I read every question you sent. Here is one I found which is very disturbing. (By the way, if you have a question you’d like me to answer on the show or in a tip, click here to send me your note now.)
> Kim, this Christmas, I have to live with a creepy relative. How can I check to see if he has spy gadgets in his room or bathroom?
A. This is no small thing: The Internet is awash in intimate photos and footage of unsuspecting victims in the solitude of a makeshift room. By design, these cameras are difficult to recognize unless you know what to look for. You shouldn’t stick with a “scary relative.”
If you can’t find another place to stay, here’s how to find them.
We’ve talked about creepers using hidden cameras installed in vacation rental homes and hotel rooms without the renter’s knowledge. If it’s bothering you, well, it should be. Stumbling upon surveillance cameras isn’t just scary—it’s a big deal about your basic constitutional rights and the law.
And it’s not just rental homes and hotels that you need to worry about. What about your own house? How do you know if someone manages to plant a bug inside your home?
Fortunately, there are ways to locate and locate hidden cameras without the need for any fancy equipment.
1. Physically Check the Room
It’s the first order of business if you suspect a room is bad—a full sweep of the surroundings.
Think like a spy and come up with areas where you can hide a bugging device. Examine microphone transmitters in potential hiding places such as lamps, light fixtures, vases, flower pots and inside smoke detectors or air filters.
Check the room for unusual decorations such as out-of-place picture frames and random fixtures. Look for pinholes that can be used for camera lenses.
Don’t forget to check under chairs, tables, shelves and sofas as well. These are all excellent hiding places for a hidden microphone. Also, check items including books, stuffed toys, pillows, sofas and electrical outlets.
It’s also a good idea to check and locate wires that lead nowhere. Although wireless surveillance gadgets are now the norm, wired devices are still in use today.
2. Use Your Ears
Most motion-sensitive cameras emit a low-noise click and buzz when turned on. Lift your ears up and listen carefully to these almost inaudible sounds as you examine the entire room.
Motion tracking cameras often have small motors that hum when activated, so pay attention to those sounds as well.
3. Turn off the Light
Here’s a straightforward way to check security and surveillance cameras.
Turn off the room lights and check for the small green or red LED. Night-vision security cameras specifically use this type of light and they usually blink or glow in low light.
To examine the one-way mirrors that hide the camera, shine a flashlight through them. These types of mirrors require one side of the mirror to be brighter than the other side.
With the lights off, you can also view pinhole cameras by placing a tube over one of your eyes (such as a telescope) with your other eye closed. If something flashes back while you’re cleaning your flashlight across the room, there’s a good chance there’s a camera lens.
4. Use a Signal Detector
If you travel a lot and rent rooms and houses all the time and you are not serious about your privacy, you can invest in a professional RF signal detector. These gadgets are small enough to take with you and most of them are relatively inexpensive.
These typically detect the frequencies that wireless cameras and voice recorders use and some even have infrared illumination for pinhole cameras to detect.
5. Use Your Phone
Did you know that you can use your cellphone to detect even hidden wireless cameras or microphones? Wireless cameras and microphones emit specific radio frequencies that can interfere with your cellular signal.
Just call your cellphone and then walk around the room. If you start to notice clicking interference or noises in a specific area of the room, carefully examine the area for hidden bugs.
What to do if you find a camera
If you weren’t exposed to the existence of indoor surveillance cameras, the answer is simple: pick up the phone and call the police. Tell them that you have direct evidence that someone is spying on you inside your rental, without your knowledge or permission. Use this exact phrase.
While you wait for the police to arrive, document the situation with videos and photos on your smartphone. If you are traveling with others, ask them to be a witness. Remind them that they too are going to be victims.
After receiving your police report, contact the rental site.