KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) There's a growing concern across the county about hidden cameras, and who could be watching when you think no one is.
How can you sniff out spy cameras in Airbnbs?
WVLT News headed to a Knoxville Airbnb with local security expert and Owner of WatchDog Surveillance and Spy Gear Gary Glarner, who placed a few devices around the home, and showed us just how discreet these cameras are.
"This is one of the devices right here, if you look at it right now it is recording, and you cannot tell. You can actually charge with it. It's an actual charger."
A USB charger right in the middle of the kitchen looks harmless, but this motion triggered hidden camera can record a whole weekends full of footage, without you ever knowing it's there. These types of devices are tougher to detect because they don't use WiFi, the footage is saved on a micro SD card, and retrieved after the guests have gone.
"These are the most popular WiFi units because you plug it in and that's it." Said Glarner, pointing out the cameras that appear as larger USB chargers. "You can see it on your phone, you can copy it on your phone if you see a video you like, but it still records to the micro SD card if you want it to. These are easy because they run off of the power supply. You don't do anything but plug it in and sync it to your WiFi."
While these devices may be cause for concern, there's also a way to detect them.
"I have a device that does cameras and WiFi signals which I recommend." Said Glarner. "It will locate the cameras whether it's on or off."
If the camera is not connected by WiFi, a red light helps illuminate the lens of the hidden camera, making it visible. For WiFi connected cameras, the scanner looks for the wireless signal and alerts you when the device is held close.
"You'll turn it on, you're going to sweep, go through light sockets, anywhere that you think there is a camera, and then when it connects it, that means you've found it."
While these tiny hidden cameras can be purchased for low prices online, so can the detectors. Gary says that with the advancements of modern technology, it's important to always be on the lookout for devices.
"It's a different world today its a little crazy. You need to be on the defense. Make yourself vigilant, get something, take a few minutes and you'll feel a lot safer."
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