Did you know that it’s illegal to hide cameras in hotel rooms? It’s also a violation of most rental companies’ policies, not to mention an invasion of privacy. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop some people from doing it. But, you can protect yourself by learning to check for hidden cameras in your hotel room. Here’s how.
10. Survey the Room
The first thing you’ll want to do when you arrive at the hotel is survey your room for anything out of place.
For example, if there are pieces of furniture or appliances in unusual locations, or if you spot a lamp that appears to be angled toward the bed, it may be a sign that there’s a spy camera in your room. If you have reason to believe this is the case, contact hotel management immediately to report your suspicions. If possible, ask to be moved to another room.
9. Cover the Peephole
You may be worried about not being able to see who’s knocking on your door if you cover the peephole, but you should be more concerned about the fact that people can use peephole reversers to film inside your hotel room. According to Reader’s Digest, Mike O’Rourke, CEO of Advanced Operational Concepts, said “sports reporter Erin Andrews was victimized in this manner a decade ago, and she won a multi-million-dollar settlement in court.”
TIP: If you are expecting company, ask them to call you to let you know when they are on the way and then give you another call once they are outside your room door. That way you won’t have to remove the cover from the peephole to see who’s out there.
8. Unplug the Alarm Clock
Today’s spy cameras are so small that they could be hidden anywhere — like in an alarm clock, for example — and you’d never even know it. So, after you’ve surveyed the room and covered the peephole, make sure you unplug the alarm clock. If it’s anchored in place and you can’t move it, cover it with something, like a towel, perhaps. If when you return to your room you find the alarm clock has been plugged back in or is uncovered, it may mean someone is spying on you. Or, it could just mean the housekeeping staff is very detail-oriented, O’Rourke told Reader’s Digest.
7. Check Behind Wall Decorations
When you think of hidden things behind wall decorations, the first thing that typically comes to mind is a safe filled with lots of money. And, that may be the case if you are in someone’s home. But, since you’re in a hotel room, it’s highly likely that what’s hidden behind that wall decoration is a recording device of some sort. Look behind it to make sure no one’s spying on you. And, if you don’t feel comfortable with it hanging on the wall, you can just take it down. If that’s not possible, cover it with a sheet or towel.
6. Look for Blinking Lights
What’s the first indication that someone is recording you? You see a blinking light. According to WTVM in Columbus, GA, Sgt. Jason Brown with CPD’s Computer Crimes Unit recommends scanning the room for blinking lights. If you happen to see one in a corner or somewhere you’d usually see one (hint: beware of the smoke detector), it could be a sign that your room is being spied on.
If you notice anything at all, ask for a room change immediately. “It’s a small chunk of your time you’re investing just to make sure you and your family members are safe and that goes a long way, a little bit of healthy paranoia,” Sgt. Brown told WTVM.
5. Familiarize Yourself with What Hidden Cameras Look Like
If you’re trying to find a hidden camera in your hotel room, then it would make sense for you to know what one looks like. A quick Google search will show you the many different types of hidden cameras that exist. You can also do a quick search for them on Amazon. As you will see, hidden cameras are pretty inexpensive, so just about anyone can get their hands on them.
TIP: Do your research. Find out the most common hiding places for cameras. Also learn EVERY place they could possibly be hidden. In addition to the places listed in this article, monitoring devices can even be concealed in electrical outlets and power strips.
4. Check the Ceiling Fan
Yes, cameras can be hidden in ceiling fans, too. In fact, a young couple in Tehri, Uttarkhand, recently found a camera hidden in the ceiling fan in their hotel room. According to the Times of India, the Indian English-language daily newspaper that reported this story back in July, the couple found the camera when they noticed a red light emitting from the center of the fan. Upon further examination, they found out it was the blinking light of a hidden camera.
3. Use Your Phone’s Flashlight
Did you know that using your phone’s flashlight may just be one of the easiest ways to detect a hidden camera in your room? Here’s how you can do it: flash the light against anything that looks out of the ordinary. “Assuming the camera has some form of a lens, you use a device that has a very bright light source and a viewfinder that allows you to scan for the reflections from the lens,” professor Alan Woodward from the Center for Cyber Security at the U.K.’s Surrey University, told CNN.
2. Download an App to Scan for Recording Equipment
Yes, there’s an app for that — several of them, to be exact. These apps scan for frequencies used by recording equipment. “If it does transmit RF, then you can again buy a standard bug detector that you sweep the room with to search for hidden sources of radio transmission,” Woodward told CNN. “There are some products out there that combine the optical and RF detection methods.”
The top 12 hidden camera detector apps for Android and iOS devices are as follows:
- Hidden Camera Detector
- Hidden Devices Detector
- Spy hidden camera Detector
- Glint Finder
- Hidden Device Detector
- Spy Camera Finder
- Hidden Camera Detector
- Hidden IR Camera Detector
- Ghost Camera Finder
1. Be Careful Where You Use Your Laptop
This last one isn’t about where you can find hidden cameras, but about how you can protect yourself from them, particularly in the event that they may be in other places in the hotel besides your room. That being said, you need to be careful when it comes to using your laptop when traveling, especially if you’re traveling abroad to places like Russia or China. “Cameras may be pointed at desks to capture computer passwords and other sensitive information,” O’Rourke told Reader’s Digest. Therefore, it’s best to avoid using your laptop in the hotel lobby or other places criminals think you might use it.
It’s not just hotel rooms you have to worry about. Airbnb guests have also found hidden cameras in their rooms. Nevertheless, no matter where you may be staying, it’s something you need to keep an eye out for so you can stay safe on vacation. Thanks for reading!