Could the federal authorities be listening in on your private conversations? While most people tend to think of wiretapping as one of the “big guns” that investigators only pull out when they’re looking to take down an international crime figure or a major weapons dealer, the reality is that wiretapping is actually an increasingly common method of investigation in both white collar cases and drug investigations — and has been for some time.

That’s right: By the time the federal investigators have gone through your bank records, interrogated your friends and torn apart your office records, they probably already know a great deal about your life — and they may have already engaged in wiretapping (or soon will).

What is wiretapping?

Wiretapping is basically a form of electronic eavesdropping. Generally speaking, most wiretapping is directed at a suspect’s phone but it can also be directed at email and internet communications. Contrary to the belief of many, it’s also important to note that modern technology enables the police to trace mobile phones — not just landlines. That means that no phone is really safe from oversight.

When is wiretapping used?

The federal government is reluctant to give out much information about recent wiretapping efforts, but a 2013 report indicated that around 90% of law enforcement wiretaps were used in drug trafficking investigations. (Keep in mind, the current emphasis on shutting down opioid dealers and suspected “pill mills” means that there’s often an overlap between drug crimes and white collar criminal activity.)

Waiting to seek legal advice until the police are at your door and ready to charge you with a crime can be a big mistake. Protect yourself and your rights by discussing your situation with an attorney today.