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How to use this $70 gadget to detect spy cameras in your Airbnb or hotel room

Numerous reports over the past several years have suggested Airbnb hosts are using cameras to spy on guests. Some hosts might have a relatively innocuous Nest Cam outside to keep track of who comes and goes, but others can be used to watch you while you roam about the house. There have even been reports of cameras in hotel rooms.

Airbnb’s terms says it requires “hosts to disclose all security cameras and other recording devices in their listings, and we prohibit any security cameras and other recording devices that are in or that observe the interior of certain private spaces (such as bedrooms and bathrooms), regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed.”

Cameras have to be disclosed even if they’re unplugged, and any disclosures following a booking give a host the option to “cancel the reservation and receive a refund,” though that refund may still require a cancellation penalty.

If you’re worried about this, there’s a $70 gadget you can buy on Amazon that will let you do a quick sweep of any room for cameras.

While it’s not as advanced at detecting cameras that are meant to hide wireless signals — those professional tools are much more expensive — this RF detector can pick up most cameras someone would buy and that are physically hidden, whether they’re in a plant, in disguise or out in the open.

I looked for it after The New York Times reported that a Chinese woman was caught with a hidden camera detector at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and decided to give a cheap one a try. It’s great.

Here’s how to use it. Don’t worry, it’s very simple.