HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Many hotels, airports and other public spaces offer free wi-fi as a courtesy for travelers. But unfortunately, many scammers are setting up unsecured networks that offer free connections as well.
They are not doing it out of the kindness of their hearts but to try to steal your personal information.
Their locations of choice are, but not limited to, hotels and airports.
When searching for a connection, if you see one that simply says "Free Wi-fi" and you log on, it could be an ad-hoc or peer-to-peer connection... which can lead to a web of trouble.
"It can be labeled 'free wi-fi' so consumers in public places like hotels and airports will click on it thinking they are getting free internet access, when really, it is an ad-hoc network that allows the scammer to get their personal information," explained Kristie Barnes with the Better Business Bureau. "Their bank account, their credit card numbers, their social security numbers."
If your laptop is set to share files, the hacker could even steal whole documents from your computer.
So don't connect to unfamiliar networks, make sure your computer is not set to automatically connect to non-preferred networks.
Make sure your firewall is enabled. And do important online work at home or on your mobile device's network.