Although Airbnb is often a cheaper and preferable alternative to hotels, there are a few caveats to the process. Case in point: One couple who rented a home via Airbnb found a hidden camera pointed at their bed. Now future Airbnb users are feeling the need to be extra vigilant during their next stay. And we don’t blame them.
According to ABC News, Derek Starnes and his wife rented a townhouse in Longboat Key in Florida. Upon entering the bedroom, Starnes, who works in IT, noticed a pinhole camera in the smoke detector above the bed.
When police arrived, they found another smoke detector camera in a different room in the house.
The owner of the townhouse, Wayne Natt, had been using the Airbnb site for two years and had over 40 reviews. He has since been arrested on video voyeurism charges and is permanently banned from Airbnb.
Authorities told ABC News that the cameras Natt planted in the smoke detectors record audio and HD video and were also Wifi-accessible. We literally have goosebumps right now.
Starnes and his wife told ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV of Tampa that they were rightly distressed by the situation and hope that other victims come forward.
Airbnb policy states that all security camera use must be disclosed on the website and use of cameras in private spaces is strictly prohibited. The company assured users that they are taking this situation extremely seriously.
Luckily, there are devices called RF detectors available on Amazon that Airbnb users can purchase to help determine if there are hidden cameras in their vicinity. These devices shouldn’t be necessary, but to maintain your privacy and safety, taking an extra step might be a good option.
Stay safe out there, people, and always look into something that just doesn’t feel right. Thanks to this couple coming forward, Airbnb is a little bit safer.