The great hack: A famous fraudster explains the Equifax data breach

Hackers look for open doors. If your personal data isn't protected, it's that much easier to compromise your identity.

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  • Legendary con-man-turned-FBI-consultant Frank W. Abagnale breaks down the 2017 Equifax data breach.
  • Hackers were able to access the personal data of millions of Americans through faulty software — and they might wait years before using the stolen social security numbers and dates of birth.
  • Abagnale blames Equifax for this oversight. If a company is entrusted with an individual's personal data they need to do a better job of protecting it. "Hackers don't cause breaches, people do," he says.
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The hackable technology that worries even a legendary con man

Before we release new technology into the ether, we need to make safeguards so that bad actors can't misuse them.

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  • Right now cybercrime is basically a financial crime — it's a business of stealing people's money or stealing their data. Data has value.
  • We develop a lot of technology — we need to always ask the question how the new innovation can be misused and make safeguards so that it cannot be done.
  • Because we currently don't do these things, we have hackable vehicles, pacemakers, and laptops.
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How to outsmart a scam: Strategies from a legendary con man

Frank W. Abagnale says scammers don't discriminate — here's what you can do to protect yourself.

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  • In today's world, anyone can be targeted by scams -- even famous con man Frank W. Abagnale. For this reason he shares his top advice for protecting yourself against fraud.
  • When receiving a suspicious call, be aware of the two major red flags of immediacy and info-sharing. Is the person asking for money, and they need it right now? Does the person want sensitive personal information like a social security number or date of birth? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, it's probably a scam.
  • Scammers obtain much of their info from a victim's social media accounts. Caution is key for prevention, and education is the most powerful tool in outsmarting this type of crime.
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