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

Updated on November 23, 2017
theraggededge profile image

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?

Questions & Answers

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • My neighbor next door seems to know a lot about people in the area, and I don't know how she gets her information. They aren't her friends, and I can't see any signs that they even know her. She also repeats things back to me that I have said inside my house to a visitor. Is there any way I can tell if she has a listening device that she can hear from a distance?

    It would have to be inside your home. Or very, very close to it. It sounds to me as if she is an inveterate gossip. Test her by saying something made up, like you're going to get a dog or move house or something. In your house as if you are on the phone with someone. Only you will know what you said.

© 2017 Bev G

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    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      5 days ago from Wales, UK

      Jennifer, I can't help you. You are at the point where you need expert legal advice. Consult your attorney.

      Good luck.

    • profile image

      JenniferDelmont 

      5 days ago

      My neighbors constantly watch my family’s every move, to the point where they give my my daughter extreme anxiety. It’s to the point where where she doesn’t even want to walk by there house. They have left notes in my mailbox telling me I need to move to the mountains and find God and they have also done that with other neighbors. The few times I have spoke with them they have asked me on several occasions who’s car was parked in front of my house on this day at this time. They know the dates that visitors have been here the color and model and make of the cars of the visitors that I have had here. They also have asked me if my husband has sexually and physically abuse my daughter, they’ve had the audacity to ask if he’s a drug addict and if he sleeping with the neighbors. They are always peeking through their blinds every time we take her trash out go outside Etc. They’ve been notorious for looking through other people’s mailboxes and checking the mail that the neighbors receive. The neighbors that live directly across from them ended up having to put cameras out because they got sick of them constantly going through their mailbox. The few times I have spoke with them all they do is badmouth everybody in the neighborhood with their accusations of people being drug addicts and just basic bad mouthing. They feed our dogs rawhide bones that results and the dogs throwing up having diarrhea uncontrollably inside and outside of our home. My husband and I have politely asked them to not feed our dogs anything and yet they continue to do it. And my daughter overheard my husband and I talking about that, and how it seems like there are poisoning our dogs; so my 10-year-old left a note on their patio asking them again please not to feed our dogs and they proceeded to call the cops on my 10-year-old for leaving a letter on their doorstep even though they have been known to leave anonymous letters to not only to my family but other neighbors in the neighborhood. Now we have to go to court because I called the cops on them for yelling at the top of their lungs in front of all the children getting off of the school bus and their parents about my husband being a pedophile and a user on top of being a drug addict. Obviously these are false accusations and slander. Now they had cameras pointed directly at our house that they turn on every single time my husband and I go check the mail take the trash out or just hang out outside to enjoy the weather. My husband is 100% disabled and one of the ladies threatened him with physical violence and continue to slander and badmouth him any chance they get. I was wondering if this is considered illegal or invasion of privacy or something along the lines of that. In two days they called the cops on us three times. The first one they tried to accuse my husband of domestic abuse against me which the cop said obviously there was no signs of domestic abuse. I did call the cops on them when they stood outside and slandered my husband not only in front of my daughter but all of our neighbors and we ended up getting a disorderly conduct ticket disorderly conduct tickets. The police officer asked if we would be willing to do a free mediation to sort this out my husband and I agreed but they did not so now we have court and I just wanna know if there is some sort of restraining order we could put against them because it’s to the point where we feel like our every move is being watched and we have no privacy. Our landlords have had the same issues when they lived here and now they want to sell the house due to the situation now we have to move. Is there anything we can do to prove that we are innocent in this or what other steps of action we can take? Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated. We do live in the state of Colorado so I don’t know if it varies state to state but like I said before any input on the situation would be helpful. The summons my husband received was a disorderly conduct 1A in the state of Colorado. Which I also don’t understand why he received it when I am the one who called the cops .

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      5 weeks ago from Wales, UK

      You can film/record anything in a public place or on your own property. Collect evidence of the harassment and take it to the police.

    • profile image

      Roses4ever 

      5 weeks ago

      My upstairs neighbor(s) follow me from room to room throughout my apartment when I'm home. When I'm sitting on the stall, someone from upstairs starts to constantly flush their toilet right above my bathroom. This also, happens when I'm showering and blow-drying my hair. They're listening to my every move. If I stay up late, they stay in the same room listening and then follow me to me bedroom as I head to my bedroom for the night. Someone stays up listening. Also, upstairs neighbor kept knocking hard on their upstairs wall that right below one of our bedrooms in an attempt to wake us. This was ongoing. Apartment are in great condition and not in need of repairs as I checked with management. Management said, the could be having sex for all we know, that I can prove nothing! Also, lots of ongoing phone calls on both cells and home phones. Also, they listen as to when I leave my apartment. As soon as I leave my apartment, clusters of cars start coming down the street the crosses my apartment parking lot and cars start to follow me where-ever I go. I suspect tenant upstairs is given someone heads up when I leave my apart. Also, I'm constantly being watched when I leave my apartment to go throw the trash out or get my mail....coincidentally, someone comes out immediately, stands in front of their bldg watching or come and throw trash our and goes to the mail room pretty much about the same time and immediately after I do. Neighbor across from me has been coming out frequently at the exact same time as myself from my unit and when I get home and I'm parking he's right out front of our apartment building just watching as I park etc. Property management has done nothing about my situation. Police have not helped either. I'm also, now being falsely accused of something I didn't do that was stated on a notice left on my doorway. I'm definitely being harassed/stalked. What can I do? I don't know, if it's legal or not to take photos as evidence or if I can use my video camera while I'm parking or leaving my parking lot? Please advise. I do have a legal background but, not sure on this topic. I'm a good law abiding citizen and try to get along with everyone but, I feel like I living around demons. I believe I'm a victim of community gang stalking. Also, my cell phone batteries get drained quickly. I've had to do a factory reset on phone. Every time I called the police for help, my stalking has intensified. I'm doing all I can to move out asap. Thanks for your help.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      3 months ago from Wales, UK

      Get yourself a lawyer, Dre. Or at least find someone who can give you legal advice. Check up what the trespassing laws are in your county. Good luck.

    • profile image

      Dre 

      3 months ago

      My neighbors are trying to steal land that isn't theirs.And they also blocked the main road by putting a boat and a fence and the road and they also put up a private road sign and I have 7.5 acres that I can't get too. They started out weird acting to me bringing food to my house everyday and night poping up not calling or anything if u was in the yard they was in your yard too running over. I didn't need anything but they did so why buy me food? She thought that I wasn't home one day because she didn't see a vehicle and was turning and twisting my door knob trying to get in my house so i waited to see what else she was going to do in she parked her vehicle by my bedroom window and started washing her car. And that was the finale straw I asked her what was she doing her response was i didn't know anyone was home I was in shock. So I went and purchased some private property signs. And she went crazy after that what to do.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      7 months ago from Wales, UK

      Didn't read the whole article then, Michael? So it's okay for you to be up at 2am, but not for them? Maybe they were just enjoying the peace. They do have every right to sit on their own porch without fear of abuse.

    • profile image

      Michael 

      7 months ago

      This article sounds like its blaming the neighbor who is being watched, and not the nosey turd neighbor who has ZERO life of their own and nothing else better to do.

      Perhaps the neighbor that is nosey should seek mental counseling.

      These neighbors are just busy bodies who need to be told directly to fck off. Thats what I did and they went out of their way to avoid me after that. My life became less stressful.

      I had neighbors that would look outside every time I brought groceries in, every time I would take my dog out, anytime I would open my garage and take out my other vehicle, basically any time they saw me come out.

      They had nothing better to do and were likely sociopaths. They would be up seemingly at ALL hours. I would get up to take my dog out at 2AM and they would be outside just sitting, at noon if I would come home for lunch they would be outside sitting, at 5 when I would get home...its like the losers never slept and basically didn't have a damn job but to pester people.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      12 months ago from Wales, UK

      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 

      12 months 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 

      12 months 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 imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      12 months ago from Wales, UK

      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 

      12 months 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 imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      12 months ago from Wales, UK

      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 

      12 months 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

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