What Can You Do to Stop Eavesdropping on Cell Phones & Home Lines?

By Melly Parker

Secure information, such as account numbers, is often exchanged over the phone.
i Jack Hollingsworth/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Most types of communication can be recorded or eavesdropped on, including Internet communications and phone calls. If you need to exchange sensitive information, speaking to your contact in person is the best way to be sure that no one is listening. Barring that option, take basic precautions to ensure that your private conversations stay private.

Multiple Home Phones

Don't install multiple phones on the same line in your home if you're concerned about eavesdropping. It's easy for a person in your home to pick up another handset connected to the same line and listen in on in-progress calls. If you want to protect a specific conversation, go around and collect the handsets that are connected on the phone line. When you're done with the conversation, you can put them back in place and plug them in again.

Secure Your Device

One way to prevent eavesdropping software from being installed on your mobile phone is to put a password on it. No one should be able to open your phone and install apps without your permission. If you notice an app that you don't recognize, delete it and consider installing a fresh copy of your operating system on the phone. Change your password regularly and only share your mobile phone with people you trust.

Encrypt Your Calls

With the right apps, you can place encrypted phone calls, which lessen the chances of another person listening in. Apps like RedPhone, Silent Phone and Cellcrypt all give this extra protection between two users that both have the app. RedPhone is an Android app that can use either 3G or Wi-Fi and makes calls via the dialing app on the phone to other RedPhone users. Silent Phone also uses mobile data networks and Wi-Fi, but for an additional fee you can make protected calls to users who don't have Silent Phone installed. It's available on Android and iOS. Cellcrypt, which can be used on Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Nokia devices, places protected calls to other Cellcrypt devices. It can also send secure text messages to Cellcrypt users.

Monitor Call Quality

One of the best ways to stop eavesdropping is to end a conversation if there is any sign that you're being infiltrated. If you hear unusual sounds or changes in the phone volume, it may be a sign that someone is listening in. Mobile phones may make noises when they aren't in use if someone has installed a call monitoring program, which means you need to reset your phone to remove any malicious apps. You may also hear interference with stereo speakers even when your mobile phone isn't in use.