How Frank Abagnale Protects Himself From Identity Theft

How does Frank Abagnale, an infamous check forger in the 60’s, protect himself from modern day identity thieves?

• Never uses debit card
• Rarely writes checks
• Pays for everything with credit card, so his money is never directly at risk
• Subscribes to credit-report monitoring services
• Shreds documents with a micro-cut shredder
• Opts out of creditor’s information sharing arrangements

How the Pros Protect Their Identity [WSJ via Consumer World Blog]


Edit Your Comment

  1. superlayne says:

    Or we could just live off the land like a mountain man…

  2. eli_b says:

    frank stole money, and dicaprico stole our hearts…sigh

  3. nweaver says:

    HAHA. Glad to hear that it is rather close to mine. Especially the “Use a credit card, its not your money till you write the check to pay the balance in full”

  4. gone725 says:

    This is some of the best and simplest advise out there.

  5. jordy777 says:

    Use American Express whenever you can. They rock… so hard.

  6. j-o-h-n says:

    From the article:

    “He also resists computers’ offers to “remember this password.” “There should be a ‘forget me’ button,””

    In Firefox, which anyone who cares about this should be using, there is:

    Tools, Clear Private Data (aka Ctrl+Shift+Del)

    Also, if you do use Firefox to store your passwords you should set a *good* Master Password to protect them all under “Tools, Options… Privacy”.

  7. markedward says:


    You know… I tried convincing my girlfriend that would be a good idea… But she said she would miss her friends if she was confined to the mountains.

  8. Tinu says:

    I’d want a computer hacker’s advice on how to protect my computer too – they’d know.

    Back to the topic, though, I agree with him about checks. [tirade]After years without a checking account, I decide to sign up with Wells Fargo after their third request that I get one, since I’m constantly cashing “large” checks, at a Vegas location. I’ll spare you the fiasco I went through after writing ONE electronic check to Amazon, upon which Amazon fubared my checking account.

    Even after admitting responsibility for the error, Wells Fargo “invited” me to close my account. I hated checks in the 90s when we started doing the electronic thing, and I hate them now. I will sooner set fire to my cash than put it in a checking account. Savings, maybe. [/tirade]

  9. inboulder says:


    She might miss them, but what really what can she do once she’s chained to the cabin stove.

  10. eli_b says:

    @inboulder: dishes?

  11. aikoto says:

    Garbage. Credit Monitoring is a ripoff not unlike paying “protection” money to the mob. There best possible protection for identity theft is Credit Security Freezes where your account is locked down under a password so no one can even look at it without your express permission (no more sneak credit checks by dealerships when you shop for a car :)


  12. Trackback says:

    So, you’ve been keeping up on Identity Theft Week here at PTY and all you can think to yourself is “Wow! This is awesome! I wish someone would come along and steal my identity, so that I, too, can join the throng of victims!” I understand.