[img src=”/wp-content/uploads/sites/1214/2017/05/Catch-Me-If-You-Can_01.jpg” alt=”catch me if you can, Charlotte” class=”aligncenter”]
If you have seen the movie you remember Frank Abagnale Jr. If not, check out this brief summary on the trailer here.
In the case of Mr. Abagnale, they did catch him but it took quite a while.
Recently, while attending a continuing education event, we got a chance to meet and hear Mr. Abagnale speak about his life and more importantly about personal security.
The entire hour was fascinating.
Frank Abagnale Jr. was made famous by his 6 years spent as a confidence man, where he forged checks, masqueraded as an airline pilot, lawyer, and doctor. While he was eventually caught and incarcerated, he was released to work with the FBI to help prevent criminals like him. As of April 26th, 2017, he has been with the FBI for 42 years. His role with the bureau is focused on preventing crimes against the federal government, which includes many forms of fraud such as Medicare, Social Security and Tax Fraud.
He shared many of his experiences with us, and here are four points I wish to relay to you to help protect your personal security and identity.
- Do not use a debit card. Do use a credit card.
The main reasoning being this, with a credit card, you are spending somebody else’s money, and under federal law, you are not liable for any fraudulent activity on your card. Debit cards directly access your money, and there is no law protecting your money from fraud. As an added bonus, paying off a credit card improves your credit, while debit cards have zero impact on your credit.
- Purchase a credit monitoring service.
Mr. Abagnale advised that monthly credit reports are the best way to make sure your identity stays with you. This way, you can react soon enough if someone attempts to steal your identity.
- Purchase a high security paper shredder that uses micro cut technology.
Traditional and diamond cut shredded documents can be pieced together by the FBI in an hour or less. They are able to reconstruct an entire issue of the Wall Street Journal in just a couple of hours. According to Mr. Abagnale, no current technology can reconstruct a micro cut shredded document. (The shredded document turns into pieces of paper the size of a rice grain).
- Be careful with your Facebook and social media profiles and pictures.
In order to steal your identity, criminals actually only need a small amount of information about you; your full name, social security number, birthdate, birthplace, current address. A lot of this information can be supplied by your social media profile. Do not post this information. When loading pictures to Facebook or other linked social media sites, Mr. Abagnale advised to avoid loading pictures with a straight view of your face. Upload pictures of you in profile, you with your dog, you riding a horse. Facial recognition software is so advanced that they can snap your picture at the airport and 10 seconds later pull your Facebook profile and possibly get your address.
As technology changes, crime changes and advances. The preventative measures we all take must be constantly changing and evolving to keep pace. I know that we harp on security with most every single post but the feedback from Mr. Abagnale was so good we decided to pass it on.