The Hacking Cost of FREE Wi-Fi

Joe thought he was a careful guy with his Wi-Fi security. He never clicked on suspicious links, used strong passwords, and had a reliable anti-virus program. He thought he was safe from hackers and identity thieves. An antivirus program is important and detects, prevents, and removes malicious software.

What it does NOT do is give him anonymous access online, encrypt his data, or hide his IP address and location.

To make matters worse, he visited a local coffee shop with free public Wi-Fi. He looked around and saw other people using their laptops and phones, so he thought it had to be safe. He never did that before, but he needed to check his email and bank account.

Without a VPN, he had no anonymity and no encryption on the open public Wi-Fi system. In about 20-minutes, he opened the browser, checked his email and bank account, then visited a social media site before shutting down the laptop.

🔒 Locked Out

The next morning, he tried to access his email but could not because of an incorrect password. He tried again. Same result. Then, after using the “Forgot password” option, but the system didn’t recognize the recovery email address.

Something was wrong.

🙁 It Just Got Worse

He called his email account and got caught in the endless automated menu system. While on hold for several minutes, he checked his banking app, only to be locked out by an incorrect password. He immediately hung up and called the bank, only to get stuck in another automated phone menu. When he finally connected to a real person, they asked him to verify his identity. He gave his name, address, date of birth, and social security number.

The representative paused for a moment and told him that someone transferred nearly $5,000 in 15 smaller transfers to an online cash system. The bank also cancelled the credit card after several gas purchases, along with eight $250 gift cards at a local home improvement store. Before cancelling the card, someone ordered nearly $100 from a grocery order. Someone picked up the groceries as a drive-in purchase the night before.

In a matter of hours, he lost $5,000 and had $2,100 charged to his credit card.

🥺 Feeling Scared and Hopeless

Will I get my money back?” He asked.

The representative said, “Maybe not right away. You’ll need to file fraud claims for the cash with the online cash system. For the credit card purchases, you should be good after you file a fraud claim with our bank. In the meantime, your accounts are all locked. You need to come to the bank with a government photo ID to close your account so we can transfer everything to a new account.

The representative began asking questions about whether he had been traveling, lost the credit card or checkbook. She told him there was a record of a login the day before.

Did you login yesterday?” She said.

Joe said, "Yes. I was at a coffee shop and checked my account.

We're you using a VPN on your computer?

No.”

Those public Wi-Fi places are wide open. Without a VPN, your info is unsecure.

He realized what had happened and, as he felt the tightness in his chest from nerves, he wondered where it would end. Joe told the woman at the bank that he’s heading their way to ensure the old account was closed, get the new one started, and see that his remaining funds were still his.

📱Social Media Hacked

After taking care of the bank business and getting the fraud report started, he started checking his social media accounts. Someone had already accessed four of his five accounts and changed the passwords and recovery email addresses. He changed the login info on the one available account and needed friends to verify him on two others to regain access. He’s still awaiting customer service replies on the two remaining accounts.

😏 Taking Advantage of His Connections

Many of his connections saw posts purportedly made by him, or direct messages asking them to support a charity. The link was a convincing spoof of a real charity, but used to grab personal account info from them. More than a few of his friends were angry.

☎️ A Fortunate Phone Call

A few weeks later, he received a call from a bank to confirm some details for a home equity loan in his name. Fortunately, the call was a head's up that his information is still in the wrong hands. They cancelled the loan and reported it.

Joe and his wife lost their sense of confidence, and no longer feel safe in the world. Joe explained it this way: “Someone reached into our private lives and violated us, and we don’t know when it will stop, if ever.

🎓If There’s a Lesson to be Learned…

It’s this... For Joe, the FREE cost of public Wi-Fi is $7,100… maybe more in the days ahead. I recently published a review of three top VPN service providers. Joe read the article and shared his story with me.

After his recent experience, he didn’t waste time and he’s now onboard with a VPN. Every computer and mobile device has encryption with a rolling IP address. Every few minutes their computers, tablets and smartphones all shift servers, so their information is safe.

What’s the Cost?  About $3 a month for all of their devices.

Of the 3 VPN services I reviewed (below), right now their discounts are between 63% to 85% off. Whether you select one of those or another, the important thing is that you cover yourself and your family. Cyber crime is not going away and more and more of our info is online and vulnerable to compromise.

Click the Images Below for VPN More Info

About the Author

Anthony M. Davis is a Certified Leadership, Success and Stress Coach. He is a clinically trained Board Certified Hypnotherapist.

He has earned a national reputation for his Transformative Life Centering work with clients from across the nation. His unique approach helps clients remove underlying fears and triggers, and then, through coaching, helps them pursue and accomplish life and career goals.

He provides coaching and hypnotherapy sessions remotely through Zoom. If you have challenges you’d like resolved, contact him HERE to create the life change you desire.

In a Prior Career…

Immediately following 9/11, Mr. Davis was the creator and publisher of the Homeland Security Report (before there was a Dept. of Homeland Security). His audience was law enforcement, first responders, and security professionals reaching thousands of readers across the U.S. He published the HSR for 12-years before focusing on global sciences & technology, and cyber.

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