Beware of WiFi

Public Wi-Fi is Convenient for You and for Scammers

A Public Service Announcement from AARP

Dear Jeannie,

There’s nothing not to like about free public Wi-Fi. That is, if you don’t mind giving scammers easy access to all of your data.   

How It Works
• Scammers can set up an “evil twin” network – a Wi-Fi network that looks like the one you are expecting to use – hoping you’ll connect to it.
• Scammers can also set up a “man in the middle” attack to get between you and the Wi-Fi access point, in order to intercept your data. Once in, they look to steal passwords and other sensitive information from your device.
• They also set up fake Wi-Fi access points that require a credit card for you to connect to them. They then steal your credit card information. 

What You Should Know
• Public Wi-Fi networks are not secure if they don’t require a password to connect to them.
• It’s safer to use your service provider’s network rather than public Wi-Fi, even if it means incurring charges. 

What You Should Do
• Ask staff for the exact name of their establishment’s public Wi-Fi network. This way, you are sure you are connecting to it and not a look-alike.
• Limit your activity on public Wi-Fi to activities such as browsing news, sports and weather. Avoid doing anything that requires a username and password.
• If you are a frequent public Wi-Fi user, look into signing up for a virtual private network (VPN) to keep your data protected, even on unsecure public Wi-Fi networks.  

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family and visit the Fraud Watch Network.

Kathy Stokes

Are you active on social media? Do you enjoy sharing information that can help prevent friends and family from falling victim to scams? Become a volunteer AARP Fraud Watch Network (FWN) Digital Fraud Fighter! In exchange for simply sharing the same type of content with your friends and family that you already do, Digital Fraud Fighters will receive access to exclusive scam briefings plus a Welcome Packet, which includes a T-shirt, a copy of the FWN Con Artist’s Playbook, the FWN Watchdog Alert Handbook, and more. Interested? Send us a note at [email protected] for more information!


The mission at FAST is to increase public awareness of financial exploitation with the goal of mitigating risk of exploitation and protecting our state’s vulnerable populations.

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