How to Detect a Spy Camera

By Kay Tang

Spy cameras have shrunk to sizes so small they can be hidden anywhere. The smallest cameras are the size of dice. They can be installed in stuffed toys, vitamin bottles, fish tanks and smoke alarms. They can be incorporated into other electronic devices, such as watches, clocks, VCRs, lamps and coffee machines. The two types of spy cameras are wireless and hardwired. While hardwired cameras are typically used by organizations to prevent crime, wireless devices are often used by peeping Toms. A wireless camera has no outwardly visible lens and can transmit a video signal to a receiver positioned miles away.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal detector
  • Non-Linear junction detector
  • Very low frequency receiver

Step 1

Do a visual search of areas where the spy camera may be hidden. Think as if you are in the shoes of the person who might be spying on you. Where would he hide the camera? Where would you expect to not find a camera and, therefore, where the perpetrator would conceal one? An inspection can be done without employing any devices or tools. It is also free. A spy camera does not have to be located at eye level. It can be lodged in the ceiling or in the floor. Check appliances, electrical outlets, lamps, plants, etc.

Step 2

Use a metal detector to scan areas with wooden surfaces such as book shelves and cupboards. Because the metal detector will pick up conductive parts other than the spy camera, it's unreliable to use on any objects with conductive elements.

Step 3

Try a device known as the "Non-Linear Junction Detector" (NLJD). The majority of electronic spy cameras are made of transistors or tunnel diodes, which are known as nonlinear components. This kind of detector will not pick up on regular conductive objects, but will send an alert if it finds nonlinear components. The instrument has a control unit and antenna. Sweep the antenna only inches away from areas that you suspect may be hiding a spy camera. The device is expensive and the search is time-consuming.

Step 4

Use a Very Low Frequency (VLF) receiver. Because these cameras emit standard video signals, they give off electromagnetic noise. Use the VLF antenna to sweep suspect areas for noise. If the VLF does detect the video signal of the hidden camera, the line frequency of the noise will show up on a spectrum graph. Although the VLF receiver will pick up TVs and any incorrectly shielded cables, it can also pick up on cables used by a perpetrator to conduct the video signal from the hidden camera to an outside source. However, it does not detect rogue web cameras.

Step 5

Go to a counter-surveillance specialist if all else fails. Make sure the specialist comes recommended. Do your research and find one who has a track record in finding spy cameras.