Jason Parker & his guest Randy Parker discuss Identity Theft.
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Below is the full transcript:
Announcer: Welcome back America to Sound Retirement Radio where we bring you concepts, ideas, and strategies designed to help you achieve clarity, confidence, and freedom as you prepare for and transition through retirement. Now, here is your host Jason Parker.
Jason P.: Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Gig Harbor, and all the good people tuning in from around the internet, around the country. Thank you so much for making Sound Retirement Radio your destination for expert retirement advice. My name is Jason Parker. You are listening to episode 052, number 52. Today’s show is all about identity theft. It’s been all over the headlines, and I’m excited to bring you some really valuable information. We’ve got a great guest who I’m excited to introduce you to here. Before we get into today’s episode I want to start out something kind of funny. I know that this is a great way to start off a Saturday morning. Here we go. Three boys on the playground were bragging about their dads. One said, “My dad scribbles a few words, calls it a song, and they pay him $50.” “Oh yeah? My dad scribbles a few words, calls it a poem, and they pay him $100.” “That’s nothing,” said the third kid. “My dad scribbles a few words, calls it a sermon, and it takes six people to collect all the money in the room.”
The best part is me laughing at my own jokes. Appreciate you folks sticking with me through all these bad jokes all these years. Now, the second thing I want to do is just go ahead and renew our mind this morning. I’ve got a verse for us. This comes from Proverbs 17:17. A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Okay, with that let’s get into episode 052 on identity theft. It is my good fortune to be able to introduce Randy Parker. He’s our guest speaker. He’s been a specialist in the world of identity theft for 12+ years. He’s a certified identity theft risk management specialist. He is the one that personally helped me protect myself and my family from identity theft. We’ll talk a little bit more about that during this program, but even better than that, over the years I’ve talked about my dad and all the goofy, silly things he taught me as a kid growing up, so I feel very fortunate, and honored, and blessed to be able to have my dad on the program. Randy Parker, welcome to Sound Retirement Radio.
Randy P.: Thanks very much, Jason. I can’t tell you how proud I am of you. You’ve done a great job. You’ve got a great reputation and really that’s all we have in life, really, when it comes to business or ourselves. You’ve done a really great job in that. Thanks for having me. I’d like to just get into this. I just want to tell your listeners what a great time … I was thinking this morning. What a great time it is to be living in America with all this new technology stuff from … I’ve been around since black and white TVs and manual typewriters. We’ve come all the way to huge plasma TV screens now, and tablets, and computers, and smart phones, and watches that take pictures.
Technology is moving so quickly that stuff that seemed like it was state of the art yesterday, stuff like digital recorders and fax machines are disappearing. Some things will never change. That’s kind of what you’ve started talking about here, Jason, with your verse. That is what we hold most dear. I think most of your listeners will agree that our most valuable assets are our families, our health, our time, and our identity. I think most of us work really hard to protect those assets.
Jason P.: You mentioned technology, and as a kid growing up you’ve always been kind of a technology buff. It must be fun for you to, over the years, see things change and evolve. One of the things that’s come up is there’s a need now more than ever I think to protect ourselves because we have so much information out there about ourselves. This is really relevant and timely because it’s all over the news today, identity theft. I was hoping maybe we could start off just you sharing a couple of incidents that you’ve heard of recently that have been in the headlines.
Randy P.: I think most of your listeners have heard just last week the largest identify theft breach or database breach in the history of the federal government, the United States federal government, happened last week. They started off saying 4 million peoples’ identity … everything was captured on them. Everything that the federal government … Think about that. You go through the interview process with the federal government … everything that they asked was captured on those 4 million names. It had every department in the government, not just the IRS. Every single department because they broke through through the HR, the personnel division.
Right now the experts believe that it was China that’s behind this. The reasons we don’t know yet. Is this for blackmail reasons? Or security clearance purposes? Is this the beginning of the cyber war? I was thinking about that today. We’ve had wars on the seas, and land, and space, but is this the next frontier? All that happened then on the heels of, as you know, the Home Depot and the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Sony, and Target, and the IRS. All of that stuff has just been bubbling up. I talked to our IT people today. The number one area being hit right now, that they’re most concerned with is our healthcare facilities.
Jason P.: I want to talk more about that in a minute. I think this is really important because a lot of times you hear people talk about identity theft, and their solution is they go out and they buy a shredder, and they shred the credit card applications that come in the mail. That’s not to discount that as being important, but the reality is you can become a victim of this even if you didn’t do anything. You’re doing everything right and your data exists out there because you applied for a job or you filed a tax return. All of a sudden you’re a potential identity theft … You’ve got a potential identity theft risk problem. It’s not just people digging through garbage cans and stealing stuff out of your mailbox anymore. This is very timely. It’s very important that people are considering how they protect themselves going forward.
Randy P.: That’s a good point, Jason, especially on the shredder thing because there’s a lot of false security that goes into the fact that I’ve heard many people say that, oh, I can protect my own identity. Nobody can steal my identity, or they’ll say something silly like, well, who would want to be me? Who would want my identity. I’m here to tell you that I don’t believe it’s possible to protect your identity because if you happen to work for the United States government … first of all, I want to thank you for your service. Second of all, I hope you weren’t one of those 4 million+ people that were hacked into that you had nothing to do with. You played no role in that process at all.
What if it was Blue Cross Blue Shield and you had submitted your application or you had that medical care? What if you shopped at Target and they got that information? Everything from dumpster diving that you mentioned, and database breaches, to they have these RFID readers now people are carrying around credit cards with little chips in them, and somebody can walk by with a $99 piece of equipment you can buy off the web right now and you can snag somebody’s credit card information, you can transfer that over to, of all things, any kind of magnetic strip, but a hotel card has a magnetic strip on it, so you can transfer that data over onto that magnetic strip, and now you can use that hotel card as a credit card. If you believe that we can protect ourselves … I don’t think so.
Jason P.: Just a minute ago you were talking about the medical world and how the people are being targeted on that front. I know you just this morning before I had you on the program, you were saying that you had the opportunity to speak with some investigators. Go ahead and share with our listeners what you found there on that front.
Randy P.: They told me that the number one area for identity theft our medical facility preaches. The reason for that, folks, is when you think about it, it’s pretty obvious. There’s a mess in our country right now when it comes to healthcare. There’s a lot of people, even with this new Obamacare thing, there’s a lot of people that are out there that are uninsured right now. Desperate people will do desperate things. Perhaps the most valuable thing in your purse or your wallet right now is your medical identification card because on the black market they sell for up to $600. To put that in perspective, Jason, you can buy somebody social security number for $20, but the pay up to $600 to get a medical ID card. The reason is is that they have somebody in their family that’s hurting or perhaps they’re hurting and they need medical care.
They walk into some medical facility and they’re now you, and whatever treatment they have, obviously you’re going to have a financial responsibility, a fire that you’re going to have to put out. Maybe not responsibility, but you’re going to have to put … You’re of the responsibility of the fire. You’re also going to have bigger problems than that because let’s say Joe Smith goes in as you, and they are treated for whatever in some hospital. They walk into the ER of some hospital, and they’ve got a different blood type or different allergies or whatever, and now you get life [inaudible 00:09:58] into a hospital the next day before any of this was ever uncovered. I think the best case scenario in that situation is the doctors would be delayed because they’re trying to sort things out. Wait a second. He has this blood type or this blood type? Wait a minute, he has this … or worst case is if it’s bad enough, it would be worst case. That medical identity theft concerns me more than any other area right now because of those reasons.
Jason P.: Boy, it’s just such an important time. Our identities are out there. You don’t have to do anything wrong. You can shop at a store, you can file a tax return, and you’ve got a potential problem. This is something that I personally have addressed and I’ve had identity theft. My dad, this is something he specializes in. He helped me find the best solution to protect myself and my family. One of the things we’re going to be doing that I want to make sure our listeners know about … We’ve got a webinar coming up that’s going to be on Wednesday, June 17 at 4 PM Pacific Standard Time. You can register for this webinar right online. Go to SoundRetirementPlanning.com. On the right hand side there’s a yellow box there that says identity theft webinar. Click to register. During that webinar we’re going to give you some more ideas on things you can do to protect yourself. Also, we’ll get into more of the specifics on the specific plan that Randy Parker has recommended to a lot of people, me included. We’ll talk more about that.
Again, if this is something that’s a concern to you, I want to encourage you to attend our webinar coming up on June 17. Now I know some of you are going to be listening to this program in the future. You might be listening to this next year or three years from now because you’re replaying the podcast and we are going to have some additional resources available online at Sound Retirement Planning. We’ll try to record that webinar, so that we have some additional information for you. One of the things I wanted to ask you, Randy, on the financial front … what’s the financial cost? The big headline just not too long ago was all these tax returns or tax refunds that were compromised … you had some pretty startling numbers that you mentioned there. Talk for a minute about the financial consequences of identity theft.
Randy P.: Okay, Social Security identity theft is one of the … There’s five major categories of identity theft. Financial is the obvious one. That’s where it all started. Social Security is a very big one as well. I’m sure your listeners will be able to relate why somebody would want to buy a Social Security card. Probably because they’re not here legally and they need a job. Here’s the numbers that we’ve been able to glean. Because somebody take somebody else’s Social Security there are all kind of things that could happen on that. We don’t have the time to go and all of those. One of the bad things that could happen when that occurs is that they go out and they get a job and then they file a tax return. They’re using your Social Security number. The IRS paid out 5.8 billion, billion with a B, 5.8 billion dollars in 2012 and 2013 from bogus tax fraud and tax returns.
Jason P.: Wow, that’s a startling-
Randy P.: $5.8 billion has been lost because of that problem in two years.
Jason P.: That’s incredible. That’s a big cost.
Randy P.: It really is. We work really hard to protect ourselves, Jason, and all different ways because, let’s face it, our identities are how we obtain our assets. Our identities are who we are. In today’s fast-paced digital world, 20 to 50 million people a year are losing their identities in one of the five major categories. That’s financial, or Social Security, or criminal, synthetic, or medical. Those are the five big ones.
Jason P.: You had shared with me recently a story of something that happened to you. Why don’t you educate our listeners and help them understand how identity theft can take place and what it looked like recently in your own life.
Randy P.: Okay, some of the things I talk about, and I’m going to talk about when we do the webinar as well, some of these things are creepy. I’m not trying to scare anyone, but I just want to say that out front. I’m just a reporter here, but I do believe that education raises awareness. The story I’m going to tell you has happened to me. It happened to me within the last seven days. It happened on the heels of that federal government database breach. Just think about that for a minute. Also, I just finished reading this book by that CBS news reporter Sharyl Attkisson. It’s called Stonewalled. If you want to really creep yourself out, pick up a copy of that book and find out what she delineates and has facts backing it up as to what the federal government did to her because they did not like apparently some of the stories that she was writing that impacted them. It’s really amazing what our government can do. Stonewalled is a pretty creepy book.
Anyway, what happened to me was I bought a laptop computer about six months ago from somebody I know and I trust. When I got that laptop computer, I cleaned it up. I made sure that all of the other person’s software was eliminated on there. I deleted the browsers and downloaded new browsers. I got a new Chrome and a new Firefox on there. I then downloaded the best suite of products that I could find at the time. That was Webroot. The firewall and the anti-virus and anti-spam, all of that. I scanned a computer and cleaned it all up. Everything was just hunky dory. Just perfect. I’ve been using that computer for the last six months. I just bought a software program. I was telling you about it, Jason. I bought the upgrade to Dragon Naturally Speaking. In order to entice me to buy that program, they gave me a software program, a password-encrypted software program as a gift for buying their upgrade. It’s a $100 plus dollar piece of software that I got for free, so I thought, no, I have a different way that I keep passwords, and I’ll tell you about that in a minute. I downloaded this program. It’s called Password Genie, and I put it on my laptop. It did all of its things. It ran and it went into my browsers, I mean, whatever it does. It picks up all of my saves, logons, and passwords, and encrypted them.
Then I was able to go into this program and look at them. Wouldn’t you know it, there were two entries in that program that that password protection and encryption program found that I’ve never heard of. It’s the same person’s e-mail, but it was in there twice. They had access to a couple things that got me still concerned. Remember when I told you before that identity theft causes our assets and our time and our identity, and this is causing me concern. This person, CGraham283@Gmail.com had a login and a password on two areas of this computer. I called this password company up and I told them about it. I asked them to help me out. They did one of those support things where they log on to your computer and they actually saw it. They had no explanation for it whatsoever. They advised me to delete it and continue to watch to see if it shows back up again. I did that. I then called our IT department … I’ve got some of the things we’re going to do on that as well.
I don’t even know that person, so I googled it, and lo and behold I was able to find that person lives like 20 miles from me, and at this location at this household, there’s five different people with five completely different names. It’s not like one family five names, like Smith, and Jones, and Parker. Five different people live there. It made me a little bit more concerned that maybe this is somebody that really doesn’t … They’re just out there getting [inaudible 00:18:33]. Later that night to make this story even creepier yet, later that night your brother, Jason, Brian, called me to ask me if I knew anything about this particular e-mail address. I said, “Why do you ask me that, Brian?” He said, “Because I just got at work,” he just got this new job and at his work computer, he got this really whacked out e-mail from somebody using that same e-mail address. I didn’t know what to do.
That’s pretty creepy. I’m still wigged out about that. I called our people and they advised me also to continue to watch it to see if it shows back up. They gave me some ways that I could check this computer. They said that I may have to take this into an IT specialist and have it completely wiped clean like the government would do in order to get it off of there. More to come on that story. Maybe I’ll be able to share more when we do the webinar next week. That’s a little weird, wouldn’t you say?
Jason P.: Yeah, I can see, especially for somebody that specializes in identity theft. You’re probably more tuned in and plugged in than a lot of us are because we’re just going through our lives in a happy-go-lucky manner, not thinking about this stuff, not really wanting to think about it. You’re think about it all the time. When it’s facing you, when you’re looking at something that doesn’t seem right, you probably have the worst case scenario going through your mind as to what’s possible, what could happen. There’s a lot of different solutions out there on identity theft. I think one of the challenges so many people have is they don’t know really who to trust to have the best protection in place. What are some of the things people should be looking for, if they’re considering some form of protection to help them protect themselves from identity theft?
Randy P.: Let me just take one second to back up though and finish what I was going to say on the passwords. When I called our IT people up and talked to them about this, they advised me to not keep our passwords in the cloud or on our computer at all. They said that … Just think about it. No matter how good someone’s software, they can break into the government, they can break into anything. No matter how good the software, put your passwords on old-fashioned pen and paper. A good place to save them is in your freezer. Put them in a baggie. Put them in your freezer because if somebody breaks into your house, good chance they’re not going to, unless they’re a teenager, good chance they’re not going to start rummaging through your freezer.
Jason P.: The only problem for you is you just told everybody, so now … You’ve got a real problem.
Randy P.: [inaudible 00:21:00] I didn’t give my address though. Thanks, Dave. Thanks for pointing that out. Okay, so I got to find a new hiding place. There you go. I think people need to look for when they’re protecting themselves is … and this is what we offer. I’m obviously biased because I happen to know, I speak in this world. I compete against the other programs. I know what we provide. I’ll just lay it out. This is what we do, and no one else in the world does what we do. We provide our clients a program that gives them access to licensed private investigators to help restore their identity or their family’s identity. We monitor just like most companies, they monitor. Monitoring’s like this. It’s like having a … it’s tantamount to me to having a smoke detector in your house. It will wake you up and tell you you have a fire. It’s not going to put it out. There’s a good chance you’re going to want to call experts.
You’re going to want to call somebody and not knowing [inaudible 00:22:06] and have somebody come out. You don’t want that expert at the end of the phone saying, “Okay, I’m going to send you a shovel, and a manual, and a bucket, and take care of it for yourself. We saw that your house is on fire and we’re monitoring it.” No, you want somebody that’s going to take it and do more with that. We do. We monitor your identity from multiple angles, like Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, bank accounts, your name, your address, your date of birth, your driver’s license, your password numbers, your e-mail, your phone numbers, your medical ID. Then if anything changes, you’re going to get an e-mail update instantly. If you spot any [inaudible 00:22:43] activity, you can call your private investigator any time.
Their regular hours are 7AM to 7PM central, but in the event of a personal identity theft emergency, you can call us 24/7, 365, and be connected with a licensed private investigator. We also now have a mobile app that allows you and me and our clients to be able to just push a button. If we have a question … like this morning, I just had a question on what to do. I’m not even a victim of identity theft with that wigged-out story on my laptop, but I was able to press a button and talk to our advisers as to what I should do and what I should watch for. Those are some of the things that we do. I like to say just to bring it down to nursery rhymes, if someone’s identity is breached, we put Humpty Dumpty back together again. The client doesn’t have to do any work. The hardest thing to have to do is sign a document that gives power of attorney to the licensed private investigators.
Jason P.: You know what, Randy, it’s hard to believe, but we’re out of time. I just want to remind our listeners we’ve got a webinar coming up on June 17th. They can register at SoundRetirementPlanning.com. Thanks for being a guest on Sound Retirement Radio today.
Randy P.: Thank you, Jason.
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All insurance related discussions are subject to the claims paying ability of the company. Investing involves risk. Jason Parker is the president of Parker Financial, an independent fee-based wealth management firm located at 9057 Washington Avenue, Northwest Silverdale, Washington. For additional information, call 1-800-514-5046 or visit us online at SoundRetirementPlanning.com.