Frank Abagnale Jr.’s Tips To Avoid Identity Theft

I recently saw an interesting segment on Fox News Channel’s,  Huckabee show that aired on Sunday, April 3, 2011.  The show’s host, former Arkansas Governor and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee interviewed Frank Abagnale Jr. , the real life subject of the Oscar nominated movie, “Catch Me If You Can”, starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio.  The movie chronicled Abagnale’s early life as a con man and the FBI agent port raid by Tom Hanks who hunted him down and put him in prison.

Huckabee asked Abagnale for advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. Abagnale offered the following tips:

  1. Use a shredder before throwing away any document containing financial information.  Mr. Abagnale also recommended using only a micro cut shredder because standard  paper shredders cut documents in strips that can be pieced together by motivated thieves.  A micro shredder turns paper into confetti like pieces that cannot be pieced back together, ensuring your financial data remains secure.
  2. Subscribe to a credit monitoring service that monitors all three credit bureaus.  Report and take corrective action on any irregularities as soon as you become aware of them.
  3. Don’t use checks! Checks contain your name, phone number, your banking information including the bank name, branch, your account number and routing number. Often times your drivers license number is written on the front of the check when being verified by the person accepting the check.  Anyone who ever sees that check or a copy of it have all they need to produce fraudulent checks to draw on your account.
  4. Don’t use debit cards, especially for on-line purchases.  Debit cards go directly to your bank and draw on your funds. He recommends using a credit card for all of your purchases.  It builds credit while using the banks money and there is no risk, that is unless you fail to pay your balances in full monthly to avoid incurring credit card debt!

Pretty good advise from a man who spent the last 30 years teaching the FBI, banks and security companies how to avoid becoming victims of fraud.

The hit movie about Abagnale’s former life on the run has been adapted into a Broadway musical, click the link for details:


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