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My Neighbor Is Spying on Me: What Can I Do?

Updated on November 23, 2017
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A long time ago I had a stalker. He still pops up now and then. I like to think I can help others in the same situation.

Are your neighbors spying on you; watching your every move? Do they seem to know details about your life that you haven’t shared with them? Feeling that you are being watched—and so close to home too—can blight your life. 6.6 million people are stalked in the US every year. Are you one of them? It’s time to take control and fight back. Find out what to do when neighbors overstep the boundaries and position themselves too close for comfort.

The first thing to to is to establish that they are actually spying on you. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might believe your neighbors are watching you.

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Why Your Neighbor Could Be Watching You

  • Your neighbor might be housebound and simply focussed on what is going on nearby. You, being close to her, probably pique her interest. After all, other than the TV, she doesn’t have much else to fill her life.
  • Your neighbors might be over-friendly. They don’t realize that they are being irritating. They could have grown up in a different environment where neighbors always looked out for each other.
  • Your neighbors are obsessed with local crime rates and make it their business to monitor the street.
  • On rare occasions there could be some nefarious reason why you are being watched by your neighbor. It might be connected to property: perhaps they feel they have a claim on the house you live in? Could there be a boundary dispute?
  • Are they attempting to get you to move out? Why might that be? Are you a nuisance neighbor yourself? Do you have barking dogs, noisy children or loud parties?
  • Some rental companies offer reduced rents to people who can drive their house-owning neighbors out of the street, so the company can buy up the house to build up their portfolio. It’s convenient for them to have their rental properties near each other.
  • They really are spying on you, but you have no idea why. Check out the possible reasons in my article I'm Being Watched. Additionally, if you also think they might be listening in to your private conversations, you might want to find out if they are bugging your home or your car.
  • Maybe they aren’t spying on you at all, but you feel so insecure and lacking confidence that you think that everyone is watching you. In this case, you must seek professional guidance. It is not good to live in this way as it hampers your activities and ruins your chances of having a good life. Get help and get it sorted.

How to Deal With Nosy Neighbors

Nosy neighbors aren’t dangerous or scary, they are just a plain nuisance. It’s irritating to have people noticing and commenting on your every move. However, you can reduce the effect they have on you.

1. Try making friends with them. If it is a case that they are physically limited to their home, then why not bring some happiness into their life by becoming friends. If nothing else, you’ll at least have someone who can keep an eye on your property and take in packages when you aren’t home.

2. Put up physical barriers. A decent, solid fence or some judicious conifer planting will prevent them seeing into your property. Screen your windows with mesh or stick-ons - we’ve just discovered how good (and pretty) this RabbitGoo decorative window privacy film is. Our windows are right on the street and this film prevents anyone, neighbors or otherwise, from getting a look inside.

3. Avoid them whenever possible. If you are walking down the street and see your nosy neighbor approaching, get out your phone and pretend to be talking to someone. If your neighbor tries to stop you, put your hand over the phone and tell him you are talking to your investment manager. Always be rushing off somewhere so that you look too busy to stop and chat.

Signs Your Neighbors Are Spying on You

  • They tell you stuff about yourself they shouldn’t know.
  • You suspect that they are listening in via some sort of device.
  • Your mail is being interfered with.
  • You are pretty sure they’ve entered your home while you were out.
  • They stalk you on social media.
  • You own your property and your neighbors are renters.

Signs You Could Be Mistaken

  • You have no proof whatsoever that they are spying.
  • It’s an unsubstantiated feeling.
  • Other neighbors seem to get on with them well.
  • You’ve had similar experiences in other places you’ve lived.
  • You think the whole street is spying on you.

How to Confirm You Are Being Watched

You have to establish if your suspicions are true. There’s no point being constantly worried that you are being spied on if it isn’t actually happening.

One really easy way to do this is to test them. If they are the sort of people who seem to delight in letting you know that they are aware of what’s going on in your life. Have telephone conversations inside your home and car mentioning some untrue event. Such as you’ve booked a cruise ship vacation, or you are thinking of buying a parrot, or you have invited a relative to move in with you. Something preposterous and easily disproved. Then see if this information is repeated back to you by your neighbors. If it is, then you know they are listening to everything they say. Don’t let on that you are aware of their spying behavior. Also be careful not to say anything that could damage your own reputation if it got spread around.

Keep a log of incidents and reasons why you think they are stalking you. This is really important. If you ever have to give evidence against them, the fact you kept a detailed log will go in your favor.

Use a simple and inexpensive bug sweeping device to discover any hidden listening devices or cameras on your property or vehicle. Repeat your bug sweep every couple of weeks or so.

Send yourself some interesting-looking, but bogus mail. Check to see if the envelope has been opened or torn ‘accidentally’. Keep the evidence.

Take photos of anything suspicious and keep them in cloud storage, such as Google Drive or Drop Box. Don’t let the folder where you keep them sync to your computer (in case they have access to it remotely). Print out the photos and add them to your log, which you will keep safely hidden under lock and key.

How to Deal With Spying Neighbors

Don’t act like it bothers you. Don’t change your daily routines or look for reasons not to go outside.

Having said that, take extra precautions where your children are concerned. Ensure they can play safely and in privacy. Don’t let them play on the street. If your children or pets are the cause of your neighbor’s anger, then do your best to understand how irritating it is for some people to have to put up with constant screaming kids and barking dogs. Restrict outdoor play to reasonable hours and/or shut your dogs indoors. You have to be prepared to compromise for sake of peace.

Install spy cameras in your own home to find out if your neighbors make a habit of entering while you are at work. Make copies of videos of any suspicious activity and make sure they are kept somewhere safe.

Do regular bug sweeps of your property.

Install outdoor security lights and cameras in full view. Also one or two hidden cameras too. Basic spy cameras like this Ztcolife Mini Camera are very reasonable, We've installed two of them as a quick and easy precautionary measure at the back of our house.

Invest in a full-on home security system, complete with monitoring and a panic button.

Lock gates, doors and windows at all times.

Refuse to engage with them in any way whatsoever. If you ‘gray rock’ them, they might just lose interest or amuse themselves by spying on someone else.

Tell other neighbors what’s happening - you must have irrefutable proof though. If you spread unfounded rumors, you could find yourself in trouble.

Don’t interact on social media. Additionally, make sure that they are not friends of friends who can see your posts. This may be the one source of the problem. Never say where and when you are going out. Never post where you are. Change all your settings to the highest security level.

If you have collected proof, then report them to the police and any other local authorities. If they are renters, then make a formal complaint via a lawyer to the rental agency.

Call on the services of a private investigator but be prepared, if s/he is to do their job properly, to have your life examined in detail. They will need to find out why your neighbors are showing such a keen interest in you.

As a last resort move home. This may seem a drastic measure, but what price peace of mind?

© 2017 Bev

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    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 4 weeks ago from Wales

      Hi Erick, thank you. It's all in the past now and I never let myself be a victim. I kept records, I made regular trips to the police with evidence and eventually they had enough to act. The guy was eventually arrested breaking into my apartment, which luckily I had just vacated that weekend. All is well. xx

    • Ivan Hernandez profile image

      Erick Hernandez 4 weeks ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

      I wanted to comment on your article yesterday, but my PS3 won't let me do it.

      I wanted to defend you yesterday, because you were a victim of stalking. More women are victims of stalking than men. That commenter was very rude to you. Good thing you deleted his comment.

      You speak from experience and are very wise in the ways of keeping your sanity, even while you are constantly being stalked.

      I read some of your article. I didn't read all of it; just enough to know that I love your article. It's pure perfection. I'm sorry you're a stalking victim. I wish I could help.

    • Dunbar Green profile image

      Richard Green 5 weeks ago from New Mexico

      Well, now that you mention it, we haven't rewarded our neighbors properly and my husband has been making wine. I'll get the camera set up first, though.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 5 weeks ago from Wales

      So funny! Of course I'll approve it - there's nothing that can't be improved with a little humour. I hope you pay something for that free entertainment - like the occasional chocolate cake or bottle of home-made wine!

    • Dunbar Green profile image

      Richard Green 5 weeks ago from New Mexico

      I love this article! We have these neighbors we spy on, but they are just hypnotically entertaining when they get inebriated and do yard work with power tools.

      We don't hide and watch like real stalkers. We just stand on our front porch and make bets on what crazy thing they will do next. We know it is wrong to gawk at them, but we almost can't look away. Last weekend they felled a tree directly onto their fence. You can't buy that kind of entertainment, and we don't even have to leave home to see it.

      I think I will take your advice and install a camera so we don't miss anything!

      PS: I will understand if you don't approve this comment. I like to say hello even if I haven't anything sentient to write;). I don't mean to make light of something as creepy as stalking.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 5 weeks ago from Wales

      I agree, Jeanette. Unfortunately many people are either unaware, or not bothered about the idea of sharing every aspect of their lives on social media.

    • profile image

      Jeanette Harris 5 weeks ago from 11996 Valley Falls Loop Spring Hill Florida, 34609

      I also think people should take responsibility to protect privacy like don't post your private on facebook or any social media