Using public USB charging stations could drain your bank account, officials warn

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Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Warning issued against using public USB charging stations
Just weeks ahead of the busy travel holiday season, travelers are warned against using airport USB charging stations

Just weeks ahead of the busy holiday travel season, people are being warned against using airport USB charging stations.

The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office sent out a tweet cautioning about a USB charger scam, also known as "juice jacking."

They advised people not to use public USB charging stations at places such as airports or shopping centers, as they could be loaded with malware.

"It loads itself into the phone and can either monitor the phone in real time, sometimes download information from the phone, sometimes clone the phone completely and you don't even have to be using it," said Deputy District Attorney Luke Sisak.

The malware could lock the phone or electronic device, or send private information such as passwords, addresses or even a full backup of the phone to crooks.

"Credit cards, passwords to banking accounts, your home address - all of that, if you've ever put it into the internet anywhere could potentially be saved in your history in your phone," Sisak said.

The D.A. offered the following tips for not becoming a victim of fraud:

- Use an AC power outlet, not a USB charging station

-Take AC and car chargers for devices when traveling

-Consider buying portable chargers for emergencies