Spot a Fake Security Camera Every Time

Sharing is caring!

Ask yourself, why anyone would install a fake security camera? The most common answer is to create the illusion of security. If a potential burglar even sees a phony camera, if it’s convincing enough they’ll probably think twice before breaking in. But they’re not all designed well enough to pass the eye test. Here are eleven ways you can spot a fake security camera every time.

spot a fake security camera

11 Ways to Spot a Fake Security Camera

On average, Americans are recorded by CCTV cameras close to 250 times per week. We see cameras everywhere. But many of the cameras you see out in the open are actually fake cameras that are purely designed as a deterrent for criminals.

Many fake cameras are designed so well they’re nearly indistinguishable from real cameras. The following are the most common ways fake security cameras stand out so you can install ones that are more convincing.

Check to see if the camera is plugged into an outlet

The first and most obvious way to spot a fake security camera is to check and see if it’s plugged into an outlet or has a hard wire power source. This will be obvious by looking at the back of the camera. If you see a power cord, then it’s a good indicator that the camera is real. If there is no power source, it’s a fake.

The majority of phony cameras are powered by AA batteries. Rechargeable batteries are a clear indicator of a fake camera. Legit wireless cameras are often solar powered, which technically implies a rechargeable battery. But no real camera will have rechargeable batteries without some sort of solar panel also attached.

Look for a Blinking Light on the Camera

Many fake security cameras have a blinking “recording” light. This is usually a small, red LED that blinks when the camera is powered on. Many older style security cameras would have a small light to show when the camera was operational. Most modern cameras don’t have these types of lights anymore.

The blinking light makes the the camera look like it’s on and recording. However, since fake cameras don’t record anything, the blinking light is simply there to trick would-be criminals.

Check for WiFi Signals Near the Camera (Only Works on Wireless Cameras)

This method only works on wireless cameras, but it’s a surefire way to check if a camera is real or not. If it’s fake, the camera won’t be broadcasting a WiFi signal. You can detect the camera either by opening your phone’s WiFi settings and noting any nearby signals that look like the security camera.

Or you can download a WiFi signal strength app and get near the camera where you would expect to find a signal. If your phone app picks up a WiFi signal from the cameral, then it’s real. If not, it’s a phony.

Thinner Than Normal Cables

If the power chord or video cable is thinner than normal, it’s likely a fake. Many fake cameras use thinner cables to save on costs.

Real security cameras have rather thick cables because they transfer data to the recording station and also provide power for the camera to function. And many times a single cable is for power and data transfer.

What is meant to look like a network cable or power chord will actually be just a thin plastic tube to simulate the look of a cable.

phony camera with red light

Look for a Brand Label or Model Number on the Camera

If you can’t find a brand label or model number on the camera, it’s likely fake. Camera manufacturers are proud of their brand logos and display them prominently as a form of marketing. 

All real security cameras have some sort of label that provides brand and model numbers. The brand name is usually printed on the front or side of the camera, while the model number is usually on the back or bottom.

You may be familiar with the brands and logos of security cameras. Sometimes you might see a brand name is misspelled or the logo is changed a bit. It’s not a knock-off brand camera, it’s a fake that doesn’t record anything!

Bright Fake IR LED Lights Visible in Low Light

Bright IR LED lights can be a dead giveaway that the camera is not real.

Most modern security cameras will have some sort of night vision ability. You can tell by the prominent built-in LED lights near or around the camera lens.

The LEDs on real security cameras will appear as very faint red light in the dark, and they’ll be completely turned off in the daytime.

Many fakes have bright LED lights to simulate infrared lighting. These fake IR LEDs appear very bright in low light conditions and will often be turned-on even in daylight. 

You can spot a fake security camera when you see bright IR LED lights in the day or night.

faux dome camera

Cheap Plastic Housings

When you hold a real security camera in your hand, you’ll know it. The housing will feel solid and well-built. 

Most fakes are made with cheap plastic that feels flimsy and low quality.

You shouldn’t be able to flex the body of the camera with your hands. If you can, it’s likely a fake.

The exception to this rule is when the camera is designed to look like a toy, such as a teddy bear camera. These are usually fake cameras that don’t actually record anything.

Cracked or Dirty Lenses and Covers

Often people install a fake security camera and then forget to keep it clean or maintained. Cobwebs and dust can accumulate on the lenses and camera housing.

Look for cracks in the lens or housing. Phony cameras are often made of cheep materials that will fade and crack in the elements. These are usually signs of a fake camera.

It’s not uncommon to see a real security camera that’s a bit dirty. But if the camera is so dirty that you can’t see the lens or they’re clearly cracked, it’s likely a fake.

Compare the Security Camera to Images Online

If you’re unsure about a security camera, do a search for the brand and model number online. Find images of the real thing and compare them to the camera you’re looking at. Some fakes are very convincing, but when compared to real ones you’ll find some obvious differences.

If the camera doesn’t match up with images you find of the real thing, it’s likely a fake.

fake camera warning

Continuous Swivel Motion

A real security camera will have a fixed position after being installed. Some cameras will move, but only when an operator is moving the camera manually at the base station. The only other times you’ll see one change position is when someone physically adjusts the camera or when there’s an issue with the mount.

Fake security cameras often have a swivel motion that makes it look like the camera is scanning the area. This is a feature of fake cameras by way of a motor inside the camera housing.

Some fake cameras are designed to swivel around at regular intervals. Others have a seemingly random scan pattern.

A real motion sensor camera never swivels when movement is detected. They’re simply pointed in a given direction and begin recording when someone enters the viewing area.

If you see a security camera moving on its own, you’ve likely spotted a fake security camera.

Installation Location Doesn’t Make Sense

The installation location can tell you something about whether the a camera is real or not. Take a step back and look at where the camera is installed. Does it make sense for that particular location? Is it pointed through a window or at an odd angle?

For example, a camera that’s installed at an odd angle or in an area where there’s no line of sight is probably fake. These cameras are usually installed to deter would-be criminals, but they don’t actually work.

On the other hand, a camera that’s installed in a strategic location, such as near an entryway or exit, is likely to be a real security camera. These cameras are installed with the purpose of recording activity and they usually work.

What are the Different Types of Fake Security Cameras?

Now that you know how to spot a fake security camera, let’s take a look at the different types of fake cameras that are on the market.

Dummy Cameras

Dummy cameras are the most common type of fake security camera. They’re designed to look like real security cameras, but they don’t actually do anything. Dummy cameras are usually made of cheap plastic and don’t have any working parts.

They’re often used as a deterrent, but with a little scrutiny a criminal would quickly realize they’re fake. The fake camera would easily be exposed if a thief tries to steal something in view of the camera and nothing happens.

LED Fake Cameras

LED fake cameras are a step up from dummy cameras, because they actually have working parts. These cameras usually have a flashing LED light to make it look like the camera is recording. The LED is really the only working part on these cameras.

LED fake cameras are often used in conjunction with real security cameras. The real cameras would be installed in the most important areas, while the fake cameras can deter criminals in other less sensitive areas.

Motion Activated Fake Cameras

Motion activated fake cameras are similar to LED fake cameras. The difference is they have a motion sensor to activate the LED light when someone walks by. These cameras are often used in the same way as LED fake cameras. They’re a bit more convincing though.

Motion activated fake cameras are used to supplement real security cameras in the same way as LED fake cameras.

phony solar security camera

Why Would You Install a Fake Security Camera?

You might be wondering why someone would install a fake camera. There are actually a few good reasons why someone might choose to install a fake camera over a real one.


The most obvious reason is cost. Fake cameras are much cheaper to purchase and install than real security cameras. This makes them a good option for people who want to deter criminals but don’t have the budget for a full set of real security cameras.

Ease of Installation

Another good reason someone might choose to install a fake camera is because they’re easy to install. There’s no need to run wires or connect the camera to a power source. All you need to do is screw the camera into place and you’re done.

No Maintenance Required

Once a fake camera is installed, there’s no need to worry about performing physical maintenance. You also don’t have to worry about checking the recording or running out of storage space for videos. Fake cameras are completely maintenance-free.

Fake security cameras have become increasingly popular in recent years as a cost-effective way to deter crime. While they may not be as effective as real security cameras, they can still be a useful tool in your crime prevention arsenal.


Installing a fake security camera can be a great way to deter crime without breaking the bank. Keep an eye out for the tell-tale signs we’ve outlined in this article when you’re looking to purchase a fake security camera, . By avoiding these mistakes, you can be sure that you can make your phony camera as convincing as possible.


What are the benefits of installing a fake security camera?

The main benefit of installing a fake security camera is that they’re much cheaper to purchase and install than real security cameras. This makes them a good option for people who want to deter criminals but don’t have the budget for a full set of real security cameras.

What are some of the drawbacks of installing a fake security camera?

One of the main drawbacks of installing a fake security camera is that they’re not as effective as real security cameras. criminals might be deterred by a fake camera, but if they’re determined to break into your home or business, a fake camera probably won’t stop them.

How can I make my fake security camera more convincing?

Sometimes it’s pretty easy to spot a fake security camera. There are a few things you can do to make your fake security camera more convincing.

First, make sure it looks like a real security camera. Second, install it in a strategic location where it will be visible to would-be criminals. Third, consider adding a flashing LED light to make it look like the camera is recording.


security cameras work through glass

Can Security Cameras Work Through Glass?

legal to put up fake security cameras

Is It Legal to Put Up Fake Security Cameras?