Cookies are an integral part of criminal investigations, but a suspicious partner or ex might be a more obvious culprit. They tend to use snitches that see themselves as the nose in the middle of the face. You can always find smaller devices by doing extensive research.
Part 1 of 3: inspect the exterior
Step 1. Get an electric torch and the user's manual
The cheapest cookies are usually large boxes with a magnet. However, not all of them are equally visible. In some cases, the only clue you'll find is a thread that's out of place. Unless you know the car inside out, you're going to have to refer to the manual to avoid undoing a vital part.
Step 2. Check the chassis
Lie on your back and inspect the underside of the car with a flashlight. Most cookies connect to GPS satellites and won't work well if metal blocks the connection. Inspect all around the car for any suspicious boxes, stuck-on items, or antennas.
- If you see something weird, shoot it a bit. Most cookies have a magnet and will come off easily.
- Check the tank first. It is a large metal surface that is a prime location for a snitch.
Step 3. Also inspect the wheels
Check under the plastic rim of each wheel, especially if it looks slightly loose. If there's a cookie there, it should be pretty obvious, the car didn't come with any weird boxes there.
If someone has had access to your vehicle, you can remove the wheels to check behind, but it's rare to find anything there. If you're going to take a look, be aware that some brakes have a sensor behind that is supposed to be there
Step 4. Check the inside of the bumpers
The front and rear bumpers are great places to put a cheap bug. Check behind to see if someone slipped one of these devices in.
If there is a device behind the front bumper, it can be connected to the car's electrical system. Always compare the connections on the manual with the ones you see before removing anything
Step 5. Inspect the roof
It is only possible to install it there in two situations. First, you have an SUV or vehicle tall enough to fit a device of that size in it for all to see. In the second case, it is possible to hide a small device in the storage slot of the sunroof.
Step 6. Inspect the hood last
The front of the car is a hot, hard metal part that the driver often inspects. This is a terrible place for a snitch. It's not impossible, but the jealous partner or the average paranoid neighbor is probably not going to hide it there. Take a quick look and step inside.
If you see any wires connected to your battery, they might be powering the cookie. Compare them to the diagrams in the user manual before drawing any conclusions
Part 2 of 3: inspect the interior
Step 1. Examine the coating
Open the seat and head restraint cushions if possible. Observe all detachable parts of the passenger compartment.
Step 2. Look under the seats and carpets
Pass the flashlight under the seats. Be aware that some of them have a warming mechanism underneath. Compare the two front seats to find anomalies on one of them.
Step 3. Access the dashboard
On most models, you can unscrew the glove box and the panel under the steering wheel. Observe dangling wires that are not connected to other wires and try to pull them up to see where they come from. Run your fingers under the dash to feel an antenna that may have been stuck to it.
Step 4. Look at the back
Remember that most cookies cannot receive signals through metal. Focus on the areas directly under the rear glass before checking the metal parts. Take out the spare tire and check it carefully.
Part 3 of 3: check in depth
Step 1. Hire a professional
If you still haven't found a cookie, there's a good chance there isn't. If you still have doubts, you should consider hiring a professional. Try asking the following people:
- an alarm installer who sells GPS trackers
- a mechanic with experience in finding cookies
- a private detective
Step 2. Detect electronic devices
It is possible to find devices that emit waves using detectors. Some save the information that will be extracted later and then become invisible to this detection method. If you're willing to pay the price, find a company that sells this kind of device.
The cookie might not play all the time or only when the car is in motion, so you might want to give it a test when a friend of yours is driving it. Be aware, however, that transmissions from cell phones near the device could affect the results
- Remember to always lock your car and park it in a safe place when not in use. This will not eliminate the risk of ending up with a cookie, but you can reduce it.
- Most of these devices need to be recovered quickly, either to replace the battery or to collect data. Install a camera near the car and you might catch the culprit. Advanced cookies have a long lifespan and active transmitters, so nothing is guaranteed.
- Wear gloves to avoid fingerprints. If you find one, don't touch it. Contact the police directly. They might find fingerprints there.