In a warning issued this week, the New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection encouraged travelers to protect themselves against so-called “juice jacking” on public charging stations.
Officials said thieves can place hidden skimming devices inside USB ports on public cell phone charging kiosks at airports, hotels, and other public locations.
“Unfortunately, nefarious scammers are always at work finding new ways to target unsuspecting consumers and steal their personal information,” New York Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez said in a statement.
“If you need to charge your phone or any device while traveling, it’s important to pay attention to how and where you charge these items to protect yourself from falling victim to a potential ‘juice jacking’ scam.”
The FBI and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have previously warned of juice-jacking scams, saying that malware installed through a corrupted USB port can lock a device or export personal data and passwords directly to a skimming device.
The Division of Consumer Protection offered the following tips that travelers can follow to prevent falling victim to the scam:
- Carry a portable battery charger and your own charging cables.
- Use the wall plug-in socket to charge your devices.
- If you plug your device into a USB port and a prompt appears asking you to “share data” or “trust this computer” or “charge only,” always select “charge only.”
- If you need to charge your device through a USB port, consider a USB device called a data blocker that connects to your phone's charging cable and keeps data from being transmitted through the USB cord.
- If you must use a public charging station, power off your device before plugging it into the charging port.
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