Alert about plugging phone into public charging stations re-upped during holiday travel season

Plugging in your phone to charge at a public USB charger could be a risk.
Plugging in your phone to charge at a public USB charger could be a risk.
Updated: Dec. 20, 2019 at 4:05 PM CST
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(WAFB) - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) re-upped an alert about “juice jacking” as the holiday travel season enters full swing.

Juice Jacking is a cyber-theft scam in which a scammer places what appears to be a public charging station in a highly frequented area. The fake charging stations allow scammers to download malware to mobile devices. They can also record and send private details such as passwords, addresses, and a complete backup of the items stored on the device to the scammer.

According to the BBB, the device’s battery or data plan draining faster than normal and services on the phone running especially slow while plugged into the charging station are signs suggesting malware may be running in the background.

BBB provided the following tips for consumers to avoid juice jacking scams:

  • Avoid using USB charging stations when possible. Use an AC power outlet or car charger instead. Be sure to bring these when traveling.
  • If you travel frequently, invest in a portable charger or external battery. Or, carry a charging-only cable, which prevents anyone from downloading data to your phone when charging.
  • Keep your phone up to date. Be sure to update your operating system and anti-virus software on your phone or other devices.

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