How to Find Hidden Cameras: The Ultimate Guide
Michelle Wilson - May 19, 2022
For the average person, hidden cameras, surveillance equipment, and microphones are obsolete items found in a spy movie. Unfortunately, some people can easily see these devices throughout various properties. Whether an expensive hotel room or a new rental property, these cameras are small and discreet, making them difficult to find. To help you find them while you’re staying somewhere new, here are a few things to watch for:
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They’re Often Small to Find
A miniature camera is inexpensive (with some prices starting at $4) and connects to regular Wi-Fi. Data is often transferred data to the cloud. Virtually anyone can purchase these cameras, turning the average person into an undercover spy.
A miniature camera can minimize damage or theft to the property when they’re not around. In some situations, the owner of a rental apartment will install these cameras to monitor the property. Alternatively, unscrupulous rivals or suspicious partners will also have other reasons to use these items.
How Likely Am I To Find These Cameras?
A recent study of AirBnb users suggests that nearly 11% of all respondents have found at least one hidden camera within a rented accommodation. Unfortunately, not every renter carefully inspects the furnishings within a unit, making them difficult to see. On top of consumers being relatively oblivious to their environment, making lenses 2 millimeters in diameter with camouflaged or hidden boxes always adds to the confusion. How is someone supposed to know the camera is there if they don’t know what to look for?
Method One: Pay for an Expert
The most reliable method for finding hidden spy equipment is using an expert technician. This method requires an individual pays for the technician to come to the home with specialized equipment. These experts will help you identify various items that qualify as remote devices. Most experts are available in every major city; browse Craigslist or another popular website with classified ads.
Paying for an expert helps improve personal effort and allows increased efficiency. The results are often reliable and help concerned clients alleviate their fears. Unfortunately, this method is often costly due to the possible wait time. If you’re worried about online broadcasting (or want to ensure the place you’re moving into doesn’t have anything hidden away, an expert may be worth your time and money.
Method Two: Always Use Dedicated Equipment
Tracking down cameras isn’t difficult, especially when looking at electromagnetic radiation detectors or other equipment for detecting hidden cameras. These tools are affordable for virtually every budget, starting at $3 each. The professional and powerful versions are more expensive but can give you a more comprehensive scanning range.
The most accessible optical detector is often manually assembled, using red LEDs and a red-light filter. Always direct the light at a suspected camera site and look through the filter. A camera lens will appear as a bright dot. The range of this device will not extend beyond thirty feet or ten meters but is effective at finding hidden spy items.
When finding items, always pay close attention to the bedroom and bathroom. These locations often film compromising footage, but other areas like smoke detectors and household appliances are also common. Also, check any clocks, flowerpots, toys, or painting for signs of tampering. Smoke detectors and appliances are other common hiding spots for recording devices.
This method allows more independence, but it also provides an option for regular checks and screenings. As a do-it-yourself option, individuals will save time and money than hiring outside companies. Unfortunately, this method offers a limited range and does require a certain skill level to scan for external recording devices effectively.
Method Three: Use a Smartphone
Sometimes people can check for special equipment using a flashlight and smartphone camera. Ensure all lights are off and the curtains are drawn, as the room must be dark. Turn on the flashlight and phone’s camera and point them directly at the item you suspect is a hidden recording device. A glare will appear on the smartphone screen if your suspicions are correct. If your phone doesn’t allow the camera and flashlight simultaneously, use a separate flashlight.
A flashlight isn’t needed to locate a video recording device in some situations. Many spy cameras use infrared illumination for filming items in the dark. Although this method is invisible to the human eye, it’s not to a smartphone camera. When filming the device in the dark, an infrared light source will always appear as a pulsing dot on the screen. While your phone camera may not do the trick (as most will contain an IR-light filter), the front camera is a better option. Try using your camera with a TV remote to determine which camera does a better job picking up the light.
With most people currently owning a smartphone, this option is perfect for anyone wanting to take a quick look around a residence. This method requires no special equipment or skills, making it an easy choice. Unfortunately, this method may show false positives and can be time-consuming to perform. Additionally, some cameras without infrared radiation won’t allow users to discover any external device.
Method Four: Try a Phone App
Many mobile apps promise to help concerned individuals find spy cameras and other hidden items throughout the property. They will typically fall into two categories. The first category finds any device by the lens glare (as outlined above). This includes the glare or glint when the light of a flashlight hits the lens. If you find a result with these apps, always check the area for hidden devices.
The second group works by searching for wireless spy devices. You’ll need to connect to the local Wi-Fi network to run these apps, which use a scanner to source the products. All apps display a list of connected devices, which allow direct filtering through the app. A dedicated tool will help users distinguish harmless equipment from different tracking devices.
This method is reasonably cost-effective and doesn’t require additional equipment beyond a compatible smartphone. Success is dependent on the application, but it can detect most third-party devices. Mobile apps aren’t as effective at finding hidden cameras as other devices but can potentially work in a jam.
What to do if you detect a hidden camera or spying device
If you locate something that seems like a camera or tracking device, search the product online. Many machines are harmless but checking online before jumping to conclusions never hurts. If you discover a secret device, always contact the local authorities, management, or booking service.
The last thing anyone wants to discover is a secret recording device on a property they’re using (especially without consent). By monitoring the property for outside recording, you’ll safeguard your information and limit the influence these recordings hold in your life.