Posted by: snukoantitheft | November 26, 2010

How to Protect Yourself From a Phony Wireless Hotspot

Unbelievably, tech-savvy criminals have masterminded a way to create phony wi-fi hotspots.  Unsuspecting victims using a laptop or smartphone to access the hotspot have left themselves open to identity theft and attack.  This article offers readers tips and ideas to ensure they never find themselves the casualty of the latest wave of innovative data thievery.


  • Disable Wireless When Not In Use: If your smartphone requires the activation of its wireless internet feature, be mindful to always turn it off as you go about your activities.  By leaving your wireless internet engaged all day, you run the risk of stumbling into a fake wi-fi hotspot.


  • Be Wary While Texting Confidential Information: In one astonishing instance, an identity thief set up a pretend hotspot and was able to text message a victim posing as the victim’s wife.  The text message asked for the PIN number to an existing credit card, to which the victim responded with the number. The thief was able to use this information to access the account. Always call to verify with any person requesting personal information through a text message.


  • Be Sure the Establishment Advertises Wi-Fi: Fake hotspots are often given an unsuspecting name, usually the name of the coffee shop or restaurant they are using to prey on victims.  If you do not see obvious signs advertising wireless internet, check with an employee before signing on.


  • Ensure Your Phone Carries Latest Updates: In response to the media coverage of these phony hotspots, Apple has introduced an update to its IPhone to combat this strain of identity theft.  Other cellular carriers are sure to follow. Protect yourself by regularly checking for security updates.


  • Consider Limiting Personal Data Storage: While not the most convenient approach, limiting the amount of personal data accessible via smartphone may be one way to avoid identity theft. If it can wait, do your online banking and bill pay from your home or office network. Never include personal information on your social network sites, as these are often compromised in a fake hotspot.


These five simple guidelines will help protect you and your smartphone from this unfortunate advancement in technology theft. We must balance the convenience of using our smartphones for personal banking with the reality that technology theft is everywhere. Protect your precious assets by avoiding the dangers associated with a bogus wireless hotspot.