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How to Tell If a Security Camera Is On: 6 Simple Methods

C182 Camera lights on

How to tell if a security camera is on or recording? How to tell if a security camera is real or fake?

Are you puzzled by these questions when you see your IP security cameras? You will learn several easy and quick ways to check if a security camera is on.

What do security cameras look like? More an more cameras, especially those hidden ones are designed to blend in with the environment and home décor seamlessly.

Before we explore further about how to check if CCTV is working, you may learn some common security camera types so that you can spot the camera in the first place.

6 Ways To Know If a CCTV Security Camera Is On

If you’re wondering how to check if a store CCTV IP security camera is on or off, or how to know if a camera is watching you, here are six simple ways to help you determine if a CCTV security camera is on:

  1. Observe Whether The Security Camera Is Moving: A pan-tilt type security camera will rotate when it’s on, and you will hear a distinct buzz when it’s rotating. If you have set up the patrol/tour function of the pan-tilt IP camera, you can see it moving constantly, indicating that the CCTV camera is recording.
  2. Check the status of the LEDs in the IP security cameras: If it’s an infrared IP security camera, you will see small red lights around the lens of the security camera in the dark when it’s on. You can use a book or any cover to block the light falling on your security camera. If you see the lights turn red, it means that the security camera is on. (Why security cameras have red lights? Let’s find out.)
  3. Log in to your security camera software to check whether you can view the live streaming: If the footage is showing up correctly, the IP security camera is on.
  4. Use Electronic Bug Detectors: CCTV security cameras produce a balanced signal when they are on or in working status. A balanced signal is a video signal that has been converted for transmission along a medium other than coaxial cable. It’s also a pretty easy way to detect hidden cameras, or check if there are surveillance cameras are around.
  5. Know If A CCTV Is Recording From Its Power Indicator: Some IP cameras or wireless IP cameras have a status LED, so you can easily tell whether the camera is working or connected to WiFi properly.
  6. Identify Whether The Security Camera Is Real Or Fake: If it’s a fake security camera, it will never be on.

If you want to know how to tell if it’s a real or fake security camera, check out our guide on determining the authenticity of security cameras.

How to Identify a Real or Fake Security Camera

If you want to know whether an IP security camera is real or a dummy/fake security camera, there are a few ways to identify it:

  1. Check The Security Camera Wires: Cat 5 or Cat 6 PoE security cameras use wires to connect to the router. Traditional wireless security cameras need cables for power. You can check the cable around the security cameras to determine whether it’s a real or fake security camera. If it’s a wire-free battery-powered security camera, you can use other ways to check whether the camera is fake or real.
  2. Google The Security Camera Brand. You may see a label or a mark of the security camera brand name. You can Google it to see whether it is a true security camera brand or just a company that sells fake security cameras.
  3. Check The Red Light Of Security Cameras: Older fake security cameras have a blinking red light, while real ones do not. However, some real security cameras may have a red light in very poor light conditions instead of blinking all the time day and night.

In addition to these ways, you can also identify whether a security camera is real or fake by checking the camera’s packaging, manual, and warranty. Legitimate security cameras will have detailed packaging, an instruction manual, and a warranty. On the other hand, fake security cameras may have poor packaging, no manual, and no warranty.

By using these methods, you can determine whether a security camera is real or fake and protect your privacy.

Frequently Asked Questions About IP Security Cameras

Here are some bonus answers to common questions about IP security cameras:

Q 1. How to Tell If a Security Camera Has Audio or Sound?

A 1: It’s impossible to tell if an IP camera has audio just by looking at it. You should ask the security camera company staff directly. Please be aware that state laws have strict legislation on audio recording, and one person must know about the video recording taking place. If audio recording is not allowed under certain circumstances, you should turn off this function.

As you may know, most baby monitors have two-way audio function, so if you want an IP security camera with audio, you can go get a baby monitor directly.

Q 2. How to Tell If a Security Camera Is Good?

A 2: There are several ways to find a good and reliable security camera:

Q 3. How to Tell If Your Security Camera Has Been Hacked?

A 3: Check out this post that can help you find out whether your IP security camera has been hacked. In this post, you can also learn some effective ways to prevent your IP cameras from being hacked.

Q 4. Do Real Security Cameras Blink?

A 4: Most real security cameras do not have blinking lights. Dummy security cameras typically have blinking red lights in the front, which is an obvious feature of fake security cameras.

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