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Is it Legal to Record Video with a Hidden Camera in Your Home?
Generally, it is legal in the United States to record video with a hidden camera in your home without the consent of the person you're recording. This is one of the primary reasons why the use of hidden cameras is becoming more common among parents who have to leave their kids at home with a nanny or babysitter while they’re at work. But before you place a hidden camera in your home, it's a good idea to research the laws in your state.
The most important aspect of digital recording to bear in mind is the difference between audio recording and video recording. Across the country, the laws regarding audio surveillance are much stricter. In most states, it's illegal to record hidden camera video in areas where your subjects have a reasonable expectation of privacy. These areas include bathrooms and bedrooms.
Not every state expressly bans the use of hidden cameras in places where a subject might have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The bottom line is, don’t assume it's legal--or morally acceptable--to record a subject without his or her consent in any private area.
Many of the video cameras that we sell on our site are also capable of recording audio, so it is important to be aware of your local laws.
A Little Bit of Truth in Every Lie
From my first days as a street cop, I was truly amazed at the level, degree and consistency that people would lie right to my face. They lied about everything, even when they knew that I knew the truth…even when the truth would save them. It got to the point that I didn’t believe anything that anyone said to me. It seemed, I couldn’t even catch people telling me the truth. Since then, I’ve softened up a bit. Probably because I’m not dealing with the same criminal element on such a consistent basis anymore.
The Tactics of a Lie: Misdirection, Deception, Distraction
The people we deal with in the private investigation business don’t lie quite the same way as street criminals. They are usually a bit savvier. Our subjects will usually employ more sophisticated tactics such as misdirection, deception, distraction and other indirect approaches when they tell a lie.
Here’s a recent example. Just this morning, we were going over some GPS tracking results of a business executive whose wife had hired us to check up on his behavior. The GPS tracker revealed some interesting data. The day before, his vehicle had gone to a small apartment building on the east side of town and had parked inside the detached garage behind the building. The vehicle spent a little less than an hour at this location before heading back home to the west side of town.
Technically, Not a Lie
Now, when we followed up with the client, the client relayed that her husband had told her a different story. He had told her that he’d gone to work out at his racquet club after work. The racquet club was also on the east side of town, but about a 15 minutes drive from the apartment building. A closer look at the historical GPS tracking report revealed that the wayward husband had, in fact, gone to the racquet club immediately before going to the mystery apartment. His vehicle was only there for about 10 minutes, though. This was hardly enough time for any kind of workout. Probably enough time to sign in, say “Hi,” to a club employee or two and maybe even have a short conversation with a mutual friend in the locker room. In his mind, this was, technically, not a lie.
This is a very, very common tactic of dishonest people. We see it almost on a daily basis. Obviously, the idea is that when our subject arrives home and his wife asks him where he was, he can say that he went to the gym (or wherever) after work. If she questions him further about it, he can point out the obvious pieces of proof that he has left in his wake. He might even drop these hints preemptively without her asking…”I saw Dave at the club. He said to say, ‘hello’ to you.” In his mind, he has rationalized this set of lies as “the truth.” He has a clear conscience. He could probably even pass a polygraph exam if the questions weren’t asked properly. If she were to probe deeper, he would become indignant at her “interrogation” of him and refuse to take part.
Dealing with people who lie in this way can be tricky. Care must be taken to when questioning them so as not to tip them off as to your intentions, less they change their tactics or shut you out completely. The best approach is to know with certainty what the answer is before you ask any question, and then to not let them know that you know they are lying until it is much too late for them to recover. The absolute best response is to make sure the lies are documented and not show your hand until much, much later. This can be difficult when emotions and the stakes are running high. But this is how you beat someone like this at their own game.
How To Do Your Own Bugsweep
90% of Bug Sweeps can be handled with a simple “physical search.”
Most P.I.’s don’t want me to say this out loud, but 90% of Bug Sweeps can be handled with a simple “physical search” of the premises. We have been handling bug sweeps for years, and although we do find a “hidden bug” from time-to-time (we find GPS trackers a bit more often), only a very small percentage of the searches actually required any kind of sophisticated TSCM (Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures) equipment to discover the bugs.
I’m not saying that covert listening devices and spy cameras aren’t out there. They’re readily available online and you can have a top-notch, easily-hidden, eavesdropping device FedEx’d to your door by tomorrow morning for under $200. The term, “Spy Camera,” is an highly-searched phrase on Google, and there’s a reason for that.
The First Step in Conducting Your Own Bug Sweep
Obviously, if you’re going to do your own physical search, you need to know what you’re looking for.
As the first step in your physical search, I recommend taking a look at the different hidden cameras available online. You can do this by conducting a search for “spy cams” on Google. This will give you an idea of what a typical spy camera might look like and where a hidden listening device may be hidden. We buy most of our hidden cameras and listening devices from www.spytecinc.com.
As can be seen, most devices can be hidden in plain sight, right out in the open. You’ll see that you can also find “bug detectors” on the same websites where you can buy the bugs, sometimes for just a few hundred dollars. You might recognize some of these cheap “bug sweep” devices as the ones that amateur bugsweeps utilize.
We’ve already bought and tried out many of the cheaper bug sweep devices before investing almost $100K in our current TSCM equipment. Our experience was that they were a total waste of money. More importantly, they are a waste of time. Not only are they unreliable, but they provide a false sense of security to those who are most vulnerable. This, in my opinion, is worse than the worry that results from “not knowing.”
For an example of what professional-grade bug sweep looks like, you can check out the TSCM services page on our website (www.integrityohio.com).
Of course, there are some “bug” devices, usually, only in the rarest of cases. These are installed by professionals or people who are very technically savvy. This can only be uncovered with sophisticated TSCM equipment. We have the equipment & training to find those too. But I can assure you, in most cases, a physical search will usually do the trick.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Private Investigator?
Sometimes it's best to let the professionals handle the job.
In some cases, it is best to let a licensed private investigator handle the issue from start to finish. Click on the "Investigations Price List" button to go to a page where you can download a list of current prices that we charge for our services.
At the same time, don't ever hesitate to call if you believe that your situation is a bit more complex than a number and dollar sign on a piece of paper.
Learn the 10 most-common mistakes people make when hiring a private investigator in this free, downloadable guide...
Some of the Valuable Information in This Guide:
-10 Reasons NOT to Hire a P.I.
-How much it costs to hire a P.I.?
-3 Key Criteria in Hiring a Top P.I.
-5 Critical Questions to Ask When -You Call a P.I. on the Phone
-How to do a Background Check on your P.I.
-How to Ensure Your P.I. is Properly Licensed (state by state)
10 Reasons NOT to Hire a P.I. to Catch Your Spouse Cheating….
Sometimes, hiring a P.I. is not the best alternative. Before you even start to decide which P.I. to hire, maybe you should take a step back to decide if you should hire any private investigator at all. Check out the following 10 points. If you fit any of the below criteria, you should probably keep your wallet in your pocket and move on.
You are thinking that things will get better on their own.
You already have all the concrete proof and certainty that you need regarding the situation.
You’ve already given up on trying to get to the bottom of the situation.
The cost of hiring a P.I. is much higher than the potential cost of doing nothing.
You believe that your spouse will admit to their wrongdoing when confronted.
You’ve accepted the situation and are okay with your spouse having sexual relations with others.
Your spouse is only having an “emotional affair,” which is acceptable to you.
Your spouse would only do this to you “just this one time.”
You already have enough leverage going into your divorce settlement.
You don’t really want to know the truth…sometimes ignorance is bliss.
You’re not one that assumes control of situations. You’d rather assume the victim role in your situation.
10 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Private InvestigatorDon't Make These Mistakes
The keyfob camera that I bought worked right out of the box. The battery was already charged and I had it working in minutes. Thank you!
We didn't find any hidden devices with the bug sweep device that we bought, but I do feel better knowing that we've double-checked that no one is invading our privacy.
We hired Integrity Investigations to place a tracker on our son-in-law's vehicle because we suspected he was cheating on our daughter. Unfortunately, our suspicions were confirmed.