How to Find Hidden Cameras and Detect Bugs

11 minute read

“...they’re in the walls!” - The Matrix (1999)

How Can I Be Sure If a Room Is Bugged?

All kinds of tech gadgets are getting more accessible and cheaper by the year. This allows all kinds of people to plant bugs, hidden microphones and cameras in, let’s say, an Airbnb, rental space, a dressing room, or a temporary residence.

Shady landlords hide bugs and hidden cameras to spy on unsuspecting people, and some states don’t have any laws for this privacy breach.

If you suspect a serious security threat, you might have a more complicated problem than simple spyware on your iPhone. You need to check EVERY room, wall socket, cable, smoke alarms, and other places of interest. Perhaps sketching and grouping the rooms in quadrants will make the sweep easier for you.

Most importantly, if you have just a tiny bit of doubt that someone planted a bug or a hidden camera, do yourself a favor and listen to your intuition.

There are only two outcomes, and the odds are in your favor. If you find something - congratulations, you solved the problem. If you don’t find anything - even better. Nobody is spying on you.

Scan and Sweep Every Nook and Cranny

If you can’t sleep over the fact that someone might be watching or eavesdropping, here are a couple of effective ways to protect your privacy.

One method is conducting a physical search by using the proper tech available to you so you can easily detect commonly used transmitting microphones or cameras in your room. We like to call it “unwanted surveillance countermeasure”.

Suspecting Two-Way Mirrors

Don’t forget about the mirrors. Two-way mirrors are faux mirrors that could have someone watching through them from the other side - as if hotel mirrors weren’t creepy enough. There’s always a chance it’s two-ways, and that usually means it’s implanted with a hidden camera or worse.

Performing this check is simple. Just place your finger on the mirror. If the reflection touches the mirror, then you really should inspect it further, because it usually means that it’s a two-way mirror.

Checking For Bugs, Wi-Fi, and Radio Frequency

Check and review all the devices and objects in your room. Routers that are connected, devices that need an internet connection, hotspots and Wi-Fi networks with a signal, all of these emit radio frequencies which bugs need in order to conduct functional surveillance.

There are many devices and spyfinders that will let you detect these strange signals that aren’t coming from your devices. Modern spy equipment requires a constant source of power, so be sure to check every source of power.

Turning off all of your wireless devices that emit signals like laptops, smartphones, TVs, game consoles and such, is a good idea. This allows you to use a little gadget called a radiofrequency detector to scan for transmitters. You just turn it on and move it around the space to check for beeps and signals.

The most common bugs usually go from 8 MHz to 10GHz in range. Our SpyGuy sweeping devices go from 20MHz and all the way to 6 GHz, enough to locate most bugs.

Lucky for you, reliable instruments like bug detectors with a broad radiofrequency range are accessible and cost-effective. They are easy to use and get the job done. Why hire expensive professionals and spend hundreds of dollars when you can just solve your bug problem yourself?

How to Use Bug Detectors?

Bug detectors, or spy finders, can be used in a plethora of ways and are functional enough to find even the most problematic devices on the market. As of now, many bugs work on radio frequency, or internet, and it’s a very straightforward technology that can be countered.

Below are some useful methods and spyfinders to use when you’re doubtful of your surroundings.

White Noise Generators

We will guide you on how to use spyfinders, bug scanners, radio frequency detectors, and how to properly implement white noise generators like the AJ-3 Audio Jammer to ensure nobody eavesdrops on your conversations.

The AJ-3 Audio Jammer is a white noise generator that makes hidden microphones record nothing but static. It renders your voice completely unrecordable.

An All-Around, Jack of All Trades Device

Concerned about hidden cameras watching you, or a planted microphone eavesdropping on your conversations? We recommend the LM-8 Hidden Camera and Bug Detector as the perfect spyfinder for worried and weary travelers. It’s an ‘all-around’ bug detector that uncovers planted microphones, as well as hidden cameras - it kills two birds with one stone.

The LM-8 detects wireless microphones, and radio frequency (RF) transmitting mics. Whether or not the camera is wired, or battery-operated, the LM-8 will find it. With a wide frequency range of 20MHz to 6GHz, this device is an all-purpose anti-spy machine.

Just flip the power switch, follow the LEDs, and search for the signal. If the signal is weak, the red LEDs will flicker. The closer you are to the signal, the more colored LEDs will light up. It’s advised that you check the walls and suspicious places for this signal.

Covering More Ground

The T-9 Specialty Bug Detector is a similar spyfinder device that can catch signals, pretty popular among customers, with a range of 50 to 500 feet. The T-9 gives you full control over the sensitivity of the device.

The T-9 has a more precise signal strength indicator. This allows you to narrow down the exact bug location and distinguish different RF sources quickly and accurately.

If you are somewhere remote, you can turn the sensitivity up to scan a huge area all at once. If you are somewhere with a lot of interference (like a hotel, apartment, or close quarters neighborhood) you can turn the sensitivity down to help mitigate false readings.

Another great spyfinder device that you can use for detecting bugs around the house is the SG-1 Personal RF Detector. It’s a sweeper, meaning you can find bugs between the 50MHz to 6GHz radio frequency signals.

Most radiofrequency detectors go from $100 to $200 dollars, and you can save a lot of money by using the SG-1. It detects analog AND digital signals, and the sensitivity knob narrows down the location of the transmission. Bear in mind that this detector works on analog cameras, so it can’t find internet-connected cameras.

Use the LM-8 if you suspect an internet camera. It’s a great “all-round” spyfinder and bug detector if you want to find hidden cameras, RF-based bugging devices, and/or wireless microphones.

However, your best chance of finding a hidden camera is the Scout. The Scout is a very handy tool that allows you to find both wired and wireless bugging devices, so if your main concern is cameras, the Scout will surely find them.

If you need to know more about how wireless bugs work, you can find the answer by clicking the ‘How It Works’ tab.


How Do You Check If Your House Is Bugged?

There’s one method which involves using an FM radio. You just set it to a “quiet” frequency and walk around the house until you hear a high pitched squeal. This will indicate that there’s a microphone installed nearby.

But if you want to be more precise and 100% sure, you can use the SG-1 Personal RF Detector or The T-9 Specialty Bug Detector for thoroughly scanning your house for bugs. It beats having to walk around with an FM radio to pick up frequencies and you can pinpoint the exact location faster. If you want to cover both hidden cameras and RF-based bugging devices, check out the LM-8.

Is Someone Spying on My Phone?

There are spy apps that send data to the remote device installed on your phone, and it can be very easy to find out whether you’re being spied. 

Keep in mind that bug detectors are not suited to scan and find if your smartphone or cellphone is tapped, infected with spyware, or bugged with an eavesdropping device.

If your phone’s data, text messages, and other stats look very suspicious, there’s probably a tracking app that’s surveying your data and sending it to an unknown receiver. Be careful.

Can I Sue Someone for Recording Me Without My Permission?

If no one in the conversation has consented, then the recording is illegal. Most states require single-party consent, while some states require two parties to consent. If the two parties consent to the recording, then it’s alright.

There are few countries that only accept an all-party consent.

As you can see, you need to bear in mind that different states can have different laws on recording consent. Be sure to consult your local attorney who can tell you whether you have a case before you decide to record your conversations.

How Do I Detect a Bugging Device?

You can start by investigating smoke detectors and other electronic and Internet devices in the house. Checking decorative pieces and other objects in the room helps too, as well as checking for odd wires that go nowhere.

Or you can purchase a good spyfinder like the SpyGuy Frequency Detector or a jammer to help you out so you do this more precisely and a lot faster.

How Can I Detect a GPS Tracking Device on My Car?

GPS tracking devices are much harder to scan because you can’t simply use a bug scanner to find it. The device requires around 24 GPS satellites that transmit a unique and untrackable signal and orbital parameters that allow GPS devices to pinpoint the location of the vehicle.

Bug scanners and other audio/video spyfinders are powerless against GPS tracking devices. Your best bet is to take legal action because it’s illegal for someone to place a GPS tracking device on an asset you own, specifically, your car.

Why the “Scout” Is Our Top-Shelf Product

If all else fails, we definitely recommend The Scout.

It’s a no brainer. The SpyGuy Scout will help you find hidden cameras effectively. This spyfinder empowers people to protect their privacy, plus it’s cheap for a device with such a purpose.

As of late, there have been many reports of privacy breaches in the US and Europe. Couchsurfing platforms like Airbnb have gotten a lot of bad rep with some of their recent users finding cameras in their rental rooms. Many Airbnb guests are concerned, and this is why The Scout is and should be one of the most sought after products at SpyGuy.

You can never be too careful. The Scout is perfect for motels, hotels, restrooms, etc. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to use - just hold it up to your eye and see through the hole with the 6 LED lights that reflect off of camera lenses. You can spot the camera as a red dot almost instantly.

The Scout also comes with a practice pinhole camera, so you know what you’re dealing with.

Why Choose SpyGuy?

It basically comes down to this: we do our research so you won’t have to spend endless hours searching for a proper and cost-effective product to solve your problem.

You’re also free to browse our catalog for other products. All of our products rely on conventional and straight-forward methods that will give you effective results.

We’ve been doing this since 2014, and our roster boasts fine equipment for various methods of surveillance and spy countermeasures, as we offer practical spyfinders and simple-to-use solutions for bug detection and finding hidden cameras. The Scout device definitely carries the image of our company’s “mascot”.

The spying equipment business can seem shady and confusing for people, which is why we’re here to challenge those impressions and show you how easy it is to use our products for protection and safety.

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