Protect Estate Planning

HerMoney Podcast Episode 198: How To Protect Yourself From The Latest (And Incredibly Clever) Scams, With Frank Abagnale

Kathryn Tuggle  |  January 29, 2020

The former con artist about whom the film “Catch Me If You Can” was made is here to dish on all the latest and greatest scams and how we can all stay safe.

Unfortunately, identity fraud is everywhere. In 2017, more than 6% of consumers fell victim to it, and 33% of adults in the U.S. have experienced identity theft of some sort. Every day, credit card numbers are swiped, and fraudsters are constantly thinking of increasingly clever ways to text, email, call, or otherwise hack their way into our lives.  What does this mean for all of us? It means we have to take additional steps to ensure our own security, particularly where technology is concerned… 

But don’t take our word for it. Here to dish on all the ways to stay safe from would-be scammers looking for any path into our lines of credit, finances, and lives, is Frank Abagnale, author of the book “Scam Me If You Can,” who knows all the tricks up scammers sleeves. Yes, THAT Frank Abagnale — about whom the iconic movie “Catch Me If You Can” was made.

Tune in to hear Frank open up about his journey into the FBI after he spent time in prison, and how the “love of country and love of character” that he saw exhibited by his fellow FBI agents rubbed off on him. Frank talks about what he really thinks of the movie (and subsequent Broadway musical by the same name) made of his life, and just how many times he’s really seen them. 

Frank dishes on his new book, “Scam Me If You Can,” and what inspired him to write it. You may find some of the statistics he unearthed just as shocking as he did. For example, Millennials are scammed more often than seniors, but seniors lose more money because they have more money to be stolen. 

Frank shares thoughts on why people may not be willing to admit when they’ve been scammed, and why that’s one of the worst instincts they can have. (Hint: Failing to go to law enforcement simply means that your scammer is still out there looking for other victims!) 

He also educates us on some of the more common scams out there, including grandparent scams, sweepstakes scams, and romance scams, all of which he says have two things in common: 1) At some point, you’re going to get a request for money, and 2) At some point, the person you’re in contact with is going to ask for your personal information, including a birthdate, social security number, credit card number, or a credit card security code. 

Frank talks about how easy it is these days to manipulate a caller ID to display whatever you want, including “US Treasury” or “Social Security Administration,” and how scammers are getting increasingly good at creating emails that look authentic, using personal information they’ve pulled from social media. Frank says that more than 5,000 phishing emails are received per day in the United States, with about $12 billion stolen per year. “If you tell someone where you were born and your date of birth, that’s all they need to know,” he says. 

He also discusses the dangers of answering robocalls as well as robo texts, and the increasingly common “romance scams” (sometimes called “dating scams”) that resulted in $140 million stolen in 2018 alone. Frank also discusses his podcast with AARP, “The Perfect Scam,” which profiles America’s biggest scam stories, and talks about some of the ways women may be more vulnerable to falling victim. 

In Mailbag, Jean and Kathryn talk about ESG funds, and how to know if your money is truly making an impact, and they answer a question from a listener about gaining access to her old frequent flyer miles and other credit card points that she fears her ex is using. We also tackle several questions from a new couple looking to get their life together started off right by negotiating for bonuses and relocation fees, and saving up for a down payment on a house. Lastly, in thrive, Jean discusses how we can all get  waivers for things like late payments and annual fees, and the “secret sauce” for convincing customer service reps to give you what you want. 


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