The Definition: The Wi-Fi Scam is scamming gone high-tech. Setting up in one of the now-common free, wireless access locations so frequently found in hotel lobbies, airports or coffee shops, our hustler-turned-techie steals credit card information from unsuspecting marks. Before he leaves the area, he has gone on an on-line shopping spree, and left a roomful of dupes with fraudulent credit card charges.
The Mark: It is becoming more and more common these days for laptop owners to use their computers on unsecured networks in public places. These Wi-Fi access points are quite accommodating and convenient, but unless your anti-scam program is running, you, too can be a victim of the Wi-Fi hustle.
The Scam: Hustling has been around as long as money, and the art of the scam has proven to be as adaptable as mankind itself. When technology advances, larceny advances with it.
So it is with the Wi-Fi Scam. Having pre-tested his system, the swindler enters a hotel lobby or airport waiting area and sets up his laptop. He has configured it so that his laptop can hijack the internet signal at the access point – because of its proximity to other users, he putting out a more powerful signal than the hotel, café or airport.
As the marks filter in and set up their computers, little do they know that when they attempt to log on, it will be the scammer’s network onto which they will be logging – not the hotels.