This article explains how to find hidden cameras and covert video and audio recording devices. Hidden cameras and video recording devices are used to capture photos and video footage of people without their knowledge. This is done for both legal and illegal purposes and for a variety of reasons. If you’re interested in purchasing detection devices, visit the Home Security Superstore. Following are some examples:
- Law enforcement officers may use hidden audio equipment to eavesdrop or video equipment to capture criminals who are in the process of breaking the law
- Private investigators use bug detectors to find electronic bugs and hidden recording devices for their clients.
- Homeowners may use hidden cams to capture burglars or thieves breaking into their homes or attempting to steal their cars.
- Business owners may use a hidden recording device to watch employees steal money or merchandise or give their friends and family unauthorized discounts.
- Voyeurs and peeping toms may use the devices to spy on others who may be undressing or otherwise engaged with their partner.
Whatever the reason, this type of activity is becoming more and more common because the use of cover recording devices is becoming more popular. In addition, the cameras are getting smaller and are much more affordable for the average person.
How to Find Hidden Cameras in Your Home, Business, Car, or Hotel Room
If you have a reason to believe there may be a recording device present, you can follow a few simple steps to check things out. Some of these steps can be done without specialized equipment.
- Scan the room or rooms visually. Sometimes, the person doing the spying isn’t all that smart. If so, they likely did a poor job of concealing the equipment. Check everything in the room, including smoke detectors, electronic equipment, hanging pictures, tissue boxes, mirrors, cushions, furniture, etc.
- Look for lights or wires that look out of place. A great idea for quickly finding hidden lights is to turn off the lights in the room, then look around. Then, inspect any lights you see.
- Look to see if anything else is out of place. If a bug is placed inside your home, someone has to physically enter the house and put it there. In most cases, there will be some evidence that someone was there. Has the furniture been moved? Are hanging pictures and wall art out of whack? Do you notice anything in the HVAC vents? Have any of the ceiling tiles been moved? Have the outlets and light switches been disturbed?
- Run your hand over and under all surfaces, including furniture and other objects in the room. Feel for anything that doesn’t belong.
- Make a phone call and pay attention to whether there is any interference on the call. In some cases, the concealed electronic equipment may cause interference with your phone signal. This isn’t easy to detect because you may not have a strong signal on your phone.
- Use a small, handheld camera detector or bug sweeper to scan the room. Also known as an RF bug detector or a camera hunter, this device will pick up on the frequencies emitted by the devices. Prices for base models run from $150 to $400. If you offer this service to your clients, investing in more advanced equipment is a good idea.
What is a Camera Detector?
Camera Detectors and Personal Bug Sweepers are usually handheld and portable, battery-powered electronic devices that are able to detect:
- Hidden wired and Wireless Cameras
- Phone taps
- Laser taps
- Wireless Microphones (Mics)
- Audio Transmitter Bugs
- Video Transmitter Bugs
- Wireless Transmitter Bugs
- GPS Trackers (only when transmitting a signal)
- Camera lenses (usually require an additional attachment)
On units equipped with a strength meter, the meter will not only light up but also indicate greater strength as you get closer to the source. The device is used by physically scanning the room, including walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, equipment, etc. When the device detects a bug, tap, mic, camera, etc., the meter lights up and sometimes beeps to reveal an electronic surveillance device is hidden nearby.
Bug sweepers and detectors have different detection strengths, but most models can pick up frequencies and signals from 25 feet or more away. A quick scan of the room with one of these spy gadgets will let you know whether or not you’re being watched by surveillance or hidden cameras.
The Home Security Superstore has a good selection of electronic bug detectors and other counter-surveillance equipment at a reasonable price. Following is my recommendation:
Personal Multi-Bug Detector
Detect Hidden Cameras, Bugs, and GPS Trackers
Wattne Anti Spy Detector, Bug Detector
This model, available at Amazon.com, uses artificial intelligence to automatically identify, classify, and record dangerous signals in your home, business, or other areas. It will find hidden bugs, secret cameras, GPS tracking devices, SIM card bugs, and other equipment.
This is a great tool for private detectives, police officers, and security professionals who want to be sure their clients are safe from electronic monitoring.
The detection device can be used in several ways. For example, the device can scan your home or office or your client’s home or office for electronic bugging devices. Also, it can be used to check your phones and mobile phones for electronic bugging devices or “phone taps.”
If you’re about to get in your car, quickly identify secretly placed GPS tracking devices that may be hidden somewhere on your vehicle. It is also great for finding hidden cameras used by voyeurs in dressing rooms or other areas. The equipment is super-easy to use; flip the switch on the device to start detecting.
What to Look For When Buying Equipment
- Performance – The most critical aspect is that the equipment accomplishes what it is supposed to accomplish.
- Durability – you want equipment that will last.
- Accuracy – you don’t want a lot of false positives, picking up signals where they don’t exist. This will cost you a lot of time and headaches.
- Affordability – Don’t invest thousands of dollars in expensive equipment when devices that cost just a few hundred will do the trick. Most private investigators won’t need military-grade gear.
The price of hidden cam detectors varies from distributor to distributor. Prices range from under $100 for basic units to $3200 for advanced, top-of-the-line models.
What if you Find Something?
If you find hidden equipment, it is best to first notify the police. If you’re staying in a hotel room, contact the front desk to report it and ask hotel security to call the police.
What Do Private Investigators and Security Experts Need to Know?
As a private investigator, you may be asked to check out a home or business suspected of being bugged. Or, you may be providing personal security services and need to ensure a hotel room is clear of electronic spying devices, for example.
A private investigator trained in counter-surveillance should know how to find hidden cameras. Some may be so experienced that they can spot hidden devices with the naked eye. But in most cases, private eyes will rely on specialized counter-surveillance equipment.
If you have any questions about how to find hidden cameras, please leave a comment below. Also, visit our Spy Gear section for more information on surveillance equipment.