How to Find Hidden Surveillance Equipment

By Contributing Writer

These days, hidden surveillance equipment is everywhere. In homes or on the streets, odds are that if you look hard enough, you'll find some. But where to look? And how can you be so sure that sinister-looking toaster is really watching your every move? Arm yourself against the world of voyeurs and vigilantes with a few clever tactics that will scare up any hidden surveillance device.

Things You'll Need

  • Hidden camera detector or cell phone

Detecting hidden cameras in a private residence

Step 1

Search in the most logical rooms to install hidden surveillance equipment. Among the most common areas are bedrooms, living rooms and near valuables, or where intimate business is done.

Step 2

Check the room for any item that has an unusual small pinhole in it. Popular items to hide cameras in are alarm clocks, radios, boom boxes, speakers, air fresheners, desk lamps, air purifiers, wall outlets, fire alarms, bookcases, shelves and stuffed animals.

Step 3

Perform a static interference test by "sweeping" the room. You can buy wireless camera detectors online (See "Resources") or at some electronic stores. You also can use a cell phone by making a phone call and waving the phone over any suspicious electronic devices. You will hear a magnetic clicking sound if you are over a product that is emitting an electromagnetic field, such as a hidden camera or microphone!

Step 4

Dismantle the item in question If you still suspect that it might be surveillance equipment. The camera is usually a very small electronic piece, typically the size of a postage stamp. It will have an "eye" on it, which is a small glass dome usually no bigger than a dime.

Step 5

Find the video feed-box. This is generally stored in a closet or secured room in the house. Typically, it is a nondescript metallic box with a series of electric cables that run into it. Some very expensive and modern surveillance services, however, feed the video directly into a personal computer or even to a remote location, making it inaccessible.

Detecting Surveillance Equipment in Public Areas

Step 1

Look up. Most hidden surveillance equipment is installed overhead to provide maximum field of vision.

Step 2

Locate any suspiciously placed tinted glass or domes. Most public surveillance equipment is protected behind tinted glass and installed in out-of-reach places. They generally are installed in a sturdier apparatus than private surveillance equipment because they have to endure more wear and tear.

Step 3

You can avoid detection by a camera by taking advantage of the blind spots that much public surveillance equipment has. The general rule of thumb for avoid detection is: If you can see the camera, it can't see you.

Tips & Warnings

  • Trying to access the video feed room in a public area is usually futile because it is almost always located in the security center of the building or in a remote location.
  • Some of the most obvious-looking cameras are actually dummies. Installed to look real and deter bad behavior, they are in fact nothing more than plastic toys mounted to walls and ceilings.Using a cell phone as a hidden camera detector is a much cheaper, but also much less reliable, course of action. Buy a professional detector if you are serious about finding hidden surveillance equipment.Detecting and tainting with private or public video cameras installed for security purposes is typically illegal. Detecting cameras installed for any other reason, however, is legal and can help protect your privacy.

References & Resources