Hidden cameras in dressing rooms and changing rooms are unfortunately a common occurrence, particularly as surveillance technology comes down in price and goes up in power and functionality at the same time. To make matters worse, there ARE totally legitimate (or at least what the law defines as “legitimate”) reasons why a hidden camera might be with you in one of these rooms. Many big retailers, in particular, use them as a form of loss prevention to make sure you’re not stealing anything.
According to the experts at Dopplr, only 13 states actually ban the use of ANY monitoring system in a dressing room – meaning if you don’t live in places like Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia or Michigan, your privacy might be fair game.
But the most important thing that you can do in this situation is NOT panic. If you’re really worried that there might be a hidden camera in your dressing room, there are a few key things you can do to check for sure. Even if it takes you a couple of minutes, this extra effort is still more than worth it when you consider what might be at stake in this most intimate of locations.
Pay Attention to Your Phone
One of the most effective ways to check to see if there is a hidden camera in your changing room is also, thankfully, one of the easiest. Just take a look at your cell phone and see if you notice anything suspicious. These days, most hidden cameras use either an Internet connection or a cellular data connection to transmit visual information online.
Because of this, there is a very good chance that if a hidden camera IS lurking about, it will create interference and cause havoc with your cell phone reception. If you had perfectly fine reception while in the main store area but suddenly find yourself with one (or no) bars while you’re in the changing room, you may just want to think twice before you try on that fancy new sweater you’re about to buy.
Never Trust a Mirror
Mirrors are incredibly commonplace in changing rooms, as you need to be able to see what you look like in a particular item before you make your purchase. This is also, however, one of the most popular ways to hide a hidden camera – behind a mirror that is actually a secret two-way mirror. A hidden camera doesn’t necessarily need to be installed inside a secret room behind said mirror in order to function (you’re probably thinking of something along the lines of an interrogation room), so don’t let that idea fool you.
If you suspect that you may be standing in front of a two-way mirror, walk up to it and get your face as close to the glass as possible. If you surround your eyes with your hands in an effort to block out light, there’s a chance you would be able to see if there was anything on the other side.
Likewise, take your phone and turn the “flashlight” app on and shine it directly into the glass. If you hold that light up to the mirror and you think that you can see beyond it, there is a chance that a camera might be hidden on the other side.
Finally, don’t be afraid to walk right up to that mirror and touch it. Don’t worry about streaks or fingerprints, as most stores have nightly cleaning crews who will take care of that. If what you’re looking at is a regular mirror, there should always be a little gap between the surface of the mirror and the reflection of your finger. If it looks like your finger and the reflection of your finger are actually touching, however, be warned – you’re likely looking at a two-way mirror with a camera hidden on the other side.