Can a Hidden Spy Camera be Detected?

How to Detect a Hidden Spy Camera

With today’s technology, spy cameras have become increasingly smaller, to the point in which they can now be hidden just about anywhere.  It is possible to buy micro spy cameras that are no larger than Yatzee dice and can even be small enough to fit into a ball point pen. They can be hidden in toys, plants, an aspirin bottle or perhaps a fish tank. They can be incorporated into other electronic devices, such as smoke detectors, electrical outlets, alarm clocks, wall clocks or even in a wrist watch.  There are two basic types of spy cameras: those with cables or wireless cameras.  Traditional surveillance cameras such as those used by companies or organizations to watch over their employees or for theft prevention, usually have wires and may only be vaguely hidden, whereas micro spy cameras or used for just that, to spy, and therefore are usually wireless, small, and very well hidden. A mini spy camera usually does not have a visible lens and is capable of transmitting a video signal to a screen or receptor located miles away.  Spy cameras are extremely easy to hide and can be difficult to detect, but is possible if you know how.

Think like a Spy

Begin by making a detailed visual inspection of the area where you suspect the camera to be hidden. Put yourself in the shoes of the person that you suspect is spying on you. Where would you hide the camera? Where would you least expect to find it? With a thorough visual inspection of the room or area it could be possible to find the hidden camera without the employment of any other tool or detection device, which means that it can be done at no cost to you. As you search, remember that the spy camera will not necessarily be hidden at eye level. It could be planted in the ceiling, in the overhead lighting or located somewhere at floor level. Closely inspect all of the electrical devices, outlets, alarm and wall clocks, lamps and other lighting as well as plants, toys or other common objects.

Kicking it Old School Technology

Try using a metal detector to inspect surfaces and areas where you would not normally expect to find metallic objects.  For example, use the metal detector to pass over and inspect wooden book shelves or chest of drawers. Do not invest too much time investigating objects that you know contain metal, as you will end up uncovering every screw, bolt or other metallic material as well as drive yourself mad in the process.


More Sophisticated Technology: RF Signal Detectors

RF Signal Detector

Try using a counter espionage device known as a “Non-Linear Junction Detector or NLJD.  The majority of spy cameras are constructed with transistors and diodes which are non-linear components. The NLJD sends out High Frequency RF energy (Radio Frequency) which will be received by any Non-Linear components in the area, such as those contained in a spy camera. The spy camera components will then convert and re-emit part of that RF energy.  The Detector has a sensitive receiver tuned in to these harmonics, so that if there is a spy camera in the vicinity, their presence will be known to you the user.  These types of detectors are not cheap, but can be very effective.

Other Technology

You can also try employing a VLF receiver (Very Low Frequency, another type of Radio Frequency).  Like more traditional cameras, spy cameras emit a standard video signal that produce an electromagnetic noise transmitted at a very low frequency, which can be picked up by a VLF receiver.  If the VLF detects the signal of a hidden camera, the frequency of the sound wave will be graphically displayed. Keep in mind that these receivers can be sensitive to the VLF noise of your television and would not be able to detect a web camera, which does emit such electromagnetic noise.

Get Professional Help

If you can’t find the hidden camera but are still convinced of its existence, you may want to consider hiring a specialist or investigator to assist you. Do your homework and find someone with a good reputation as well as someone that has experience in detecting hidden spy cameras.

Good luck and happy hunting!