Famous con man turned cybersecurity expert urges credit freezing

Con man turned Leonardo DiCaprio movie character turned cybersecurity expert, Frank Abagnale, talks with TechRepublic’s Karen Roby about the steps people can take to protect their identity.

In part two of TechRepublic’s four-part series “Mastermind con man behind Catch Me If You Can talks cybersecurity,” TechRepublic’s Karen Roby sat down with Frank Abagnale, the famous con man turned FBI Academy instructor, who inspired the Leonardo DiCaprio character in the movie Catch Me If You Can to discuss what people can do to protect their identity–and credit.

Frank Abagnale: I get asked a lot about how do you protect yourself from identity theft, which is a big issue. And probably everybody in this country has had their identities already stolen because we’ve had over a billion identities stolen. We only have 340 million people in America, including babies and children. So I always tell people, “I just do a few things.”

First of all, I do freeze my credit. I do still use a monitoring service because I like to check my own credit. So for $14, $17 a month, I can go online and look at all three credit bureaus. I can look at inquiries being made on my credit. If something’s not accurate; I can fix it.

So, for that amount of money, it’s worth it for me to do that even though I froze my credit.

I don’t write a lot of checks in today’s environment. If I went into Walgreens and wrote a check, I’d have to hand the clerk the check, but on the check is my name, address, and phone number and my bank’s name and address. Also on there is my account number at my bank, my routing number into my account, my signature on the signature card at the bank, and then the clerk has written down my driver’s license number and my date of birth on the check.

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