Is It Legal to Put Up Fake Security Cameras?

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When used correctly, fake security cameras can be a helpful tool in deterring crime. However, there are also some risks associated with using them. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether or not to use fake security cameras. An important question people often ask – “Is it legal to put up fake security cameras?”

Is It Legal to Put Up Fake Security Cameras?

Fake security cameras are completely legal to put up in your home or business. There might be some civil liability implications, but you would never be charged with a crime for putting up a fake camera. This is because there are no laws that limit the installation of non-working, phony security cameras.

legal to put up fake security cameras

False Sense of Security for Employees and Customers

As a business owner, it may seem like a good cost-savings tactic to install fake security cameras. After all, you get the benefit of a visual an effective deterrent from thieves and you avoid the headache of installing and maintaining real cameras in every location.

In reality the peace of mind may be short-lived and not worth it in the end. Fake cameras give your employees and customers a false sense of security. In the event of a crime, you’ll have no video footage of the incident and you could be held liable if your lack of security is found to have contributed to the incident.

The ACLU even thought about filing a lawsuit against one middle school when the school principal thought installing fake cameras in the bathroom was a good idea. She intended to deter the ongoing graffiti vandals in the school bathrooms, but instead she only succeeded in angering the parents of the school children. The principal was forced to take down the phony cameras to avoid further civil liability for herself and the school.

Insurance Implications

Most insurance companies require some type of security system to provide coverage for businesses. If you have a fake security system in place and don’t disclose that to your insurer, you could have problems getting coverage for any losses suffered. Insurance companies have been known to deny claims or cancel policies when they find out that a business was using fake security cameras.

What About the Neighbors?

At home, your neighbors could still file a lawsuit against you for putting up fake cameras. If your actions appear to have invaded their privacy, even when nothing is being recorded your neighbor could mount a lawsuit against you.

The neighbors could make an argument that you’ve infringed on their ability to enjoy privacy in their own home. If your neighbor is uncomfortable with a fake security camera pointed at their home, it may be time to reconsider either changing the direction of the outdoor fake security camera or removing it altogether.

fake dummy security cameras

What are Fake Security Cameras

Fake security cameras are simply dummy cameras that are made to look like real security cameras. They often have blinking lights and may even make sounds to further the illusion that they are real. While appearing to be very real, fake security cameras are not connected to any recording device and do not actually capture footage.

Although they don’t provide any real security or recording capabilities dummy cameras can be still an effective crime deterrent. It’s also completely legal to put up fake security cameras. They’re most effective when used together with other security measures.

Why Put Up Fake Security Cameras

Real security cameras are a proven crime deterrent. Some business and home owners want the benefits of security cameras without the headache of installing and maintaining them. Or perhaps they’re only really concerned with recording one specific area, and other areas can get by with only having a fake camera installed.

If potential thieves or vandals believe they’re being watched, they’re more likely to move on to an easier target. The blinking lights or whirring motions of a fake camera, in particular, can be effective enough to cause some criminals to keep it moving.

How to Use Fake Security Cameras

If you decide to put up fake security cameras, they should be used in addition to, not instead of, traditional security measures.

Dummy cameras are most effective when used in highly-visible areas. You should install them in areas where criminals would expect to see real cameras.

Consider investing in high-quality fake cameras rather than cheap knock-offs that will quickly break fall apart. The more realistic they look, the better chance you have of deterring crime.

Be sure to also post signs letting people know the area is under surveillance. This will serve to further show that the cameras are the real thing.

fake indoor security camera

How Do Fake Security Cameras Work?

Fake security cameras are designed to look like real, working security cameras. Most have blinking lights and some even make sounds to further the illusion. Although they appear to be very real, fake security cameras are not actually connected to any recording device and do not capture footage.

Here are a few common features fake security cameras have to further the illusion:

Battery Powered

Some fake security cameras are battery powered so they can be placed almost anywhere and moved around as needed.

Solar Powered

Solar-powered fake security cameras are becoming increasingly popular. These cameras use solar panels to recharge the batteries, making them even more versatile.

Fake Cables

Fake bullet cameras will usually have fake data and power cables attached to make it look even more realistic. 

Blinking Red Lights

A blinking red light is one of the most common ways to make a fake camera look real. The blinking light gives the appearance that the camera is recording.

Swivel Motion

More sophisticated dummy cameras are equipped with internal motors to simulate motion tracking. These cameras can perform seemingly random or steady back-and-forth motion to give the illusion of motion activation.

Fake IR LEDs

Real night vision cameras will have infrared LED lights grouped around the lens. You might be able to see a faint glow in low-light conditions when the night vision kicks-in. Some higher-end fake cameras will have what looks like IR LEDs but in actuality they’re little lights meant to further the illusion.

fake dome camera

What are the Benefits of Putting Up Fake Security Cameras?

Some burglars may see the fake camera assume they are real and move on to a different target. They may also be effective in preventing petty crimes such as package theft.

Here are some other good reasons to put up fake security cameras:

Low Cost Way to Deter Crime

Fake security cameras are a relatively low-cost way to deter crime. They require no set-up costs other than the initial purchase price, and you won’t have to pay for monthly monitoring service. You also won’t have to purchase any other equipment to make them work.

Easy to Install and Easy to Move Around

Dummy cameras are very easy to install. It just takes a few minutes to screw them into place. And, it’s just as easy move them somewhere else if needed. 

You can easily take them with you when it’s time to move to a new home or office, too.

Can Be as Effective as Real Cameras at Deterring Criminals

In some cases, fake security cameras can be just as effective at deterring criminals as real ones. If a burglar sees a camera and doesn’t know if it’s real or not, they may decide it’s not worth the risk and move on to an easier target. 

Of course, fake cameras should not be your only security measure. They work best when used in conjunction with other security devices such as alarm systems, motion-activated lights, and real security cameras

No Other Equipment Needed

Another advantage of fake security cameras is that you don’t need any other equipment to make them work. There’s no need to purchase and install any recording devices. 

No DVRs, NVRs, or hard drives are required. All you need is the camera itself.

They’re Better Than Nothing

If you can’t afford a real security camera system, fake cameras are better than nothing. They may not provide the same level of security as real cameras, but they can still provide some deterrence. Putting up some signs that the premises are under surveillance can help to enhance the illusion of real equipment.

dummy ir night camera

What are the Risks of Putting Up Fake Security Cameras?

While there are some benefits to using fake security cameras, there are also some risks, even though it’s legal to put up fake security cameras. One of the biggest dangers is that criminals may see through the deception and target your home or business anyway. 

Don’t Work on Experienced Criminals

Experienced criminals know what to look for. They know how to spot a fake camera, and they may be more likely to target your property if they see one. 

Let’s say a group of experienced burglars is casing out potential targets. They may have seen fake cameras before and know how to spot them. If they see a fake camera, they may assume that there are no real cameras and see your property as an easy target. 

Can Create Civil Liability (aka You Get Sued)

Another risk is that you could be sued if someone is injured on your property and you have fake security cameras. If the cameras are visible, it could give people the false impression that they are being monitored. This could lead to someone getting hurt, and you could be held liable even though it’s technically legal to put up fake security cameras.

For example, let’s say you have a fake security camera in your parking lot. A person falls and is injured, and they sue you. If it’s found that you have a fake camera, it could damage your case. The jury may think you were trying to deceive people and that you’re responsible for the person’s injuries.

No Video When Crime Happens

Of course, the biggest downside of fake security cameras is that they don’t actually work. If a crime does occur, you won’t have any video footage to review. You also won’t be able to provide the police with any evidence that could help them catch the criminals.

Cheap Equipment – Pay Often for Replacement

Many dummy cameras are very cheap compared to real equipment. You can find them online or at your local hardware store for a less than 20 dollars. However, they’re not built to last. The materials are usually flimsy, and they can easily be damaged or broken. You may find yourself replacing them often, which basically eliminates the savings you would have when choosing to not purchase real cameras.

warning dummy cam

What to Look for in a Quality Fake Security Camera

If you still want to use dummy cameras to enhance your security system, you can get some decent equipment if you know what to look for.

Here are some features to look for in higher quality fake security cameras:

Realistic-Looking Housings

Dummy cameras should look like the real thing, and that means they need to have realistic-looking housings. The camera should be the same size and shape as a real security camera. 

Also, try to use the same type of dummy cameras as your real ones. For example, if you have a dome camera on your property, the dummy camera should also be a dome camera.

LED Lights

Many fake security cameras come with LED lights that flash, just like real cameras. This can help to make the camera look more realistic and deter potential criminals.

Motion-Activated Features

Some fake security cameras come with motion-activated features, such as an LED light that turns on when it detects movement. A fake security camera with a motion detector can help make the camera even more realistic and increase its effectiveness.

Visible Wires or Cables

Some people try to make their fake security cameras look even more realistic by adding visible wires or cables. This can help to give the illusion that the camera is actually connected to something.

Warning Decals or Stickers

You can also add some warning decals or stickers to the outside of your fake security cameras. This can help make them look even more realistic, even when you put a dummy security camera outdoor.

Authentic Infrared-Like Lights

Some of the more expensive fake security cameras come with authentic infrared-like lights. This can help to make the fake CCTV cameras look even more realistic and enhance they’re effectiveness in deterring crime.

Swivel Ability

Some of the more expensive fake surveillance cameras also have the ability to swivel. This gives the illusion that the camera is scanning the area to video a wider area.

dummy cam


When it comes to security, many people turn to fake security cameras as a way to deter crime. However, there are some important things you need to know about before using them. First, it’s important to understand the legalities of using fake security cameras. Second, you need to be aware of the fact that fake security cameras don’t actually work. If a crime does occur, you won’t have any video footage to review. Finally, you need to be aware that many fake security cameras are very cheap and you may find yourself replacing them often. 


Do fake security cameras look real?

Yes, many fake security cameras look very realistic. They often come with housings that match the size and shape of real security cameras, as well as LED lights and motion-activated features.

What do fake security cameras do?

Fake security cameras are used to deter crime. They don’t actually work, but they can make it look like your property is being monitored by a security system.

How much do fake security cameras cost?

Dummy cameras can be very cheap, with some models costing less than $20. However, the more realistic and higher quality models can cost upwards of $100.\

Do fake security cameras deter thieves?

Many people believe that fake security cameras can be effective in deterring crime. However, there is no guarantee that they will work. It’s legal to put up fake security cameras and important to use them in conjunction with other security measures, such as real security cameras, to increase the chances of deterring crime.

How long do batteries last in fake security cameras?

This depends on the model of dummy camera you purchase. Some models come with batteries that last for months, while others may only last for weeks. It’s important to read the product description to see how long the batteries are expected to last.

Does leaving a light on at night deter burglars?

Leaving a light on at night can deter burglars, as it makes it more difficult for them to break into your home without being seen. However, it’s important to note that burglars can still break into homes that are lit up at night. Therefore, it’s important to use other security measures, such as alarms and security cameras, to help deter crime.


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