Cost $1,700) This device is a high gain audio amplifier used to detect and identify certain types of surveillance devices attached to telephone wiring, LAN and server systems, AC power, and alarm wiring.
– Broadband RF Detector/Probes (Average Cost $$2,500 – $4,500) The most common are the REI CPM-700 and the REI ANDRE. Each of these devices are designed to help the TSCM technician locate the source of RF (Radio Frequency) transmissions. The advanced kit will contain eight probes antennas for investigative specific bands within the optimized detection range. The technician can perform 10 tests using the various probes. If your TSCM technician does not have a CPM700 or an ANDRE, DO NOT hire them!
– FLIR Infrared Thermal Camera (Average Cost $1,000 – $15,000) This amazing device will detect the active heat signature of a bugging device that may be hidden in the walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, fixtures, pillows, stuffed animals, and air vents. Your technician should be using a thermal camera to properly sweep the area.
– Video Borescope (Average Cost $500 – $2,500) This device allows the TSCM technician to look inside the air vents in a residence as well as those in a vehicle dash to detect microphones or covert video cameras. This will also allow the technician to view areas out of reach such as behind or under furniture, above cabinets, or other areas not easily accessible to the technician. If your TSCM technician does not have a video borescope DO NOT hire them!
– Cell Phone Detector (Average Cost $2,400) The WolfHound Pro device will locate active hidden cell phones, GSM bugs, and GPS trackers. The direction antenna allows the technician to locate and detect cell phones in either standby mode, during active voice conversations, text or data transmissions, or live GPS tracking bursts. This is an essential device for detecting GSM bugs and GPS trackers.
Question #2 – What type of formal training do you have? As you can see from the list above, there is a significant financial investment to purchase these unique electronic detection devices. In addition, most of these sophisticated devices require as many as 40 hours each of manufacturer on-site training to know how to properly use and conduct through TSCM bug sweeps.
REI (Research Electronics International) is one of the most well known training facility located in Cookeville, Tennessee. They offer specific 3-5 day certificate courses for most of their products. Other training facilities include Jarvis Intelligence Solutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kestrel in Canada, and World Institute for Security Enhancement in Wilmington, North Carolina. There are also many TSCM professionals who were government trained. However, the mere fact that a technician is a former federal agent is not sufficient unless they were trained in TSCM. Your technician should be able to provide proof of certificate training from any of these TSCM training facilities.
Question #3 – How much experience do you have? You will find that most seasoned professional TSCM technicians have more than 10 years full-time experience. While there are many excellent private investigators with years of proven TSCM experience, most rarely do bug sweeps on a regular basis or they do sweeps on a part-time basis. Make sure that the technician you hire has several years of TSCM experience.
Question #4 – Are you a member of any professional TSCM organizations? Professional TSCM technicians should belong to ERII (Espionage Research Institute International) and/or ASIS International.
Do not hesitate to ask the questions above and let yourself be guided by the answers. However, all our technician meet all the equipment, training, and experience requirements listed above. Call us not at 212-579-4302 and let us provide you with an instant price quote.
Just because a person or agency promotes bug sweeps on their website it doesn’t mean they either have the right equipment, training or experience. Most professional TSCM technicians use more than $150,000 worth of sophisticated electronic bug detection equipment. That’s why you need to know what questions to ask to identify true professional TSCM technicians and weed out private investigators with spy shop gear.