"I never really thought about it too much, and the only times I've ever done it is when I'm at a coffee shop where I feel like it's relatively secure, just because a lot of people do it," said Deepa Koshti. We found her using free wi-fi at a local coffee shop. She said she doesn't put in any banking or credit card information, but will check her email or Facebook.
"All it really takes is a person motivated to do it, and then the information is out there on how to," said Jon Benton.
Benton used to be a police officer in Frisco, TX, until a few months ago, when he came back to Lubbock to open SuperGeeks Lubbock, a computer store he now uses to help people with similar problems.
"I think it has become more easy, or easier, to access someones information over the computer as opposed to taking the time to dig through their trash," said Benton
During his 5 years as an officer, Benton said he averaged five calls a day about identity theft. "Most of the time they were pretty deflated, they were just kind of giving up hope, and they didn't know where to go or what to do," Benton said.
Benton said one of the first things to do to stop yourself from a potential hacker: slow down, and check the name of the network you're going to join.
"If you go to a coffee shop, they will have a public wi-fi hotspot, but then somebody can come in and set up their own hotspot with a very similar name, to trick people to get onto that," said Benton.
People at a local coffee shop told KLBK they took varying degrees of protection online.
"I don't go on bank accounts or anything like that that is super personal, like anything too high security" said one girl, who said she does check email and Facebook.
Others said they wouldn't even put in a password to check their email.
"That's why usually I'll connect on through my phone and send my deals through my phone," said one guy.
Benton said those 3G connections found on phones are more secure, as you're the only one with access.
No matter how secure, however, Benton said once you've been hacked, it can be hard to find where it started.
"It was always a very long, drawn out process once someones identity, or passwords, or bank accounts had been compromised," said Benton.
He said if you absolutely have to connect to a public connection, keep the interaction quick. "Pop on when you need to and then turn it off, then it's a very small window for somebody to access your information," said Benton.
Some simple ways to protect yourself online:
Change your password often.
Don't use the same password for every account.
Don't log onto a banking site, or enter any credit card information on a public network.
If you want to learn more about computer and internet safety, SuperGeeks Lubbock is hosting a computer safety class March 2nd from 2-3 p.m.