How to Find Hidden Cameras in Your Airbnb: Private Investigator Insights

Recently, Airbnb announced an update to its policy regarding security cameras inside the rental properties. This policy change underscores the significant privacy concerns hidden cameras pose for travelers. However, policy changes do not automatically guarantee compliance, making it essential for guests to take proactive measures to protect their privacy.

At Privin, we specialize in surveillance and professional investigations, and our private investigators in Miami have helped many clients uncover hidden cameras in their rental properties.

In this article, we’ll share expert insights on how to find hidden cameras in your Airbnb, drawing on our extensive experience, including cases from Miami. By understanding where to look and what tools can aid in your search, you can protect your privacy and enjoy a worry-free stay.

How to Find Hidden Camera In Your Airbnb

Hidden cameras can be discreetly placed in various everyday items, making them difficult to detect. The most common hiding spots include smoke detectors, clocks, vents, and even power outlets.

Here, we will explore various methods, from simple manual inspections to using advanced technological gadgets, ensuring that you can stay one step ahead of any privacy invasions.

Step 1: Visual Inspection

Start with a thorough visual inspection of the property. Look for out-of-place objects or items that seem unusual.

Pay special attention to the following areas:

  • Smoke detectors: These are often tampered with due to their high vantage points and ability to provide a wide field of view.
  • Clocks: Wall clocks and alarm clocks are prime candidates for hidden cameras due to their inconspicuous nature.
  • Air vents: Vents are often overlooked but can house small cameras.
  • Electrical outlets: Be wary of outlets that look different from the others or appear tampered with.
  • Decorative items: Picture frames, stuffed animals, and other decorations can conceal small cameras.

Step 2: Use Technology

Conducting a thorough physical inspection of your vacation rental for hidden cameras is a critical step in ensuring your privacy. Here are some effective techniques to help you spot any hidden devices:

  • Use Flashlight to Detect Camera: The lenses of hidden cameras often reflect light. Turn off the lights in the room and shine a flashlight around the area. Pay close attention to any small, unexpected reflections that could indicate the presence of a camera lens. Slowly scan all surfaces and objects, especially those that are directly facing the bed, living areas, or other private spaces.
  • Check Mirrors for Two-Way Glass: A simple test to determine if a mirror is two-way is to place your fingertip on the mirror. In a normal mirror, there should be a noticeable gap between your finger and its reflection. If your finger and the reflection touch tip to tip, there might be a chance that it is two-way glass, which could potentially hide a camera.
  • Physical Inspection of Objects and Fixtures: Carefully examine everyday items like smoke detectors, air conditioners, clocks, and electronic devices. Look for any unusual holes, misplaced wires, or anything else that seems out of the ordinary. It’s also worth checking vents and decorative items that could easily obscure a small camera.
  • Examine the Environment: Be mindful of any objects that are positioned in unusual places or angles that seem to face common areas or private spaces strategically. Move items around and check behind them. Sometimes, cameras are hidden in places you might initially overlook, such as plants, curtain rods, or even inside light sockets.

Several apps and gadgets can help detect hidden cameras. Tools such as infrared camera detectors and RF (radio frequency) detectors can be useful. Many smartphones also have apps that can identify hidden cameras by detecting reflections from the camera lens. These apps often work by scanning for the unique reflective quality of camera lenses, which can help identify hidden devices that are not immediately visible to the naked eye.

Step 3: Professional Help

If you suspect a hidden camera but can’t find it, consider hiring a professional. Our private investigators at Privin use advanced tools and techniques to uncover hidden devices. For example, a client staying in an Airbnb in Miami reached out to us after suspecting surveillance. Our private investigators in Miami conducted a thorough sweep and located several hidden cameras, ensuring the client’s privacy and peace of mind.

Tools and Techniques Used by Private Investigators

Private investigators use specialized equipment that can be more effective than DIY methods. These tools include:

  • Advanced infrared and RF detectors: These devices can pick up on the electromagnetic signals emitted by wireless cameras.
  • Non-linear junction detectors: These are used to identify electronic components hidden in walls or objects.
  • Thermal imaging cameras: These can detect the slight heat signature emitted by electronic devices, even through walls.

These devices can detect hidden cameras that might be missed during a visual inspection or when using standard consumer gadgets. Professional investigators are also trained to recognize signs of tampering or installation that the average person might overlook.

What to Do if You Find a Hidden Camera in Your Rental?

If you find a hidden camera in your Airbnb, it’s essential to know your rights. Here are the steps you should take:

  • Document the camera’s location: Take photos or videos of the hidden camera and its surroundings. This documentation will be crucial if you need to take legal action.
  • Contact Airbnb: Report the issue immediately to Airbnb’s customer service. They have protocols in place for dealing with such situations and can assist you in relocating or obtaining a refund.
  • File a police report: Ensure the matter is formally documented by local authorities. This can be important for legal proceedings and can help prevent future incidents.

Understanding your legal rights can help protect you and potentially prevent future incidents. It’s important to remember that installing hidden cameras in areas where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bedrooms and bathrooms, is illegal in most jurisdictions.

For those staying in Miami or similar metropolitan areas, consider the services of Miami private investigators if you have ongoing concerns about surveillance.


Hidden cameras in rental properties are a serious privacy concern. By conducting thorough inspections, using technology, and seeking professional help, you can protect your privacy. Whether you are staying in Miami or elsewhere, if you ever feel uncertain or need expert assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us at Privin for immediate help.

If you suspect hidden cameras in your Airbnb or any rental property, reach out to Privin for professional help. Our experienced private investigators, including our team in Miami, are equipped with the skills and tools to ensure your privacy and peace of mind. Learn more about our services and how we can assist you in protecting your privacy. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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