Dummy security cameras may work as a deterrent from a distance, but we don’t recommend them as a replacement for true security cameras. The best way to secure your home and keep your family safe is with a security system or stand-alone surveillance camera.
If you’re worried about the cost of security systems or legitimate security cameras, imitation cameras can be a tempting solution: they’re cheaper than real security cameras, and they’re typically easier to install. But anyone with camera experience—intruder or not—can spot whether yours is a fake.
Dummy cameras are easily identifiable: most come with a blinking red LED light, a feature that true security cameras lack. They’re also typically cheaper looking, with a plastic casing. And if your imitation security camera doesn’t deter trespassers, you won’t have any proof of tomfoolery, whether the culprits are amateur burglars or loitering teens.
Bright, motion-activated security lights make it harder for criminals to stay undetected when creeping on your property.
Real security cameras
For a bit more money, you could purchase an inexpensive security camera. That way, when thieves approach your house, you can record and review their actions, and if necessary, hand the video over to the police.
Home security systems
A home security system can be an investment. Fortunately, service providers like SimpliSafe and Cove offer inexpensive plans that help you secure your home with your choice of motion detectors, window sensors, cameras, and more.
As mentioned above, dummy security cameras are no replacement for real security cameras. They can be fairly obvious or cheap looking to a relatively well-trained eye. And they’re especially dangerous in the workplace: decoy cameras can lull employees into a false sense of security. That means if an employee’s valuables are stolen, a victim may choose to sue the company.
It doesn’t take much to spot a fake security camera. Here are a few things to look out for.
Faux security cameras often have a bright red light that blinks throughout the day. It’s meant to give the impression that the camera is working at all times. The thing is, real security cameras don’t have that feature. Cameras with night vision may emit a faint red light during darker hours, but that’s about it.
Covers and casings
Imitation security cameras are usually covered in a not-so-durable plastic casing. True CCTV and wireless cameras—particularly those located outdoors—will have a more durable, weatherproof casing made of aluminum.
Most legit cameras will have their brand name printed somewhere—Ring does it, as does Arlo. In contrast, many dummy cameras have “Security Camera” printed on the side or nothing at all, which could be a giveaway.
Type of camera
File this one under “How to spot a real camera.” Decoy cameras usually come in one of two styles: a bullet camera or a dome camera. So if you see a camera without the bullet or dome body, it’s more than likely a real one.