Thursday, May 12, 2011
7 News Investigations: Monitoring Trouble
Parents use video baby monitors to keep an eye on their little ones, but you might not be the only one watching and listening. Some of these monitors are giving strangers the ability to peer into your home. 7's Lynn Martinez is "Monitoring Trouble" in tonight's special assignment report.
WSVN -- Ursula Corgosinno has her hands full with twin toddlers.
Like many moms, she uses a video monitor to keep an eye on her active girls.
Ursula Corgosinno: "I can monitor them when they are sleeping or in their rooms alone. I actually placed the monitor on the ceiling so I can view both babies."
Ursula says the baby monitor made her feel secure, that is until a few weeks ago.
Ursula Corgosinno: "I was checking on my babies and I noticed that the picture on there is not my house. This is not my baby's room. I literally panicked."
Turns out, her babies were safe in their rooms. What she was seeing on her monitor was the bedroom of her neighbor's three year old daughter.
Ursula Corgosinno: "I could see her bed, I could see her toys. I could see everything."
She could also hear everything including her neighbor talking on the phone.
Ursula Corgosinno: "I heard the whole conversation, including hearing her children in the background, and her husband."
Ursula immediately gave her neighbor Leigh Ann Jaffe the shocking news.
Leigh Ann Jaffe: "It's just really upsetting because it's your baby This is a pedophiles dream, that they can look into baby's bedrooms."
Turns out, they could both see and hear into each others' homes thanks to their baby monitors. The problem is analog video monitors have open and unlicensed radio frequencies. So your device's signal could be picked up by the receiver of any video monitor giving that person a live video feed inside your home.
Leigh Ann Jaffe: "What if I'm on the phone ordering something at a store and they need my credit card information, someone could be listening and know my credit card information."
We took a video baby monitor and drove around two neighborhoods and within minutes, we picked up at least four images of babies bedrooms. We also took Leigh Ann to a nearby park where we captured a perfect image of her child's room.
Leigh Ann Jaffe: "This is exactly what I'm afraid of, this is my baby's bedroom any pervert, pedophile can come to a park and be in your baby's bedroom."
Outraged Leigh Ann called the company who makes her monitor.
Leigh Ann Jaffe: "They just kind of said 'Yeah, it's a problem.' I just don't feel like they're doing enough to protect parents."
Leigh Ann is glad that she now knows and felt her only choice was to unplug the monitor.
Leigh Ann Jaffe: "I'm not taking that risk. I don't want anyone else in my house except for the people who live in my house."
She hopes all parents will now be Monitoring Trouble."
When we contacted the makers of the monitor, Summer Infant, they said they had no comment. Monitors with a digital signal rather than an analog signal claim to be more secure.