Stories like this make my blood boil. Some creep was caught taking pics up a woman’s skirt at a Target store. Let’s give a big cheer to the woman who called him out and filmed it.

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Peeping Toms and tech are a match made in you-know-where. They use everything from smartphones to hidden cameras to get their fix. Luckily, I’m on your side to keep you and your loved ones safe.

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Skirting around the issue

On an otherwise ordinary day in Greenville, North Carolina, a woman took a trip to her local Target. She noticed a 21-year-old man getting a little too close for comfort — crouching down on the ground near her.

When she moved, so did the man. Then she noticed his cell phone on the floor. That’s when it clicked: She was wearing a skirt that day, and this creep was trying to slide his phone underneath to get a photo. 

Caught red-handed

Another Target shopper spotted the creep, too. She started filming the peeper after noticing him following the victim around the store. She captured him putting his phone on the floor and posted it to social media. 

Surveillance cameras mounted on plywood

Surveillance cameras displayed outside a home security shop in Markham, Ontario, Canada, on June 24, 2023. (Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ultimately, that video is what led to the peeper’s arrest. 

Of course, when the cops picked him up, he denied it all and gladly handed over his phone. Cops got a search warrant to dig deeper, and fortunately, they didn’t find any inappropriate photos of children.

The peeper was released on bond, and his fate now rests in the courts. He also won’t return to his job anytime soon. Where’d he work, you ask? An elementary school.

Protect your privacy

Whether you’re on a Target run or vacation, a Peeping Tom could be lurking. Stay safe and smart with these tips:

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  • Any public place is fair game for a creep. Be aware of your surroundings anywhere you change clothes, including fitting rooms, hotel rooms and gyms.
  • Be on the lookout for cameras. Red flags include suspicious wires and tiny flashing lights. Cameras can also be hidden behind things like wall decor, lamps and shelves.
  • Mirrors are camera hotspots. To check for one, turn off the lights in the room and shine your phone’s flashlight into the mirror.
  • Don’t forget to check the toilets, too. Cameras could be hiding behind seats and tanks.
  • For an added layer of protection, invest in a hidden camera detector and keep it in your purse. If you want to go the free route, there are also hidden camera detection apps for iPhone and Android. Just don’t expect stellar results.

What about rentals? Yes, you need to check there, too

I once found about a dozen cameras throughout a house I rented, but they were only disclosed in small type at the very bottom of the listing. It was clear they wanted me to miss that warning.

Given all the coverage about hidden cameras spotted in rentals, I’m not surprised Airbnb just banned indoor cameras. If anything, I’m shocked it took this long.

Checking around a small dressing room is one thing. Making sure your entire rental property is creep-free is a bigger job. 

Xiaomi Smart Camera

The Xiaomi Smart Camera C500 Pro is being showcased at the Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona, Spain, on March 8, 2024. This latest surveillance camera from the Chinese company features smart detection capabilities for pets, baby sounds, or strong noises. (Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Here’s how to find them

Larger cameras are easy to spot, but anyone can easily hide smaller cameras behind furniture, vents or decorations. A simple way to spot most types of cameras is to look for the lens reflection.

  • Turn off the lights and slowly scan the room with a flashlight or laser pointer, looking for bright reflections.
  • Scan the room from multiple spots so you don’t miss a camera pointed only at certain places.
  • Inspect the vents and any holes or gaps in the walls or ceilings.

You can also get an RF detector. This gadget can pick up wireless cameras you might not see. Unfortunately, RF detectors aren’t great for wired or record-only cameras. For those, you’ll need to stick with the lens reflection method.

If you can connect to the rental’s wireless network, a free program like Wireless Network Watcher shows what gadgets are connected. You might be able to spot connected cameras that way. I do this in every rental I stay in, just to double-check what’s connected to the network.

Google Nest Cam

The Google Nest Cam, an indoor and outdoor smart security camera developed by Google’s home safety brand, is on display on Android Avenue at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on March 25, 2024. (Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Be aware that the owner might have put the cameras on a second network, or they could be wired or record-only types, so this is not a fail-safe option.

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