Cyber criminals scam users with fraudulent WiFi networks

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The summer travel season is just around the corner and for many it will mean spending a lot of time in hotels and airports.

It’s also the busy season for cyber criminals looking to scam people out of their hard earned cash.

In today’s world, many people rely on WiFi.  We do nearly everything on our tablets and smart phones from paying bills to shopping online.

At the same time though, we could be giving tech-savy criminals access to personal information by logging on to a hacker’s fake network without even knowing it.

Experts like Charles Henson, Vice President of Nashville Computer, said people need to be careful when using free public WiFi.

“If you want to get on there and update Facebook, chat with your friends, check local email, things of that nature that’s okay. But to make purchases such as travel arrangements, it’s not safe.  Anytime you put in your credit card information, checking bank accounts or doing anything secure with private information you don’t want others to see. You would not want to do that,” explained Henson.

Henson added it can be difficult to tell the difference between a fake and real WiFi network because they can look very similar.

Cyber criminals set up the fake networks to mimic legitimate sites, usually advertising them as free.  

People connect to the fraudulent WiFi networks thinking they are real and criminals can track and record everything they do on the web.

“They see everything you’re doing, everywhere you’re going and they can grab the information from your device that is being sent out to the internet,” Henson told News 2.

Experts say it’s easy to do and the culprits are almost never caught.

“It’s not very likely that they will be caught because they’re on the move constantly,” said Henson.

Experts say users can protect themselves by asking who the real WiFi provider is.  

When checking into a hotel or waiting in an airport, ask someone who works there which network is the real one before logging on.

Cybercrime experts suggest buying a separate tablet or laptop to keep at home and only access your bank account and pay bills from that device.

You should also different passwords for different accounts and change them regularly.

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