Notorious Identity Thief Shares Cybersecurity Tips

Frank Abagnale, arguably the most successful con men ever, is now working with the FBI to thwart identity theft of all kinds. The extent of Abagnale’s cons had no limit and proved incredibly prolific and prosperous. After serving 4 years of a 12-year jail sentence, he agreed to work with the FBI to educate consumers about identity theft. After all, he should know. If it sounds like a Hollywood movie, that’s because it is. Mr. Abagnale was the subject of the movie “Catch Me If You Can.” He successfully forged over 2.5 million dollars in checks and conned his way into making others believe he was an airline pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer. You really can’t make this stuff up.

Mr. Abagnale now travels the country giving insightful talks on how to avoid identity theft. From individuals to companies, he has helpful tips for us all.

– Your biggest priority is credit protection. Regularly check credit reports. It allows you to keep tabs on account activity and accuracy of information. If identity thieves have been at work, you’ll see it. Don’t miss a detail on these reports, including correct spelling of your name, address, and other personal data. Consider a credit freeze if you don’t need access to it soon or often.

– Never share your Social Security Number unless it’s absolutely necessary and only with verified and legitimate sources; which are few. It’s the lifeblood of your identity. Never print it on checks and never use it for a pin number.

– Always make a purchase using your credit card, as opposed to debit card (the fewer credit cards you have the better). When a credit card number is stolen, it’s the credit card issuer who pays the bill for the sale. If your debit card number is pirated, purchases come directly from your bank account.

– Micro-shred all paperwork, especially those having any personal information whatsoever. Trash picking identity thieves are able to reconstruct documents destroyed with a typical shredder. Micro-shredding insures documents cannot be rebuilt.

– Beware of everything you post on social media. Identity thieves troll social media sites, stealing identities with amazing success. Avoid posting birthdates and places, your address, “mug shot-style” facial pictures (in other words, smile!), snap shots of a car showing a license plate, or a house picture with any identifying street numbers.

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