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Why You Should Never Charge Your Phone in Public

PureWow logo PureWow 15-03-2017 (PureWow)
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You know the drill: You’re at the airport, your flight is delayed and—oh good—your phone is about to die. Luckily you have your charger, right? But before digging through your carry-on, you may want to think twice, especially if you're plugging into a public outlet.

That’s because plugging your charger into a public outlet could compromise your phone (along with all the information on it).

We checked in with Michael Bruemmer, VP of Consumer Protection at Experian (and our iPhone guardian angel), to get all the facts. Similar to logging on to public Wi-Fi, plugging in to public outlets can put you at risk, Bruemmer says. Think about when you plug your phone into your computer using your power cord. You can download photos, apps, information, etc. from your phone to your computer in minutes. Cut to a compromised public outlet and a hacker could snag all the contents of your phone just as quickly.

This is especially true if you’re using a public USB port (like the ones connected to your seat TV on airplanes and even in rental cars). According to Bruemmer, these public USB ports, where you directly plug your cord in sans adapter, can be compromised even more easily.

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We’re not suggesting settling for a dead phone (only a monster would propose such blasphemy), but we do recommend finding alternatives. Bruemmer stresses, overall, it’s best to avoid using public sources to charge your phone, and instead, utilize your own portable charging device when your cell battery is low.

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