Here’s how to sniff out spy cameras in Airbnbs

Here’s how to sniff out spy cameras in Airbnbs

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/Gray News) - There’s a growing concern across the country about hidden cameras, and who could be watching when you think no one is, WVLT reported.

Gary Glarner, security expert and owner of WatchDog Surveillance and Spy Gear, placed a few devices around a home to show how discreet the cameras are.

“This is one of the devices right here, if you look at it right now, it is recording, and you cannot tell,” Glarner said. “You can actually charge with it. It’s an actual charger.”

There’s a USB charger right in the middle of the kitchen that looks harmless, but a motion-triggered hidden camera can record a whole weekend full of footage, without you ever knowing it's there.

These types of devices are tougher to detect because they don't use WiFi. The footage is saved on a micro SD card, and retrieved after the guests have gone.

"These are the most popular WiFi units because you plug it in and that's it," said Glarner, pointing out the cameras that appear as larger USB chargers. "You can see it on your phone, you can copy it on your phone if you see a video you like, but it still records to the micro SD card if you want it to. These are easy because they run off of the power supply. You don't do anything but plug it in and sync it to your WiFi."

While the devices may be a cause for concern, there’s also a way to detect them.

Are there hidden cameras in your Airbnb?

“I have a device that does cameras and WiFi signals which I recommend,” said Glarner. “It will locate the cameras whether it’s on or off.”

If the camera is not connected by WiFi, a red light helps illuminate the lens of the hidden camera, making it visible.

For WiFi-connected cameras, the scanner looks for the wireless signal and alerts you when the device is held close.

"You'll turn it on, you're going to sweep, go through light sockets, anywhere that you think there is a camera, and then when it connects it, that means you've found it," Glarner said.

While these tiny hidden cameras can be purchased for low prices online, so can the detectors. Glarner said that with the advancements of modern technology, it's important to always be on the lookout for devices.

“It’s a different world today it’s a little crazy. You need to be on the defense. Make yourself vigilant, get something, take a few minutes and you’ll feel a lot safer,” Glarner said.

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