In the news recently you may have heard that a man Jeffrey Bigham found inside his rental two small hidden cameras.
Airbnb has hosted millions of trips so something happening like this is rare, but it can happen so here are our top tips to keep you and your safe by locating hidden cameras that might be in your Airbnb.
Can Hosts Have Cameras?
Firstly, Airbnb DO allow cameras to be in the property, however, the host will need to fully disclose any surveillance devices in the property via the House Rules. These are considered to be anything that captures video, still images or audio. Eg. computer monitors, nanny cameras or Nest Cams.
Camera can only be placed in public spaces such as a front door or driveway or shared spaces, and these need to be explicitly disclosed prior to a reservation
Cameras in shared areas must be visible and disclosed in the listing description. Devices should never monitor private spaces like bedrooms, bathrooms, or common areas used for sleeping, such as a living room with a sofa bed.
Common Places to Find Hidden Cameras
Here is a list of common places that you might find a spy surveillance camera:
- Stuffed teddy bears (Nanny Cams)
- Smoke Detectors
- Wall pictures
- DVD & BluRay Cases
- Desk and Floor standing Lamps
- Power Outlets and Power Adapters
- Plant Pots
How to Detect Hidden Cameras
Here are a few ways in which you can help look for these hidden spy cameras.
1. Turn off all the lights
This method will help you locate night vision cameras that have infrared LED’s. During low light condition, the LED have a very faint glow.
Step 1. Turn off all the lights and draw the curtains in the room. Ensuring you have a pitch black room.
Step 2. Look around the room slowly the obvious location mentioned above to glowing red lights.
Step 3. Turn on the camera on your mobile phone, look through via this to detect flashing lights that you can’t see with the naked eye.
Step 4. Use a flashlight, to look over each item and look for unusual reflections. This will be the lenses of the camera creating a reflection.
2. How to scan the network for hidden cameras
This method will help you detect IP connected devices that connect to the home network.
Step 1. Turn off all electrical items that you can find in the Airbnb apart from the router/hub.
Step 2. Download a network scanner. My personal favourite is Fing.
Step 3. Run the Fing App this will help you look for items that are still transmitting Internet signals that are connected to the network. These can be doorbells and entry systems. If Fing has the MAC address of know surveillance companies it will also show up as such,
3. Use a Mobile Phone
This method will help you detect devices that use 3G or 4G mobile networks or RF signals.
Step 1. Make a phone call to someone you know, and explain what you’re doing. This should be someone who is not in the property.
Step 2. Move the phone around the room slowly, and listen out for a buzzing sound. This is the interference of the other network or RF signals. If the buzzing gets louder the closer you generally are getting to the concealed device.
What do I do if I find a Hidden Camera?
Step 1. Firstly move out of its viewing angle and your personal items.
Step 2. Contact Airbnb, to notify them of this, it may be that the owners have mentioned that they have surveillance equipment in their hosting terms.
Step 3. Contact the local authorities. Most countries forbid hidden sky cameras in bathrooms, changing rooms and toilets. Basically, anywhere that you may assume personal privacy.