People's worries over hidden cameras are growing, and there's good reason to be concerned because spy cams in vacation rentals and hotel rooms are getting harder to detect. Experts say there are ways to better spot those sneaky eyes that are hidden in every day household items.
NBC 6 had Evan from Spy Spot Investigations plant hidden cameras in a home, and he showed off some of the most popular devices that are being used to spy on people. The Wi-Fi clock video camera looks pretty innocent at first glance, but if you look closer, you’ll discover something creepy.
"You can be in another city and you could be watching," Evan said about the clock camera. The sleek clock records everything you do and say.
Another device you probably wouldn’t suspect is the receiver.
"It doesn’t really look like anything. It blends in perfectly next to a TV," Evan explained. The receiver's camera rotates 180 degrees and the video can be live streamed to a cellphone or tablet. "You can set it up to notify you by text message when somebody walks in front of it."
Another popular spy cam to look out for is the Wi-Fi wall plug charger. Similar devices were found in a Brickell AirBnB back in January. Max Vest booked the room and was shocked when he discovered the hidden cameras.
"I did not know what to think at first," Vest said. "I didn’t know if I was being watched live or if it was being recorded."
Vest found a memory card in each of the two devices. Miami Police said both memory cards had tons of videos saved on them. No arrests have been made in that case.
Airbnb says the host who set up the spy cams in that unit was immediately removed from its website. The company allows hosts to place cameras in common areas – but they must be clearly disclosed in the "house rules." But AirBnB forbids hosts from placing cameras in bedrooms or bathrooms.
It’s definitely hard to detect hidden cameras with the naked eye. Evan says a bug detector is the best way to find spy devices. He says the bug detector can be used to locate wired and wireless cameras. Once a wi-fi signal is picked up, the bug detector will make a beeping sound or you can use the detector's lens finder to spot the culprit.
"If you were to look through this circle here you would see a little bull's eye dot where the camera lens is," Evan explained.
If you don't have a bug detector, but want to vigilant while vacationing experts say you should unplug suspicious devices or cover them with a towel.