His story of life as a con man was depicted in Steven Spielberg's acclaimed film Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio. These days, Frank Abagnale is a world-renowned identity theft expert who has been helping the FBI combat fraud for more than 30 years. Jean talks with Frank about his simple yet essential tips for safeguarding your identity.
Own and use a quality microcut shredder. "It turns paper into confetti," Frank says, rendering it useless to anyone looking to steal your personal information.
Look into a credit monitoring service. When selecting a company, ask them, "Do you monitor all three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion?" And, "Will you notify me in real time?"
During tax time, never write checks out to "IRS." Frank says identity thieves can easily manipulate these letters to make the check appear to be written out in someone else's name.
Use credit cards rather than checks or debit cards. If anything happens, the responsibility rests with the credit company, which safeguards your assets, Frank says. However, be sure you can pay off your balance at the end of each month. If you can't, use cash.
Do not do online banking on a wireless system. Identity thieves can easily intercept your personal data over a wireless signal, Frank says.