Beware of This Scam Before You Use a Public Phone Charger in New Jersey
This is why we can't have nice things.
Another day, another scam to worry about. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. Scammers have gotten smarter over the years. They've figured out ways to impersonate your loved ones through phone calls and texts, trick you into thinking you owe money, and now, they're attacking you just for trying to charge your phone.
We all carry our phones around with us. As technology has evolved, our phones have become our lifelines. We no longer only use them for phone calls or text messages. We rely on them to pay bills, operate home security systems, use social media, order groceries, as wallets...the list is endless.
Hackers have found an easy way to access all of that important information. And sadly, it's through a seemingly innocent medium.
Since we use our phones for so many things, their batteries can only last so long, so it's not uncommon to need a recharge throughout the day. Previously, charging your phone was impossible if you were out in public. But now, many restaurants, malls, airports, etc, have public charging ports you can plug your phone into!
But, this is why we can't have nice things.
According to the FCC, "juice jacking" is on the rise. And while the name sounds silly, we should take it seriously. Hackers are loading malware onto public USB charging ports, and are using that to steal your data.
They advise that you avoid using USB port chargers (the ones on the left of the photo below) and use normal power outlets (like the ones on the right) instead.
Also, bring a portable battery, or charge up your phone in your car before you get to your destination. The FCC also recommends carrying a charging-only cable (which I had no idea was a thing), instead of one that can also share info. And if you see a pop-up asking you to "share data" or "charge only," choose "charge only."
Sadly we live in a world where we always need to be on the lookout. But, thankfully we can spread the word to keep us safe.