FBI warns holiday shoppers of dangers of public Wi-Fi

WASHINGTON -- If you're shopping online for hot deals on holiday presents, you should evaluate your surroundings before jumping on Wi-Fi.

The IRS, BBB, FBI and other agencies and organizations are warning gift givers about scams that might compromise tax data and identities of victims.

In a message to the public, a spokesman for Intuit Tax and Financial sounded the alarm about using shared Wi-Fi.

"When you're at the mall or the airport or Starbucks and you turn on your phone, you'll see free Wi-Fi. Be very careful of what you decide to use or access when you're using free Wi-Fi. As you're taking advantage of free Wi-Fi, a hacker can take advantage of you," said David Williams of Intuit Tax and Financial.

Officials also say early birds beginning their taxes should also be aware of the same scams.

"We at the FBI have seen people who've had tax documents like 1040s and W2s sitting in email accounts that are unencrypted [and then someone's] hacked the computer and stolen documents and it enables identity theft," an FBI spokesman said.

The skeleton of the scams is similar to others that circulate from time to time, including posing as officials and trying to exert false legal power.

"The IRS will never call and demand. We will not threaten to arrest you over the phone. We will not do any of that," added Maura Krajewski from IRS Investigations.