Better Business Bureau: Beware Of Free Wi-Fi Connections

OMAHA (kptm) - The Better Business Bureau is reminding people about the dangers of free Wi-Fi connections. It's nothing new. It's an old scam but scammers are now back at it again. The BBB said it's an opportunity for scammers to steal your personal information. A local computer expert said it's all about being aware of your surroundings.Thor Schrock said the Wi-Fi you use at your favorite coffee shop or restaurant may not be as secure as you think. He said the guy sitting next to you might be stealing your identity."With modern technology any smart phone can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot and so that means when you're logging on to so and so's public network, you may actually be logging on to the smart phone at the table across from you, using their hotspot."Katherine Bower uses free Wi-Fi often. She said, "usually the ones I go to it says 'Starbucks Guest' for example, so usually I'd click on that one compared to something that just says 'Starbucks' on it. I think it'd be a little more legit but I guess you never know."Schrock said sometimes it is hard to know. While browsing the internet he's found scammers will create pages that look exactly like the one you would normally see when you first log on to a company's Wi-Fi."You can create anything. You can clone the page and you have to say 'I agree to these terms, I won't do all these bad things' and click next. You can create a page that does the same thing when you log onto a hotspot."And he said when you're using a public Wi-Fi you're on the same network as everyone else in the building."Anything that you send over that network, like if you log into your g-mail or your Facebook, those usernames and passwords can be intercepted by a third party and then they can log in to your g-mail or Facebook and so on.""I never really looked at it like that so you know I just kind of get on and do what I want. Most of the time, it's Facebook or my e-mail and stuff but now that I know someone can hack onto that and get in thereit definitely makes you re-think a lot of things," Bower said.Schrock said every website defaults to the regular mode, however a large majority, you can switch to a secure setting. He said, just make sure the browser at the top says 'https' and you'll be good to surf the internet. He said one of the best ways to protect yourself is by setting up different passwords for different web categories. For example, he recommends you use one password for financial websites, a different password for shopping online, another for social media, and one password for websites that you don't visit often.