Renting an Airbnb? One Md. attorney says watch out for hidden cameras

Big Brother may be watching you in your Airbnb.

An attorney based in Maryland told WTOP he’s seeing more cases of renters discovering hidden cameras in short-term rental properties.

“They’re literally in just about everything,” Daniel Whitney Jr., with Whitney LLP in Towson, said.

Whitney said he’s handling several of these types of cases. He’s representing one couple who rented a property in Silver Spring.

“They were laying down on the bed and the gentleman, who actually installs smoke detectors for a living, realized something didn’t look right,” Whitney said.

He said they left the property and called police.

“Over the past couple of years, the number of cases we have like that have increased,” Whitney added.

So, where can you spot hidden cameras?

“An alarm clock, USB drive, an electrical outlet, a Bluetooth music player,” Whitney said.

Whitney said you can check for other devices using your Wi-Fi settings.

“There’s the guest rental Wi-Fi. But then, maybe you’re able to see, camera one or camera two,” Whitney said, “Or whatever it might be called that’s also connected. That’s a red flag.”

Airbnb prohibits monitoring cameras in private spaces such as bedrooms, bathrooms or common areas that are being used as sleeping areas. It does allow for the use of cameras in public and common spaces but requires that hosts disclose the presence of cameras.

Regardless, Whitney said renters should be cautious.

“You don’t know who the owner is. You don’t who the property manager is. You probably don’t know who you’re texting or emailing on the other end,” Whitney said.

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Sandra Jones

Sandra Jones is an Anchor/Reporter for WTOP. She’s been in the news industry for more than two decades.

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