People often ask how their bank account could be hacked into. The following is one way, which is prevalent this time of the year.  Mobile phone and laptop users are warned over the risky practice of checking bank balances or entering any personal details while using public WIFI because hackers could steal their details.

During the busy Christmas spending season more people than usual are expected to log-on to find out how much money is in their accounts while out shopping.

And free wifi is more readily available than ever before with restaurants, airports, coffee shops, hotels, and high street stores all offering the service to customers.

But data sent to your bank and other companies while using these networks can easily be intercepted by criminals to forge your identity or raid the money from your account.

The so-called ‘man-in-the-middle attacks’ are a form of digital eavesdropping where a fraudster can see the information you are sending to your bank – and vice versa – through the network.

The fraudster may be able intercept any transactions and can also access personal data that can be used for future frauds.

Or if you were to fill out an online form or make an application while using public wifi the information could also be potentially stolen and used to clone your identity.

Jacqueline Dewey, managing director of Consumer Markets, at credit reference agency Noddle, based in the UK said: “Never input your personal details while using a free or public Wi-Fi connection as someone could be watching everything you are typing and viewing over the internet connection.

“In fact, it’s a good idea to avoid using open Wi-Fi connections if you can help it.”

Experts said Christmas season raises the opportunity for cyber criminals to lure in more victims with a variety of targeted scams and frauds and are urging people to be extra vigilant at this time.