(The Ugly Truth) Dummy Security Camera: Should You Buy One?

There were 108,541 burglaries in the United States in 2018, according to Statista. A surveillance camera can provide homeowners and businesses with valuable information regarding the crime. Some security cameras may also deter criminals from entering a property. Because of these reasons, some homes and businesses opt to install dummy security cameras to fool criminals.

In this guide, we will address a few questions related to dummy security cameras.

  • Do dummy security cameras work?
  • How do you know if a security camera is real?
  • Our dummy cameras illegal?
  • What is the best fake security camera

Dummy Security Cameras Work?

Fake Security Camera Placed On A Wooden Osb (oriented Strand Boa

To some people, dummy security may look just like real cameras. However, these cameras don’t have any wiring or electronics inside of them; hence they cannot record, take pictures, or have a motion sensor inside of them. They are nonfunctional.

Cannot Provide Remote Access

A fake security camera can provide you no pictures, no videos, and no information if you want to check if some unwelcome person is in your house if your children have returned from school, if your baby has wandered outside, and what mischief your pets are getting into.

You can only get these things from a real camera. Real cameras allow you to see into your property from a remote location, anywhere and anytime from your mobile device.

Cannot Push Alerts

Real surveillance cameras can send you to push notifications, audio alarms, or emails if they detect motion or suspect danger in your home. This way, you can call 911 quickly to reduce your losses. However, a dummy security camera cannot offer you any of these functionalities. If an intruder enters your home while you are sleeping in your bed, you will never know about it.

Gives a False Sense of Security

A dummy security camera only gives you a false sense of security. Most hardened criminals are trained to spot real cameras from fake ones and if they detect a dummy camera, it will not stop them from entering your home and looting it. Worse, since the camera is non-functional, you will get no notification of the burglary and may only find they have robbed you when you come home from work.

How Do You Know If a Security Camera is Real?

Surveillance camera at the factory

Experienced criminals can spot a fake camera from a mile away, but, you can also, by checking this learning guide on how to spot a fake security camera. Typically, real cameras and fake cameras have a few big differences:

LED Lights

The biggest giveaway that your camera is real or fake is the LED lights. It equips real security cameras with a night vision that turns on when visibility is low. So, your dummy camera will be conspicuous if it doesn’t blink during the night.

Some fake cameras come with fake LED flashing lights, but this may not fool criminals either. That’s because fake cameras are powered by batteries without controllers so the LED lights will flash even during the day, fooling no one. LED lights on real cameras aren’t as bright and noticeable.


Many dummy security cameras look exactly like what they are: fake. That’s because they make real security cameras of superior materials that withstand and counteract the effects of rough weather. Dummy security cameras, however, may be made of cheap plastic, instead of durable and weather-resistant aluminum.


The brand names on a security camera can be a huge clue about whether the camera is fake or real. Real cameras have their brand names emblazoned somewhere on their bodies or letterings on their lens. However, fake security cameras rarely carry a brand name on their covers.

Motion Tracking

Real security cameras that come with swivel feature will not rotate back and forth. Instead, their sensors will allow them to track movement making no physical movement. Fake security cameras may come with motion sensors, which allow them to pan back and forth to keep a person in their line of sight (even though they record nothing). Some fake cameras also mindlessly pan left or right even when there is no one on the property. This is one big difference between a real and a security camera.

What is the Best Fake Security Camera?

Repairing A Security Camera

Some people may argue that having a fake security camera is better than not having a camera at all. They may not be wrong in this assumption, sometimes, but they need to understand the implications of installing a dummy camera.

Just because a fake camera is cheaper does not mean it provides you any real security. However, if you insist on buying one, there are a few things you need to consider ensuring your camera seems as realistic as possible.

Don’t Go For Cheap Material

Even the most affordable real camera looks more expensive than a fake camera made of cheap plastic. If you want to have a plastic camera, go find one that has better heavier-duty plastic. Many real cameras are also made of plastic, albeit of a high-grade, so this can make it more difficult to distinguish between them.

Avoid Cameras With Motion Sensors and LED Lights

Motion detectors and fake LED lights fool no one. If you have a fake motion sensor camera, a burglar can easily identify whether it is real by seeing if it moves randomly or not. As for LED lights, in real cameras, these lights are only present on the back of real cameras to show power. And they do not arbitrarily blink and flash.

They Should have Cable

Your fake camera should have at least one cable. Real cameras have at least one for power and another one for transmitting the video feed, unless it is done wirelessly. Don’t let your wire hang loose on the wall. Make it seem like they are running to the source of power by hiding them behind a cable bracket or inside the wall.

Do Not Go Overboard With The Branding

As mentioned above, real security cameras have branding on them. So you should buy a dummy camera that has some labeling stuck to the body or lens. This can make it hard for a criminal to detect whether the camera is authentic.

Editor Side Notes: Consider on purchasing the best battery powered security camera, as this has many features that you must have in terms in keeping your home safe and secure.

Are Dummy Cameras Illegal?

Dummy cameras can open up homeowners and businesses to lawsuits by giving unsuspecting people a false sense of security. For example, if they gurgle a business with a fake camera, the employees can ask the employer to reveal footage of the crime incident to catch the thief. But if the employer has nothing but a fake camera, the workers have the right to think it misled them into working in an insecure environment.

This can lead to a lawsuit by the workers.

Ultimately, the job of a security camera is to monitor in real-time whether a security incident can be minimized or stopped. If not, it can provide video information that can be important in catching the criminal.

Since a dummy camera cannot do these things, it can expose people who rely on it to harm.

Bottom Line

If you truly believe that a fake camera can give you peace of mind, buy one. Just make sure you think long and hard on the consequences of your decision. These things should not be rushed as you already know how easy it is for experienced criminals to detect a fake camera. Therefore, certain precautions must be taken to ensure that your camera looks as real as possible.

How helpful was this article?

Were Sorry This Was Not Helpful!

Let Us Improve This Article!

Please Tell Us How We Can Improve This Article.

About John Fox

ebbb364ee14268bd3b77496cab3d1d78?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: Certified Alarm Technician (CAT)
Education: Denver Security Academy
Lives In: Denver Colorado

John Fox has worked as a security consultant in Denver for over 20 years.
With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it to help people online make the right security decisions for their businesses and families.

John writes security tips and guides, product recommendations, and prevention guides.

| Reach Me