Scammers have found a new way to steal your personal and sensitive information. The scam “bluesnarfing is a type of fraud that uses Bluetooth technology to gain access to a person’s mobile device. During an attack, scammers are able to access phone records, texts, emails and more, all without the owner’s knowledge.

“Bluesnarfing is especially dangerous because it opens the door for consumers to become a victim of identity theft,” says Mallory Wojciechowski, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Eastern NC. “Once your identity is stolen, it can take years to mend what was damaged.”

With nearly 80% of Americans owning a smartphone with bluetooth capability, millions of consumers are potentially at risk. BBB offers consumers the following tips to protect themselves against bluesnarfing.

How to protect your device from “bluesnarfing”:

Disable Bluetooth when you are not using it. Switch Bluetooth into “not discoverable” mode when you aren’t using it. If you make a call from your car, be sure to switch it off when you get out.

Create a complex password. The general rule of thumb is to use a minimum of eight characters in your PIN. The longer your code, the more difficult it is to crack. Every digit adds approximately 10,000 more combinations required to crack your PIN.

Don’t accept pairing requests from unknown parties. If you happen to pair your phone with a hacker’s computer, all your data will be at risk.

Require user approval for connection requests. Check your smartphone user’s manual for details on how to configure security features.

Erase connected phones from car. Whether you’ve connect your phone to a rental car or selling your old car, take the extra step to delete your mobile device from the car’s bluetooth.

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