Jason interviews Frank about identity theft protection.
Frank Reed is the author of the book, In God We Trust: Dollar$ & Sense. He helps people navigate identity theft protection.
To learn more visit: frankreed.wearelegalshield.com
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. And now here is your host Jason Parker.
Jason: America. Welcome back to another round of Sound Retirement Radio. So glad to have you tuning in this morning. It is my good fortune to have a good friend of mine in the studio with me this morning, Mr. Frank Reed. And I’m excited about the topic that we’re going to be talking about because I think it’s important as you’re preparing for and transitioning into and through retirement. But before we get started as you know I like to get the morning started right, two ways. The first one is by renewing our mind. And I have a verse here from Hebrews 11:6. “And without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” , that’s really good. And then we want to put a smile on your face and give you a joke to share with the grandkids and so I’ve got one here for you. Amelia, you know she’s our joke picker, she picked this one out for me to share with you this morning. Says what did the bald guy say when he was given a comb for his birthday? Thanks. I’ll never part with it. Part with it.
Frank: Okay. Not bad.
Jason: Part with it. So today I’ve got, you’re listening to episode 169 if you’re driving down the road this morning in Seattle. Remember we archive all these programs for you. Episode 169 is about protecting your identity, protecting how you’re known in the financial world and making sure that people aren’t manipulating the information that exists out there and it’s my good fortune to bring my longtime friend in to the studio, Mr. Frank Reed, to help educate us all about identity theft and how to protect ourselves from that risk. Frank welcome back to Sound Retirement Radio.
Frank: Well thank you Jason. I’m glad to be here and thank you for having me. I’m looking forward to informing your audience and just sharing some really good information with them.
Jason: It’s been a couple of years I think since we’ve had you on the program.
Frank: Yes it has.
Jason: It’s been too long and for our listeners that don’t know Frank and I did a podcast together for a while called Coffee with Frank because he’s just somebody that I’ve enjoyed meeting with over the years and we’ve had so many great conversations over a cup of coffee that we did that podcast which Frank your main website is at Juda Investments is that-?
Frank: Actually it’s bottomlineministries.org.
Jason: Bottomlineministries.org. OK. Very good. So Frank today the topic is identity theft and the two basic ideas here, number one is what is identity theft. And number two is how does it affect our lives.
Frank: Well you know Jason identity theft is really a main issue today. It is the number one consumer complaint for the last 15 years. And over 10 million people a year have been affected by identity theft. And so when I first found out about it I thought wow people really need to be protected from this and educated on how it would affect their everyday lives. And most of the people that I talked to in the beginning would say well I’m not wealthy, I don’t have anything for anybody to steal. So if they want my identity they can have it. And most of the times they’re referring to credit cards, their bank accounts. But the thief really doesn’t want your credit cards. The banks will take care of it. But the bank’s also protecting their own interest. What about your social security number? You can do a lot of things with your social security number.
Jason: Yeah absolutely. And I think that’s a mistake that so many people make, they’ll say to me, they’ll say Jason yeah we don’t have a credit card or they’ll say isn’t just shredding our mail, we you know we shred all the junk mail, isn’t that good enough. Is it good enough Frank to just shred the mail?
Frank: Well take for instance Jason your clientele or most of us who are going into retirement or in retirement. So you think back as Baby Boomers especially when you’re in your 20s how many times did you sign documents with your full Social Security number on it? So those documents are already out there somewhere in triplicates, duplicates, a hundred times. So it’s not a matter of if, it’s when.
Jason: Yeah. You know and we see this in the headlines all the time. I mean it wasn’t too long ago that Target, their systems were hacked and all of their shoppers, people that shopped at Target and used their debit card or credit card there had identity theft issues or we see it with the Federal Government, Office of Personnel Management, OPM. These hacks there were people’s identity, their personal information is being stolen and that’s not because people filled out a credit card application. Right. That’s just your information exists out there and there’s people that want to steal it. And then, so what do they do with it, once they get all of your information, your Social Security number. You say they’re not after your credit card, what are they going to do with that information?
Frank: Well take for instance, let’s say like you said the federal government, the IRS was hacked. All three major credit card services that monitor your credit, Experian and all the rest of them, they were hacked. These are professionals. These are not just the guys who learn how to use a computer. These guys are professionals. So why would they go through all of that trouble to get that information. Well think of this. Number one it says it takes about a year and a half once they steal your identity to use it and it goes onto what’s called the black web or the black market and then sold all over the world. Now let’s say one of the things people don’t think about is medical fraud.
Jason: Medical fraud?
Frank: Yes. When you go into the emergency room, if you ever gone into it, what do they ask you for?
Jason: Some kind of identification.
Frank: Usually your driver’s license.
Frank: Well what if somebody has hacked into your information, got your driver’s license information, put their picture on it and got over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars of medical care all under your name. Worse yet what if their blood type is A in yours is O and the next time you go into a hospital and they look up your records because everything is automated now and they’ve got the wrong blood type for you or maybe your spouse or your children.
Jason: Wow. Yeah. There’s some good examples. You know Frank this makes me kind of mad because it puts us in a position and the reason I wanted to bring you on specifically is I personally have carried identity theft protection for years. You represent the company that I work with for the coverage that I have. And so I think it’s important that people have it but it makes me kind of mad that I have to pay money every month for not just monitoring my credit, my good name but to also have somebody in my camp for restoration purposes and I know that that’s something that’s unique. Why is restoration an important part of this whole identity theft thing?
Frank: Well that’s a great question Jason because most people don’t understand the difference between restoration and monitoring. Monitoring just says I’m going to make you aware that you’ve been compromised. You know I like to use the analogy it’s like you left home and you got a call and said Hey Mr. Parker I just wanted you to know that your house is on fire. Now we left a truck. We left the hoses hooked up. We left the boots, we left the ax, we left you everything you need to put it out. OK. This restoration says same call. Mr. Parker just wanted to let you know that your house is on fire. We have it under control, by the time you get home we’ll have everything restored back to normal as though the fire never happened, which call would you like?
Jason: Yeah. You know the reality is the people that listen to this show tend to be pretty affluent and they tend to be very successful and they have a lot on the line because most of them don’t have debt anymore but they do have excellent credit and they have excellent reputations. And that’s what these guys can do if they get a hold of your identity is they can mess up your credit, they can mess up your identity and then it’s a, you know I think one of the things that I think about with restoration is time Frank. The amount of time that it takes people to put their life back together once they’ve been hit. I love your analogy of hey the fire truck came and they didn’t just leave the hoses hooked up, they actually did something while they were there. What a concept. Have you heard of any stories or any experiences with people that have had to go through this whole identity theft process?
Frank: Absolutely. I have a friend at my church, a young couple, they were going through it and they were using a monitoring company. And six months later they were still frustrated with all the paperwork they had to go through trying to get it back together. It takes anywhere from 6 months to 18 months to get it restored. But the thing about that a lot of people don’t think about it, if you have a security clearance and you get compromised if they take your clearance can you be out of work for six months?
Jason: Wow, I didn’t even think about that. Yeah guys especially here locally that we have a lot of people have a security clearance and something shows up on their credit report that’s not accurate and they’re having to go to bat to fight that. Yeah that could be really disruptive to their career. I didn’t even think about that.
Frank: And another one, what if you’re on vacation? I mean you’re on vacation and you’re out in Wyoming and you’re enjoying the beautiful scenery and you get pulled over. Maybe your tail light is out and so the officer asks you for a driver’s license and insurance as normal. And he goes back and checked and he comes back to your car and asks you to, to your SUV, oh no sorry, your recreational vehicle and asks you to step out of the car and you’re wondering for what. Because somebody has compromised your information. They have two warrants out against them in Wyoming that you know nothing about. It’s on a Saturday afternoon and you’re enjoying the beautiful scenery. Now you have a legal situation. What do you do?
Jason: What is the, is there any way to deal with this whole issue without buying some kind of protection, some kind of monitoring and restoration service? Can we just live like a super simple life? Shred all of our mail. Use a P.O. box instead of a mail box at the end of our driveway. I mean what steps can we take to protect ourselves without buying some kind of coverage? Is there anything we can be doing?
Frank: Well I look at it this way. If the IRS couldn’t protect themselves and they have over a several million dollar budget, what can we do?
Jason: Yeah. And you know we know folks that work at the IRS and it’s a big issue. This is another form of identity theft. You want to talk about how people are committing fraud with tax return filings and some of that stuff.
Frank: Tax returns filings is really a big issue. I mean people are depending on not only the tax returns or Social Security checks and people are being compromised. They file their tax returns only to find out that somebody else has already filed it and they have to go through all these terms and different situations to try to get it and it takes almost up to a year to a year and a half to rectify that. And it’s your money. Well now you’ve got to prove that it’s your money. While the thief is gone off and gone on to someone else. It’s a big issue.
Jason: You know and unfortunately seniors or retirees are targeted. I have a client who shared with me that she received a telephone call that the person when she answered the phone the person on the other line said hi grandma. And you know when you have 10, 12 grandkids you’re maybe not sure which grand kid is calling. And so anyways the grandchild goes on to say Grandma I’m in Canada and I got put in jail and I need money to get out. Can you send me some money. And she’s like oh yeah of course, not even asking you know which grandchild it is. Or no you know what she said, she said is this let’s just say Johnny, is this Johnny. And he goes yeah yeah, this is Johnny. And so she said yes, you know of course I can get you the money. And he said OK well what I need you to do because I’m you know in another country, you can’t just, the easiest way to get the money is to go and buy one of these gift cards and then use the gift card, scratch off the you know, put $5000 on this gift card and then scratch off the numbers on the back and tell me what the numbers are.
Anyways it went through this big long thing and she did it. She thought it was her grandson. She thought he was in trouble and so she wanted to help him. And so unfortunately retirees are being targeted for this kind of criminal activity. The other thing is sometimes retirees with technology, things are changing so fast Frank that it’s hard to know if an email that you got is legitimate. You know if it comes from your bank and you think oh this looks like something from my bank and it says hey your information has been compromised, click this link and then you click the link and it asks you to put in your username and password. And next thing you know you’re given your information to some bogus Website that’s you know and so it’s just it can be really scary.
You mentioned a moment ago, you used the word that dark web. What are we talking about there on the dark web?
Frank: The dark web is when they steal your information, they sell it, it’s like a black market. It’s kind of like taking it to a pawn shop and you steal these items, you take them to a pawn shop and then they sell them anonymously and they give the criminal x amount of dollars. Well the dark web is just huge, it’s worldwide. And so therefore somebody from another country can use your Social Security number and you know in today’s economy a lot of times we do a lot of things cash, people buy homes cash only. Well the problem with that when you do cash only a lot of times people will overlook especially the people that are making the sale because it’s a cash only deal, they’ll overlook a lot of things that have been put in place to protect the consumer because they want that cash deal. Well if a foreigner wanted to buy your home using your identity, your Social Security number and wanted to do it cash, what would stop them?
Jason: That’s a big cash transaction. I think that could throw up some red flags.
Frank: It should throw up some red flags. But if you have all the information that you need, why would it?
Jason: Why is a Social Security number such a big deal in identity theft?
Frank: Our Social Security numbers like our fingerprint. We can do just about anything with our Social Security number in this country and let’s face it a lot of people risk their lives, come to this country because of the opportunities that we have. Now once you have a Social Security number that’s kind of like a free pass to do many things. You can buy property, you can get medical care, you can go to school, you can do many many things in our country with a Social Security number. And that’s why it’s so important when people, when they get that Social Security number, they’ll sell it many many times on the black market. They can sell it hundreds of times to different people.
Jason: Do you remember that commercial that was done years ago with that one identity theft company and the guy came out and he said I’m so confident in my protection that I’ll give you my social security number? And then he ended up, I think he ended up being a victim of identity theft after the fact. Do you remember seeing those commercials?
Frank: No I don’t remember that.
Jason: Well Frank I feel so confident in my identity theft protection I’m going to give people my Social Security right now over the podcast. You ready? 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5.
Frank: You need to put one word behind that though Jason.
Jason: What’s that?
Jason: I feel bad for the guy out there that has that Social Security number. I hope nobody has that Social Security number.
Frank: I doubt it. But you know that’s a good point.
Jason: Frank, has your life been touched at all by identity theft? Have you had any personal experiences where you’ve maybe felt vulnerable, where you get an email or something, you think uh-oh did I just click on something I wasn’t supposed to or?
Frank: I’m always cautious about if I see an email that I don’t recognize I just delete it. I don’t open it. One of the things a friend of mine who deals with computers all the time and he told me to do it is I take all my passwords and I put them under one password. Now they have a system that you can, it’s called, I think it’s called a safety lock. You put all your passwords under one password and with the safety lock it makes it harder for somebody to compromise your computer and get your passwords.
Jason: That’s the other thing, yeah a lot of these websites out there now, there’s all this aggregation going on especially in the financial services arena where you log in to one of these Web sites and then they want to pull data in from your credit cards, your bank accounts, your investment accounts and so you got to put your username and password in for each of these different accounts. Now they’ll tell you that they’re using bank level security which is you know they’re using the highest level security out there but still it’s got to make you a little bit nervous that you know if there’s a single point of failure and somebody can hack into that system and get all of your usernames and passwords man that just, I know that’s the world that we live in today and there are definitely some conveniences that come along with being able to have that aggregate view of your whole financial life. But man, does that make you nervous?
Frank: Yes. And that’s why I am a strong advocate for having identity protection because I’m not that smart. These guys are professionals. They do this day in, day out. So I need a professional to protect me that has the knowledge to do this day in and day out. And the thing is when I say restoration, I’m not saying if you get compromised, I’m saying when you get compromised.
Jason: OK good. So I’ll put a link in the show notes to your Web site, if people want to learn more about identity theft protection again Frank is the guy that, he represents the plan that I have, I don’t want to say the plan over the airwaves here Frank because I don’t want to promote any one company but I do have a lot of confidence in you and I know that you’ll help give people good guidance going forward. I was surprised to hear about identity theft in kids. So we talk a minute about how children are affected by identity theft?
Frank: Sure. One story that I heard and I was like wow, imagine that. This guy, he had his five year old daughter. He got some mail from Florida. He lived in New York and he got some mail from Florida and it said that she had to pay taxes on three condos that she owned in Florida. And she was five years old.
Jason: She’s doing pretty good, she’s got three condos at five, man.
Frank: Right, at five right. So he called up to find out what was going on and they had stolen her Social Security number and bought these condos using her identity
Jason: Wow, wow. Now why would he, I mean you would think an investor would not want to have purchases being made. They must have been here illegally or something. Is that why they used somebody else’s identity when purchasing property?
Frank: Yes. Because once the sale is done and the bank pays them they’re good. And you can’t trace it because they used a false identity. How are you going to trace it? Even when they did trace it, it went back to his five year old daughter.
Jason: Yeah you would think that before they sold the property they would have some idea as to whether or not the Social Security matched up with the person that’s actually buying the property. But I don’t know. You know anytime we bring on new clients we have to sign something that says we’ve reviewed their identity. They are who they say they are and they’re not trying to launder money. That’s one of the issues in the financial arena is money laundering. And so I know that we in the financial services world we have to be ultra conservative with making sure we really know who these people are and that they’re not just trying to commit fraud. Frank I want to make sure that people know, my friend Frank Reed here specializes in identity theft protection. Remember if you’re driving down the road this morning you’re listening to episode 169. You can review all of these programs online at soundretirementplanning.com or soundretirementradio.com. And I want to remind our listeners too that we have a webinar coming up on retirement planning and what a good retirement plan should look like. You can sign up for that at Sound Retirement Planning.
Frank I know that the Attorney General has a really great website and a lot of resources available for people that have already been hit by identity theft and they need to figure out what to do next. But how long does it usually take to restore identity on your own once you’ve been compromised?
Frank: Another great question. The frustrating thing about identity theft is once you’ve been compromised it can take anywhere from a year to almost two years to get it all, if you get it restored because of all the things you have to go through. The key is to be protected before you get compromised. Let the professionals deal with the professionals.
Jason: Yeah I just, you know I know me personally I’ve worked really hard to protect my reputation, to protect my credit and to protect my business and my employees and I don’t want somebody to come along and because they’ve got something wrong with the way that they operate, you know socially they have, I just don’t, I guess I don’t understand the whole crime aspect. It’s like if people would spend this time and energy to go out and do something good in the world they could actually probably make a living for themselves instead of having to steal other people’s hard work and just it’s very frustrating to me that I have to pay an extra 20 bucks a month or whatever it is we pay to have some kind of identity theft protection because there’s a bunch of bad guys out there. But anyways Frank Reed thank you so much for being a guest on Sound Retirement Radio.
Frank: Thank you for having me Jason.
Jason: OK until next week folks. This is Jason Parker signing out.
Announcer: Information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate and complete. For general information only and should not be construed as specific tax, legal or financial advice for an individual and does not constitute a solicitation for any securities or insurance products. Please consult with your financial professional before taking action on anything discussed in this program. Parker Financial, its representatives or its affiliates have no liability for investment decisions or other actions taken or made by you based on the information provided in this program. 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 1957 Washington Avenue, Northwest, Silverdale Washington. For additional information call 1-800-514-5046 or visit us online at soundretirementplanning.com.