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Scammers are using new methods to hack into your phone without you knowing

Phone Invaders Web.jpg

Hackers are finding it easier to steal information from your phones.

Linwood Bridgeforth is the supervisor of the FBI Cyber Squad team. He says everything from toys and refrigerators to alarms and toasters is connected to the internet.

"The more internet connected we become, the more vulnerable we become," said Bridgeforth.

In today's world, Wi-Fi is accessible almost everywhere.

"Open Wi-Fi at the airport, at McDonald's or any type of cafe. Be aware that that information can be hacked, and it's not secured as it could be," said Bridgeforth.

Sometimes, hackers will use the same Wi-Fi name as a public location to lure you in. El Paso police Officer Robert Gomez says don’t connect to random Wi-Fi networks.

“You're going to connect to it because it's free, you're actually connecting to the criminal," said Gomez.

By connecting to a random Wi-Fi name and always leaving your Bluetooth on, it’s a possibility to get hacked.

"If you have Bluetooth open, always scanning to connect. If you have your Wi-Fi open to connect, it's possible a hacker can use those systems to interrogate your phone," said Bridgeforth.

The FBI says to always turn off your location on the apps you use. Otherwise, hackers can track you down.

"With Snapchat's ability to GPS, well, that's a problem. You're on vacation and you're taking a whole ton of photos, and there's GPS attached to that. Turn off the location on your phone," said FBI Agent Shanna Beaulieu.

Chelsea Lopez says she’s usually careful about what she puts on her phone.

"I don't really have any of my banking information or anything on there; it's really just my social media," said Lopez.

But she didn't know hackers could use public Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to steal your information.

"No matter what, how technology is or how new it is, it's always going to be a risk to use it," said Lopez.

Eric Saucedo usually has his Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on when he works out. He says he didn't know hackers could access his phone that way.

"That's kind of scary. I've never heard of that before. I guess that's something to think about," said Saucedo.

He plans to be more careful when using his phone in the future.

According to the Better Business Bureau, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone. Out of those people, the survey site Quora.com says, 45 percent of Americans have enabled Bluetooth.

This means you or someone you know could be at risk.

"The best thing to do with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is to have it off unless you need it," said Gomez.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of phone hacking, visit www.ic3.gov. The FBI says it will do its best to protect you, but it needs your help to make sure scammers stay away.

"The FBI is always here for the citizens of El Paso to help protect the community we all live in," said Emmerson Buie, FBI special agent in charge, El Paso Division.

Therefore, it’s on you to treat your phone like it’s your home. Keep it locked, and watch who you let inside.

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