“Bluebugging” on the rise as Bluetooth usage increases

CHICAGO, IL – Chicago has taken a stance against driving with hand held cellphones and passed a prohibitive law in 2005. Many surrounding states, 10 in total, have also passed similar laws. As a result, drivers are turning to use Bluetooth technology to talk hands-free. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) warn that scammers are finding ways to exploit this technology for their gains.

Scammers have a new technique called “bluebugging” to gain access to sensitive information stored in cellphones. Through special software the scammer intercepts the Bluetooth signal to hack into the cellphone and gain access to contacts, photos, text messages and call history. Scammers have the most success “bluebugging” while in busy areas and the new trend is to set up pay-per-minute numbers on the hacked phone to rack up charges.


“As technology becomes more advanced, scammers evolve to find new ways to access personal information through technology,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “It is important to understand how scammers access this information to protect against it.”


The BBB offers tips to protect against “bluebugging”:

  • Passwords. Always use a minimum of eight characters in your PIN. The longer your code, the more difficult it is to crack.
  • Sign-off. Switch your 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.
  • Be wary of unknown requests. Don’t accept pairing requests from unknown parties. If you happen to pair your phone with a hacker’s computer, then all your data is at risk.
  • Stay updated.
    Make sure you download and install regular security updates. Keeping your phone updated is an important way to protect it.

For more consumer advice you can trust and to check out a moving company near you, visit www.bbb.org