CHICAGO, May 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On a free public network or event at home, using public Wi-Fi means potentially sharing credit card numbers, passwords, and other sensitive personal information that leaves consumers vulnerable to criminals. With cybercrime costing Americans $800 million in 2015 alone, the AARP Fraud Watch Network urges consumers of all ages to Watch Your Wi-Fi. A new video from AARP TEK highlights the risks.
"Free public Wi-Fi is just that – free and public," said AARP Communications Manager Gerardo Cardenas. "This means any criminal can see what you're doing when you're connected, leaving your passwords, usernames, account numbers, and other sensitive financial and personal information exposed and vulnerable."
Countless individuals connect every day to public Wi-Fi at the gym, a hotel, a coffee shop, or many other public spaces. The risk involved is that all the information that individuals are transferring between their devices and the computers they are accessing is easily tapped into by anyone who is on the same network.
Here's what you can do to protect yourself:
- Surf safely: stick to browsing the web, checking news, weather, or traffic when on public Wi-Fi.
- Avoid online banking, checking emails, making credit card purchases or even posting on Facebook while on public Wi-Fi.
- Check your device's settings to make sure it doesn't automatically connect to any free public Wi-Fi that you're in range of.
Bottom line: Don't access or send sensitive information when you're on free public Wi-Fi. If you find you use public Wi-Fi regularly, play it safe and sign up for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that keeps your data secure. To learn about VPN's check out this article from PC World.
In 2014, AARP launched the Fraud Watch Network to arm Americans with the tools and resources they need to spot and avoid scams and identity theft. But scammers are still out there, making every attempt possible to cheat consumers out of their hard-earned money. The public can sign up for free to receive Fraud Watch Network alerts and more at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.
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SOURCE AARP Illinois