Is Someone Listening to Your Phone Calls and How to Stop It

Chris Thompson

By Chris Thompson


It’s something we see in movies all the time—police technicians hiding in the back of a van with giant headphones, tapes whirring, computers buzzing, while they listen in to their target unwittingly confessing to the crime they committed.

Therefore, it’s natural to wonder: “Can this happen to me?” The truth is, yes. Someone can listen to your phone calls if they have the right tools and know how to use them—which isn’t anywhere near as difficult as you might expect.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the ways somebody could be hacking your phone and listening to your calls through your device.

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How Could Someone Listen to My Phone Calls?

People can use a few different tools to listen to your phone calls. Some tools are installed especially for the purpose of hacking your device, whereas others make use of vulnerabilities in existing apps in order to bypass security.

Spy apps

Spy apps, or spyware, are commercially available tools that can be purchased for as little as $30. These apps are often very easy to install, requiring very little technical knowledge. They can:

  • Allow access to many features of the device onto which they are installed. This includes not only phone calls, but also text messages, emails, internet browsing activity, and more.
  • Hack both Android and iOS devices. iOS requires the device to be jailbroken first. Android devices are more susceptible, but the hacker may have to change a few simple security settings.

Many spy apps are available on the market, but the two most commonly used apps are FlexiSpy and mSpy. Both of these apps have more or less the same function, as described above.

💡 Quickly find spy apps and other threats on your device with Certo AntiSpy for iPhone or Certo Mobile Security for Android.

Zero-Day Exploits

Zero-Day Exploits happen when a hacker discovers a vulnerability in an app or device that the manufacturers are unaware of. This means that the hacker can fully exploit the vulnerability to attack the user’s device.

Although the information a hacker is able to obtain differs depending on the circumstances, it’s quite common for Zero-Day Exploits to give access to phone calls, as was the case with the WhatsApp attack in 2019.

Because these hacks are initiated before device manufacturers have a chance to react, they are usually left scrambling to find a solution as quickly as possible to reduce the window of vulnerability for their customers.

That’s why keeping your phone and apps updated is so important.

Some Misconceptions about Phone Call Eavesdropping

It’s a common misconception that all phone hacking methods allow someone to listen to your calls. In actual fact, it’s usually only the most intrusive spyware and exploits that can do this.

Most other hacking forms focus on tracking GPS locations or collecting digital data, such as passwords and other account details.

Nevertheless, knowing about and protecting against spyware that cannot listen to your calls is still important. Here are some examples of hacks that you need to know about, but won’t be able to intercept to your calls:

  • Family tracking apps. These widely-available and accessible apps are typically used for tracking GPS locations and can’t listen to phone calls.
  • Spyware that targets cloud data. Some hacks work by gaining access to a user’s iCloud or Google account and stealing data synced from their phone. While this can be used to gain lots of other important and private data, it can’t be used for listening to phone calls.

It’s also a common misconception that a phone can be hacked or that someone can listen to your phone calls simply by knowing your phone number. This is completely false—it’s not possible to gain access to your phone calls using your phone number alone.

You can read more about what a hacker can do using just your number here.

How to Know if Someone Is Listening to Your Calls

With all of the cell phone malware out there, there are certain signs to be wary of that can be indicative of suspicious activity.

⚠️ High data usage

A common symptom of a hacked phone is a dramatic increase in mobile data usage. This is because the malware is constantly sending data from the phone to the hacker.

⚠️ Battery issues

If your phone battery life is decreasing, it might be because there are extra programs running in the background of your device, stealing its juice.

⚠️ Slow performance

We all sometimes wish our phones were faster, but if slow performance isn’t normal for your phone, it could be a sign that something is stealing processing power.

⚠️ Background noise

If you hear strange noises while you’re on a phone call, it could be a very good sign that the call is being interrupted somehow. This could include someone else recording or listening in on your call.

💡 Pro tip: Scan with an antivirus app

To know for sure if your phone calls are being monitored—especially if you notice any of the strange behaviors listed above—you should perform a scan on your device using a proven antivirus app.

Run a deep scan now with Certo for iPhone or Android.

How to Prevent Someone from Listening to Your Calls

Here are 9 of the best ways to enhance call privacy and security on your mobile device:

✅ Strong passwords and screen locks: Use robust passwords, PINs, or biometrics (like fingerprints or facial recognition) to secure your device. This helps protect against someone downloading a spy app onto your phone.

✅ Regular software updates: Keep your device up to date with the latest operating system updates, as these often include important security patches. This makes it much harder for a hacker to exploit a vulnerability on your device.

✅ Be cautious with app installations: Download apps only from trusted sources (App Store for an iPhone, Google Play Store for an Android phone). Avoid installing apps from unknown sources, as they may contain malware.

✅ Review and manage app permissions: Regularly check which apps have access to sensitive features that may facilitate phone call spying. This may include features like ‘Microphone’, ‘Phone’ or ‘Call logs’. Disable permissions for apps that don’t need access to these features.

✅ Use encrypted communication apps: Consider using end-to-end encryption apps, such as Signal or WhatsApp, for sensitive calls. This will protect against phone call eavesdropping at a network level.

✅ Avoid jailbreaking or rooting: Refrain from jailbreaking (iPhone) or rooting (Android) your device, as this can make it vulnerable to additional security threats.

✅ Be mindful of public Wi-Fi: Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to encrypt your internet connection when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. This adds an extra layer of protection to your communications.

✅ Limit physical access: Always keep your phone in a secure place and be aware of your surroundings, especially while talking about sensitive information.

✅ Educate yourself: Stay informed about the latest security risks and best practices to protect your mobile communications. Start with our comprehensive guides on how to remove spyware from your iPhone or Android device.

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How to Tell If Your Landline Phone Is Tapped

A tapped landline is less likely these days, but it’s definitely still possible. If someone is tapping your landline and listening to your calls that way, here are some signs to look out for:

  1. Background noise: As with mobile devices, background noise while on a call can be a sign that you have an unauthorized listener. Listen out for static, buzzing or clicks on the line.
  2. Interference around other electronic devices: If you notice interference with other electronic devices, such as your cell phone or even your TV, it could be a strong sign that there is a tapping device in the building. These devices often use signals that can affect the normal operation of some electronic devices.
  3. Strange noises from the phone when not on a call: When you pick up the phone to make a call, before you dial any numbers, listen to the receiver and see if you can hear any unusual noises other than the dial tone on the line.
  4. Misplaced furniture: If you notice that some of your furniture seems to have shifted slightly, someone could have moved it to access the phone lines or wall socket.
  5. Phone box looks tampered with on the outside of the house: If you notice that the landline box on the outside of your home looks like somebody has tampered with it, it could be a sign that something out of the ordinary is going on. It may be that someone has forced the box open in order to fit a tapping device. Any engineers who need access to the box will have the appropriate tools to access the box.
  6. Strange utility trucks or workmen around the property: If you see utility trucks or workmen directly around your property, ask them for credentials. If you’re worried, call the company listed on the truck and ask them to check that the workers are legitimate. Sometimes, phone tappers can disguise themselves as utility workers in order to gain access to a landline box without arousing suspicions from onlookers.

If you’re suspicious of a landline tap, you can get a “landline tap detector” to give you a definite answer.

These are easily purchased from a number of different websites and stores. It might be worth contacting a local home security company who may be able to help you get this set up.

Hopefully, you found this article helpful. It’s not a nice feeling to suspect that someone is listening to your private calls. Following the advice in this article can help put your mind at ease, or know for sure if someone is listening in.