#14 Private Investigator Tips and Advice: Don’t pay too much for private investigation equipment.

I run into investigators quite frequently that pay to much for equipment.  I hope this blog helps you   with your equipment needs.

The private investigation covert equipment scam

About 6 months ago I was at a fair with my family.The fair was one of the bigger ones in the state and this is something we do annually.  My wife and I enjoy walking through the convention center where vendors set up booths and try to sell and promote their products.  The booths are really hit and miss when it comes to the quality of the product but we enjoy doing it none the less.

There was one vendor in particular this year that caught my eye.  The vendor was selling a covert/spy camera that I was very familiar with.  The camera is a key chain camera that resembles a key chain vehicle remote.  The company had a big banner and a television with a video that demonstrated the product.  I took a closer look at the product and realized that I had the same exact one.  In fact I actually have about 6 of them.  I asked how much the covert camera was selling for.  He indicated a price close to $100.00.   Let me assure you that I have not paid $100.00 for each of the covert cameras that I own.  In fact the price I paid for them was not even close.

This is what I use everyday

I had to inquire more about the product.  I imagined there had to be more associated with the camera to justify the price they were selling it for.   The man provided a demonstration of the product. He explained that there was a wall charger and USB cables that came with it along with instructions and a nice little box.

At the end of the demonstration I was certain this was a huge rip off as he was selling the exact camera I purchased on EBAY for around $10.00 which included shipping.  The only thing he added to the deal was a pretty box and a wall charger adapter.    I was disappointed in the ridiculous markup of this product I had to say something.  I told him the same camera he was selling is for sale on EBAY for less than $10.00.  He replied, “No, not this camera”.  I insisted that it was the same camera. I informed him that I used the camera almost every day because I was a private investigator.  I could tell he was a bit flustered and he asked that I show him the camera.  I didn’t have my camera with me but I sure wish I had.  I walked away from the booth extremely irritated.


Although I never expected someone to be selling these cameras in a booth at a fair, I do see ridiculous mark ups on private investigation equipment far too often.  I have purchased covert camera glasses and covert vehicle remotes on EBAY.  The glasses were a bit bulky for my needs however I believed I purchased them for approximately $30 or $40.  The video quality was great but it did not fit my needs.  I use the covert video vehicle remotes everyday and I love it.  Sometimes they do stop working which is to be expected, but for 10 dollars each, I buy more than one and it pays for itself after the first use.

I am very pro business and pro profit. I just don’t like feeling as if I am getting ripped off or that someone else is getting ripped off.  When I purchase my equipment from sellers on Ebay, I know going into it that there may be a chance that the camera might not work.  I purchase several cameras at once just in case one fails.  I have never had a problem with my purchase yet but I am sure that time will come.   If you want to find the type of covert camera I use, search for the key word, “Covert Key Chains”, or click on the key chain picture in this blog post.

So that is my two cents on covert camera purchasing.   I hope this helps you find the right covert camera for your investigative needs.  Good Luck in your investigations.


When meeting with a client don’t be afraid to show them the covert equipment you use.  Whether it be for insurance investigations or domestic investigations, proving that you can get the video inside businesses may help you get the case.

Don’t forget to read: Must have P.I. Equipment for Surveillance