The Role of Hidden Cameras in Financial Institutions

Today’s financial institutions face the growing threat of digital crime, with security breaches happening more frequently and on larger scales. In addition to these concerns, financial institutions are still at risk for physical crimes, including counterfeit bills and checks, internal theft, burglary, and credit card fraud, to name a few. The Federal Trade Commission reported roughly 3 million cases of credit card fraud in 2016 alone. Some banks depend on video surveillance systems to deter theft, but they could still benefit from an added layer of protection in the form of hidden cameras.

A general video surveillance system is necessary, but even with one in place, institutions can still be left vulnerable to various types of crime. These systems have a few vulnerabilities, including that most systems only monitor certain areas of a branch or building, the lenses can be easily covered, and In some cases, the angles of the cameras can be changed. Additionally, because these cameras are in plain view, a thief can learn how to work around them by finding the “blind spots” and conducting illegal behavior in only those areas. Hidden cameras offer a more discreet security option that complements your existing system by reducing vulnerabilities and making use of blind spots.


The Advantages of Using Hidden Cameras

Hidden cameras are typically small and blend in perfectly with the existing décor of a financial institution’s branch or office.  They come in a variety of designs, or form factors, making them look like ordinary objects while secretly housing a hidden camera. Some of these form factors may include ordinary objects that might be found in a bank such as:

  • Smoke detectors

  • EXIT signs

  • Power cables

  • Computer equipment

  • ...and more

And in cases where an exact match isn’t possible, simple black box hidden cameras can also be used to provide the same level of discreet protection. Essentially, these cameras still sit in plain view, but they’re invisible to the untrained eye. They can also be stowed inside of nearly any hollowed-out object, allowing you to create your own custom hidden camera.

Also, because these cameras aren’t easily identifiable, they’re difficult to obstruct.  In the instance that a thief tampers with the cameras from the main video surveillance system, the hidden cameras continue to record, increasing the likelihood that you’ll capture any crimes.

Hidden cameras can be used in non-public areas of the branch.  For example, one could be installed near an important safe to monitor employee activity and identify any possible instances of internal theft.


How Hidden Cameras Help Fight Financial Crime

At financial institutions, crime takes place in customer-facing areas, private employee areas, and at ATMs.  Hidden cameras can help with identifying and investigating incidents that are difficult to spot with regular video surveillance.

  • ATM fraud: Hidden cameras can help detect the installation of ATM skimmers by sending alerts when customers stand at ATMs for long periods of time without making any withdrawals, inquiries, or deposits. They can also help identify cash harvesting and other suspicious behaviors.

  • Check fraud: Because hidden cameras are smaller and easier to install in tight areas, they can be used to spot check fraud. They can be placed at teller booths to record transaction information and pair it with real-time analysis that quickly detects fraud. This is also beneficial for capturing customers who use counterfeit bills.

  • Monitoring of sensitive areas: Most financial institutions provide employees with access to sensitive areas, like safes, cash drawers, and cash rooms. These areas don’t typically have traditional surveillance and can become easy targets for internal theft. Hidden cameras can ensure these areas are constantly monitored and that no crime goes unnoticed. For example, if two employees are required to open a safe, hidden cameras can send an alert when only one employee is present. They can also detect when employees or thieves have blocked access to other cameras in advance of a crime.

Hidden cameras are necessary to cover the blind spots and vulnerabilities of standard video surveillance systems.  To ensure your financial institution is fully protected, explore BrickHouse Security’s full hidden camera assortment and contact us today to discuss the best security options for your needs.