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The Art of the Steal: Lessons From a Hired Scammer

By Marcus Chan - 2012-03-07T01:44:23Z

Photograph by Noah Kalina/Corbis

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Burned by Hotel Hotspot

The scam: From his hotel room, Stickley set up a Wi-Fi hotspot in a matter of hours, using a couple of laptops. He named it something like "" and offered it to guests for much less than the hotel's Internet service. As people signed up for his service, he recorded their credit-card information and other data.

The lesson: Many people are accustomed to getting Wi-Fi access for free or cheap, so this offer can be hard to pass up. Stickley, who offered access for $3, instead of the hotel's rate of $11, fooled many hotel guests, including an airline pilot. Make sure you're connecting to a reputable service. Check with the front desk if you're not sure. Paying a couple of extra bucks now can save you more in the future.