TODAY   |  November 24, 2010

Strangers can snoop with baby monitors

WNBC's Tom Llamas drives around a typical suburban neighborhood, illustrating how easy it is to peek into homes by tapping into the video transmissions of baby monitors. Could your family be at risk?

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back now at 7:43 with a warning to parents. baby monitors are a convenient way to keep an eye on the kids when they're in a different room. but did you also know they can let strangers see inside your home? tom yamas is outside our studio and he has details on this. tom, good morning to you.

>> reporter: we're transferring this video using a baby monitor . i wanted to show you how powerful this is, i'm hundreds of feet away and yet you can still see me in the baby monitor . this baby monitor can broadcast through the thick walls of rockefeller center and also your home. all it took was five minutes, from the moment we powered on a baby monitor and drove through this long island neighborhood, we were able to peek into crib after crib after crib. this is one of the better ones we have found so far, you can look right into that crib, you can see the blanket, the bottle in the crib, you can even see details of the. and we could do more than just look into homes. with our baby monitor , we could also listen in. at this home, we talked to a lawyer, that someone was renee mcnaulty and we showed her what we could see and hear from our car parked outside of my house.

>> i didn't know anything until you knocked on my door and you said i can see your baby crib .

>> reporter: it exposes the danger many parents are bringing into their homes.

>> there's a lot of child pedophiles out there, and you never know which home they're living in in the area.

>> reporter: and also burglars.

>> he knows when you're leaving the house for dinner that night. he knows when you're going to be home and when you're not going to be home.

>> reporter: dennis ross knows about surveillance. he says that many baby monitors broadcast on a simple frequent. many of the more affordable monitors don't have a digital lock, so if it's on, it's transmitting hundreds of feet outside your home.

>> you can see the whole crib, the baby's toy, everything, it's very, very scary.

>> reporter: when this toddler popped up on our monitor, it wasn't hard to find the exact location. is that your baby?

>> yes, it is.

>> reporter: what do you think about that?

>> i don't know what to say, you guys are like watching a movie.

>> reporter: this guy turns off the receiver when not using the baby monitor , which is a big mistakes.

>> it's scary. really scary.

>> reporter: and if you look into buying a baby monitor , buy one with a single digital lock or look for a security guarantee on the box. if you have one of the older ones that's on 900 megahertz, always point the camera where you want it, never have that shot live showing your living room or your bedroom.

>> but the audio line, they catch your conversations, they know when you're leaving your house and that leaves parents vulnerable.

>> they turn off the monitor, they forget about the camera and that way the perp or the burglar can hear everything they're talking about.