Abagnale suggests the
following basic measures to protect against check fraud and
• Wrap It Up
– When giving monetary gifts, avoid placing checks in the
mail. If unavoidable, make sure the check is wrapped with a
sheet of paper or in a card, making the check less likely to
be viewed outside of the envelope.
• Be Secure
– Never leave mail in an unsecured mailbox. Instead, drop
your outgoing mail at a post office or locked postal boxes.
Abagnale says approximately 99 percent of all checks that
are washed are stolen out of home mailboxes.
• Beware Of Too
Much Stuffing – If public mailboxes are nearly
full, find another secure box to drop your mail in. Thieves
prey on mailboxes that fill up during the weekend because
access is easy.
• Check Your
Checks – Using secure checks is an important
component in preventing check fraud. Highly secure checks
should include at least eight safety features, including
controlled paper, a true watermark, thermochromatic ink, and
toner anchorage on laser checks for business use.
• Leave A Lasting
Mark – Use a uni-ball 207 gel pen when signing
checks. The black ink in the 207 is bold and contains color
pigments that absorb into paper fibers.
Financial Statements – As soon as you receive bank
and credit card statements, carefully make sure you
purchased everything mentioned.
• Invest In A
Shredder – When throwing away sensitive documents,
always destroy it first. Crosscut shredders are your best
bet because they cut your data into tiny squares, making it
almost impossible to piece your information back together.
• So Many
Passwords – You may be tempted to use the same
password for everything, keeping things simple. Remember
that if anyone cracks your personal code, access will be
granted to all your personal accounts. Take the time to
create unique and original passwords for all your personal
• Keep Social
Security Information Close – Employers, credit
grantors and schools may need your Social Security number,
but your grocery store’s savings club does not. When someone
asks for it, ask why it’s needed, where it will be used and
how it will be kept secure.
• Only Carry What
You Need – It’s one thing to be prepared, but you
really aren’t going to need your Social Security card when
you run to the grocery store. Keep any unessential cards
locked up at home.
• Secure The
Office Front – After safely stowing your personal
belongings in your work area, look into company security
procedures. Talk to your boss and explain the importance of
keeping personal information confidential.
For more tips and
information about protecting yourself against check fraud
and identity theft, go to
www.abagnale.com. In addition, his new book –
“Real U – Guide To Identity Theft” – is now available
online and at bookstores nationwide.