Marcus Hutchins showed TikTokers how to spot hidden cameras in their Airbnb! The now-viral video unveiled the terrifying truth, showing users that creepy cameras can hide anywhere in their Airbnb or hotel room. The Tiktok has garnered more than 15 million views since it was posted and has convinced people to start checking their next hotel room.
In the video, Marcus Hutchins – screenname Malwaretech – explained the steps to finding hidden cameras in a vacation rental. First, users should look for an electronic device that has been placed in an area where it could record something. Examples could be an alarm clock pointed towards a bed or a smoke alarm in the bathroom.
When the renter identifies these devices, they can use their phone’s flashlight to see if there are any hidden cameras. If the device gives off any blue pinpoints when light is shined at its surface, that means there is a camera inside and the light just picked up the lens of the device.
This can also work with mirrors. If you are ever worried that a normal-looking mirror is two-way or might have a camera on the other side, then shining a flashlight at the glass will reveal anything that might be lurking on the other side.
“This alarm clock is mirrored,” Marcus explained in the video, “But if we shine a bright light at it, we can see through the glass and see there is a camera there. This technique can also work on two-way mirrors. These cameras are really small as you can see here, so they can be hidden in anything, even a hole in the wall.”
Many commenters on the Tiktok expressed concern over using the Airbnb service. And while Marcus did say that the room he was filming in was a simulation room and not a real Airbnb, people have found hidden cameras in their vacation rental before.
In 2018, while staying at an Airbnb in San Diego, Ca., a couple made a horrifying discovery when they found a hidden camera right above their bed. They ended up filing a lawsuit against the owner. They sued for invasion of privacy, inflicting emotional distress, and distributing sexually explicit materials and videos.
In total, the couple found three cameras in their Airbnb, one above the bed and two in the bathroom. Eva Velasquez, who is the president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resources Center, recommends doing a 15-minute sweep of the room when you first enter your Airbnb or hotel.
Velasquez said that “if you see a motion detector in the corner in the bedroom and it’s the only one in the house, that should be a big red flag. If you see a smoke detector positioned right above the bed, you probably want to check that out.”
A more recent lawsuit against the online lodging marketplace was filed this year after three women learned that they were being recorded during their separate 2019 Airbnb stays in Aiken, S.C. The women learned about the voyeurism from state authorities after they found a recording device on top of the bedroom dresser. The device had a clear view of the bed and its surrounding area. The device was wireless and transmitted all video to another device nearby.
Rhett Riviere, who formerly owned the rental property, admitted to setting up the devices. He was arrested by officers in June 2021. According to SLED officers, Riviere “knowingly video recorded or filmed another person,” without their knowledge and with the intention of “arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person.” He faces one count of voyeurism, which is equal to 3 years in prison and a maximum $500 fine.
His properties were taken off the Airbnb website in 2019.