These days, technology has advanced to the point that hidden cameras and microphones are both more powerful and less expensive than ever before. If you have a sneaking suspicion (no pun intended) that you’re being watched in sensitive environments such as at work or at home, there’s a very real possibility that you may be right. However, this doesn’t mean that you’re completely powerless.

If you want to detect any hidden cameras or microphones in any environment that you fear may be compromising your privacy, there are a few key techniques that you can use.

Common Sense Is Your Ally

One of the best ways to detect hidden cameras and microphones in nearly any environment is to let a little good, old-fashioned common sense be your guide. Ask yourself the following question — “if I were trying to secretly record someone, where would I have to place a camera to do it?”

If you’re worried about someone secretly recording you while you’re sitting at your desk in your office, for example, take a look around the room and carefully examine your surroundings. Where would a camera lens have to be placed to accurately collect sensitive information? How far across the room would it have to be before the footage was useless? If you were worried about someone recording your phone calls, how close to the actual phone would a microphone have to be to accomplish this goal?

Likewise, think about the types of cameras that people might be hiding. To continue to use the example of your office, has anything been moved recently that you found suspicious? Has a new desk clock or USB charger shown up in the room that wasn’t there before? Did a fancy new pen recently make an appearance in the pen and pencil holder on your desk that you don’t recognize? Hidden cameras and microphones could potentially be placed inside all of these types of devices, so take a close look for anything that could be a prime candidate for surveillance.

Another particularly helpful trick of the trade is to walk into the room that you think may be under surveillance and immediately turn off all the lights. Shut all the windows and make the room as dark as you possibly can. Do you notice any red or green LED lights anywhere? Many modern-day hidden cameras still have indicator lights when they’re in operation to let the user know that they’re actually working. This isn’t a design flaw, by any means, but it is something that you can definitely use to your advantage.

When All Else Fails, Use Technology

Common sense is a great asset to have in your quest to detect hidden cameras and microphones, but at a certain point, you’re going to need to dig a little deeper. If the person who you think may be watching you is particularly savvy, they’ll know how to hide a device so you’ll never find it — even if you specifically go looking for it. For those types of situations, you’ll want to employ a wide range of different counter-surveillance tools, depending on the extent of the issue you may be dealing with.

Many different companies sell signal detectors, such as those that identify RF signals or Wi-Fi signals, that are perfect for doing a sweep of any environment for bugs. If a hidden camera or microphone is using wireless signals to broadcast data back to its source, these powerful little devices will help you put a stop to it.

Likewise, you can also purchase a lens finder from many online stores that perform a similar function. They’ll help you properly scan your room and identify any camera lens that may be present, even those that are all but invisible to the naked eye. You can then manually remove the lens and take steps to avoid this type of situation in the future.