Identity Theft and Fraud can lead to Significant Debt
I have helped many people who’s debt arose as a result of identity theft or fraud. In some cases a friend or family member “borrowed” their credit or debit card and racked up a lot of debt. In other cases their PIN was compromised through carelessness and they were left with debt they could not repay. Fifty years ago if you wanted to steal money from someone you had to steal cash. Today money is electronic, so if your identity is stolen you can lose a lot of money very quickly.
How big a problem is identity theft and fraud? That’s the question I asked today’s guest, Kelley Keehn, the author of Protecting You and Your Money: A Guide to Identity Theft and Fraud. She told me that:
A third of Canadians have been victims of some type of fraud. What was more curious is that two thirds of Canadians surveyed said that they knew of someone that was a victim of fraud, so even if it hasn’t happened to us yet, a lot of us know someone who was a victim of fraud.
Credit card fraud is a problem, but in most cases your credit card issuer will cover you, so if you fill out a form or prove that you didn’t authorize the charges the problem can be solved quickly.
Identity theft is another matter altogether, and it can take many weeks and a lot of effort to restore your name.
So what can you do to protect yourself? Kelley gives a lot of practical advice, so here are are top tips.
How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft and Fraud
Kelley Keehn’s top tips for protecting your identity:
- Slow down and think: Ask why am I being asked for this information? When in doubt, don’t disclose it. As Kelley says “don’t be the polite Canadian”. Ask why they need the information, how they will protect it, and how they will destroy it when they are done with it.
- Don’t pick up the phone if you don’t recognize the number. This is particularly true for seniors who may be more vulnerable to telephone scams (young people rarely talk on the phone, so they are less at risk to phone scams).
- Don’t click on any link in any email that you don’t recognize.
- Don’t give out your Social Insurance Number, except to someone who needs your SIN to report your income to Canada Revenue Agency, such as an employer, investment company or your bank. Your SIN is so important that CRA does not even issue SIN cards anymore, so keep your SIN private.
- Check your statements each month (or every week on-line), and notify your bank if anything looks suspicious.
- Make a list of of the dates your statements for each credit card and bank account arrive each month. If a statement is late, call the bank immediately, because a fraudster may have re-directed your statements so they can use your card undetected.
- Check your credit report at least once a year.
- If you are at high risk, perhaps because you travel and use your credit card frequently, consider putting a proactive fraud alert on your credit report. See links below.
- Shred everything with any personal information on it. Even an airline boarding pass that only has your name on it, there is a scanner code that a thief could use to access your air miles account, which may give them access to additional information. Shred or burn everything.
Read the Transcript for Show #75 below.
Resources Mentioned In The Show
- Kelley Keehn’s website
- Protecting You and Your Money: Kelley Keehn’s book, available for $9.99 from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada
- Technocreep: The Surrender of Privacy and the Capitalization of Intimacy, a “scary” book written by Thomas P. Keenan and recommended by Kelley
- Placing a fraud alert – Equifax
- Placing a fraud alert – TransUnion
FULL TRANSCRIPT show #75 with Kelly Keehn
Doug Hoyes: Today we’re going to talk about identity theft and fraud. And why are we talking about identity theft and fraud on a show called Debt Free in 30? Simple, over the years I’ve dealt with dozens of people who have debt. And when I asked them what happened they told me that they lent their credit card or debit card to a friend or family member and they used the card and racked up a lot of debt. Or someone stole their card of figured out their password and took their money and now they’ve got a lot of debt. I’ve done many bankruptcies over the years for people whose debt came largely from being defrauded.
Now 50 years ago if you wanted to steal money from someone you had to steal cash but today money is electronic so if you aren’t careful you can lose a lot of money really quickly. So, what can you do to protect yourself? Well, my guest has the answer so let’s get started. Who are you and what’s the title of your latest book?
Kelley Keehn: I am Kelley Keehn and my latest book is Protecting You and Your Money, a Guide to Avoiding Identity Theft and Fraud.
Doug Hoyes: Excellent. Well, thanks for being here Kelley. So, by way of a really quick bio, you ran your own wealth management firm before selling your practice and since then you published eight books. Is that the right number at the moment?
Kelley Keehn: That’s right yeah. Only eight got published.
Doug Hoyes: Written nine, so there’s one –
Kelley Keehn: There’s one just hanging out there somewhere.
Doug Hoyes: One we might get to see at some point. You co-hosted a T.V, you write regularly for lots of different publications like The Globe & Mail, you appear on T.V all the time, including I believe as the personal finance expert on The Marilyn Dennis show. So, a lot of our listeners will have certainly seen your work. But today I want to talk about the book. So, identity theft, what is identity theft?
Kelley Keehn: Right. Let me just back up and say a lot of people are familiar with credit card theft, okay? CPA Canada, the Charter for Professional Accountants of Canada that published that book, they come out with a survey every year for three years. And their spring survey of 2013, I’m sure they’ll come out with another one soon, identified that a third of Canadians have been a victim of some type of fraud.
Doug Hoyes: A third.
Kelley Keehn: A third. What was more curious though Doug, was two thirds of Canadians that reported on this survey, said that they knew of someone that was a victim of fraud. So, even if it hasn’t happened to us yet, a lot of us know of someone. So, that’s really inconvenient. And depending on how much it is you may have to do an affidavit with your bank and blah, blah, blah and you may get a new credit card, you may be frozen, so if you’re travelling that really sucks but generally it’s not a big deal. The bank’s going to protect you unless, and we can talk about this later, you did something silly like have your pin be part of your SIN or your date of birth or something like that. There’s now precedence where you as a consumer have to know the terms and conditions to be protected. Okay, so that’s credit card theft, that also can happen with your debit card, inconvenient, not the end of the world generally.
Identity theft is a very different thing. My research with that book identified that it takes up to four working weeks to clear your name, that’s Monday to Friday, eastern standard time on your own dime generally making the calls, sending off correspondence whatever you have to do to say that wasn’t me that applied and got a $200,000 mortgage on my house. That wasn’t me that got a car loan for $80,000 and my mail was being diverted and we can talk about red flags in a few minutes. That wasn’t me. I didn’t even know it was happening. I didn’t know credit cards were being taken out in my name.
Now that’s the financial fallout but a lot of experts that I researched for the books told me some horror stories about other fallout such as this young couple, they’re strapped, they go on a Mexican vacation with their kid, barely made it to the all inclusive, the husband gets whisked off into a Mexican prison because someone used his Canadian passport or a synthetic one to commit a murder and he’s wanted in Mexico. She’s standing there with the kid. Like I don’t even have a dollar to call a lawyer or what do I do, right? So, it’s not just the financial fallout, it’s that people can commit crimes in your name.
There’s so much that can be done ’cause as you said in the intro, our lives, we don’t have money anymore, we have numbers, ones and zeros. We don’t have lives anymore, we have cyber lives. Identity theft can be devastating and we are solely responsible for protecting ourselves and it’s a little early in the year so I don’t have last year’s numbers yet for the number of hacks and how much they’ve increased. But I can tell you I’m sure the number’s up of how many companies are not protecting our data.
So, it’s not just our responsibility to shred and to not share our passwords and do all that, but how about the companies? How about the governments? How about these huge entities that are not protecting my SIN, my date of birth, all of that that is getting sold on the dark web and how do I protect myself from that?
Doug Hoyes: So, Identity theft then – so, how does it happen then?
Kelley Keehn: Yeah, how does it happen? So, it can start with credit card theft and be as something as simple as that. What you have to think about is that 10, 20 years ago when there was a hack or something like that with some kid in their parent’s basement, it was kind of funny and he or she was seeing how far they could get. Now it’s 100% criminal and generally it’s beyond our borders, it’s in Russia, it’s in China.
And people think well what do I have to hide? I’m not a celebrity, I’m just on Face Book o something of that sort and yeah everybody knows my birth date. Last week my kid’s soccer club as for their SIN. Like is that a big deal? Yeah, that’s a really big deal because all these key components of our identity, our date of birth, our full name, our driver’s license, our passport number, our SIN, these are key components to our identity that when put together and it’s not somebody in a boiler room in Russia that’s waiting and trying to get this information. Sometimes it is just like dumpster divers going and getting our information.
But generally it’s smart algorithms that are just sniffing little pieces, you know, there’s a hack over here, great. We got Kelley’s credit card, we got her full name, now she freely put her date of birth up on Face Book, we steal that over. Now somebody was irresponsible with her SIN, we got that and then they build a profile and then they can go start applying for credit in your name. It can also start from someone – sometimes it’s friendly fraud, sometimes in an ex-spouse, an ex-nanny, ex-assistant that heard your little secret password when you called your bank. And it wasn’t just your mother’s maiden name and started to gather that and then what they do is they call and then they say oh I got to change my address. So, what happens is you don’t even notice that the credit card statement didn’t come in in January or February. Oh, that’s great. No, your mail is important.
Doug Hoyes: So, I can steal your identity if I know five or six or seven different things.
Kelley Keehn: Or even just a couple sometimes. It depends what you’re trying to do. So, when we say steal your Identity, sometimes it’s not that nefarious. Sometimes it’s just, you know, I had your SIN and I had your full name and I went and applied for a car loan or I got a credit card of whatever. It doesn’t have to be full blown I devastated your whole financial life; it can just be little things. What you’re seeing to with fraudsters is they might apply for like a $500 credit card. Sometimes they’ll even go so far as to pay people’s credit card payments to get their credit score up an then go for the big kill, right? It’s a big business. Your data, your everything that we’re just freely giving away or not realizing companies are not protecting is putting us at great risk.
Doug Hoyes: So, the problem with identity theft is it doesn’t take a whole lot for me to do a whole lot of damage to someone.
Kelley Keehn: That’s right.
Doug Hoyes: And if that information is freely available, it’s easier to get obviously. So, I assume therefore the obvious solution for me is don’t make information freely available. Is it that simple?
Kelley Keehn: Yeah, it’s that simple, a little bit more difficult to tell your parents and our kids. Just got my mom a Smartphone, she’s 77, never been on a computer. She’s loving it, she’s on Facebook, she’s having a blast, she’s like – she has no – and I mean my mom’s a very smart woman, I’m not trying to paint her – but she is stereotypical, has never been on a computer, she has no comprehension was hacking is, what any of this is. How do I tell my mom, and really thank God she doesn’t bank online or anything but really try to help her what a phishing attack is, right, with a ph. Like god forbid she were banking online and sending email. Mom there’s no such thing as a Nigerian prince that’s trying to – she just doesn’t comprehend it.
Doug Hoyes: And she’s been dealing with the same bank probably for 50 years.
Kelley Keehn: Goes there in person, yeah.
Doug Hoyes: But then she gets an email from that bank that isn’t really from that bank. And she goes oh okay, it must be from Mary at the branch. I don’t know why she didn’t talk to me when I was there but okay sure Mary you forgot my SIN here you go, let me send it to you. And so they just don’t even think then that it’s an issue.
Kelley Keehn: Yeah, and some of your younger listeners might think oh I would never fall for that. How about newcomers coming to this country or how about where the bad guys are calling them up and saying this is the government of Canada, this is CRA. If you don’t pay this, here’s my badge number and here’s my blah, blah, blah. They’re coming up with new iterations all the time. So, if we think we’re so smart and we would catch it and we would never fall for it they’re always one step ahead. I know you’re going to ask me right away how bad it is.
Doug Hoyes: How bad is it? You’re right.
Kelley Keehn: We don’t have accurate numbers. This book launched a year and a half ago on Parliament Hill with the Canadian anti-fraud centre with the RCMP with members of Parliament. What the message was they believe that only 5% of all fraud is being reported in Canada. Because we feel ashamed, we feel embarrassed, how could I get duped? This is everything from a romance scam to the grandparent thing to the phishing attack to the Bernie Madoff Earn Jones kind of thing, right? We’re embarrassed. We don’t know even who to call. We know we’re not going to get our money back maybe so we do anything. And message is, you might be able to get your money back so you do want to call. But yeah, we don’t even know how bad it is because Canadians are just massively under reporting.
Doug Hoyes: So, it’s really in its infancy. I mean we know how many bank robberies there are, they’ve been going on for 150 years, the stats are pretty good on that. But this type of thing is so new that there’s stuff happening right now and we don’t even know what it is. So, the most simple thing you can tell people is if you don’t have to disclose it, don’t.
Kelley Keehn: Exactly. Don’t be the polite Canadian that just gives it away. Say, why do you want this and what are you going to do with it and how are you going to destroy it after I’ve given it to you?
Doug Hoyes: You identified that the most vulnerable people can be either older or younger people, older people because they didn’t grow up with computers, younger people because they’re very open and very sharing. Everybody puts everything on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and all the rest of it. So, what are the kinds of things you should not be sharing?
Kelley Keehn: Okay, so we can get into some obvious ones like you’re SIN. I mean I’ve done national radio shows where people are saying my Hydro is asking for my SIN. Why is your hydro company asking for your SIN? Why is your kid’s soccer club asking for that? Your SIN, your social insurance number is such a key component to your identity that they government has stopped issuing SIN cards.
Doug Hoyes: They don’t issue SIN cards.
Kelley Keehn: They don’t even issue a physical card anymore because it’s so sensitive. If you go on Service Canada’s website it’ll give you a detailed account of who is – not allowed, that’s not the right word, you’re legally obligated to provide a SIN to – anyone can ask for it. Who you’re legally obligated to provide it to is your employer because they have to report income. If you’re opening up something like an RSP, a TFSA, something that income has to be reported; therefore the government needs to have it or what have you or your employer. Let’s say you’re applying for a job, you do not to give your SIN, you haven’t got the job yet. Your bank actually and a credit card company, you’re not legally obligated if you are applying for a mortgage, for a credit card, something of that sort, you don’t have to give it.
Doug Hoyes: And that’s because there’s no income related to a debt I’m paying.
Kelley Keehn: Exactly.
Doug Hoyes: So, a SIN only applies to Revenue Canada.
Kelley Keehn: To income, exactly. Essentially it’s about income, about government benefits, something of that sort. It’s all about income yet we give that out freely. Some other things when it comes to protecting your identity and information even just physical safety.
So, for example I have this conversation with my nieces and nephews all the time at family gatherings, you know, they come over, they’re taking pictures. And I’m like let me check your phone and see – the younger generations are very technically savvy, they’re not necessarily privacy savvy. So, I’m like I want to see your phone. I want to see that geo tagging is shut off of your pictures.
So, for example some phones it’s by default, it depends how new or old your phone is that has a little GPS stamp on it that this picture was taken I’m from Edmonton Alberta and approximately the location and then they throw that up on Facebook. Oh we had such a great time at Auntie Kel’s house, do, do, do. A criminal building a profile goes great now we know where Auntie Kel’s house is. We saw that the kids went over and they ate pizza every day after school and they can build profiles on your kids and know where you are. Kel’s going to Toronto again. She just bought all this new stuff and everything and her husband’s like – great let’s go break into Auntie Kel’s house.
Like do you know what I mean? We don’t comprehend that it’s not necessarily just our friends looking at Facebook or social media or what have you. Those criminals that may or may not be within our borders are using this information to attack is in a number of different ways.
Doug Hoyes: And presumably Tweeting all the pictures of my vacation in Florida while I’m in Florida on vacation.
Kelley Keehn: With the entire family.
Doug Hoyes: Right, meaning I guess I’m not home.
Kelley Keehn: Right, exactly.
Doug Hoyes: So, it’s like okay –
Kelley Keehn: And if you have any back Facebook profile or anything of that sort, here’s something for your small business owners to be concerned about. Let’s say you’re on LinkedIn and your daughter is in a basketball tournament or something of that sort. And you have on your LinkedIn profile that you coach that and that’s kind of your volunteer thing or whatever you and you get this little email that says here’s Jennifer volleyball pictures or whatever from a couple of weeks ago. You click it not realizing that is somebody that has now installed malicious software into your computer. Maybe got into your system depending on how secure it was.
Because they just found out a couple of simple things. They went on your LinkedIn profile. They went on Facebook, saw your daughter’s name is Jenny, say that you said that you were the coach and they got in and now they’re whatever, stealing corporate secrets, all that type of stuff, keystroke, monitoring what you’re doing, watching you as you’re going online banking, yeah.
Doug Hoyes: Does that mean then I should never put anything on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, anything? So, where do I draw the line then?
Kelley Keehn: Yeah, I mean it’s within reason, right? You don’t need to announce anything to the world and if you do, you need to be more guarded. You need to be more careful.
Statistically these things are not going to happen to you but we need to be aware of it and have the conversation with our kids of exactly what are you saying, when are you saying it? Because a lot of times parents have no clue that their young adults or their teenagers are talking about. And they’re like yeah, that could affect me, that could affect my business. What kind of computer do you have at home? And are the kids logging onto it? Are their friends logging onto it? Are they going into websites where maybe they’ve installed some malicious software and now you’re going online and exposing your personal information?
The technical editor on that book, Jennifer Fiddian-Green, who is a partner with Grant Thornton and a lead forensic accountant, she really suggests that you do not log onto your online banking, although it’s safe, although the banks, the Canadian banks, are very strong, very safe, that if it’s a family computer where teenagers and everybody’s able to use it, don’t log onto your online banking there. Don’t even put that at risk.
Just some little steps to protect ourselves, slow down, know what mail is coming into your home, be careful what you put online and what you’re allowing to get out. [Four pin] and chip technology a lot of times credit card companies in Canada and it’s still happening in the U.S, would ask to see my photo. I.D when I was paying with my credit card. And I’m like why and I would argue and I would do all of this. But think about it, if there’s a camera that the cashier has behind their head, while you pull your credit card out –
Doug Hoyes: Yeah, a security camera.
Kelley Keehn: Right or if they put a camera there.
Doug Hoyes: Oh, okay.
Kelley Keehn: No biggie if they get K Keene and my credit card number and the expiry. Even if they got the back, I’m protected, I didn’t do anything wrong. But if I pull out my driver’s license, here’s where the identity theft comes in, I pull out my driver’s license, now they have my driver’s license number. My full name, they have my date of birth, my address, they have almost everything they need to do a lot of damage and they already have a lot to do a lot of damage.
So, who protects me then? Who protects me when that happens? So, what I do when that has happening or when I go to the U.S, I get white out tape and I put it over the key components of my driver’s license that’s none of their business. Like what does that take 30 seconds to do. I know it probably sounds a little anal to your listeners but because I travel a lot this is a risk that I expose myself to all the time. It’s just little things.
Doug Hoyes: I know my credit card was hacked. I started seeing purchases at the dollar store in South Carolina. I had not been to South Carolina. But presumably when I was in, I don’t know, New York or somewhere, somehow someone got something and a few months later they started to use it and they were all small transactions. McDonalds and the dollar store, $10 here, $15 there.
But I’m an anal accountant. I keep an eye on my statement pretty frequently and I thought well this is weird. Was I in South Carolina yesterday? Does anyone remember that? And I was able to phone the bank right away and they said okay no problem we’ll shut it down, send you a new card, we’re good. But if you’re not keeping an eye on those kind of things, you just don’t know.
Do you see the problem getting worse, getting better? Are we becoming more and more informed or are the criminals just so far ahead of us that we’re not making any progress? Is it even possible to say?
Kelley Keehn: Yeah, it’s tough. A friend of mine, Dr. Thomas Keenan, who wrote a great book and if you really want to creep yourself out it’s called Techno Creep. And I think it’s already a year and a half old. Definitely have a read and he’ll probably be updating this in no time. He tells me very scary stories when we get together. And I laugh ’cause I’m afraid, like really.
But yeah, they’re always going to be one step ahead of us. That’s why we have to be at least reading terms and conditions. We have to be slowing down, having conversations like you said with our kids. Like you want to be a cop and then you’re showing stunting things and taking pictures of that and putting it on.
He had a great quote, Dr. Kennan, and it was something like human relationships, what might have been your generation, maybe even my generation remembers, you know, you don’t like someone they come and go, whatever. What you put online lasts forever. If you put it there for one second and you oh, maybe I shouldn’t have – and you delete it, it’s still there. Someone can still get that, someone can go and get that. So, as soon as you’ve put it up there, you’ve announced to the world now you’re sitting at home maybe if you’re an adult you had a couple of glasses of wine and not thinking about it, you don’t know when that’s going to come back and haunt you.
And just realizing too that there’s profiles being built on us. I don’t want to get all Edward Snowden and all that kind of stuff, but Dr. Keenan informed me of profiles that are being built in the U.S without your knowledge. You happen to part next to this massive criminal every single day and you’re on a list that you didn’t realize and you can’t get a job. I asked him if profiles like that are being built in Canada and he suspected that they were.
Doug Hoyes: It’s like all these six year old kids on the no fly list.
Kelley Keehn: Right, exactly.
Doug Hoyes: Wait a minute, I don’t think I’m a criminal but my name gets on there. So, wow we’re getting even more scared here.
Kelley Keehn: Yeah, we don’t want to do that. ‘Cause there is stuff that we can do to protect ourselves.
Doug Hoyes: Okay, let’s take a quick break and then we’re going to go through the stuff specifically we can do to protect ourselves and then everyone will feel great at the end of this.
Kelley Keehn: Exactly.
Doug Hoyes: That’s what we want. So, let’s take a quick break and we’ll be right back on Debt Free in 30.
It’s time for the Let’s Get Started segment here on Debt Free in 30. My guest is Kelley Keehn and we’re talking about identity theft and fraud. And Kelley you freaked us all out because everything I put on Twitter or Facebook or in my garbage is going to get the criminal syndicates after me and I’m going to be ruined for life. So, okay let’s go through practically what can I do to protect myself then?
Kelley Keehn: Right. And there’s so many things that we can do. Number one we really want to slow down. We want to be careful when we’re clicking email. We want to be careful when we’re picking up the phone. Do we even need to pick up the phone? And these tips we need to have conversations with our parents and our kids as well, not that they’re picking up a home phone. They don’t do that.
Doug Hoyes: No, they don’t know what it is, no clue.
Kelley Keehn: But I know my mom still does. And just is this reasonable because the phone spoofing is really good. They can actually make it sound like the Toronto Police calling you. So, just slowing down, is this logical, would my bank ask me any of this? Being more careful of what we’re putting online, have a family conversation about it. Realize how important our information is, stop giving it out.
And then when it comes to full on identify theft, the easiest thing you can do is just check your credit report. If someone is applying for a credit card, a loan, something of that in your name, it will show up on both of your credit bureaus. So, in Canada there’s two main credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion. Make sure if you go online you go to the .ca’s and you would see there that somebody applied for this XYZ Financial or something, you’re like that’s not me. Now that will tip you off that identify theft is happening. Now it might be too late to really ward that off but at least you can clean it up.
Doug Hoyes: So, would you be doing that once a year, more frequently?
Kelley Keehn: If you’re in a low risk situation you don’t really do a lot, you don’t use your – you know, I would say once a year is fine. What you can is also get a credit monitoring service. You have to pay for that. But maybe if you were a high risk person like me that goes online all the time.
Doug Hoyes: Travels a lot.
Kelley Keehn: Has to do Facebook, has to do Twitter for their business, I put myself at risk. You might want identity theft insurance if you also feel that you’re at risk. But what you can do with both credit reporting agencies is put a pro active fraud alert on your account. This is not if you’ve been a victim, you’re just saying hey I want to be pro active, it costs $5 for each credit reporting agency and it lasts six years.
And what that does is it’s an extra layer of protection where if someone’s trying to get a cell phone in your name or something like that, the lender has to give you a call. It says on the file give a call so you want to use your cell phone number. ‘Cause if it’s you legitimately trying to get a bank loan you don’t want them calling home to authenticate that it’s you. So, that’s a great extra layer of protection. And everyone should be checking their report at least once a year to see if things are accurate even if you don’t require credit, at least to see if some things on there.
And then very lastly is making sure you know what mail is coming in, not very lastly I’m going to have one more tip, make sure you know what mail is coming in and when, especially for older people, people that vacation a lot, business people, they really need to be concerned about that. Because if bills are going missing that could be a first red flag too, that mail is being diverted.
And so, you could say a lot of younger listeners will say well, I’ve done everything digitally I’m online with all my bills, that’s great, my personal finance hat comes on saying make sure you’re checking those bills that you’re not overcharged and all that type of stuff. ‘Cause when we don’t get it in the mail, sometimes we forget to comb through and like you said look for those little purchases, a couple of dollars here, a couple of dollars there that weren’t you ’cause if you’re not noticing that, the fraudsters will go for the big kill.
And then very lastly shred absolutely everything. Everything, everything, even if it came in – unless it says Dear Occupant, if it has your name on it, shred it. A lesson that I learned, the one thing that I never shred that I do now because it came out in the news a couple of months ago was your boarding pass, there’s nothing on there. It just says K Keehn, it has my – it doesn’t even have my frequent flyer number, that’s all x’d out, but there’s a little bar code on it. And I would always just throw it in a trash bin at a hotel whenever I’m leaving a city not thinking anything of it ’cause there’s nothing there.
But now the fraudsters can use that bar code and get into my frequent flyer miles, find out safety wise when I’m flying. They can do silly little things like change my seat, cancel flights, all that type of stuff. But know when I’m coming in, knowing what cities so lesson to me, yeah there is absolutely nothing that you should not shred ’cause there’s more information on things than we realize about us.
Doug Hoyes: And when you say shred you don’t mean put it in the recycling bin.
Kelley Keehn: Yeah.
Doug Hoyes: That’s not shredding.
Kelley Keehn: That’s not shredding.
Doug Hoyes: And I mean we’re recording this in the winter and you have a home fireplace that’s fantastic.
Kelley Keehn: That’s the best shredder you got.
Doug Hoyes: That’s the best there is. But if not then literally rip it up or get a home shredder.
Kelley Keehn: Or take it to a shredding company. Just don’t throw it outside. You think oh I live in a nice neighbourhood, nobody’s dumpster diving, nobody’s doing that. Yeah they are, unfortunately they are.
Doug Hoyes: And that’s something you got to be careful of. So, there’s some fantastic tips there. I think the main tip what you said was think. That’s the main thing if you think why am I giving this out, that will probably induce you to keep your mouth shut when you need to. So, fantastic that’s great advice. Thanks very much Kelley. That was the Let’s Get Started segment here on Debt Free in 30. I’ll be right back to wrap it up.
Doug Hoyes: Welcome back it’s time for the 30 second recap of what we discussed today. On today’s show Kelley Keehn, the author of Protecting You and Your Money, a Guide to Avoiding Identity Theft and Fraud, gave us a lot of practical advice on how to protect ourselves and our loves ones from debt arising from identify theft and fraud.
Her most important advice is to think before giving out any personal information. Don’t give out your PIN to anyone and only give your SIN if you’re obligated to. Read your mail, check your statements and shred everything. That’s the 30 second recap of what we discussed today.
We covered a lot of ground today with lots of practical advice. And I know it’s hard to remember everything you hear so we’ve made it easy for you by creating a list of every practical tip that Kelley gave us today. Go to hoyes.com and search for identity theft and you’ll get a complete list of all of Kelley’s tips as well as a link to the audio file and a full transcript of today’s show and a link to where you can buy a copy of Kelley’s book. That’s h-o-y-e-s-dot-com for more information.
Thanks for listening, until next week, I’m Doug Hoyes, that was Debt Free in 30.