IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

How to prevent being watched by hidden cameras in rental homes on vacation

Investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen demonstrates how easily cameras can be hidden in your room on vacation and what to do to prevent it.
/ Source: TODAY

You could be watched on hidden cameras in your room on vacation and not even know it, as shown by a disturbing case last month that has police warning people to take precautions.

Get Jeff Rossen's new book, “Rossen to the Rescue,” here.

National investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen demonstrated on TODAY Friday just how easily cameras can be hidden in normal objects in a hotel room or Airbnb rental property.

The issue came to light last week when an Indiana couple said they discovered a hidden camera and microphone in a smoke detector that was pointed at the bed while renting a home in Longboat Key, Florida, through Airbnb. The homeowner, Wayne Natt, has been arrested and charged with video voyeurism, according to NBC affiliate WFLA.

That hasn't been the only incident, as police found six smoke detectors with spy cameras linked to a DVR in the home of a Las Vegas man who rented it out through Airbnb last year.

Christopher Rogers has pled not guilty to five misdemeanor counts of capturing an image of a private area of another person because some of the videos showed nude men and women using the restroom, showering or coming in and out of the bedrooms, according to NBC affiliate KSNV.

Rossen met with Scott Black, the owner of Bethlehem Spy Shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,to see how easy it is to hide a camera in regular objects found in any home.

"This is an everyday household alarm clock,'' Black demonstrated. "And we have a camera hidden in this. Completely invisible."

Rossen then conducted an experiment with the Veldran family, hiding 14 cameras all over their house in items like cell phone chargers, smoke detectors, clocks, pens and even a water bottle in the bedroom.

The family was unable to locate a single camera while Rossen and Black watched them from a coffee shop 2 miles away.

"You can be 2,000 miles away and as long as there's an internet connection,'' Black said, "we can monitor this from anywhere in the world."

So what can you do to prevent this from happening to your family? Black recommends buying a radio frequency finder, which sells for about $10-$20 on Amazon.

The device is able to easily detect cameras that are using a wireless signal, so a quick walk around a rental home or hotel room with one should show the presence of any hidden devices, Black said.

Airbnb told Rossen it takes privacy extremely seriously and that these cases are rare. The company is working with law enforcement, and both Airbnb homeowners have been banned from employing their service. Airbnb also noted that cameras are not allowed in any bathrooms or bedrooms in its rentals, and all other cameras have to be disclosed to guests ahead of their stay.

These items were hand-picked by our editorial team because we love them - and we hope you do, too. TODAY has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not by TODAY.