If you are traveling this summer and taking advantage of free Wi-Fi hotspots, double check before connecting your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Scammers use fake Wi-Fi hotspots to steal personal information and/or gain access to your device.
How the Scam Works:
You are at a coffee shop, airport, hotel lobby, or other public place, and you want to connect to the Wi-Fi. You search for connections and find one nearby. It may be labeled something generic like "Free Public Wi-Fi." This may look harmless, but don't connect. It is really a scam!
Some fake Wi-Fi hotspots claim to be charging a small fee to use the connection. After a user connects, they are prompted to enter credit card information. Of course, this info is shared with the scammer.
In another version, a hacker inserts him or herself between your computer and the Wi-Fi connection. Everything you do online – such as make a purchase or log into an account – is now transmitted through the scammer's computer. This means they can now access any passwords, credit card information, and other data you've entered online.
Protect Yourself From a Wi-Fi Scam:
Here are some suggestions to safely use public Wi-Fi connections:
For More Information:
Check out these tips from the Federal Trade Commission on using public Wi-Fi networks.