Online rental apartments like Airbnb are all the rage these days, but unfortunately we’ll never run out of perverts.
There have been numerous reports of hosts playing voyeur and snooping in on their guests. In August this year, a Chinese couple was shocked to find hidden cameras planted in smoke detectors installed in the bathroom and bedroom of their Airbnb apartment in Taiwan.
Meanwhile, according to the Airbnb website, “We require hosts to disclose all surveillance devices in their listings, and we prohibit any surveillance devices in certain private spaces (such as bedrooms and bathrooms) regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed.”
“If you’re a host and you have any type of surveillance device in or around a listing, even if it’s not turned on or hooked up, we require that you let guests know by including this information clearly in your listing description and photographs.”
“If a host discloses the device after booking, Airbnb will allow the guest to cancel the reservation and receive a refund. Host cancellation penalties may apply.”
If you are holidaying in an Airbnb (or similar) apartment and feel like you are being watched, here are some things you can do to detect hidden cameras:
Detect hidden cameras: Scan your room
This is probably the simplest and most basic method to detect hidden cameras.
Look for small holes about the size of your phone’s camera in walls or other parts of the room. They should be somewhere on the side of the object facing the rest of the room.
Make sure to check creep-friendly places like the bathroom, shower area and bedroom.
According to WikiHow, underneath couch cushions, table tops, or shelves are also good hiding places for small cameras.
Cameras are most likely to be high up in the room, so as to get an unobstructed view. So be sure to check smoke detectors, light fixtures, speakers and anything placed in a high area that has a decent view of the entire room.
Some cameras or microphones have lights to indicate when the power is on. Techwalla suggests to simply turn off all the lights in the room and look around for a tiny red or green LED light.
If you feel weird about any holes, use tape or adhesive bandage to cover them up.
Do the reflection test
Most cameras have a lens that reflects light regardless of whether it’s on or off.
Turn all the lights off and shine a torch (you can use your phone’s flashlight) slowly into every inch of the room – any camera lenses will reflect the light back.
According to Techlicious, go slowly, and examine suspicious places from multiple angles. If you see glints of light where there shouldn’t be — areas where there are no mirrors, glass or other reflective surfaces — you may have found a camera.
Check the mirror
Mirrors can be suspicious, too, because you won’t be able to see a camera hidden behind them.
Worried that the mirror might be two-way? There’s a very simple way to check.
Expert Keith Roberts tells The Independent, “The fingernail test is old but it still works.”
“Put a fingernail up against the glass. In a real mirror, you can’t reach your finger in the reflection. But if you can touch your own finger in the reflection, that’s a problem. It’s a strong indication that it’s a two-way mirror.”
Use an app
Lastly, while not the most effective, you can also download an app on your phone to detect a hidden camera.
Some apps work by using the smartphone hardware to detect electromagnetic fields. With these apps, you can move your phone around the suspected area, and if a strong field is detected, there is a good chance of there being a camera hidden within the wall or object.
Scan for webcams
Some cameras might be connected to the internet. Connect to the host’s Wi-Fi and use a free network scanner like Fing app to find internet-connected cameras.
Lastly, if you have confirmed that you are being watched, do not hesitate. Inform the company you have booked through, and report the matter to the police.
(Featured Image: Screengrab Youtube)
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