A local handyman in Alton, NH was recently arrested and charged with spying on his customers’ personal lives by installing hidden cameras in homes where he had done work.
Alton police arrested Peter Mugford and charged him with five felony counts of unlawful wiretapping, two counts of burglary, violation of privacy, and stalking.
According to statement released by Alton Police, Mugford allegedly used his profession as a handyman to get access to client homes and place hidden cameras in bedrooms, bathrooms and other private areas of the home.
He was also found to be actively video recording clients during private moments, including personal conversations. Mugford would then return to the homes without the owners’ knowledge or consent to retrieve cameras and footage he captured.
The reality is, surveillance cameras have caught and convicted countless criminals for heinous crimes they’ve carried out. On the other hand, criminals can use cameras to spy on innocent people who have no idea someone is watching them.
These days’ hidden cameras can operate for days on battery power, while saving footage to a memory card or even to cloud storage. Plus, nowadays, cameras are more difficult to spot since these cameras can easily be installed without wiring needed.
My point is, surveillance technology has come a long way and while security cameras area a great tool for catching and deterring criminals, they can also be used against us.
People are being spied on like never before in places such as Airbnb’s, Uber rides and even their homes like in the story above. Now, whether you are staying in a hotel room or using a public restroom, I want to share with you some simple methods that can help you detect hidden cameras.
Scan the room with your eyes. If you just arrived at your Airbnb for a weeklong stay, one of the easiest ways to detect hidden cameras is checking around the environment carefully.
An inch-by-inch search is ideal to spot hidden cameras. Check around the room and inspect obvious places to hide cameras such as houseplants, smoke detectors, wall decor, picture frames and TV equipment.
Some objects may reveal suspicious wires, lights or lenses that are hallmarks of hidden spy cameras. If you find some unusual power outlets or adapters, unplug them immediately.
Don’t forget to listen as you walk through the entire room. Some hidden motion-sensing surveillance cameras will make an almost inaudible buzz when in operation.
Turn the lights off. Most hidden security cameras have red or green LEDs. The LEDs will blink or shine when in low-light conditions. When in low-light conditions, the LEDs around the camera lens will turn on automatically to supplement the lighting for the cameras to produce clear night vision images.
In other words, if you enter a hotel room and want to check for cameras close the curtains in your room and turn off the lights. Next examine the room to see if there are blinking red or green LEDs anywhere in your room.
No matter what hidden cameras you want to detect, wired or wireless types, you can use this way to detect surveillance cameras that use night vision technology.
Use a flashlight. A simple way to detect hidden cameras is using a flashlight (works best in dark conditions). The way this works is first turn on the flashlight and turn off the lights in your room.
Next, pan the flashlight around the room slowly and examine any suspicious positions from different angles. If you notice any reflective lights from an object, there might be a hidden camera there so you will want to investigate the reflection to see what it causing it.
The truth is, there are a lot of different camera detectors for sale on Amazon and other websites, but these detectors aren’t always effective.
What I mean is, there are so many different camera signals such as RF that even a detector that costs a few hundred dollars may not be able to locate every frequency.
When it comes to hidden cameras, the best (and expensive) course of action if you believe you are being watched is to hire a private investigator who can come scan your home with top notch professional equipment.
Some of these detectors can cost thousands of dollars so they probably aren’t something you want to buy. However, next time you stay in a hotel room, or even use a dressing room, check around using the tips I mentioned to make sure no one is watching.