• Are public phone charging stations safe, secure? Officials say no

    By: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    Plunking down $20 for a recharging brick may seem like a lot when there are free charging stations all over the place. But one district attorney says not doing so could cost you much more for the free service.

    The Los Angeles County district attorney has posted a warning to Twitter, alerting travelers and shoppers about "Juice Jacking," "Good Morning America" reported.

    "Juice Jacking" is when criminals use public USB charging stations to steal information of unsuspecting users have stored on their phones and other devices.

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    The USB charging stations are becoming more common, popping up in airports and shopping malls, KABC reported.

    The data theft works, according to the DA's office, when someone loads malware into the stations or one of the cables, infecting the device, GMA reported.

    The malware then could forward all of your information to criminals, the district attorney's office said.

    Experts told KSEE the scam works like skimmers found at ATMs and gas pumps.

    So how can you avoid having to depend on the public charging stations and becoming a victim?

    Experts say be prepared, according to GMA

    Use an actual power outlet, not a charging station and that means take a charger and cord with you. Also, don't forget to pack a car charger, too. For those times when you drain your battery watching videos while on the go or playing Pokemon Go, buy a portable battery pack for emergency refills.

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