Home » How To » 3 Simple Techniques to Spot Hidden Cameras in Hotels and Rental Homes
Hidden Camera

In 2019, a real estate investment company IPX1031 found that nearly 60% of Americans said they were worried about hidden cameras in Airbnb homes. Furthermore, 11% of those who had rented vacation homes claimed to have discovered a hidden camera during their stay.

According to the New York-based non-profit organization Human Rights Watch, more than 30,000 cases of filming with hidden cameras were reported to the police between 2013 and 2018 in South Korea alone.

The rise in the number of secret spy camera reports is due to the increasing availability and affordability of such cameras and the public’s growing ability to spot them, according to Global Threat Solutions’ president, Kenneth Bombace.

Spy cameras can be hidden anywhere–even in your hotel room. Here’s how some experts suggest you find them.

Make a thorough search of the premises.

 Start with rooms like bathrooms and bedrooms when searching for hidden cameras, according to Bombace.

According to him, Airbnb hosts can have cameras in their houses if they notify their guests and the cameras aren’t placed in private areas.

Bombace said that most covert cameras are disguised as everyday household objects, such as lights, thermostats, and plugged clock radios.

“Look and see if anything looks like it’s out of the ordinary, and then inspect it closer,” he said.

Most spy cameras are powered by electricity or a computer, according to Bombace.

He recommends unplugging clock radios and putting them in a drawer before sleeping.

Security consultant Michael O’Rourke, who runs Advanced Operational Concepts, concurs.

Even hidden cameras will have a small amount of reflective glass from the lens, Bombace said.

“If you use flashlights and shine them on something you think could hide the camera, you will see a reflection in there, which is a pretty good way of detecting if there’s a camera,” he said.

O’Rourke noted that carefulness is necessary to find hidden lenses accurately.

“A lot of people will try to do amateur lens detection, which can work,” O’Rourke said. “However, if you don’t have a good search methodology — if you go too fast or impatient — you can miss quite a bit.”

Take a look at the Wi-Fi network.

The camera must be connected to a local Wi-Fi network for it to be viewed remotely, according to Bombace.

He said that Wi-Fi scanning apps like Fing could identify devices on the network that are cameras.

According to Bombace, clandestine camera operators might strictly set up a Wi-Fi network to stream footage. Still, apps that scan for networks can also show how many are in any given residence.

However, Kody Kinzie, a security researcher at data security and analytics firm Varonis, cautioned that a network scanner might not pick up everything.

“The next thing you can do is look for devices broadcasting their network name,” he said.

WiGLE is a good tool for finding devices that ” broadcast some sort of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network name,” Kinzie added.

Get a detector for spy cameras.

If you’re feeling paranoid, buy a spy camera detector to scan for radio frequencies from hidden cameras. You can purchase these cheaply and easily online from websites like Amazon or AliExpress.

However, according to O’Rourke, this technique only works if the hidden camera sends data.

“So many of them now have SD cards that just store data to be retrieved after someone leaves,” O’Rourke said. “And so these are much more difficult to detect.”

Bombace noted that while you can purchase a radio frequency scanner, the cheaper models are probably not as effective.

“Like anything else, you get what you pay for — if it’s $30, it’s probably not that good,” Bombace said. “Better ones will cost hundreds or even over $1,000.”


If you discover a hidden camera, immediately contact security. It’s paramount that you are the first to know about this situation, as it could put you in danger if somebody else knew before you did. Try to figure out who placed the camera there and how long it had been present. This data can help make sure something similar does not happen again.

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