How to Find Hidden Cameras Anywhere: A Comprehensive Guide

9 minute read

If you’re doubting the security and trustworthiness of your Airbnb residence, this comprehensive guide on finding hidden cameras is for you.

We will discuss the most useful ways to sweep, find, and dispose of hidden recording devices in any room you might find yourself in.

There are many ways to use fast and inexpensive bug detectors and sweepers, as well as the good old fashioned eyes and ears, so you don’t have to worry about any unauthorized surveillance in your Airbnb residence, or anywhere else for that matter.

We’ll cover some basic grounds on how to scan networks for hidden cameras in your Airbnb or hotel room and guide you with step by step instructions to find hidden cameras no matter where you are. If you googled how to find hidden cameras, chances are, you’re in a rental room where nothing is familiar and you don’t know the premise just yet.

But, don’t worry. This guide is made for finding hidden cameras in unfamiliar places, because where else would you find them anyway?

Let’s jump right in.

The Importance of Complete Security

Finding hidden cameras and secret recording devices in this day and age is not uncommon as many would think.

Over the years, there have been a multitude of complaints and reports of unauthorized and blatant video recording, with some victims even sharing their unpleasant experiences on the internet. You’ve probably heard about the Airbnb scandals where hosts placed hidden security cameras in their renting space without disclosing any of them. This is a crime.

In 2019, a computer science professor found two hidden cameras in his Airbnb rental. The cameras were recording him and his family, and this went on for a while until he was suspicious enough to check. Airbnb has very strict legal details concerning hidden cameras and urges all hosts to comply with the rules, but this doesn’t discourage criminals from doing it.

Shockingly enough, the Atlantic reports that a New Zealand family in Ireland found out that they have been live-streamed in their Airbnb space without their consent. Even cruise liners, hotels, apartments, and other renting spaces are not safe at all. It looks like this isn’t stopping any time soon either.

Taking Action Yourself

Sure, the authorities might ban and prosecute this horrible crime, but it’s best if a person prevents it rather than seeking reprimanding actions. These are not isolated incidents, and Airbnb does all they can to crack down, ban, and report the hosts who do not authorize and disclose having recording devices and hidden cameras in their rental space.

In this guide, we’ll show you the same ways that the government and private investigation agencies use to scan, sweep, and find hidden cameras in any room. Security comes first, and these useful methods are tested through and through.

We will also show you how to properly dispose of the cams and alert the authorities if you have the (mis)fortune to come across a hidden camera.

We strongly believe in taking action yourself and not waiting on the law to try and solve the problem. Still, there are some legal precautions you need to be aware of. Please refer to our legal guide for more information on this.[a]

What Are the Usual Recording Devices You Might Uncover?

Before you start frantically opening drawers and searching everywhere, it’s important to assess the situation and determine whether you’re being spied upon via video or audio recording devices.[b]

For instance, if you are in a hotel room or Airbnb rental, the chances of you being spied on with a hidden video camera are bigger.

If you’re in a meeting room where business meetings are held, the chances of you being recorded with a hidden audio recorder are bigger. Of course, taking precautions against various types of spying devices is crucial and we’ll talk about the safest solutions for these problems, whether it’s audio or video.

Besides elaborating on how to find hidden cameras, we would also like to mention that there have been cases of people being spied upon even while they’re driving. GPS tracking devices can be abused, and anyone can be a victim. For more on GPS trackers and how to find them, please read this guide.[c]

Common Locations

Just keep a close eye on locations that may provide the best angle and view for recording. These locations are usually the bathroom, in front of the closet, around the changing rooms, the bed, the hallways, etc.

Considering different scenarios and factors while you’re searching the room is important, as well as keeping an eye out for critical and ‘vulnerable’ places. Luckily, the most common hiding patterns are almost always the same in most cases.

The Proper Methods and Steps on How to Find Hidden Cameras Anywhere

First Step: Divide the Room in Parameters

To make the sweep easier, you need to draw a simple map of the house or room and divide it into three or four parts.

Simply break the main space into four points, start sweeping and searching in the first part, and follow the order so you won’t have to search a specific location twice.

By carefully segmenting the room into parts you’ll be able to easily and efficiently search the whole premise without missing anything. This is very important when you’re in a larger space.

Second Step: Identifying Suspicious Places

Check the whole place for any odd objects that are put in a strange way, might look off-putting, or completely out of place.

Usually, hotel rooms have similar styles and decorations, and checking the room for differently styled objects might yield shocking results. It’s not unusual to find hidden cameras in randomly placed objects.

You will need to pay attention to:

  • Light bulbs and lights;
  • Strange columns;
  • Smoke detectors;
  • Thermostats;
  • Furniture;
  • Sockets;
  • Plumbing fixtures and light bulbs.

Don’t forget to also check the TV, clocks, and telephones. You will have to turn over the carpet for any wires or cables.

Most hidden cameras require wires, cables, and batteries. The person who would conduct this illicit recording camera will need a power outlet for this device, so make sure you thoroughly check the outlets.

Third Step: Making Sure That the Mirrors Are One-Way

There are faux mirrors that act like windows from the other side. It’s the creepiest thing ever. There might be someone watching with a hidden camera there.

We recommend that you check the mirrors with the following simple method.

Simply touch the mirror with your finger. Keep your finger at a straight 90-degree angle, and look at the reflection. The reflection in a regular mirror will not touch your finger, and it will look just out of reach, with a gap of around 5 millimeters.

Some say that wizards enchant mirrors this way in order to keep our evil twins away from our reality. Safety first.

If your finger touches the reflection, you will need to further examine the mirror. If the mirror is built-in in the walls, there’s a chance that it’s a two-way mirror.

Check the Amenities for Any Suspicious Services and Objects

The renting host will offer you a list of services and amenities for your temporary residence. You must use the list to check for all the objects and devices in the room.

If you see more than enough objects, you will need to double-check them for anything suspicious.

Vases, clocks, coffee pots… Anything can have a hidden camera inside it.

How to Find Hidden Cameras by Using Devices

Once you are done searching for hidden cameras by eye, it’s time to break out the big guns.

A close inspection and a thorough sweep will clear up any doubts in your head.

There are many effective and inexpensive gadgets and devices you can use to closely examine the whole room. We advise you to use electronic sweepers, bug detectors, LED devices, and RF (Radio Frequency) detectors to scan the places you find most suspicious.

All of these devices are cost-effective and are very easy to use. With the help of electronic sweepers you’ll be able to find hidden cameras and spy audio recorders much easier.

Radio Frequency Detectors

Hidden cameras and such devices need electricity to transmit the surveillance, and many of them emit radio signals. It’s important to turn off the devices that emit radio frequency prior to conducting this search. Make sure to disconnect the laptops, phones, tablets, and Bluetooth devices before using the detectors.

You will need a radio frequency detector to find and detect the radio signals. These devices are specifically designed for this use, and they are fool-proof. If it detects a spying device, the device beeps and makes a sound depending on how far it is. You’ll be able to find any device with this method.

Camera Lens Detector - The Scout

A fool-proof way to detect hidden cameras is definitely via reflecting the light from the hidden camera lenses with a LED light device.

We present to you - The Scout.

It’s a very simple, yet effective method without using special radio frequencies or any fancy technology. Just a LED light device, and your eyes.

When properly used, you’ll be able to find even the most hidden camera and its tiny camera lenses anywhere, whether it’s in the walls, or in objects.

It detects hidden cameras by reflecting the light from the lenses of the camera, just make sure to turn off the lights in order to better detect the cameras.

It’s very useful for travelers, especially when you’re in an Airbnb residence.

What to Do When You Find the Hidden Camera

If it happens that you finally found a hidden camera or a spying device, and you were in any way uninformed of its presence, DO NOT TOUCH IT.

Immediately get out of the view, and inform the police.

Contact Us

If you have any inquiries regarding hidden cameras, spying equipment, or hidden camera/audio detection products, please feel free to drop us a line!

Do you have any experiences with hidden camera sweepers or any Airbnb stories to tell? You are more than welcome to share them with us in the comment section below.

« Back to Blog