You may be familiar with evil twins from books and TV, but there’s a real-life kind of evil twin that aims to steal your information.

Evil twin networks are a tactic scammers use to trick you into logging onto their networks. Here’s how it works:

Scammers set up a network with a name similar to a public network you want to use. For example the WiFi network at Joe’s Hotel might be called JoeNetwork1. Scammers could set up a network called JoeHotelWiFi.

If unsuspecting customers log onto the JoeHotelWiFi network, scammers could monitor their web activity, steal information, misdirect them to malicious sites, and even download spyware onto their computer. Crooks and also monitor everything you type and make off with passwords and credit card numbers.

Beware of public networks that don’t ask for a password. They aren’t secure at all. But also be cautious when dealing with networks that require a password. Make sure you get the exact name of the network.

Make sure your devices are not set to automatically connect to any open network.

It’s safer to wait until you get home to conduct financial transactions. If you’re required because of work or travel to use WiFi away from home, install a virtual private network.