Airbnb and Vrbo hidden camera problem: how to find them with Fing App


As an Airbnb or Vrbo guest, you should always be aware that some rentals have hidden cameras or listening devices. A 2023 survey run by IPX1031 among 1,000 American travelers revealed that 1 in 4 had found a camera in a rental apartment. While awareness of this problem is growing, it’s good to keep it in mind for your next trip. If you want to feel safer in a new place overnight, just do a routine check for hidden cameras or other devices at your Airbnb or Vrbo rental with the Fing App. You can download it for free here:

Platforms like Airbnb or Vrbo are an affordable and comfortable way to see the world. Unfortunately, it turns out that some hosts want to see or listen more as well. Reports of Airbnb or Vrbo hosts recording guests started cropping up in the media years ago. And stories from guests who discovered a livestream from their bedroom are widespread. With the right tools to find hidden cameras or listening devices, you don’t have to let these nightmare scenarios stop you from using Airbnb or Vrbo.

​​​​​​Free app for hidden camera detection

Fing is the expert in device Intelligence because our accuracy of device detection and recognition is second to none. Over 100 million users recommended Fing as a tool of choice for detecting Airbnb hidden cameras by CNNHuffington PostMashable and Fast Company.

​​​​5 tips for finding hidden cameras in an Airbnb or Vrbo rental

We’ve compiled a list of quick tips Airbnb or Vrbo guests can use to find hidden cameras or listening devices. Here’s how to find a hidden camera next time you check into an Airbnb, a Vrbo rental or anywhere else. If you follow these five steps, you can be sure no one is spying on you.

1) Scan the Wi-Fi network for hidden cameras using Fing App

Download Fing App for free from the App Store or Google Play. Connect to the Wi-Fi and give the network a scan. All the devices on the network will be revealed in Fing App automatically, including details about every device such as MAC addresses, vendors, and models. Hidden cameras will not always show up, but this scan is a good first step to finding them. It works really fast and easy, so it’s worth trying out when you check into an Airbnb or Vrbo rental. Fing will also help you discover if there is a second Wi-Fi network. This could mean an IP camera is linked to this separate network.​

2) Check for common IP camera names that may be hidden on the network

After using Fing App to discover devices on the network, you can use the device list view to search for any IP camera vendor names. Popular brands are LXMIMI and FREDI – it’s definitely a red flag when they appear in the list of devices.

3) Use the ‘Find hidden cameras’ feature from Fing

If you don’t want to rummage through your device list, you can specifically scan for hidden cameras with one of our subscription plans. With a Starter or Premium account, you can use the feature on both your smartphone and your desktop version of Fing. Simply go to the Tools tab and you’ll find the Find Hidden Cameras feature under “Improve your network Security”. You can also access this feature from your Security tab.

Are you going to travel soon? Take this opportunity to try Fing Starter or Fing Premium and all its features, hidden camera detector included!

4) Check for items that look odd or appear to be out of place

Take a look around the room for objects that may be positioned oddly. For example, a charger or adapter right on the bedside table facing the bed or a smoke alarm in the corner of the room rather than on the ceiling. If you find something odd, inspect the device. Check for a brand name and look it up online. If you’re having doubts, you can cover the device as an extra precaution. Of course, make sure that you don’t cover up important safety devices such as smoke detectors.

5) Look for camera lenses

Darken the room and use your smartphone flashlight to scan the room for hidden camera lenses. They will be revealed by the reflection of the flashlight. You can also look around the room using your smartphone camera. If there’s a security camera with an infrared light, it will show up as a bright spot on the camera viewfinder. However, be aware that some other devices also emit infrared light: some motion detectors, sensors on a game console, and some PCs.

How are Airbnb and Vrbo tackling its hidden camera problem?

Airbnb does allow the use of cameras for safety of security reasons “as long as they are clearly disclosed in the listing description and don’t infringe on another person’s privacy. Rules about devices apply to all cameras, recording devices, smart devices, and monitoring devices”.

The Airbnb policies clearly state that “concealed and undisclosed devices monitoring common spaces” are not allowed, as are “devices located in or monitoring private spaces” such as bedrooms, bathrooms or common areas that are being used as sleeping areas”.

So far for the policies, but what should you do when you discover a hidden camera in your Airbnb anyway? Airbnb’s own advice is to “please first contact local law enforcement authorities for assistance”.

Whilst Airbnb’s rules may prompt those who are legitimately using cameras to disclose them, it’s doubtful that a host using a camera for malicious purposes would follow the rules of the policy. After all, the goal is for the camera not to be found by the guest. Moreover, as guests become more aware of the risk, inevitably hosts will become equally more creative with hiding their cameras. That’s exactly why Airbnb guests need to equip themselves with the right tools when checking into accommodation.

On Vrbo’s side, the company policy states that “surveillance devices, which use any form of capture device such as a camera or an audio recorder, can’t be used inside of a property”. Such devices, instead, are allowed outside of the proprety for security purposes only.

According to Vrbo’s policy, if a guest finds out a surveillance camera that violates the above, he/she must contact immediately the company reporting the problem.

Want to detect hidden cameras with your smartphone?

Get Fing on your smartphone or desktop today so you’re well-equipped the next time you arrive at your Airbnb or Vrbo rental. And choose Fing Starter or Fing Premium for extra security features that’ll leave no room for blind spots.

Download Fing Desktop now

Download Fing App now

More news