Scammers look for open Bluetooth connections - FOX 13 News

Scammers look for open Bluetooth connections

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A new wave of tech-scams are surfacing thanks to cell phones. This time, thieves are trying to bust into your Bluetooth connection.

It's a simple means of multi-tasking, but Bluetooth technology isn't just easy for those interested in making a hands-free phone call. It's attracting interest from scammers.

"The scammers are looking for open Bluetooth connections on cell phones, and then they'll use software to access that phone's information," said John Zajac of the Better Business Bureau of West Florida.

Experts call it "blue-bugging."

"When that happens, all of your personal information is exposed from your texts to your contact list, to your call history, photos, whatever may be on your phone," Zajac said Monday.

The Better Business Bureau says scammers also hack into a Bluetooth connection to tap into your cell phone's service plan and use your minutes to fuel their own phone.

Your primary defense against the Bluetooth blues? Setting up a cell phone password to deter intruders. Kennedy Boulevard's iHospital also recommends turning off the Bluetooth setting when it's not in use.

"If you're not using a Bluetooth device, turn it off. Make it non-discoverable. We have iPhones that come in all the time that have a Bluetooth icon in the top right, that you can see and most people don't even know it's on," said iHospital manager Sherri Coffey.

The BBB says scammers generally stick to high traffic areas like airports or malls and watch victims wirelessly come to them.

"More and more people are carrying smartphones, which pretty much carry the same risks as your laptop or your home computer. If you don't properly protect those, then you're exposing your identity," Zajac said.

Experts recommend creating a passcode lock on your phone that's at least eight characters long. They also say it's a good idea to mix letters and numbers to put more power into your password.

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