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Does your Airbnb have hidden cameras? Here’s how to check

Does your Airbnb have hidden cameras?  Here’s how to check

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Comments by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

Memorial Day is the traditional start of the summer vacation season in the U.S. In recent years, vacation rentals like Airbnb have become popular alternatives to hotels, where people offer their homes (or rooms) furnished by for short-term rentals.

PCMag claims that many guests staying at these vacation rentals find hidden cameras in the homes, and they just published an article with tips on what to do to make sure you’re not being monitored when staying at these residences.

Here’s what you need to do, before and after you book, to make sure you’re not subject to surveillance.

for Chandra Steele


JESS settles into a cozy and secluded Airbnb. He expects some peace and privacy. He leaves his hiking gear for the next day near the front door, changes his clothes and brushes his teeth. Jess looks around the room before turning off the lights and getting into bed. He sees a red glow emanating from the bookcase. Jess stands up and cautiously approaches the bookcase. Pushing a book aside, he JUMPS when he discovers a camera.

This horror movie is one you could star in when staying in a vacation rental. While landlords may be justified in wanting to monitor the comings and goings of guests, there are some places where cameras simply shouldn’t be.

Case in point: Kennedy Calwell took to TikTok to tell the story of finding a camera in a bathroom sink of an Airbnb she and 14 friends rented for a birthday celebration. Calwell and his friends reported the camera to Airbnb and to local police in Canada. Canada’s CTV followed up on the story, confirming the investigation.

How to find surveillance cameras

The Airbnb hosts in Calwell’s story claimed not to know about the camera’s existence. However, you should read the listings for camera disclosures carefully before booking. You should also check the reviews and look for any mention of cameras.

Slow and steady search

The easiest, low-tech way to find a camera is to do the kind of search that Calwell’s friend did: turn off all the lights, sweep a flashlight around the room, and look for reflections that might indicate a lens. Go slowly, as a lens flare can be very small. Be sure to check for items that can easily hide a camera, such as smoke detectors, alarm clocks, shower heads, electrical outlets, and the like. Also look for bright or flashing LEDs that may reveal a recording device in operation.

Check the mirrors

Next, check the mirrors. If they rise from the wall, you can look behind them. If they are stuck, you can check if they are two-way by turning off the lights once again and holding a flashlight to the mirror and searching the surface. If you only see the reflection of your flashlight, the mirror probably isn’t two-way. If you see an area behind the mirror, it is two-way.

See if your phone can detect infrared

If you’ve been using your phone’s flashlight for all of this, don’t put your phone down. Check if your phone’s camera can detect infrared by opening the camera app, pointing a remote at it, and pressing a few buttons. If you see a flash of purple or white light, the camera can detect infrared. Turn off all the lights in the room, open the camera app, and scan the room for similar bursts that might be coming from a camera.

Scan your Wi-Fi network

As a guest, you likely have access to your rental’s Wi-Fi network, which will allow you to explore. Download a Wi-Fi scanner app like Fing(Opens in a new window) to see which devices are connected. Follow the app’s on-screen instructions. Note that a host may have another Wi-Fi network and not all cameras need to be connected to Wi-Fi to work. For a final scan, you can buy an RF detector that can find wireless devices. The Voivey G6 Sport(Opens in a new window) it’s small and travels well.

Read the full article at

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Posted on May 28, 2023

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