Hidden Camera Allowed Us To See The Unseen

We are posting a story sent to us from a parent that used a hidden camera to see what activities their teenage sons were engaging in when they were away.

I was in a situation that was new to me.  My teenage sons just didn’t seem believable when I asked “did you have a party when your mother and I were gone last weekend?” of course their answer was “NO”.  I know that is a stretch for teenage boys but they have always been pretty honest with us and even though we hear stories about teenagers, like most parents, our kids were different. (so we thought)

On our next adventure out of town my wife and I decided to purchase a hidden camera to place in the family room to see what we normally wouldn’t be able to see.  I liked the fact that they come in everyday items that blend right into any room and this one was motion activated so it wasn’t just recording when no one was in the room.  The boys had no idea that we were recording ever move and our eyes were on them. (Not that we didn’t trust them but those stories are out there)

After returning, the boys said it was a pretty boring weekend.  Nothing to do but play video games, listen to some music and watch a few movies. We retrieved the SD card, plug it in and started viewing the events of the weekend.

Well we were right; the boys were being honest with us.  They did play video games, listen to music, and watch a few movies.  But they failed to mention that a number of their friends were at the house playing those video games, listening to the music, and watching the movies with them.  The party was on and let’s just says some experimenting was going on with a few beverages.

After viewing what was captured on the hidden camera.  We called in the boys to discuss what we saw, without telling them how we knew what we knew.  To say they were pale, nervous, and shocked that we knew everything would be an understatement.

To this day they still have no idea that there was a hidden camera was in the family room and now when we go away they actually do play video games, listen to music, and watch movies.  But now it’s just the two of them. The hidden camera did give us eyes to see the unseen and gave us otherwise unknown knowledge of what was happening when we were away.

Hidden Cameras Show Pet Caregivers Leaving Early

If you are a pet owner you know that your pets are a very valued part of your family.  Similar to your children when you leave your pets with a caregiver, you are entrusting that caregiver with an important and valued part of your family.

ABC Action News in Tampa Florida found that some pet caregivers are not giving the love and companionship to your pets that you expect when you paid for their services.

Using hidden cameras, investigators wanted to find out if in-home pet caregivers really cared for your pets for as long as they claim. They asked several pet owners to set up 30-minute visits with local pet caregivers.  The visits cost $15 to $23 dollars, depending on the caregiver.
As described on their website Mary Alexander of St. Pete Beach hired “Give Me Your Paw” pet services to care for her two labs for “approximately-30 minute”

“All I wanted was for her to give them a half-hour of TLC,” said Alexander.
On the first day when the caregivers arrived, the hidden cameras show she took the dogs out for a walk. But after just 4 minutes, she came back in, filled out a comment card, and took off.  The total time she spent at the house was just 10 minutes.  The next day, she was in and out in just 8 minutes.
“If someone told me they were going to give me a half-hour massage and they stopped at 15 minutes, I’d be a little angry,” Alexander said.

Investigators also looked at other home pet caregivers as well.  Joey Trowbridge has been using Wags and Wiggles for years to watch her cats: Liam, Lola, and Lucy.

“I travel on business often, so it’s kind of a requirement for me,” Trowbridge said.

Trowbridge’s own security cameras caught the caregivers skipping out early again and again. Instead of the 30 minutes she says she paid for, her video’s time stamps show the sitter leaving in 15 minutes, 6 minutes, and in one visit, after just 4 minutes.

Describing her first reaction to the video Trowbridge said “I was like, ‘You’ve got to me kidding me.’ This can’t be right,”

Investigators had hidden cameras rolling as “Wags and Wiggles” sat for another pet owner in Tampa over two days. In these visits, “Wags and Wiggles” delivered exactly what they promised, walking the dog for a full 30 minutes.

“Alone At Home” pet services in Largo also gave the dog the full 30 minutes of attention they promised.

“These are my babies. They couldn’t tell me, “Hey mom, she’s spending five minutes here.”  I didn’t know. I had to find out on the security camera,” Trowbridge said.

The Better Business Bureau says anyone using a pet caregiver should get in writing exactly what you expect your caregiver to do, and you should ask for references before you hire someone.

Police To Use ‘Robocop-Style’ Spy Glasses

We found an article at “The Telegraph”  featuring spy glasses for security in Brazil.  The Telegraph stats that during the 2014 World Cup Brazilian police will use futuristic ‘Robocop-style’ glasses fitted with facial recognition equipment to identify and root out troublemakers.

A spy camera fitted to a pair of glasses can capture 400 facial images per second and send them to a central computer database storing up to 13 million faces.  The system can compare data at 46,000 points on a face and will immediately signal any matches to known criminals or people wanted by police.  If there is a match a red signal will appear on a small screen connected to the glasses, alerting the police officer of the need to take further action or make an arrest.

The devices will soon be tested at football matches and concerts and police in Brazil, South America’s biggest country, and are already planning to use them during the next World Cup.

The camera will generally be used to scan faces in crowds up to 164ft away but can be adjusted, if searching for a specific target, to recognize faces as far as 12 miles away.

Military Police officials from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which will both host key games in the World Cup, have been given demonstrations of how the device works.

Major Leandro Pavani Agostini, of Sao Paulo’s Military Police, said: “It’s something discreet because you do not question the person or ask for documents. The computer does it.

“To the naked eye two people may appear identical but with 46,000 points compared, the data will not be beaten.”

He said the device will be useful to police trying to monitor many different locations and events, ranging from airports and bus terminals to concerts and football matches.

“I can insert into the database a supporter who was involved in a brawl on the field and even with the old images, he can be located in the future,” added the Major.

Misusing A Spy Cam

Every now and then you run across a story of a person misusing a hidden camera, spy cam to video tape someone illegally.

First a quick basic summery of spy cam laws.  You can not legally use a spy cam in a place where someone has “expected privacy” or a private place.   A private place is a location where a person expects to be safe from unauthorized surveillance. Most hidden camera recordings in the United States are legal with or without consent; however, several laws do exist regarding “Invasion of Privacy,” which deals with the concept of expected privacy.  “Expected privacy” includes areas such as bathrooms, locker rooms, changing and dressing rooms, bedrooms, and other areas where a person may expect personal privacy. Most of the laws dealing with hidden camera or spy camera recording privacy issues, tend to allow covert recording and monitoring of activity under most circumstances without notification of any of the people involved.  That being said we recommended that before you use a hidden camera or spy camera, you consult with your local law enforcement or an attorney. This insures that despite a general understanding of the law, you are complying with local and federal regulations before you use a spy cam.

If you read the New Jersey Real-Time News they published a story of a Morris County man accused of using hidden cameras to record nude images of young girls.   The story states A computer consultant from Budd Lake is accused of using hidden spy cameras he installed in his Morris County home to record nude images of at least seven underage girls, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI.  In addition, authorities allege he distributed the images over the internet and officials say they believe there are more victims.  The man is charged with one count of distribution of child pornography and faces up to 20 years in prison, with a minimum of five years. Hey look a picture of the accused man!

A true Misuse and (please excuse my personal opinion) a disgusting act that if convicted, this perpetrator should be put away for over 20 years.   But first if convicted he should be put in a locked room with the parents of the young girls so they can discuss their view on what he video taped face to face.   With The hundreds of needed and legal uses of hidden spy cams,  every now and then you run across a story of a twisted person misusing these needed units to feed their perverted and sick needs. (there I go again).

We like to write stories of people watching their elderly parent in a nursing home, students catching someone stealing from their dorm room,  parents watching their children,  homeowners watching their property when contractors are working on their home, one spouse catching the other being unfaithful, and many more legal ways of using a spy cam.  When we run across a story like this we feel obligated to share it.  If someone reading this will catch or can avoid it happening just one time, it makes the story worth writing.  Protect What’s Important To You!

Spy Camera Specialists

SCS Enterprises, d/b/a/ Spy Camera Specialists, specializes in do-it-yourself video security systems. Based in New York, they have been serving their customers since 1998. The company started small yet, always innovating, developing new products and being true to their customers which helped them grow into a spy cam leading manufacture.

Since the beginning, SCS have been assembling their own spy cams (cameras hidden in objects such as clock radio, air purifier etc.).  It has been their philosophy that mass production and distribution of such camera defeats the purpose of being “covert”.  Because the cameras are assembled upon order, you can choose among numerous upgrade options to best suit your needs.  Also, when service is needed, you can be assured that it’ll be done correctly by the very hands that made the system.  SCS have cases where a customer who purchased a system a decade ago, returned it for a repair and ended up costing him only $40 for replacing the power supply unit inside. Not only they can provide you with the best service, we can apply the best possible price, same day shipping and quality control on all our nanny cameras.  The SCS team uses strict guidelines to test all new products as they appear on the market. Their dedication to quality means that only small percentage of those products will be sold by SCS.

The Spy Camera Specialists offers a 30 day exchange policy, 1 year repair/replacement warranty, and a 30 day price guarantee.  All items are shipped complete with everything you need to hook up. (power supply, connectors, bracket etc.)  With these systems discretion is a must so SCS will ship the same day using a discrete box.  All  items are reviewed by technicians for compatibility before processing. SCS offers Free consulting by e-mail or phone.  Customer satisfaction is a priority with a less than 1% return rate.

With over 10 Years of Serving the general public, SCS provides the information needed to guide the consumer in making a more informed purchase decision with systems that supply the able Do-It-Yourself, Novice or Professional Installer with the needed Technical Support.

A great example of a SCS spy cam that will fit into the home or office  is the Pencil Sharpener WI-FI Digital Hidden Camera.  The Video IP Camera / Pencil Sharpener Covert Wi-Fi Digital Wireless Hidden Camera with recording & remote access offers support for a PC and has Motion Detection. It also features a Color Camera. Wi-Fi connectivity is also a feature which allows you to Log onto your wireless Internet Camera from a computer anywhere in the world for remote viewing and monitoring.  Do you need an audio option with this unit? With a signed audio waiver SCS can provide that option.

Spy Camera Specialist take pride in their work and the people and places their systems protect.

Hidden Camera Catches Thief

On April 11, 2012 KJRN 2 Works For You News reported that in Rogers County, Oklahoma a homeowner helped authorities identified a thief by using a hidden camera to catch the thief in the act.

The homeowner had a Tulsa company remodeling his bathroom and noticed pills missing from the home.  The homeowner told the authorities after having surgery his wife was taking pain medication and her bottle of Oxycodone was missing nearly 40 pills.  An older prescription of Hydrocodone was empty.

The homeowner installed a hidden camera and placed aspirin in a Hydrocodone bottle in the cabinet.  The contractors worked for about two hours and when the homeowner checked the pill bottle only one pill was remaining in the bottle. The hidden camera captured one of the contractors in the cabinet.

Authorities identified the thief and arrest warrants have been requested.

The Rogers County Sheriff’s Office declined to identify both the victim and the suspect.

SleuthGear Night Owl Alarm Clock With IP Receiver

If you are looking for an alarm clock hidden camera, the popular line of SleuthGear  just keep getting better and should be on the top of your list as a must have.  In addition to having all-digital transmissions (which eliminate wireless interference), the SleuthGear Night Owl Alarm Clock With IP receiver is now available with an IP Receiver and a NightOwl IR receiver. What you get with the NightOwl IR receiver is a hidden camera that also records in full color during the day and switches to black and white at night.  The SleuthGear Night Owl Alarm Clock with IP Receiver also records clearly, even in 100% total darkness and up to 30 feet away.

The SleuthGear Night Owl Alarm Clock With IP Receiver is special for a number of reasons.  It has advance recording options and is extremely easy to use.  The IP receiver is completely standalone and does not require a computer.  The IP receiver plugs directly into your wireless router (internet connection required), so there is no software or programs to worry about installing. The unit will transmit your video wirelessly to the receiver (which also functions as a DVR), so you can not only record your video to an SD card but you can also stream your video live over the internet to anywhere in the world.

Check out these features and specifications:

  • Remote Video Access
  • Email notifications (motion alerts, camera failure, IP address change, etc)
  • Live monitoring, recording and event playback via internet
  • Back-up SD storage up to 32GB (SD not included)
  • SD card lock box with key so SD card can’t be removed
  • Digital Wireless Transmission (No camera interference)
  • View LIVE on your SmartPhone!

SPECIFICATIONS:

Color: Full Color in Daylight, Black and White at Night

Video System: NTSC

Image Sensor Format: 1/3″ Sony Super HAD II CCD

Effective Pixels: 768(H)x494(V)

Camera Resolution: 520 TV lines (day) / 580 TV lines (night)

Min Illumination: 0.2 Lux daytime, 0 Lux at night (with IR on)

Control: IR remote control

Operating Temperature: 0~+50C

Size: 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 4.5″

Unit Weight: 1lb 11oz

THE UNIT  INCLUDES:

Digital Wireless NightOwl IR Cube Clock Camera

Wireless IP Receiver

Remote control

A/C adaptor

Key (For SD card lock box)

2GB SD Card

Ethernet network cable

Manual

 

The SleuthGear Night Owl Alarm Clock With IP Receiver has what you need for a quality long lasting hidden camera for home and it comes highly recommended.

Spy Camera Terms

Technical terms associated with spy cameras can be confusing.  By knowing the basic terms and their simple definitions can make choosing the right spy camera for you much easier.

***Micro SD – A Micro SD card different than a plain SD card is teeny, measuring just 15 X 11 X 1…millimeters, not inches. It is a portable memory source used in many electronics.

***CMOS – (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) economical low resolution imaging camera (200 TV lines ~ 300 TV lines) w/ extremely low power consumption.  As a rule, CMOS cameras are relatively inexpensive and have very good battery life.

***Recording Format – Refers to a format for encoding data for storage on a storage medium.

*** Kbps – When you see Kbps in connection with a spy camera, it is making reference to the data transfer speed. The higher the number or Kbps, the faster the transfer speed.

*** FPS – FPS stands for Frames Per Second and refers to the frame rate at which an imaging device (camera) will produce consecutive images.  For spy cameras, the lower the FPS, the poorer the quality of the picture.

*** Lux – This is a measure of light intensity.  Lux refers to the minimum amount of light necessary for the camera to take pictures. The lower the lux, the more sensitive the camera. 1 lux 1 candle

*** RCA – A type of electrical connector used to carry audio and video signals.

*** PAL/NTSC—This refers to two of the main television broadcast standards used around the world: PAL and NTSC. These are not interchangeable as they are incompatible, so PAL won’t work in a country using NTSC and vice versa. NTSC video tape format will play in all USA video players.

***Fixed Lens – A fixed focal length lens cannot zoom. The focus is fixed. A fixed focal length lens usually allows more light to pass through the lens at a given focal length than a varifocal, or zoom lens. This can be important in low light situations.

*** Plug and Play Connection – It is an RCA Video plug and a power plug on the camera for easy connection to VCR or TV. This is done by running the RCA (Aux) line into the VIDEO IN of the VCR or TV. The TV or VCR must be set on the correct channel to view the VIDEO IN picture.

*** DVR Card – DVR Cards enable the user to convert their computer into a Digital Video Recorder. The DVR Card(s) is typically installed in an available PCI slot of a computer.

*** DVR – Digital Video Recorder. A video recorder that stores video digitally on to its hard disk, no tape required.

*** CCTV Camera – Standard rectangular shape camera used for overt security. a/k/a: security camera.

*** CCD Camera – (Charged Coupled Device) imaging camera with high resolution over 380 TV lines in B/W and 330 TV lines in color.

These are just a few terms and simple definitions that should help you better understand your spy camera

Spy Camera Frequencies

Wireless spy cameras are the most popular hidden camera used in covert home surveillance.  As of 2010, wireless spy cameras operate within a range of frequencies: 434mhz, 900mhz, 1.2ghz, 2.4ghz and 5.8ghz.  Wireless surveillance methods are ever improving.  The expectation in the future is that wireless spy camera will operate at even higher frequencies, improving range and video quality.  The wireless spy camera still remains the leader for homeowners and as the technology improves so will its popularity.

900mhz – 1.2ghz spy cameras are still for sale but are considered lower quality and out dated.

The most popular frequency used is 2.4ghz because of the quality and value it brings.  Spy cameras that use 2.4ghz could be sensitive to signal corruption. Signal corruption (noise) happens when two or more devises share the same band.  Common household items that may use the 2.4ghz frequency are microwaves, garage door openers, and cordless phones.  Signal corruption is a small concern and should be considered, but is not as common as you might think.

5.8ghz spy cameras are growing in popularity because consumers desire the reduced risk of signal corruption and the range 5.8ghz offers.  Wireless camera range varies greatly in real-world applications.  Manufactures assume a clear line-of-sight(LOS), but in most home applications there are doors, walls, and other obstructions that will affect the signal.  5.8ghz spy cameras offers a greater range for real world applications.

DIY Hidden Camera Technology Catches criminal

In Fargo-Moorhead April 10, 2012 WDAY TV reported that O.J. Simpson’s ex-girlfriend has been arrested after allegedly stealing pain medication from a North Moorhead home where she was an in-home nursing assistant. Christie Prody was captured on a home hidden camera that the homeowner placed in the residence.

Court papers say Christie Prody was caught stealing both Morphine and Lorazepam from the homeowner. The hidden camera was installed after the complainant suspected, but needed undeniable proof that Prody had stolen 300 oxycodone pills two months earlier. For Moorhead Police video evidence is undeniable evidence and when present convictions usually occur.

Lt. Brad Penas of the Moorhead Police said “It led us to the suspect, that led to an interview of the suspect and the suspect confessed to the crime.  Anytime you have video evidence like this, it’s very difficult for a defense attorney to get into a courtroom and try to defend their client.”

Prody now faces two counts of 2nd Degree Burglary, two counts of theft and two counts of 5th degree drug possession.

Over the last few years hidden camera technology has changed. They have become very easy to use and can only take minutes to set up.  The need for VCRs and storing large amounts of tapes has been replaced with tiny SD cards capable of storing days of footage and if you purchase the option you can view your video live from a mobile device from anywhere in the world.

Both the homeowner and Prody declined an interview, but the homeowner did say Prody was a nice, caring person. She is currently being held on a $10,000 bond.