A family from New Zealand have recalled the chilling moment they discovered they were being secretly filmed on camera while staying at an Airbnb in Ireland recently.
Nealie Barker told Stuff.co.nz that she was holidaying in the country with her husband and their four children and niece when they discovered that their seemingly-normal smoke detector was actually hiding a camera inside.
The family first became suspicious when Nealie’s husband, who works in IT security, noticed a device called ‘IP camera’ when he was scanning the house’s WI-FI network.
“He scanned that device’s ports and found the live video feed. We were all watching ourselves on his mobile phone,” she told Stuff.co.nz. “We have encountered lots of weird and wonderful things and like to think we take most things in our stride. However this was shocking.”
The family have since confronted both the host, who is now permanently banned from the site, and Airbnb. The platform has apologised to the family and given back a full refund, however Nealie said Airbnb’s initial response was “hopeless”.
The concerned family has since taken to social media to raise awareness.
Nealie initially wrote on Facebook: “We are avid Airbnb users. We love the platform. We just found a camera hidden in a smoke alarm case in the private living room of a listing. We were travelling with children.
“The host admitted to the concealed camera over the phone, only after presented with our irrefutable proof.”
She later confirmed the host had been removed from the site, and the official apology issued after “33 days and 10 more unsuspecting guests”.
A spokesperson for Airbnb confirmed to Stuff.co.nz they had “permanently removed this bad actor from our platform”.