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7 Ways to Tell the Difference Between Real and Fake Security Cameras

Flora Luo7/3/2024
7 Ways to Tell the Difference Between Real and Fake Security Cameras

How to tell the difference between real and fake security cameras? Admittedly, the difference between real and fake security cameras is getting hard to notice with ever sophisticated dummy cameras sprouting up, like those with blinking light and motion sensors. Yet, the differences could be distinctive in the eyes of professional thieves. For example, these 7 differences between real and fake security cameras may give you away easily.

Learn to tell the difference between real and fake security cameras, the key information is below:

How to Tell 7 indicators
Indicators LED lights/covers/wires, etc.
Recommended Camera Reolink security cameras
Camera Models Reolink Go Plus/RLC-810A/Argus 3 Pro

Differences Between Real and Fake Security Cameras

Learn the differences between real and fake security cameras, and you will know what kind of dummy cameras to avoid and whether real or fake security cameras will suit you better.

So how can you figure out if a security camera is real or fake just by looking at it?

Generally, the 7 things below can be great indicators:

#1. LED Lights

#2. Covers

#3. Installation Place

#4. Wires

#5. Camera Types

#6. Markings

#7. Motion Tracking

Click here to learn what a fake security camera is, if you have any question about it.

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#1. LED Lights

The LED lights could be a dead giveaway.

Anyone knows that a real security camera with night vision, which is the mainstream these days, will have red LED lights when the ambient light condition is poor.

So your dummy security cameras will be obvious if they don’t blink in the total darkness.

How about the dummy security camera that flashes with fake LED lights inside?

That will not work either, especially for experienced burglars.

That’s because most decoy cameras with lights are powered by batteries without a controller or something alike, and they will just flash all the time, even during the day when the real LED is supposed to be off. So they will not give the appearance of recording but tell the intruders that the camera is fake.

And the real LED isn’t too bright and obvious. If you have ever used a real security camera, you will notice this difference between real and fake security cameras easily.

Real vs Fake LED Light

In my opinion, it’s better to turn off the light than send out the obvious signal that the camera is fake.

But there are still ways to know whether a CCTV camera is on or not even if it has no light.

#2. Security Camera Covers

Many cheap replica cameras look fake.

The difference between real and fake security cameras are largely reflected by the materials used.

Usually, fake security cameras are made of cheap plastic instead of the water-proof aluminum cover.

The business insiders like us or the savvy criminals will know on the spot of a fake security camera, especially when it is placed on easy-reaching places, like the front door.

Fake Security Cameras

#3. Installation Place

Not being a positive difference between real and fake security cameras, the installation place does say something about whether the IP camera is real or fake.

The weather will not be kind to outdoor cameras, and thus, it could act as a helpful tester.

The fake security cameras with fragile plastic housing can never stand against the hovering wind and the pouring rain. Some of them may have a protruding cover, but that is not enough to protect against the weather. The fake wires exposed outside can easily get damaged, for example.

And therefore, you’ll have to put them in a protected area, like under the eaves or ceilings, if you want them to act effectively and permanently.

By contrast, real security cameras, especially the IP66 & IP65 rated ones, can be placed anywhere outdoors with no afraid of the weather.

So the cameras placed outdoors to confront the natural elements are probably real.

#4. Wires

The wire is not an effective indicator of fake security cameras as it was.

More dummy IP cameras today have visible fake wires, making the difference between real and fake security cameras much more confusing.

But remember those bullet cameras that miss this small detail are obviously fake ones. (The real dome security cameras and the wire-free cameras don’t have wires in plain sight.)

#5. Camera Types

Another way to tell the difference between real and fake security cameras is to learn some common fake security camera models.

If you type “fake security cameras” in the search bar on Google or Amazon, you’ll find that all the results are either bullet cameras or dome cameras.

These two models are easy to imitate without violating any property rights. And most wire-free cameras, by contrast, have distinctive designs and are harder to imitate in terms of manufacture.

#6. Markings

How can you tell if a security camera is fake, in a way that you can be absolutely sure?

The brand name is the most straightforward and accurate way to spot a fake security camera, if it is identifiable.

Take just a minute to search the brand online, you will know if the security camera is real or fake at once.

You may notice some security cameras don’t carry a brand name on their cover. Great chances are they are fake cameras and want to hide this obvious difference between real and fake security cameras.

#7. Movement Tracking

Some fake security cameras even have built-in motion sensor and will swivel to track the movements.

In fact, they are not exactly tracking the movement, but just continuously rotating back and forth, so an observant criminal may be aware that the unit is fake.

And true motion sensing cameras will never swivel when someone walks by. They just record the whole event without making actual physical movements.

Just think about it, the movement tracking will need a lot of technology and cost. Even the real cameras can’t do that for now, let alone the dummy ones.

That’s a big difference between real and fake security cameras.

How to Tell if a Security Camera is Fake Real

Real vs. Dummy Security Cameras, What’s the Best Choice

In fact, the biggest difference between fake and real security cameras is their functions, and purposes.

Fake security cameras are most helpful to scare off those crimes of opportunity. But they will be useless for the determined and dedicated criminals. You will definitely know the difference between real and fake security cameras when danger occurs.

Can’t decide between real or fake security cameras?

Is there any way that saves your money and lifts the security level in real terms?

Some creative homeowners will intentionally expose the fake security cameras and hide the real ones, so that all the potential criminals will be either scared away or get recorded. A perfect security solution!

Best Real Security Cameras

In fact, a real security camera from the top CCTV camera brand could cost less than you think with no subscriptions and no monthly fees. And a realistic fake security camera can cost up to $30, which nearly catches up with the price tag of a real one. For example, you can get Reolink RLC-810A with some extra dollars for a real peace of mind.


Reolink RLC-810A

4K PoE IP Camera with Person/Vehicle Detection

Smart Person/Vehicle Alerts; 4K UHD Day & Night; 100ft Night Vision; Time Lapse; IP66 Certified Weatherproof; Audio Recording.

Key features:

  • 4K 8MP ultra HD
  • PoE, easy to install
  • IP66 waterproof
  • Audio enabled
  • Up to 100ft night vision
  • Email & push alerts
  • 24/7 recording with NVR

Here is a video captured by Reolink RLC-810A posted by a Reolink user:

You just fancy the easy installation of dummy security cameras?

Hold on, that’s not the reason to turn to a fake security camera at all. The installation should never be counted as a difference between real and fake security cameras. The wire-free security camera, like Reolink Argus 3 Pro, is a great counter example with no hardwiring needed!

Reolink Argus 3 Pro

Reolink Argus 3 Pro

2K 100% Wire-Free Spotlight Camera

2K 4MP Super HD, Battery/Solar Powered, Person/Vehicle Detection, 5/2.4 GHz Dual-Band WiFi, Color Night Vision, Two-Way Audio.

Key features:

  • 100% wire-free, easy to use
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Long battery life (4-6 months)
  • Solar powered (optional)
  • Color night vision
  • 2K 4MP super HD
  • 2-way audio
  • Simple mounting brackets included

Here is a video captured by this camera:

You are just limited to the poor WiFi conditions?

Worry NOT! You don’t have to compromise on your home security thanks to the 4G security cameras. And Reolink Go Plus is a good try to keep you protected in No-WiFi and No-power areas.
Reolink Go Plus

Reolink Go Plus

Smart Wireless 4G Battery Camera

Rechargeable Battery/Solar Powered, Person/Vehicle Detection, 2K 4MP Super HD, Two-Way Audio, High-Quality Night Vision, Live View Anytime.

Key features:

  • 100% wire-free, easy to use
  • 4G LTE network
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Support solar power
  • 33ft night vision
  • 2K 4MP super HD

You can learn more about Reolink Go Plus from this video:

Best Dummy Security Cameras

Want fake security cameras to mix in with real cameras to increase security presence?

Bear in mind the above mentioned easy-to-tell differences between real and fake security cameras, and you will pick out a right fake security camera to enhance the overall security.

  • If you want fake bullet cameras, they should have visible wires.
  • The LED lights of fake security cameras should be low-profile monitoring lights that are realistic.
  • Choose the decoy camera that has discrete brand name on it.
  • Don’t be fooled by those bullet fake cameras, which will begin to swivel when someone walks by.

Have any other ideas about the differences between real and fake security cameras? Leave us a comment to share your thoughts!


All Comments Are Welcome

Flora is an editor with a deep passion for smart home gadgets and loves the idea of worry-free life. She smiles a lot, enjoys hearty food, movies, traveling, and her latest obsession is cooking. You can share your ideas with her in the comment section.