What places should consumers think twice about before connecting to an unsecure Wi-Fi network? Here are the top five locations for online identity theft:
Coffee shops and restaurants: Between interviews and lunch meetings, food and drink establishments are notorious for attracting both unsuspecting workers logging on to get work done and fraudsters looking for easy targets.
Airports and other transportation hubs: The large amount of travelers making the most of their gate times online has become a goldmine for fraudsters.
Hospitals and doctors' offices: Given the potential of using a shared network to access or view personal information like medical records and payment records, medical offices can also serve as a prime spot for identity theft.
Libraries and bookstores: Both of these establishments are places where people commonly go online to get work done, connecting to a shared network and putting their information at risk.
Apartment buildings: While residents are often encouraged to password-protect their personal wireless networks, many people leave their networks free of password protection in favor of convenience. This choice often puts people at risk in their own homes.
Jumio Inc, a next-generation credentials management company, is cautioning users to be wary of which Wi-Fi network they are connecting to at their local coffee shop. The danger of fraudsters running bogus networks with the same name as the real Wi-Fi network is revealed in new research from Jumio in its soon to be released white paper, "The Fraudsters Playbook."
David Pope, director of marketing and payment fraud expert at Jumio, asserts, "Businesses and consumers alike must be aware that there are many disreputable networks posing as official networks -- their only true purpose is to steal the personal details of unsuspecting Wi-Fi users."