National

She bought a security camera for her house. Then it started whispering to her.

By Scott Berson

sberson@ledger-enquirer.com

A woman was left shaken after someone apparently hacked into her security camera and began whispering to her through it.
A woman was left shaken after someone apparently hacked into her security camera and began whispering to her through it.

The people who put pieces of tape over their laptop cameras might be onto something.

A woman who bought an internet-enabled camera to watch over her dog while she was away was terrified when it suddenly began moving on its own. Then it started talking to her, too.

“For a moment, I thought I was going crazy,” Rilana Hamer said in a Facebook post.

She bought the camera at a Dutch discount electronics store called Action. She could log onto it from anywhere to keep an eye on her new puppy. It even had a little speaker so she could talk to her dog from anywhere, and a microphone so she could hear what was going on.

She’d had the camera for about a month and was in her house doing chores when she heard a whirring noise from her living room. When she went to check on it, the camera was moving on its own.

“My phone was on the bed and I had no idea what it was doing,” she said. She thought it might have been updating, so she went about her business. Then it whirred again.

She walked back up to the camera. She said it then spun to look at her and a voice said, “Bonjour, madame.”

She said she tried to walk back and forth, and the camera followed her. “Hello miss,” it said again in French. “Is everything okay?”

Horrified, she said she unplugged the camera and threw it into a box.

“I was full of fear and thought I was going crazy,” she wrote. “I'm being watched, but for how long? What did that person see from me? My house, my personal effects...”

Eventually, a friend convinced her to plug it back in. They pulled out a camera to film whatever happened. Within one minute, it was talking again.

“Do you speak French?” the voice asked.

“No, English,” Hamer said.

“Is it good?” the voice said.

“No! Get ... out of my house! Shut off! Go away!” she yelled.

The response was a vulgar whisper.

She pulled the plug and stuffed the camera back into the box. “My privacy, my house, my personal stuff and myself... I’m scared, terrified,” she wrote.

Action, the store she bought the camera from, has taken the camera and said it would be investigating, according to RTL News. “It is being investigated by the supplier," said Yvette Moll, a spokesperson for Action. “The question is whether it's in the camera or in the wrong use of passwords and WiFi connection. But it's especially annoying for this woman, let's put that ahead.”

The store said the camera has been on sale since May, and they haven’t received any other reports like this one.

“This is the first and it's almost sold out. We have to check what it's all about,” Moll told RTL.

Warning: the video, which can be found here, contains profane language.

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