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Seniors and Reverse Mortgages

Wed, 08 Aug by Pauline Relkey

A reverse mortgage is a loan that allows you to get money from your home equity without having to sell your home. You may be able to borrow up to 55% of the current value of your home tax-free.

Eligibility for a reverse mortgage
To be eligible for a reverse mortgage, you must be:
a homeowner
at least 55 years old. If you have a spouse, both of you must be at least 55 years old to be eligible.

Qualifying for a reverse mortgage
Your lender will consider:
your home equity
where you live
your age
your home’s appraised value
current interest rates

In general, the older you are and the more home equity you have when you apply for a reverse mortgage, the bigger your loan will be.

Accessing money with a reverse mortgage
You may choose to get the money from your loan through:
lump-sum payment
planned advances, giving you a regular income
a combination of both of these options
You must first pay off any outstanding loans that are secured by the equity in your home with the funds you get from your reverse mortgage.
You can use the remainder of the loan for anything you wish, such as:
pay for home improvements
add to your retirement income
cover healthcare expenses

Repaying the money you borrow with a reverse mortgage
You don’t need to make any regular payments on a reverse mortgage. You have the option to repay the principal and interest in full at any time.
Interest will be charged until the loan is paid off in full. The interest will be added to the original loan amount, which increases the loan amount over time.
If you sell your house or if you move out, you’ll have to make payments. When you die, your estate will have to repay the loan.

Costs to get a reverse mortgage
Costs associated with a reverse mortgage may include:
higher interest rate than for a traditional mortgage
a home appraisal fee
a closing fee
a prepayment penalty if you sell your house or move out within 3 years of getting a reverse mortgage
fees for independent legal advice
Shop around and explore your options before getting a reverse mortgage.

Compare the costs and impact of the following:
getting another type of loan, such as a line of credit or credit card, etc
selling your home
buying a smaller home
renting another home or apartment
moving into assisted living, or other alternative housing

Where to get a reverse mortgage
Two financial institutions offer reverse mortgages in Canada:
HomEquity Bank offers the Canadian Home Income Plan (CHIP). It is available across Canada directly from HomEquity Bank or through mortgage brokers
Equitable Bank offers the PATH Home Plan. It is available through mortgage brokers in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario
Your financial institution may offer other products that might meet your needs.

Pros and cons of a reverse mortgage
Before you decide to get a reverse mortgage, make sure you consider the pros and cons carefully.
Pros
You don’t have to make any regular loan payments
You may turn some of the value of your home into cash, without having to sell it
The money you borrow is a tax-free source of income
This income does not affect the Old-Age Security (OAS) or Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits you may be getting
You still own your home
You can decide how to get the funds

Cons
Interest rates are higher than most other types of mortgages
The equity you hold in your home may go down as the interest on your loan adds up throughout the years
Your estate will have to repay the loan and interest in full within a set period of time when you die
The time needed to settle an estate can often be longer than the time allowed to repay a reverse mortgage
There may be less money in your estate to leave to your children or other beneficiaries
Costs associated with a reverse mortgage are usually quite high compared to a regular mortgage

Questions to ask a lender about reverse mortgages
Before getting a reverse mortgage, ask your lender about:
the fees
any penalties if you sell your home within a certain period of time
how much time will you or your estate have to pay off the loan’s balance if you move or die
what happens if it takes your estate longer than the stated time period to fully repay the loan when you die
what happens if the amount of the loan ends up being higher than your home’s value when it’s time to pay the loan back

Myth: The bank owns the home.
Fact: The homeowner always maintains title ownership and control of their home and they have the freedom to decide when and if they’d like to move or sell.

Myth: The bank can force the homeowner to sell or foreclose at any time.
Fact: A reverse mortgage is a lifetime product and as long as property taxes and insurance are in good standing, the property remains in good condition, and the homeowner is living in the home, the loan won’t be called even if the house decreases in value. Reverse mortgages provide peace-of-mind that the homeowner can stay in their home as long as they’d like.

Myth: Surviving spouses are stuck paying the loan after the homeowner passes away.
Fact: Surviving spouses can choose to remain in the home without having to make a payment unless they choose to sell the home.

Myth: The homeowner cannot get a reverse mortgage if they have an existing mortgage.
Fact: Many people use a reverse mortgage to pay off their existing mortgage and debts, freeing up cash flow for other things.

Myth: A reverse mortgage is a solution of last resort.
Fact: Many financial professionals recommend a reverse mortgage because it’s a great way to provide financial flexibility. Since it’s tax-free money, it allows retirement savings to last longer.

Home is where the heart is, but it’s getting more difficult for seniors to stay in their homes.
93% of Canadian Seniors live at home and prefer to age in place.
60% of retired Canadians say staying in their home is critical to their quality of life.
700,000 Canadian senior-led households face a housing affordability challenge.
Canadian seniors who live alone at home experience poverty at nearly twice the rate of other seniors.
1 in 4 Canadian senior-led households are spending more than 30% of their income on housing.
Only 1/3 of the Canadian workforce is covered by a registered pension plan down from 37% in 1992.
Almost 30% of Canadians who are nearing retirement have $50,000 or less in savings.
35% of those nearing retirement plan to use the value of their home to generate retirement income.
Nearly 70% of Canadians nearing retirement are still carrying debt.

THE TAKEAWAY
Most seniors prefer to live their retirement years at home but live on modest incomes and may face challenges to their financial security. Canadian seniors do benefit from access to CPP, OAS and housing assets but are feeling the pinch.

WD40 – the answer to so much

Thu, 02 Aug by Pauline Relkey

Here Are 20 Little-Known Ways That WD-40 Can Change A Person’s Life

1. Polishing silver: If you have a collection of silver that always seems to be tarnishing over time, WD-40 can definitely help you out with that. Spray down your silver and wipe it clean. It’s just that easy to keep it looking sparkly and new! 

2. Cleaning shoes: When it comes to sneakers, WD-40 is a person’s absolute best friend. In the winter, you can remove stubborn rock salt spots that build up by spraying them and wiping them down. If you want to make your whole shoe waterproof, spray the entire surface with the stuff. 

3. Protecting bird feeders: While having a bird feeder in your yard is a great way to keep beautiful birds in plain view, squirrels are notorious for stealing seeds from them. To keep these critters away, spray down the center pole with WD-40 and the squirrels will slide right off. (Is this how they make those funny videos of squirrels twirling and slipping and sliding around like crazy?)

4. Cleaning toilets: Depending on the type of water in your house, cleaning your toilet can feel like a pointless task. If you use WD-40 the same way you would use your regular toilet bowl cleaner, you’ll notice that it gets clean quickly and stays clean longer.  Remember this blue color??? 

5. Unsticking gum: Chewing gum is delicious and a great way to keep hunger at bay—but when it doesn’t make it to the actual trash can, it can get stuck on shoes and other surfaces and never come off. If you need to banish hard, chewed-up gum, go ahead and spray it down with WD-40. That will help it come right off!
6. Removing crayon marks: Do you have kids or grandchildren who love to take their crayons and scribble on walls and even on furniture? Don’t break your back trying to remove the marks! Instead, lightly spray them with WD-40 and they should rub right off.
7. Defrosting ice: Whether you live in a cold climate year-round or you’re gearing up for the winter season, spray your windows down with WD-40 and then wipe the excess away. Believe it or not, this will keep the ice from sticking to your windows and save you time getting out of the driveway in the morning. 
8. Removing water stains: It’s so frustrating that the same shower you step into to get clean tends to collect a crazy amount of water stains. If you want to get rid of them fast, follow up your usual cleaning routine with a spritz of WD-40 and watch the water stains disappear.
9. Polishing scissors: If you use scissors in the kitchen or crafting regularly, then you know just how sticky they can get over time. If you want to keep that stickiness at bay, polish them regularly with a healthy dose of WD-40 and they’ll be just perfect. Use this on tools also. 
10. Removing stickers and price tags: If you have ever tried to peel off a sticker on a window or a bumper sticker on your car, you know what a hassle it can be. Using WD-40 makes it a breeze. Just coat the sticker and gently peel it away! 
11. Unsticking zippers: Is there anything more frustrating than having a zipper on your backpack or your favorite coat get totally and absolutely stuck in place? Here’s good news: if you spray WD-40 on the zippers and gently work them back and forth, they’ll slide right back into place! 
12. Removing tea and coffee stains: If you or a house guest have ever spilled a little coffee or tea on a table in your home, you know how hard it can be to ever get it out again. Thankfully, combining your regular cleaning routine with a squirt of WD-40 will banish it in no time. 
13. Banishing tar stains: If your car gets covered in tar, then it’s definitely time to break out the WD-40. Just spray down the surfaces and even the most stubborn patches should melt away like hot butter! How great is that? 
14. Taking off rings: If you wear a ring regularly then you probably know what it’s like when it gets stuck on your finger. It happens to everyone at some time or another. Don’t panic! The easiest way to remove it is to cover your finger with WD-40 and then slide it off. It works like magic! 
15. Remove lipstick: Lipstick is always a fun way to make your look for the day pop. Unfortunately, it’s less fun when it transfers onto other items of clothing and settles in to stain. Luckily for you, WD-40 as a pre-wash stain treatment will help remove that lipstick in no time flat. 
16. Helps Open Rusty Locks: If you’ve got a rusty key or a keyhole that won’t cooperate, apply some WD-40 and you should be able to gain easy entry. 
17. Extends the Life of Shower Heads: This is another little-known household use for WD-40. Shower heads have a tendency to break down over time, but applying WD-40 can extend their life span by years.
18. Removes Mildew From Refrigerator Gasket: We’ve all seen it before: Disgusting gunk builds up on your refrigerator gasket. Well, WD-40 will remove this. Simply apply, let it sit for a few minutes, wipe off, and you’re done.
19. Filters Dust When Sprayed on Air Conditioning Filter: Spray a light coating of WD-40 on your AC filter before installing, and your filter becomes exponentially more effective. I tried this method, and it did seem like I was breathing cleaner air in my home. Later, when I went to change out a filter that I had sprayed with WD-40, it seemed to have filtered a great deal more dust than normal.
20. Quiets Squeaky doors: whether it’s your front door or kitchen cupboard door, spraying a little WD-40 on the hinges will quiet things down. 

A Happier Home

Thu, 28 Jun by Pauline Relkey

1. Make your bed.
The book The Happiness Project, explains that this 3 minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.

2. Bring every room back to “ready.”
It’s a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it. This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about 3 minutes to bring each room back to “ready” before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)

3. Display sentimental items around your home.
One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that experiences provide: planning the experience, looking forward to the experience, enjoying the experience, and then remembering the experience. Make your home a gallery of positive memories.

4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal.
Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, “What was the best part of today?”) Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude. (An added bonus: Later, when your memory is defunct, you will already have all of your meaningful adventures recorded!)

5. If you can’t get out of it, get into it.
The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it! (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favorite album at an unusually loud volume, do a couple fist-pumps while shouting “Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!” and pretend you love it.

6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day.
Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I tend to wake up with a strong visceral reaction that says, “Attention human beings: Be afraid of me before coffee. Be very afraid!” Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like “be productive” or “enjoy today’s delicious moments” or it could be something more specific like “say thank you to my loved ones today.” But it should not be another “to do” item on your list.

7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!).
(That’s right, I said it: nothing!) Mow the lawn for your husband, but don’t expect him to pat you on the back. Make the bed for your wife, but don’t try to get bonus points for it. Take the trash out for your roommate, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost. (No! It’s YOUR turn to clean up the dog poop!) It’s a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good.

8. Call at least one friend or family member a day.
You can do this while you clean, while you make the bed or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. We humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don’t feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better.

9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home.
Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain. Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don’t forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)

10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself.
Whatever your spiritual beliefs — or non-beliefs — may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book… are you feeling better yet?)

Sask Power Outages

Mon, 30 Apr by Pauline Relkey

Are you wondering if your area will have a planned outage soon? Check Sask Power’s website to plan ahead. Click here.

When an Outage Occurs

  • Step 1: Determine if the power failure is limited to your home

    • If your neighbours have power, check your electrical panel to see if the main circuit breaker has tripped. Even if it appears to be on, turn the breaker off and back on again to ensure a good connection.

    Step 2: If your electrical panel or main breaker isn’t the cause of the outage, call 310-2220.

    • Turn off or unplug any appliances, computers or electronics you were using when the power went out. Leave one light on so you’ll know when your power returns.
    • Keep refrigerators and freezers closed. If the power is out for a long time, make sure you check all refrigerated and frozen food before you eat it.
    • Close all doors, windows and drapes to conserve heat (unless the sun is shining in).
    • Never light a fire indoors unless you’re using an approved fire place or wood stove.
    • When faced with multiple outages, Sask Power prioritizes as follows:

      1. Life threatening or hazardous situations like power lines that have fallen on a road or vehicle.
      2. Large outages — Main lines and major equipment that return power to the largest number of customers.
      3. Small, isolated outages — Secondary lines and neighbourhood equipment.

When the Power Is Restored

They restore power when repairs are complete. If your neighbour’s power has returned and yours has not, there could be a problem specific to your home. Recheck your main breaker and reset it even if it appears to be on.

Occasionally, the power goes out again; this is sometimes the sign of another unidentified problem. Make sure to call us every time the power goes out (after you’ve checked your own main breaker). If power is not restored, call us toll-free at 310-2220.

Tips for the First-Time Home Buyer

Wed, 25 Apr by Pauline Relkey

When venturing into the world of home ownership, first-time buyers often find themselves having to make important, fast decisions in what feels like a surreal situation — after all, it might have only been a few weeks since owning a home seemed more like a far-off daydream than an immediate reality. A few common sense tips will help you navigate these unfamiliar landscapes as you move towards one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.

1. Get pre-approved
Though a pre-approval isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get a mortgage when you’re find a property, having one can give you a firm grasp on what you can afford before you start looking. A pre-approval from your bank or lender will save you time by narrowing your search to a more precise selection of homes, and this, in turn, can protect you from the all-too-common disappointment that follows setting your heart on a house you can’t afford.

2. Don’t expect your standards of living to change
It’s bound to happen: you see a house that maxes out your budget, but you imagine you can make it work by cutting out things like morning coffees, cellular data and cable TV. Remember, ‘roughing it’ for the sake of your house quickly loses its charm, and you’ll soon regret the lack of wiggle room for things like new furniture, redecorating, or unexpected repairs. Don’t regret your first home — avoid becoming ‘house poor’ by staying below the upper limit of what your bank is willing to lend you.

3. Make a list and check it as many times as it takes
Each property you consider will have its own unique combination of pros and cons, and going through them can feel a little like comparing apples to oranges. Don’t expect to stay clear-headed when the house with the poor walking score has the kitchen of your dreams; instead, stay on track by building a list of “must haves” and “nice to haves.” Though your list might evolve over time (especially if the “must haves” are rare for your price range), having a set of self-imposed guidelines can keep your search on course when you’re feeling overwhelmed by options.

4. Don’t confuse “first home” with “forever home”
Most first-time buyers start out a little starry-eyed, imagining that new home will be stylish, spacious, efficient … basically, everything they’ve been dreaming of. In reality, being able to afford a house that has everything you want is pretty rare in the first go-round, which can make you feel so discouraged you start closing yourself off to the available options. Remember, your ‘starter home’ doesn’t have to meet all the criteria of your ‘dream home,’ and the equity you’ll build for the next few years will get you closer to your goal.

With so much new information to absorb, steps to take, and decisions to make, buying a first home can feel like a rollercoaster ride. It’s important not to lose your head throughout all of it. Taking a few steps to keep your expectations rooted firmly in reality can help you glide through the process and feel confident in your final decision.

Want to be on TV?

Tue, 24 Apr by Pauline Relkey

I have been contacted by CBC to see if I have owners selling houses/looking to downsize/interesting stories/also if anyone is buying a cottage and what that experience is like for Canadians across the country.

The casting call will be sent out soon.

Four days of filming.

Selling between June and October 2018.

Let me know.

Time to Wash the Windows

Tue, 10 Apr by Pauline Relkey

I have dealt with College Window Washers for years now and am happy with their service, so I thought I would share their info with my clients.
Good day folks!
Happy Early Spring to you. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the last few days of winter.

For this our 28th !! year, we are hoping to once again book your Spring, Summer and Fall Exterior and/or Interior window washings at your home for the upcoming season.

As always, offering FANTASTIC RATES for you, we ask that you gather a few neighbours or family and friends with our crew coming out to do them the same day to offer you an extra DISCOUNT to keep all of your windows sparkling!

New these last few years is our TOTAL HOME DETAILING Package that are very popular. Call Lee for your specific price details.

We offer a gutter cleaning, pressure washing of your home, and exterior window washing – A TRULY FULL SPRING CLEANING !

Also save 20% off your normal pricing by booking a 7 time Monthly Exterior window washing – April through October home window cleaning or 6 exterior/1 interior.

As well, we are offering our Interior window washing special pricing in March or April. This is great timing as you start thinking about spring cleaning, in addition to it being a quieter period for our crew.

Thank you for your continued support of College Window Washers, the original ones since 1990. Although our crew strives to train new students every year, trust that our veteran experienced guys are here to ensure your satisfaction each visit. Our work is ALWAYS 100% guaranteed to your satisfaction. If you are happy with the service we provide, we would appreciate if you would pass along our name to your friends, family and neighbours.

Thanks for your continued support .. we really do appreciate it.

See you all real soon for some SPARKLING CLEAN WINDOWS !

Sincerely,
Lee Kennedy

306 585-7667 office
306 596-7896 cell
leeken@myaccess.ca
www.windowwashingregina.com
www.propertymanagementregina.com
www.facebook.com/collegewindowwashers

Some Basic garbage and recycling hints

Mon, 09 Apr by Pauline Relkey

This is a Facebook link to City of Regina. Very basic and kind of funny. Seems like they are teaching us how to tie our shoes. Click on the volume button bottom right to hear what they are saying.

Cart Instructions

Waste Wednesday:Watch John as he learns the four easy steps to using his recycling and garbage carts.Learn more at Regina.ca/waste

Posted by City of Regina | Municipal Government on Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spring Cleaning the Natural Way

Thu, 29 Mar by Pauline Relkey

Giving your home a spring cleaning is a great way to get rid of winter and look forward to spring. You don’t have to arm yourself with a wide array of expensive, chemical-based, store-bought cleaning supplies to get the job done. Instead, try these eco-friendly, all-natural cleansers – they’re powerful and versatile.

In many instances, you can use them on their own, mixed together (be careful) or with other products. You can find all sorts of recipes online for do-it-yourself, all-natural cleansers using these core products. Try them in inconspicuous areas first to see what works best for you and adapt as necessary.

White Vinegar
Incredibly resourceful as a cleaning ingredient, it cuts through dirt, grease, mildew and water deposits. It’s also a natural deodorizer as it absorbs odours and an effective mould killer. The acidic smell disappears when it dries. Use it to clean countertops, ceramic floors, your toilet bowl, shower walls, mirrors and windows. You can even use it as a fabric softener!

Baking Soda
This magic ingredient is useful for much more than baking yummy treats. Like vinegar, it has great smell-diffusing capabilities which is why it’s recommended to absorb odours in your fridge. It’s also a key ingredient in many toothpastes, but it can clean and whiten a whole lot more than your teeth! Use it as a scouring powder. For tougher jobs, make a paste with water and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. And as it flows down drains, it keeps them clean and smelling good. 

Citrus
Use in place of, or in addition to, white vinegar. It’s powerful acidic properties not only lend itself well to cleaning, but is a great way to use up old citrus fruit you have on hand and cut down on food waste. Citrus is also effective against most household bacteria – and it smells great! 

Salt
A terrific flavour booster sprinkled on food, salt can also be used to clean stains from your coffee/tea mugs, shine metals such as copper, pewter and brass and even remove perspiration stains. No need to get fancy – just plain old table salt will do. 

Rubbing Alcohol
Use isopropyl alcohol wherever you’d use a commercial glass cleaner, including mirrors and chrome. A terrific degreaser, it’s also an excellent disinfectant. And it dries instantly! Keep in mind, though, you are cleaning with alcohol so only use in well-ventilated areas and keep far away from heat. 

Cornstarch
Whether it’s dusted over surfaces or used to make a paste, this cooking mainstay has excellent odour-absorbing and grease-lifting properties. Use it to clean windows, polish furniture and silverware, shampoo carpets and rugs. It can even be used to help remove candle wax from wood. 

Happy green spring cleaning!

How to Find Out Who’s Tracking You Through Your Smartphone

Thu, 08 Mar by Pauline Relkey

Safety should always be our top priority. With the help of just a few short codes, you can find out more about the settings of your phone and work out whether or not your messages and information are protected and whether you’re being tracked.

Bright Side has gathered together some of the most useful and important codes for smartphones all in one article, together with some instructions for those who’re worried about being tracked.

*#21# With this code, you can find out whether your calls, messages and other data are being diverted. The status of the different types of diversions that are taking place along with the number the information is being transferred to will be displayed on your phone’s screen. This function is most often set up by either jealous partners or parents who are trying to protect their kids from spam or criminals. Elderly people often become victims of this practice when they lend their phone to a stranger to make a single call. If they do so, they risk having information about where they live, who their friends and family are, their habits and daily activities and even their financial circumstances passed on to criminals. I just tried this and my screen showed the following message 4 times – Setting interrogation Succeeded. Voice call Forwarding on all calls Disabled. Dismiss.

*#62# Dial this code if you want to find out where calls, messages and data are being redirected to if it seems that no one can get through to you. The chances are in this case that your voice calls are being redirected to one of your cell phone company’s numbers. I tried this and my cell showed Setting Interrogation Succeeded Voice Call Forwarding When Unreachable Forward to +13065804001 Enabled. This took me to my voicemail and I had to then enter my password.

##002# This is a universal code for switching off all forms of redirection away from your phone. It’s a good idea to use this before you have to use roaming. In this case, money won’t be taken from your account for calls that are redirected by default to your voice mail. I didn’t do this because I didn’t want to lose the call forwarding when I am on the phone or don’t answer because it is set up to go to voice mail.                                                                                                                                                                                                      
*#06# With the help of this code, you can find out your IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identifier). If you know this number, you can find your phone if someone steals it. When switched on, its location is automatically conveyed to the network operator even if a different SIM card is inserted. If someone knows your IMEI number, they can find out the model and technical characteristics of your phone. I tried it and it showed my IMEI number.
The James Bond code  Special codes exist that allow someone to track your location and also to determine whether someone is following you. For this, you need the utility net monitor. Type in one of the following codes:
for iPhone:*3001#12345#* I tried this but got an error message Error performing request. Unknown Error. Dismiss. So I can’t say if this works or not.
for Android:*#*#4636#*#* or *#*#197328640#*#*

Step 1. Go to the section called UMTS Cell Environment, then UMTS RR info and write down all the numbers under Cell ID. These numbers are the basic stations located nearby. Your phone will connect by default to the one that emits the best signal.
Step 2. Go back to the main menu and click on the MM info tab, then on Serving PLMN. Write down the numbers under Local Area Code (LAC).
Step 3. With the help of these two numbers and an ordinary website (the fourth tab to the left), you can determine the location on the map of the basic station that your phone connected to.
The ones to be suspicious of are mobile basic stations— this could be a truck or small bus with a large antenna. These kinds of vehicles are used at rock festivals and in places where Internet coverage is poor. If there’s one of them nearby, seemingly without any logical reason, it’s just possible that someone is engaged in spying.

If you use android, use anti virus software, you should periodically check your phone for viruses. PlaceRaider is one of the most dangerous ones that can infect your device. Developed by American experts, it was meant to show how vulnerable our devices are. Once it gets onto a phone, this Trojan takes a series of photographs of the surrounding area, creates a 3D model of the building you’re in and then takes advantage of any Internet connection to send the data that it’s gathered, adding along with it all the data on the phone and your passwords.

How do the secret services listen in? National security agencies in virtually all countries now cooperate with cell phone operators, who often provide the former with access to information on any of their customers provided they have a warrant from a court. As a minimum, they provide data from the last three months.
If your phone has been tapped by a security agency, the chances are you won’t even notice. If a phone makes odd noises during a conversation, loses battery power rapidly, overheats or unexpectedly restarts, this is merely an indication that you need to get it repaired rather than a telltale sign that you’re being listened to.
People generally don’t reveal all that much in phone conversations, so from the point of view of those who want to listen in it’s much more worthwhile to set up special devices (“bugs”) in someone’s home. Radio wave detectors can be used to work out whether such bugs are present in a building.

How can you protect yourself from criminals and spies?
Use messaging apps that are completely closed to outsiders, such as Telegram, Chare, Wickr, or Signal.
Determine what information it’s safe to make accessible to all. Should everyone really be able to find out your phone number or have access to information about your family, loved ones, or your lifestyle? Be very careful when posting photographs of children.
Don’t install unknown programs on your phone, keep close track of the apps you have installed, and use multiple security locks wherever you can. Don’t click on unsafe links and don’t connect your phone to suspicious “free” charging points.
Only your cell phone company should ever offer you tracking services and they should only turn them on with your explicit agreement. Websites and applications that offer to find out the location of other people are almost certainly acting with criminal intent. Be careful!

Based on materials from pikabu, droidgeek

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