Famous former con-artist says never use debit card!

Identity theft is the deliberate use of someone else’s identity (e.g., name, address, Social Security number, bank accounts) to get money and credit, obtain employment, steal property, falsify educational and other credentials, access healthcare and more.

Frank Abagnale is a former con-artist and professional impostor whose memoir, Catch Me If You Can, was made into a movie with the same title starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Abagnale lectures at the FBI’s Academy and field offices, and is one of the world’s most respected authorities on the subjects of fraud, forgery and cyber security.

In an article for CNBC (via MSN) — an adaped excerpt from his new book Scam Me If You Can — Abagnale warns us to NEVER ever use debit cards. Below are excerpts from the CNBC essay:

Every year, millions of American consumers — nearly 7% of the population — are victims of scams and fraud. In 2017, the number of fraud victims in the US reached 16.7 million, with $16.8 billion lost.

For more than 45 years, I’ve worked with, advised and consulted with the FBI and hundreds of financial institutions, corporations and government agencies around the world to help them in their fight against fraud.

But my expertise began more than 50 years ago, in an unusual way: I was one of the world’s most famous con artists. While I’m ashamed of what I did as a young man — cheating, stealing and, along the way, deceiving and hurting people — I was grateful for the opportunity to turn myself around….

In 2017, during talk I gave at Google, a young man posed a question that I’m often asked: “Given all the advancements in computing and technology, isn’t it harder for today’s criminals to steal your identity than it was back in the 1960s?”

The answer, I told him, is no: It’s not harder. In fact, it’s about 4,000 times easier today than it was then….

[C]on artists are very good at seeking and finding information. With today’s technology, all a thief has to do is go online, give a check-printing service your name and account number, have the checks sent to a post office box and voilà — there goes the contents of your checking account….

Want to avoid identity theft? Never, ever use a debit card. I don’t own one. I never have and I never will. I don’t recommend them to anyone — not my family, not my friends, not you.

As I said at the Google talk, a debit card is certainly and truly the worst financial tool ever given to the American consumer. Why? It’s simple: Every time you use one, you put your money and your bank account at risk.

Instead, use a credit card. I use one for practically all of my purchases, even when I’m traveling abroad. With credit cards, federal law limits my liability if there’s an unauthorized use of my card.

When I use a credit card, I’m spending the credit card company’s money every day until I pay my bill at the end of the month. Meanwhile, my money is earning interest in a bank account.

If there’s a large data breach (and you know that there will be) and a criminal does somehow get my credit card number and charges $1 million on it, I’m protected and my credit card company will cancel the card and send a new one within the next couple of days.

I won’t be responsible for any purchases made. If the same thing happens and the criminals get my debit card information, however, I could lose the money in my bank account and have a difficult and lengthy time recovering it.

Also, keep your check-writing to a minimum and be vigilant about examining your bank statements frequently.

~Eowyn

Better than Drudge Report. Check out Whatfinger News, the Internet’s conservative frontpage founded by ex-military!

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

20
Leave a Reply

avatar
16 Comment authors
Starman JonesAuntie LuluGeorge J DenisonBlatheranon Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
hickory
Guest
hickory

Pretty sure this is BS, just saying.

KDJ
Guest

While he may be his leaving money in the bank to earn interest, according to the FDIC, today’s rate for savings is a paltry 0.09 %. So yeah, bs.

Kev
Guest
Kev

It’s not BS. It appears you’ve never had money stolen from you via your debit card.

George J Denison
Guest
George J Denison

Hickory, you’re wrong; wife had debit card stolen, cleaned out bank account . Never was compensated by bank.

B. Shakalaka
Guest
B. Shakalaka

I work in the CC industry in global acct mgmt- 16 years in- and have had my CU account drained twice over the years. He is spot on. Spot. On. Except the earning interest part…paltry at best.

The security illusion is exactly that. An illusion to make YOU feel better.

Alma
Member
Alma

Unless necessary, I use a debit card. Whenever possible I pay cash, I just make sure I have it to back up my purchase and never ever expose a large bill, so far it has worked for me. I’m very cautious of my surroundings and stay alert. I don’t go out at night, but if I have to, my S&W keeps me company.

Kev
Guest
Kev

Use the debit card for ATM only. The card is always at risk, but some folks have to be able to access their cash. But ONLY use your PIN at an ATM…NEVER at a store. And NEVER use an ATM at a “shady” or scroungy looking joint. Places like that have been used to plant fake ATMs used only to steal your card details.

Roberta
Guest
Roberta

My debit card is from a bank at which I have no assets, in another community. Even so, the manager told me if a criminal tried to use it for an amount larger than what is in the card, it will just lock up.
I have had my identity stolen twice: one was an inside job (credit union employee in another state) and the other in Minneapolis. My sister had hers stolen upon filing for disability benefits (by an employee of the insurance company).
Nothing digital is safe.

Roberta
Guest
Roberta

I should have added: my ID steals were not debit cards!

Super-electric
Guest
Super-electric

I use cash whenever and wherever I can. That is called freedom.

Auntie Lulu
Guest
Auntie Lulu

I love cash. I’m with you, that is how I purchase things I need. I either pay with cash, or I use my credit card. I would never use a debit card.

Maryaha
Guest
Maryaha

I love his “Catch Me If You Can” book! I read it like 10 times back in the 80s. I was working at a bank and had to attend a security seminar in Dallas, where he was the speaker. I thought it would be a real snooze-fest, but was pleasantly surprised at how funny and interesting he was. I bought his book right after the seminar was over. The movie didn’t do the book justice – it wasn’t nearly as good.

Judy JJ Smith
Guest
Judy JJ Smith

I don’t have any bills so don’t need a checking acct. Husband’s acct. gets my S.S. each month and I use a C.C. for online purchases.
I’ve warned him to use his debit for atm only.
Once in our 45 year marriage, 200 was stolen from a gas station. , using one of those scanners under the cashier counter.
Years later the bank clerk said she could have retrieved that but it was many years ago.
I use cash every place I shop.
Less stress.

anon
Guest
anon

I ve had credit & debit cards hacked, fortunately my credit union cancelled the charges, reimbersed funds, re issued cards, etc

Blather
Guest
Blather

Totally agree. I never used it or will use it when I found this out years ago. Damn bank sent me one but I have never used it.

Auntie Lulu
Guest
Auntie Lulu

Fabulous article. None of us can be too careful. Some of the banks fight you if you tell them you want an “ATM card only” in order to be able to withdraw money from your account. You just have to insist.

Starman Jones
Guest
Starman Jones

This is what consumer advocate Clark Howard has to say about debit cards. And it is “don’t ever use them to pay for anything.”
https://clark.com/personal-finance-credit/never-use-debit-card-pay/