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What the Tech: How to Spot Hidden Cameras | Entertainment

SHREVEPORT, La. – Every year, renters across the country make shocking discoveries of hidden cameras in hotel rooms, Airbnb rentals, or condos they book through Vrbo.

The cameras allow someone to watch live and even save a recording to watch later.

If you live in a house or condo that is being offered by a homeowner, you can almost guarantee that security cameras will be outside and possibly inside.

Most surveillance cameras look like cameras. The scary thing is that some security cameras don’t look like a camera at all.

For under $50, anyone can buy security cameras hidden in phone chargers, alarm clocks, and cameras so small you can hide them anywhere. I bought a hidden camera in a fake smoke detector for about $40. It allows someone to watch a live stream and record a video when it detects motion. The video is stored on an SD card hidden in the fake smoke detector. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’d never notice the tiny camera lens.

How do you recognize them? Can you see her?

Check the outlets first. Where do these plugs go? Many cameras require power, so follow the wires. Check baskets, houseplants and bookshelves. For battery-powered cameras, turn off the lights and turn on the flashlight on your phone to scan the room. A camera lens creates a reflection. You might even see a blue, red, or green light indicating it’s on and recording.

Check all alarm clocks and smoke alarms closely and look for a small round lens. If a smoke alarm is above the bed or in a bathroom, take it down and open the cover. Replace it if you don’t find anything out of the ordinary.

There are hidden camera detector apps. But I’ve found mixed results. The two I tried never found the Wi-Fi network to search, but did search shelves for camera lenses. It found the two sitting on my bookshelf, but didn’t spot the lens in the smoke detector until I moved it close to the device.

Airbnb allows property owners to install security cameras in common areas like living rooms and kitchens, but they are required to tell renters. Cameras are not allowed in private areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms. If you find one, contact the police and then contact the agency you rent from.

VRBO’s privacy policy allows surveillance cameras outside the property, but prohibits any indoor recording devices.