A group of women is warning others to check their rental homes after they said they found a hidden camera in the bathroom of their Airbnb.
Vancouver resident Jamie Gladman booked a place on the Sunshine Coast in March for her 30th birthday and she needed a place that could accommodate a large group.
“It had about 15 (reviews), but it was really good ratings,” she told Global News. “So I just figured it’s a newer place, but like it has good reviews, good ratings. It looked nice, so I booked it and was quick to correspond with the host, so (I) didn’t see any issues.”
The house in Sechelt could accommodate the group of 13 and two dogs and they booked it for two nights.
On the second night, Kennedy Calwell, who made a TikTok video of the incident, said they discovered a hidden camera in the bathroom, facing the shower.
“One of our friends, Becca, she had just watched a video, I think, the day before, kind of talking about hidden cameras and how small they are and how they can be found anywhere, like in a showerhead, in an outlet,” Calwell said.
“So she had seen one in an outlet before, and that’s why she started looking around the house and found one in an outlet in the bathroom.”
Gladman said there were other issues with the house that also concerned them.
She said it was dirty when they arrived and had not been cleaned.
She said the host was not responding to their messages in a timely manner. There was random artwork on the walls in strange places and big pieces of art nailed to the wall in some of the bedrooms.
One of their friends took a shower in one of the bathrooms and when she got out, Gladman said she could see a racial slur in the condensation on the mirror.
“And then there was a crack in the outlet in that washroom,” Gladman added. “So that’s what prompted her to have a look. She remembered the videos she’d seen on TikTok.”
One by one, the group examined the find, with some just unwilling to believe it, Calwell explained.
“We didn’t want to believe it because that’s such an invasion of privacy and so violating,” she added. “Like I personally did not want to believe it.”
Gladman said the outlet didn’t work and they tried researching online about hidden cameras, but they really didn’t know what to do.
“We’re in the middle of nowhere, middle of the night. Like, what are we supposed to do?” she said. “We felt a little safe in numbers. And having the two dogs.”
Gladman reported the incident to Sunshine Coast RCMP. Global News has reached out to the detachment multiple times but has not yet heard back.
“That was just such an invasion of privacy,” Calwell said.
“Who knows how long the camera had been there?”
Both women say they are now nervous to book with an Airbnb again.
In a statement to Global News, Airbnb said “We ban hidden cameras and previously refunded the guest as we investigate this allegation.”
The listing for the home has been suspended, Airbnb confirmed, while the investigation continues.
The company said it has attempted to contact the Sunshine Coast RCMP about the investigation.
“I’m still waiting to hear from the RCMP officer about the lab analysis of the cameras,” Gladwell said. “But it is it’s still just jarring. It doesn’t feel like it was real and now I’ve done more research on how to detect these types of things or what to look out for.”
According to Norton.com, there are a number of ways to detect hidden cameras, including looking for suspicious objects, and other Wi-Fi networks and if necessary, using a hidden camera detector.
But Gladman and Calwell also had some advice — trust your gut.
“We did get a weird vibe from the Airbnb,” Calwell said. “We did have a bad gut feeling about it. So I guess listen to your gut.”