How using free Wi-Fi can really cost you

There are identity thieves just waiting for you to log on
December 12, 2013 8:44:03 PM PST
If you are in a rush to get that just right Christmas gift, maybe you turn on the iPad at the coffee shop. Free Wi-Fi is a great tool, but you have to be safe when surfing for free.

Free public Wi-Fi is one of the reasons so many people visit the Black Hole Coffee shop in Montrose. While it is a great tool, some Wi-Fi users do not worry at all about security.

But Houston based Risk Management Specialist Bruce Brenner says if you use free Wi-Fi, security should be at the top of your mind.

"Don't enter in sensitive information, just don't do it because they are often unsecured so someone else can see what you are doing,' said Brenner.

He adds free Wi-Fi users should be careful they are logging on to the actual Wi-Fi spot provided.

If you see a security certificate failure notice and are asked to re-enter your user name and password, you could be on a fake Wi-Fi spot designed to get your financial information.

"A good Identity thief with a little bit of a technical background can get in and see the other devices that are connected to the network and then get in through the back door," said Brenner.

Another tip -- if you get an email touting a special deal from a store, do not click links in the email. Instead enter the stores web site on your own.

And be sure to look at the address bar. If it starts with http"s", that means it is secure and your information in protected.

And here is a real world tip -- when you go shopping empty your wallet, only bring the one credit card you plan to use or cash.. Leave the others at home.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13


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