My Neighbor Is Spying on Me: What Can I Do?
Is your neighbor spying on you, watching your every move? Do strangers seem to know details about your life that you haven’t shared with them?
Feeling that you are being watched—and in your own home, especially—can have a profound affect on every aspect of your life.
In the US, 6.6 million people are stalked every year. Are you one of them? It’s time to take control and fight back. Find out what to do when neighbors overstep their boundaries and get too close for comfort.
Signs Your Neighbors Are Spying on You
- They tell you stuff about yourself they shouldn’t know.
- You find hints that they are listening or watching via some sort of device.
- Your mail is being interfered with.
- You see signs that someone has entered your home while you were out.
- You often "catch" them watching you.
- They stalk you on social media.
- They seem to know your schedule.
Signs You Could Be Mistaken
- You have no proof whatsoever that they are spying.
- It’s an unsubstantiated feeling.
- Other neighbors seem to get along 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.
- Test for eavesdropping. 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, then test them. Have telephone conversations inside your home and car mentioning some untrue event (for example, you’ve booked a cruise ship vacation, you are thinking of buying a parrot, or you have invited a relative to move in with you; something preposterous). Then, see if your neighbor repeats this information back to you. If it is, then you have proof that they are listening to everything they say. Note: Don’t let them know that you are aware of their spying. Also be careful not to say anything that could damage your own reputation if it got spread around.
- Test for mail tampering. Send yourself some interesting-looking, but bogus mail. Check to see if the envelope has been opened or torn ‘accidentally’. Keep the evidence.
- Use anti-spyware. Use a simple and inexpensive bug-sweeping device to discover any hidden listening devices or cameras on your property or vehicles. Repeat your bug sweep every couple of weeks or so.
- Keep a log. Keep a log of dates and incidents. 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.
- Maintain records and collect proof. 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 your evidence 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 the 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, but also have one or two hidden cameras, too. Basic spy cameras like this are very reasonably priced. We've installed two of them as a quick and easy precautionary measure at the back of our house. Ztcolife Mini Camera
- Invest in a full-on home security system, complete with monitoring and a panic button.
- Keep gates, doors, and windows locked at all times.
- Hire 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.
- Refuse to engage with them in any way whatsoever. If you use the "gray rock" method (in which you become as emotionally non-responsive as a rock), they might just lose interest.
- 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 announce where and when you are going out. Never post where you are. Change all your settings to the highest security level.
- Involve the law. 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 or homeowner. You may also file a restraining order.
- As a last resort, move. This may seem a drastic measure, but what price won't you pay for peace of mind?
How to Deal With Nosy Neighbors
Nosy neighbors might not be as dangerous or scary, but they can be a nuisance. It’s irritating to have people noticing and commenting on your every move. However, you can reduce the effect they have on you.
- Put up physical barriers. A decent, solid fence or some judicious conifer plantings will prevent them from seeing into your property. Screen your windows with mesh or stick-ons—we’ve just discovered how good (and pretty) this is. Our windows are right on the street and this film prevents anyone, neighbors or otherwise, from getting a look inside. RabbitGoo decorative window privacy film
- 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.
- Try coming to a mutual understanding, if not a friendship. Especially if they are physically limited to their home, their unusual obsession with the neighborhood might be understandable. If nothing else, by establishing a friendly rapport you’ll at least have someone who can keep an eye on your property and take in packages when you aren’t home.
Why Your Neighbor Could Be Watching You
- Your neighbor might be housebound and simply focussed on what is going on nearby. You, being close, 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.
- They 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 in 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.
In the US, 6.6 million people are stalked every year.
Questions & Answers
How can the person who lives in the apartment above me follow me all around my apartment when I'm walking around?
I've heard this before from commenters on other articles I've written. Make sure there are no spy-holes in the ceiling. Give them a coat of thick textured paint, or something similar to block them. If you own the apartment, install sound proofing panels.Helpful 76
We have had a neighbor & for 6 mos. he stayed in his home the majority of the time unless he was detailing vehicles a few times a week. Now for the past 3 weeks, he's in his car backed in his driveway towards our house across the street. Somehow he's listening to conversations in our home. We positively know this is happening. What can I do to block whatever he's using to hear us with? Help this is a major invasion of privacy.
You may be able to use a blocking device. However, if you know for sure, then you can also get proof that he's doing this so you can report him. Presumably, the only way you can know is if he is repeating things that you are saying. Get recordings.
Please read through all the Q&A on the page for more information.Helpful 63
How can I catch my neighbor who is spying on me? Since they evidently know every move I make, this seems impossible.
There's nothing preventing you installing security cameras and microphones around your property. They are quite affordable these days. Let them see you do it, perhaps it'll stop their obnoxious behavior.Helpful 58
We believe our neighbor can somehow hear our conversations; they always seem to do things we are planning to do before us. We have had no interaction with for a good twenty years. We have always said they have our property bugged but how when they haven't been in our property for twenty years? Could the have a listening device in the property which could penetrate the walls?
It doesn't sound likely, but it depends how close your properties are and what your walls are made of. It is possible to buy amplified microphones that can pick up conversations, but would they have any reason for that?
My best guess is that you lead similar lives and are perhaps in the same age group. Then it is inevitable they are interested in the same things and places that you are.
Could I suggest you put your feelings aside and see if you can begin making conversation, even if it's just in passing?Helpful 40
I recently inherited a duplex after my mother passed. Its a family home and my aunt and her oldest son still live next door. Lately they have taken to listening through our connecting walls and then going and tell other neighbors and friends what they hear or think they hear us talking about. Is this harassment and if so what do I do to protect my family?
Firstly, approach your aunt, explain to her that you are aware of her activities and ask her to stop. Tell her you don't want to cause bad feeling, but you cannot have her and her son invading your privacy in this way. Be reasonable but firm. Secondly, consider lining the adjoining walls with soundproofing, or bookcases, or whatever, in order to prevent them hearing you.Helpful 4
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