NYC TSCM – The 5 Types of “Bugs” Listening To You

TSCM (technical surveillance counter-measures) is the process of locating eavesdropping devices within in area.
While providing NYC TSCM services, we are wary of five primary categories of “Bugs”: Acoustic, Ultrasonic, RF, Optical and Hybrid. Each type has its purpose and optimum environment. Below, the 5 types are listed with some information on how they’re used and what they are.


The most primitive is without the use of electronics, such as, placing a glass or rubber tube into an area directly intercepting the communication with the naked ear. This also applies to soft spots, such as around windows, vents, power outlets, all where sounds leak through.


A technique used to convert the sound into an audio signal above the human range of hearing. The signal is intercepted and converted back to audio.

RF (Radio Frequency)

Most commonly used and known device. It’s a radio transmitter placed in a device or in an area. This is what you typically think of when thinking about bug sweeping.

Optical Bug

This type of bug is rarely used and expensive. It converts sound or data into an optical beam of light, such as a passive laser listening device.


Any of the above mentioned devices can be combined to make a hybrid listening/eavesdropping device.

It takes a person trained in TSCM (technical surveillance counter-measures) to know what to look for and identify the different bugs. As a private investigation company, Gold Shield Elite Investigations regularly sweeps for listening
devices in NYC.

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