Mark K. McCown: Is he bugged or just has a gossipy friend?

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 22, 2021

Dear Lawyer Mark: I think someone is bugging my telephone.

Whenever I tell someone anything good about someone else, everybody in town knows about it before I can even blink.

My question is, isn’t it illegal for someone to bug your phone, and how can I find out if they are? — SUFFERING IN SOUTH POINT

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Dear Suffering: First of all, it’s fairly easy to determine whether your phone lines are being tapped.

Many electronic stores sell devises which can determine if there is a tap on your phone, and you can also notify the phone company to have them check.

Wiretapping is illegal unless it is done by the authorities after they have received a judge’s approval.

There are two other things which may also be contributing to your “leaks.”

First, if you are using a cordless or cell phone, many police scanners and even some baby monitors will pick up the frequencies on which the phones operate.

If it is private information, I recommend you use an old fashioned, corded phone (and make sure the other person is, too).

Second, you may just be a victim of (and guilty of) gossiping.

You never know whom your buddies are talking to and spreading the “good” information to after you hang up.

There’s an old saying that you should never tell anybody something you don’t want to see printed in the paper with you being given credit for saying it.

Dear Lawyer Mark: Question for you.

My wife and me ain’t got wills cause we don’t own nothing but a few small bank accounts.

We each been divorced, so we keep our accounts in separate names.

What’s gonna happen to her money when she dies – how will I get it? — NO WILL IN WILGUS

Dear Wilgus: I recommend that you do at least one of two things: either have a will drawn up, or put your accounts into both names with the right of survivorship.

If the accounts are joint and survivor, then they will go to the survivor upon the death of one of the account holders.

Additionally, I always recommend a will in estate planning.

Even if everything you own is joint and survivor or in trust, there is always the possibility that you could receive or inherit something prior to death which is not accounted for otherwise.

If that happens, and you don’t have a will, it can be an expensive, time consuming and involved process with the probate court to probate an estate for only a few items.

It’s The Law is written by attorney Mark K. McCown in response to legal questions received by him. If you have a question, please forward it to Mark K. McCown, 311 Park Avenue, Ironton, Ohio 45638, or e-mail it to him at The right to condense and/or edit all questions is reserved.