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How To Find a Hidden Spy Camera How To Find a Hidden Spy Camera

How To Find a Hidden Spy Camera

How ToSpy GearUseful Information Pat Stanley

Will you be traveling and staying in a hotel or Airbnb? Are you currently renting a fully... How To Find a Hidden Spy Camera

Will you be traveling and staying in a hotel or Airbnb? Are you currently renting a fully furnished apartment? Are you working for a company that has cameras installed in the workplace? Perhaps you’re thinking about installing hidden cameras inside and around your home?

If you’re anxious about having hidden cameras installed where you’re staying or working, or if you simply want to learn about detecting hidden cameras, this article will be worth the read. Learn about the legal restrictions of installing hidden cameras, the different ways on how to find hidden cameras, and what to do in case you do find them.


Are Hidden Cameras Illegal?

Hidden surveillance cameras come in various shapes and sizes like USB flash drive spy cameras, AC adapter type, smoke detector type, and clock radio type. Through the years, hidden cameras have become smaller in size while amazingly being capable of clearly recording even during the night (or when it’s dark).

As for using hidden cameras, the practice could either be legal or illegal. The legality of hidden camera use lies in the purpose or reason behind it. Obviously, utilizing hidden cameras to do illegal surveillance is illegal. The same is true if such cameras will be utilized to gather data to be utilized for blackmail or with malicious intent. 

All states have strict legislation on privacy in connection with the use of a hidden camera. In general, you are not allowed to install hidden cameras in restrooms, dressing rooms, locker rooms, other people’s homes, and other areas related to personal privacy. Also, keep in mind there’s a distinct difference between video recording and audio recording (including video recording with audio). To be safe, make sure to check state laws regarding hidden camera use. You might also want to check in with your attorney about the implications of how you plan to use the camera and the data gathered.

Let’s take a closer look at the legality of utilizing hidden cameras in specific scenarios.

  • Hidden Cameras in Your Home

In general, it’s legal in the United States to record with a hidden camera in your home even without the consent of the person or people being recorded. This is one of the main reasons why the use of nanny cams is becoming increasingly normal for working parents who leave their kids with babysitters during the day.

In most states, however, it is considered illegal to record hidden surveillance videos where a subject has a reasonable expectation for privacy. This includes bathrooms and bedrooms in the case of live-in nannies. Of course, video recordings must only be to keep tabs on what’s happening in your home for safety and security reasons.

  • Hidden Cameras in Public Areas

The same laws on hidden camera use inside the home generally apply outside the home. In general, it’s legal to install hidden cameras in public places like retail stores, restaurants, parks, shopping malls, public squares, city streets, and similar places. Still, the reasonable expectation of privacy principles must be applied. This means that although deemed “public”, you still can’t set up a hidden camera in restrooms, changing rooms, locker rooms, hotel rooms, and other similar areas.

  • Hidden Cameras in the Workplace

There are few clearly defined federal and state laws governing hidden camera use in the workplace. In general, small business owners are within their rights when installing hidden cameras (except in places where privacy is necessary). A good way to go about this and stay on the safe side of the law is to inform employees of the presence of hidden cams.


Where Do People Put Hidden Cameras?

How To Find a Hidden Camera in Your Home

The advancements in technology have helped in the evolution of hidden cameras in various aspects- size, shape, type, quality of output, etc. These developments have certainly allowed people to install hidden surveillance cameras more effectively. 

As hidden or secret cameras become smaller and more inconspicuous, it would certainly help to know just what you’re looking for. Indoor hidden surveillance cameras typically come in the form of one of the following:

    • Smoke Detector
    • Air Filter
    • Electrical Outlets
    • Wall decoration
    • Tabletop decorations
    • Wall or alarm clocks
    • Desk plants
    • Pens
    • Books
    • DVD cases
    • Tissue boxes
    • Stuffed toys
    • Couch cushions
    • Clothes hooks
    • Shelves
    • Lava lamps


Outdoor hidden surveillance cameras might come disguised as the following:

    • House plants
    • Peepholes on the doors
    • Doorbells on the gate or door
    • Integrated into the house roof

In some instances, you might be able to spot unusual power outlets or adapters – unplug those immediately until you’re sure they are harmless. Also consider checking where a suspicious wire leads, unusual blinking lights, lenses, and similar objects are tell-tale signs of the presence of hidden cameras.


How To Detect Hidden Cameras

Hidden cameras, when utilized by the wrong sort of people, could pose a great threat to a person’s privacy and security. As hidden surveillance cameras become more sophisticated, detecting hidden cameras is also becoming increasingly trickier. That is not to say it’s impossible to detect hidden cameras.

While it could be tricky, it is definitely doable. You must know where to look and what to look for (something we’ve already covered in this article). There are tried and tested ways to easily find hidden cameras. The effective ways on how to find hidden cameras we’ll be discussing here range from straightforward to the more sophisticated and technology-dependent ways like utilizing hidden camera detectors.

Carefully Scan Surroundings For Hidden Cameras

One of the reasons why many people get away with placing hidden cameras is they hide them in plain sight. This is particularly so in the case of wireless cameras. It is, therefore, only apt to have a straightforward solution to such a simple trick – carefully scan every inch of your surroundings.

This method is a logical first step to check for hidden cameras. Look for bulky things or those that stand out in the room. Also, make sure to carefully inspect common objects especially if they seem to be positioned at a weird angle. Take note that spy cameras would be pointed to where people will most likely be standing or staying, like beds and showers.

Also, check for suspicious wires and lights. Remember to do your scan slowly and thoroughly. As you keep your eyes peeled, make sure to also listen for a soft buzzing sound which is a tell-tale for hidden motion-sensing cameras.

Turn Off the Lights to Check for Hidden Cameras

Another effective way to find hidden cameras manually is by plunging the room into darkness. Surveillance cameras may be made from plastic materials similar to regular household items or decors, but the lens is made out of glass. This means if you shine a light in a dark room and something reflects it, then you may just have found a hidden camera. You should also keep an eye out for blinking lights or led lights that could point to night-vision hidden cameras.

Check Out Mirrors for Hidden Spy Mirror Cameras

You should also consider looking at mirrors in bathrooms, changing rooms, bedrooms, and the like. You’ve probably seen in movies and tv shows how one-way mirrors are utilized in observing during an investigation. In a similar, but certainly more convoluted way, some people might use mirrors to hide surveillance cameras.

There’s a rather simple trick to check whether a mirror is a regular one or otherwise. Place one finger against the mirror, with the tip of your fingernail directly in contact with it. Next, check out the gap between the mirror and your finger. If there’s a gap, rest easy knowing it’s a real mirror. If, however, there is no gap between your finger and the mirror, someone may be spying on you from the other side, either in person or with the use of a hidden camera.

Use Apps or Professional Detectors to Find Hidden Cameras

Hidden cameras have grown more sophisticated and trickier to find thanks to technological advancements. The good news is, you can take advantage of the same technological advancements to find hidden cameras.

There are several ways to find hidden cameras using technology. One of which is with the use of a hidden camera app which you can easily install on your mobile phone. You can also purchase a hidden camera detector app or software for your computer. Then there’s also the option of getting a physically hidden camera detector.

There are hidden camera detector apps that detect infrared cameras, Wi-Fi-connected hidden cameras, and those that utilize radio frequencies. There are several hidden camera apps on the market so make sure to do some research before purchasing one.


How To Scan for Networked Cameras

As we’ve mentioned, the more sophisticated and cutting-edge surveillance cameras are trickier to find since they are designed to seamlessly blend in. Fortunately, the same technology that made it possible for hidden camera manufacturers to do this can also be utilized to detect them.

Some cameras are connected to Wi-Fi networks. This is typically the type of hidden camera utilized to keep track of a particular space or person in real-time. So, someone could be watching your every move on a monitor, wherever they are, through Wi-Fi-connected surveillance cameras. To detect such cameras, do the following (take note that the steps may vary depending on factors like the app you choose and access to the Wi-fi server or network).

    • Download a Wifi Sniffing app or software, install then set it up.
    • Initiate a full scan. (Take note the IP address is needed to proceed).
    • Browse through the list of connected devices and keep your eyes peeled for words like “Camera”, “IP Camera”, “Cam”, and the like.
    • Once something is found, take note of the information and contact your ISP provider (the owner, if renting).


How To Spot Night Vision Hidden Cameras

Night vision cameras are ideal for surveillance because they can continue recording even in the cover of darkness. Such cameras, or most hidden cameras, have red or green LEDs that will blink or shine in low-light conditions. The LED will supplement lighting for the cameras to continue producing clear night vision images.

To find hidden cameras, particularly night vision ones, simply do the following.

  1. Turn off all lights and block other light sources like windows.
  2. Scan every inch of the room for blinking red or green lights.
  3. Slowly and thoroughly scan the room with a flashlight then check out anything that reflects its light.


How Find Hidden Cameras Using Your Mobile Phone

How To Find a Hidden Camera With a Cell Phone

Smartphones have become an essential part of daily living; one could even go as far as saying smartphones have become extensions of people. This is no wonder since you could accomplish almost anything with your smartphone, even detecting hidden cameras. You simply need to download and install a reliable hidden camera finder app to do this.

Not all apps are created equal, of course. The best ones for hidden camera detection typically provides several options like:

    • Detecting via Radiation Meter – This works by picking up radio frequencies, radiation, and signals found in phones, wireless hidden cameras, and even listening devices.
    • Detecting via Infrared – This works by picking up white lights in a dark room that show up through your camera but can’t be seen by the naked eye. The white light is basically the infrared output of a hidden camera.


What To Do When You Find a Hidden Camera

Finding a hidden camera is simply the first step. It is equally crucial to know what steps you should take when one is found. The actions taken might depend on several factors like where you found the hidden camera (at home, in a rental, in a public place, etc.)

Here are some things to keep in mind if you find hidden cameras. First, if you feel highly threatened or in danger, leave the place as soon as possible and relay the situation to someone you trust.

    • Don’t move or touch the cameras especially if planning on involving the authorities.
    • Take pictures of the installed device and once it’s removed (if at all possible).
    • Unplug or remove a suspected device then take pictures of it. (Take note not to touch any part other than the plug.) You might also want to do quick research to make sure it is indeed a hidden camera.
    • If it’s a wireless camera, cover it up.
    • Call the police or proper authorities as soon as possible.
    • Document the whole situation.

Also Check Out: How To Stop Smart Devices From Listening To You

Pat Stanley

Cell phone spy software enthusiast and researcher. With over 8 years in the business I can offer the most comprehensive analysis and recommendations for virtually any program on the market. Learn more about Pat Stanley.