With a 30-year track record of consumer advocacy Adam Levin’s experience is both broad and profound. As the former director of the Division of Consumer Affairs for the State of New Jersey, his expertise lies in credit, identity management, fraud, personal finance, and privacy. He writes weekly columns for major outlets.
Swiped offers you a clearheaded practical guide for surviving today’s epidemic of identity theft. If you have had the unfortunate experience of having your identity stolen, you will find the book helpful in guiding you through the bureaucratic nightmare of trying to regain your privacy.
Hacking and the election are also in the forefront of the news, and it is not even close to being contained. He discusses the five ways that piracy can play havoc in the 2016 election cycle.
Adam K. Levin is a consumer advocate with more than 30 years experience in personal finance, privacy, real estate and government service. A former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Levin is Chairman and founder of IDT911, Chairman and co-founder of Credit.com and serves as a spokesperson for both companies.
Adam is an expert on personal finance, credit, identity management, fraud and privacy. He writes a weekly column which appears in Huffington Post and ABCNews.com, as well as other major media outlets such as Yahoo!, AOL, MSN, and Business Insider. He is a frequent guest on television, and has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business News, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, CBS Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight and scores radio stations throughout the country. His own show, Credit Line with Adam Levin, ran on KFWB in Los Angeles. Adam’s passion is to educate consumers on personal finance, identity management and privacy issues.
During the time he served as Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, he was responsible for over 40 laws and regulations, and considered one of the most important voices in the consumer protection arena in the United States consulting with state and federal regulatory agencies on issues ranging from federal product recalls and enforcement of gasoline price controls to small business protection.
His thought leadership drives the vision for Credit.com and Identity Theft 911, which he co-founded in 1994 and 2003 respectively. Now in its 10th year, Identity Theft 911 has become one of the largest identity theft education and resolution, identity management and data breach response companies in the country. It has a client base of 500 institutions and 600,000 small businesses. On an enrollment basis, over 10 percent of the households in the United States (some 17.5 million) participate in one or more of its resolution, life stage management or breach response programs.
Credit.com is among the most respected credit education and consumer advocacy companies in the nation. Millions of consumers call on Credit.com every month to help them understand their credit. Its expert content and award winning free tools have drawn rave reviews from consumers, personal finance experts and the media. Adam and his team of nationally recognized credit experts produce content which is carried daily by most of the major media outlets in America.
He is president of the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, which has been a strong supporter of financial literacy, higher education and the arts.
He has an AB in Political Science from Stanford University (1971) and a JD from the University of Michigan, School of Law. He was twice nominated to run for the U. S. House of Representatives from his home state of New Jersey. He now lives in New York City with his wife and son.
Adam’s speaking topics include a broad range of personal finance topics, such as how to turn your your credit and identity portfolios into résumés – and not rap sheets; the benefits and perils of credit; the continuing struggle between convenience and security online; privacy issues from smartphones to smart homes; the growing peril of medical ID theft; and the inevitability of identity theft including ways to minimize your risk of exposure and develop a personal culture of monitoring and identify effective damage control programs.
IDT911 has been leading the charge against hackers, thieves and even simple human error. We provide unrivaled solutions that deliver valuable prevention education, proactive protection services and swift and appropriate incident remediation for more than 17.5 million households and more than 770,000 businesses.
Our services are provided through more than 660 client partners that include 16 of the top 20 U.S. property and casualty insurance carriers, six of the top seven Canadian insurers, major credit unions, banks and numerous Fortune 500 companies.
Our longstanding reputation, industry expertise and scalable approach offer businesses and their customers a trusted ally for:
- Identity Management
- Breach Education, Preparation, Response and Remediation
- Fraud, Credit and Reputation Monitoring
- Cyber Security and Data Privacy Consulting
TTWCP-879-Adam Levin (Part 1)
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Airing Date: September 17, 2016
Craig Peterson: Welcome back to Tech Talk with Craig Peterson. Security, security, security. We can’t say it enough and it applies to everyone nowadays. If you are just a mom, dad, you got kids at home, there are security issues. If you’re a business, oh my gosh, they just don’t end. If you’re a celebrity, of course, the same types of problems. So we’re gonna be joined right now by the author of the book called Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves. We’re not talking about the guys who catch fish. We’ll explain what these phishers are and what it is they’re doing and how it’s going to impact you as well with Adam Levin. You’ll find him online at Adamlevin.com. That’s A-D-A-M-L-E-V-I-N.com. He’s a consumer advocate. He’s got more than 30 years’ experience in personal finance, privacy, real estate, government service. He has also been chairman and co-founder of credit.com. And he also is involved in IDT911. Just kind of all kinds of angles here when it comes to security for you and me. Adam, welcome.
Adam Levin: Thank you so much for having me Craig.
Craig: Well, let’s talk a little bit about the problem we hear about just this break in. The Russians did this. Those guys did that. Hillary’s had an email server. But this really is a very widespread problem. It’s not just a political one.
Adam: No, I think you have to approach it with the attitude that breaches have become the third certainty in life, by death and taxes. And unfortunately, identity theft is also involving death and taxes. And that cyberwar has replaced the cold war. And everywhere you turn, everything you do, you’re being tracked. Your information is being gathered, it’s being stored, it’s being disseminated. We’re living in a world of the internet of things where 5 billion devices are collecting information. And most of them are eminently hackable. From your security system in your home, to your car, to your toaster, to your smart mattress cover. So these are challenging digital times.
Craig: Well, you’ve been in this for quite a while. You’re in the 10th year now on Identity Theft 911. You also co-founded credit.com many years ago here. There is a change, is there? Is it kind of the same as it always has been? Is it getting worse? You mentioned it’s now as common and certain as death and taxes.
Adam: No, there is a change. It has evolved over time. Hackers have become far more sophisticated, creative, and Lord knows they are certainly persistent. And what really became clear to people how much money was at stake. In fact, we’re way beyond money. You know in the old days, people will think somebody got their hands on my credit card or debit card. They ran it up, they cost me money. This is cybercrime. It is. But we’ve advanced to the point where there are people opening new accounts in others’ names. There are people getting medical treatments in other peoples’ names, using up their insurance. Possibly co-mingling their information with the information of the patient. There are people committing crimes in the names of others. You have child identity theft. There are military people who are vulnerable as well to being victims. We have tax fraud running rampant. Just to put this in context, in the past few years, were 1 billion. And that’s with a B. 1 billion files containing personal identifiable information have been breached. Just in 2015, just in four breaches. Pre-healthcare insurers, and the US Office of Personnel Management, 120 million social security numbers were exposed to the wrong people.
Craig: Yeah, that’s dramatic isn’t it? We’ve heard about all of those things. How does it affect me? Obviously, that’s what, but half of the security numbers almost, here in the United States. Am I going to theft likely in my lifetime? And what can I do about it?
Adam: Well, I believe that each and every one of us, either has been, is about to be, or for sure will be a victim of multiple forms of identity theft throughout our lives. Simply because there is so much information out there about us. Not only information because of hacks and breaches, but also because people have this unquenchable thirst to share every morsel of their lives on social networking. And they don’t realize that every time you provide additional information than that which was there before through social networking to people who you may think are your friends, many of whom aren’t, making it that much easier for someone to make you a victim of identity theft. For instance, you take quizzes, you give them harmless information, the street you grew up on, your favorite color, your dog’s name, your mother’s middle name, the mascot of your high school. You don’t think anything of it. They are like components of a nuclear weapon. In it of themselves harmless, combined lethal. And the reason? Because when you’re asked security questions by websites in order to authenticate you, that information is being used. So what I say to people, one of the important things to do when you do anything online and they ask you to create a security question protocol is lie.
Adam: They don’t need to know your mother’s real maiden name or your real dog’s name or your favorite color. Invent something. Just make sure that whatever you invent you can remember so that you’ll be able to authenticate yourself. But what I do is I try to break it down to what I call the 3Ms. You need to minimize your risk of exposure, you need to monitor and you need to have a plan to manage the damage.
Craig: Because there will be damage. We’re speaking with Adam Levin a little bit about what’s going on here. He’s the author of a book Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves. I have Adam for years. For forty years now. I used different email addresses every time. I make up at random, literally random answers to all of these questions and I store them all in an encrypted password manager. Because I’ve always concerned about that. But I’ve started out my career in high tech but also in the direct mail system. So I knew about tracking even back in the 70s and it’s gone nothing but worse. Let’s talk about some of the high profile hacks. Because I think it teaches us a few things. You were just talking Adam, about us giving all of these information, right? We take a picture. We upload it to Facebook or Twitter. In that as meditative that tells them about us. In fact we’re the kids that were playing soccer and when they’re playing soccer. Leslie Jones was hacked. She dropped off Twitter because of all of the nastiness occurring. What can you tell us about Leslie Jones and the hack and of course, this is an actress from SNL. She was in Ghostbusters. And she’s probably just one of the most recent, very highly visible hacks.
Adam: Now there’d been a number of highly visible hacks. If you harken back just a few years to the Apple celebrity new gate hack. Which is where they got naked pictures of many, many celebrities. Now of course, Leslie Jones just had pictures of her that were released as well. And with that one, it wasn’t even hacked. Someone literally walked through the front door of Apple and got under the iCloud accounts of these people because so much of their lives have been chronicled in many, many websites, publications, and the like. People could sit back, gather then information, and then what they call brute force their way into their websites coz they could figure out what the email addresses were. And they could figure out what passwords they would be using. And that’s what they think happened to Leslie Jones as well. Now she had been the target of a blogger who has since been thrown off Twitter. And that’s part of why she left Twitter. But then the hate campaign began again anew a few weeks ago with the release of pictures, her driver’s license information, passport information, telephone number, even a picture of a tribute to the gorilla that had been killed when a four year old boy fell in the cage.
Adam: And it really was pretty devastating and a lot of people feel this was sort of like a hate crime. It had racial overtones, it had sexual overtones. I mean these are the kinds of things that can happen. We call this cyberbullying and there’s been a great deal of cyberbullying going on. Not only against celebrities and against political people, but also when it comes to children. That groups of children had been going after other kids and not too long ago, a thirteen year old committed suicide and his is not the first nor will it be the last of kids that are sort of driven into these, you know, emotional states as a result of attacks that occur online. And that’s what happens when you live in a digital society where everything is conducted online is that we’re way past sticks and stones. We’re now watching digital bricks being thrown in front of millions and millions of people.
Adam: That’s why it’s important to really covert your information. You know, let me just give you some thoughts on some of the things that people can do. First you have to minimize your risk of exposure. That means, you don’t carry your social security card. That means you cover up your numbers at your Medicare card and only carry it when you’re going to the doctor. That means you don’t carry every credit and debit card. That means you use long and strong passwords, not password or 1234567. That means you don’t share passwords, which, you know, is one of your practices, you don’t share passwords across through different websites understanding that if somehow your login information becomes compromised, that you could become compromised everywhere. It means you use two factor authentication which is where you start to login to a website, they send a code to your cellphone. You enter the code and then you continue on with your log on. That means you shred. That you don’t save apps in your smartphones your user ID or password. That you take the time to actually put it in separate times. You could, as you said, put information on to encrypted thumb drives for passwords. Another thing you could do is create a passphrase, which is where you use a phrase, or carve your password a couple of letters in front to remind you of the website, numbers in back. You can also consider freezing your credit so that no one, including you, can gain access to your credit unless it’s a fraud. Now that is not the ultimate solution for all forms of identity theft but it will make it more difficult for someone to try to open accounts in your name. So, you know, these are some of the things that you can do to minimize your risk of exposure. As you and I have talked it out though. You could do everything right. But if you’re in the wrong database at the wrong moment and the wrong person gained unauthorized access and your social security number is part of that database, you’re gonna be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life.
Craig: Adam, pretty much every one of my clients has had a social engineering attack against them. These so-called phishing attacks. And in every one of these cases, it looked like an email from the CEO or the owner of the business or from accounting asking for information so they could do a wire transfer. In order to either buy something. Or in one case, they were asking for all of the W2 information from all the employees because they were sitting down with the accountant. And of course, none of that was true. My clients, at least have beaten it to them to pay attention to that. But unfortunately, those have been very effective. Here in the Northeast we keep seeing them. Alright, stick around. Adam Levin will return with us here in just a couple of minutes. We’ll be talking more about what you can do to help keep your information safe online and what your business can do as well. Hey, join me online. Visit Craigpeterson.com, you can find all kinds of information there. Articles about our guests. And please do listen to the podcasts too. If you like the show, go to iTunes and find my podcasts. Just look for Craig Peterson, you’ll find me there and give the podcast a rating. Make sure you subscribe and we’ll see you in the online world as you’re driving around as well. Stick around we’ll be right back.
TTWCP-879-Adam Levin (Part 2)
Craig: Our guest is Adam Levin. You can find him online at adamlevin.com. He’s the founder of IDT911 and credit.com. He’s also the author of a new book called Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves. We’re gonna pick up our interview with him. Talk a little bit about what’s going on with phishing here in the Northeast as well as worldwide and it can and does impact all of us. We have another problem and I’ve had this occur to me eight times in the last year, where someone pretending to be the IRS is calling me up. This seems to be a really big deal. Adam, can you explain some of the tactics that the bad guys are using to get even more of our information?
Adam: Well, you’re correct about the phishing. You know, there are 3 types of phishing. There is phishing and spearphishing, which is the traditional where you get an email. One is either addressed to a group of people, like dear cardholder, dear member, dear account holder… or they may say dear Craig. And you have to ask yourself, what are they asking for and is it reasonable for them to ask for it. Is it normal custom? And we’ll get to that in a second. The second is phishing. That’s where you get a phone call and it appears, you look at your caller ID and it appears to be coming from a legitimate organization. Be it the Internal Revenue Service, your retailer, your bank. And where they’re asking you for information. And the third is someone actually approaches you physically and starts asking you for information for one reason or another. So most important rule of thumb for all of these is never ever, ever authenticate yourself to anyone who approaches you either online, in person, or on the phone. Unless you’re in control of the conversation. It’s one thing if you go to a website that says https and you have a lock, and you have spelled the right name of the website. If you’ve gone there by the way of a legitimate app gotten from, let’s say, the Apple Store. So you know who you’re talking to. If they then ask you to authenticate yourself that’s not unreasonable. They don’t know who you are. If they call you, arguably, they’re calling you because they’re looking for you. If you get a phone call and there’ve been all sorts of scams, everything from the Microsoft, we’ve noticed a problem with your computer, please download this thing and let’s help you get this problem solved.
Craig: My dad got caught on that one.
Adam: Oh yeah. That is prevalent right now. The jury commission is calling to confirm that you’re a legitimate member of the jury pool. Your bank is calling because your account has been frozen. The Internal Revenue Service is calling because you owe money. The IRS, theoretically, is calling students. Telling them that there is a student tax owed because they have student loans. Key thing with the IRS, they never call, they never email. They will contact you by snail mail. At some point if you set up a call with the IRS, that’s a different story. They never call you out of the blue. They never demand you make payment right away. They always give you the opportunity to dispute something. So, if you get a phone call, let’s say from your bank, and they ask you for anything more than just confirming certain transactions which they deem suspicious. The minute they start asking you to confirm anything about yourself, hang up the phone, look at your proprietor debit card, call the number on the back of the card and then if they ask you to authenticate yourself, that’s a legitimate question. And the third form of phishing is called smishing. And that’s when you get a text which says your account is frozen. Please click here. And stay miles away from that. No one will ever ask you to do that. No one will ever ask you to provide information by way of text. And never click on links, even if they’re legitimate. Go to the real website and then look at whatever it is that caught your eye in terms of a link that was sent to you. Because that’s how they get you. You click on a link and either it takes you to a website that looks very well like the one you expected to see and they start asking you for information and you give it because you think it really is your bank. Or there’s malware on that link. Which means your computer or your smartphone could turned into a keystroke logging device transmitting your login information to every website you visit to the hackers every time you go.
Craig: It’s a bad thing. We’re speaking with Adam Levin, you can find him online at adamlevin, L-E-V-I-N.com. If you have a few minutes, I wanna go over one more issue here. A very big one and that is the election. I’ve been warning people for years, you’ve been warning people for years. In fact, you’ve been helping here with more than 17 million households. More than 770,000 businesses. So you’re getting the word out in a very good way. But our elections using these electronic voting machines can be very dangerous. It’s amazing how poor the auto trails are on some of these. Might the election be stolen or even manipulated in a big way by domestic or foreign government.
Adam: We’ll there are few ways that there could be some manipulation. The first is there are a few states that permit… actually 25, states that permit certain categories of people to vote online. Be it the military, the elderly, it depends upon the state. Very limited, but they do. Someone could hack into that and they could ultimately change results that way. You have non-air gapped voting machines. Non-air gapped, or air-gapped means that they’re not connected to the internet. And what happens is even with paper ballots, there are machines that will, you know, count the results of the ballots. Now you can confirm those numbers coz you have the written ballots and that makes it a little more difficult for them to play games with that. But there are 6 states, for instance, that used touch screen voting machines. That could p be hacked and things could change. As you saw with the Wikileaks, release of certain documents. There’s very granular information out there in photo files, domino files. That information in the wrong hands could well lead to additional forms of identity theft and possibly election manipulation. And then of course with targeted voter lists, you have a situation where people in certain districts receive notification that their voting place is so overloaded they’re directed to another voting place which would never happen. But people don’t know that they get this email and this text and they immediately, you know, do what it says coz they wanna vote. I mean this is gonna be a year where a lot of people would wanna vote, for one reason or another. But what is most disturbing about this election year, forgetting even the email Russians hacked someone. And what we’ve been hearing now is the fact that cybersecurity has been a back burner issue. We hear a lot about the great wall of Mexico. But we don’t hear a great deal about beefing up our cybersecurity. Now we do, because of all the things that have just happened. But it’s a tragedy that you need something like this to occur before finally people start to wake up. And here’s something to think about. The Department of Homeland Security has designated 16 critical sectors as part of their cybersecurity and the infrastructure program that must be protected and the US government can get involved with in order to protect people involved. Voting is not one of those 16 sectors yet. And people are calling for it now even the head of Homeland Security is talking about it now. But up until now, that hasn’t been the case.
Craig: Yeah, again now, we have political problem because voting is a state’s rights issue. And, you know, where do the lines cross? But this really is a security issue. We can’t have people messing around with our elections. They’re dirty enough as it they are.
Adam: I think it’s very important for people to remember that when it comes to cybersecurity, and it comes to the integrity of national elections. We’re not talking about red states and we’re not talking about blue states. We’re talking about that every state. And unfortunately, when it comes to cybersecurity, we are all in a state of emergency.
Craig: We’ve been speaking with Adam Levin. You can find him online at adamlevin.com. A-D-A-M-L-E-V-I-N.com. he’s the author of Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves. Information that everyone needs. This is a very, very big deal. He’s the former director of the New Jersey division of Consumer Affairs. Co-founder of credit.com and IDT911. And he’s been very, very busy. Adam, anything else you would like to add?
Adam: Well, I just think the most important thing for people to remember and they have to stay vigilant. But it doesn’t matter how many laws there are, how vigorously they are enforced. The ultimate guardian of the consumer is the consumer. And the last thing, really quickly, is that people don’t realize is there are programs that are available to help them. And in many cases, they’re free. And they’re offered by insurance companies, banks, HR departments where you work. Check with your insurance agent, your bank services rep, your credit union rep, or the HR department where you work and say do you have a program to help me through an identity incident. Am I in it? If not, what do I have to do to get in it? Is it free? What is it gonna cost? And I guarantee you, when you think about it, whatever it is, it’s worth the cost.
Craig: Yeah, especially, as you were saying earlier, you got a guarantee, 100% that our identities will be breached and used really, not against us, but for someone else. So having that insurance could be a very, very big deal. Are the numbers still the same Adam? Some 500 hours to try and correct an identity breach and most of that time having to come during the regular 9-5 working hours?
Adam: Well, it’s less than that but it’s still a significant number of hours. You know, and again as we move into more sophisticated forms of identity theft and phishing is running rampant and information is flowing wildly. We’re moving toward the longer end of resolving the problem. Because it takes people longer to find out they have an issue unless they have very, very good monitoring programs. And then once they figure out they have a problem, it could be overwhelming. And that’s why it’s best to use a professional because professionals can get things done because they’ve done it so many times before they can shortcut the process to help the victim.
Craig: Adam Levin, thanks for being with us. Again, A-D-A-M-L-E-V-I-N.com and online @Adam_K_Levin. Thanks again for being with us.
Adam: Thank you for the invite.
Frank is running to be the Governor of the State of New Hampshire. The Primary election is on Tuesday, September 13.
I asked Frank to come on and discuss some the Tech issues that affect the residents of New Hampshire. We were once only 2nd to Silicon Valley in California for the number of high-tech jobs. There is plenty of high-tech talent here.
Frank Edelblut is a New Hampshire business professional and politician serving elected in 2014 representing the people of Hillsborough County District 38. There he is part of three committees; the Finance Committee, Special Committee on Pensions and the Child and Family Law Committee. Additionally, he serves in his town government as the Water Commissioner for the Town of Wilton. Now, a 2016 Republican candidate for Governor of New Hampshire. He is the father of 7.
After graduation from college, his career began as an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) serving as a CPA auditor for a variety of businesses. He then briefly served as CFO for Niagara Corp, a previous PwC client. Then he started his own business, Control Solutions. He sold Control Solutions to Altran in 2009. In 2013 he began his early stage investing company.
As we talked, we found many commonalities with our families, friends and business contacts. We talked about Tech Employment in New Hampshire and how to keep our STEM graduates here. We spoke of the strengths of NH Manufacturing and how we are making strides in that area. We briefly discussed the problem with H1B and how it is displacing NH high-tech workers.
To know more about Frank Guinta, visit https://frankedelblut.com.
I asked Frank to come on to discuss some issues that are impacting technology right here in New Hampshire and if there are things that he can do to affect positive changes.
Congressman Frank Guinta is one of the NH Representatives to the United States House of Representatives. He represents the First Congressional District. The U.S. House of Representatives is responsible for creating and passing federal laws. The House is one of Congress’s two chambers (the other is the U.S. Senate) and part of the federal government’s legislative branch. There are 435 members proportionally representing the 50 states.
Frank is running for re-election to the US House of Representatives. The Primary election is on Tuesday, September 13.
Today we discussed the problem with the abuse of the H1B Visa program by foreigners at the detriment to US trained and STEM educated graduates. We also discussed STEM Education and Tech Employment.
To know more about Frank Guinta, visit https://guinta.house.gov
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Airing Date: September 10, 2016
Craig Peterson: Welcome back to Tech Talk with Craig Peterson. We’re talking about what is going on in the tech realm and what some of our politicians are doing to help. And we’re joined right now by Frank Guinta. He is, of course, representative for New Hampshire’s First Congressional District. And we’re gonna talk a little bit about technology jobs and the impact that has occurred from some of the technology decisions that have come from Washington, DC and elsewhere. Congressman Guinta, welcome.
Frank Guinta: Hey thank you for having me Craig.
Craig: So, let’s get into this a little bit here. We’ve got all kinds of tech unemployment and employment, kind of nationwide and particularly here in New Hampshire. We’re seeing issues with H-1B visas people have been asking about and really what may amount to abuse of the system. But let’s back up a little bit here. As First Congressional representative here in New Hampshire, I know you’ve been working really hard on the whole job situation because even though New Hampshire has very low unemployment. In fact there’s a lot of techies who have been laid off who are looking for work. What can you do here? What kind of advice do you have?
Frank: Well, you know you’re right. Despite the fact that New Hampshire has a low unemployment rate, what we’re seeing in New Hampshire is that you’ll have low-paying jobs that people are filling. What we really wanna focus on is economic growth and higher job opportunity growth which, unfortunately, we’re not seeing right now in the state of New Hampshire. So, there’s a lot of things that we can do. First, at the federal level, we have to have economic growth at about 4 or 5% rather than what we’re seeing currently at 2%. And so that’s for a second way here in the state of New Hampshire, we want to be able to attract high quality employers that have high paying jobs and that’s just unfortunately not happening right now. I think because we kinda get more competitive, not just regionally but also nationally, to try to bring new employers to the state of New Hampshire. There are several things that are driving these issues. Number 1, the high cost of business taxes in the state of New Hampshire. We’re one of the highest in the country. Secondly, we have a challenge relative to our energy costs. We’re about third highest in the country. So, unfortunately employers are choosing other states because of that. Third, we have a skilled workforce problem at the state of New Hampshire. So, all of these, Craig, unfortunately put us in a position where we’re just not as competitive as we should be either regionally or nationally. And those are things that have to be addressed if we wanna have, you know, proper… better and proper growth in the state of New Hampshire.
Craig: Well that’s a really, really good point. You know the whole job situation is huge and as I look at our youth who are going through school, going through college, attending New Hampshire universities which we even have more of them we did a decade and two ago. Many of them are leaving the state because of the lack of job opportunities and you mentioned a few ways to potentially fix this. There are wage pressures, you mentioned that too. You know, there’s so many things that you said in there. You were absolutely correct. And one of the things I spend a little time looking at here recently is the whole H-1B visa situation and the problem that I’ve run into myself is that I go up at bidding against two various companies that are using foreign workers they’ve brought into the US. At any one time there’s an estimated 700,000 people on H-1B visas and the way the system’s set up, it really helps to promote a lowering of wages. You know, H-1B visas require you to pay a fair wage based on the average wage in the area. So if the average wage in the area is $50,000, that’s what you have to pay these people. Most of them are from India, but they’re from around the world. In the high tech business, you mentioned this wage pressure. In the high tech business there’s jobs that are $120,000 a year. And yet they’re only paying the foreign workers $50,000, because that’s all the law requires, required to pay the prevailing wage for the job just for the area. What’s going on with H-1Bs? We had them since 1990. There’ve been questions and some hearings before. But it seems to really be hurting the high tech area. In New Hampshire we used to be number, what was it, number 2, nationwide per capita for high tech jobs and we’ve dropped way down In that area.
Frank: Yeah, the H-1B visa program, it’s a visa program for non-immigrant visas that allow US companies to, New Hampshire companies, to employ a foreign employee in a particular occupation. And the idea behind this was, if in the state of New Hampshire, you could not find somebody to fulfill a specific job, you could go to a, you know, a foreign employment agency to provide that opportunity. So, I think the intention was good, particularly in New Hampshire you saw, maybe there is a summer or a winter position up in the North Country. It was essentially utilized for that. Well what has happened is it has crept into a larger scope. So, my understanding is that current immigration law allows for about 85,000 new H-1B visas to be made available each fiscal year. What we’re seeing though, unfortunately, is this is creeping into areas that I think had unintentional areas. So you talk about the high tech communities rather than in people who are born and raised in New Hampshire for example, getting job opportunities. You’re finding people from other countries who were fulfilling those positions. So I think what we need to do is, sort of, take a look at the program you have to be very specific. First of all, you gotta be able to first employ someone from the United States. And if that, as you said, if that does not exist, my goal would be well let’s find… if you can’t find someone here in the US, let’s figure out what the problem is. And in my sense it’s probably that, well, we don’t have educational opportunities in those specific areas. And you have to have that growth. And we should be doing that in the state of New Hampshire. So we do have to re-vamp the program a little bit because I think originally it was intended for good, but unfortunately for programs like this, Craig, you may have a unintended consequence that was not foreseen, but unfortunately is now affecting and impacting the job opportunities for people here, particularly that were born and raised here in New Hampshire.
Craig: Sure, yeah. Or native workers here. Another thing that people are brought up because so many of these H-1Bs in the tech business are from India, is that education is so much cheaper in India and that they graduate from school with a PhD and no debt at all. And I know this is a touchy subject of myself being a far more libertarian on the issue than many people. But, you know, is there anything that can be done to help with that problem? Well, if you do go to school, these kids, Congressman Guinta, are graduating with so much debt. It’s crazy nowadays.
Frank: The, unfortunately, New Hampshire has one of the highest debt ratios for a student population. So you know, there are some who would argue that well, you have to increase programmed opportunities to compete with that. I think it’s a bit of a different view. I think the more you increase, I mean, I’ve studied this, and as students, the cost of education, higher education increases, so do programmed opportunities and it’s almost like it’s a direct revenue source for colleges rather than truly helping the students. So in a way it’s not helping the students reduce their debt, it’s just providing a direct revenue source for the college and as a result, they continue to increase costs. So, we’ve gotta be far more competitive and I think we gotta start to get away from traditional 4-year college education. We have to start looking at alternatives where you might be going to college year round. And instead of two semesters, you might want to do three. Get more competitive. I’m starting to see this with some colleges in the state of New Hampshire where, you know, they can… particularly at UNH Manchester, it’s just much less expensive than University of New Hampshire in Durham. So, we’ve gotta start and I just visited the UNH in Manchester. There were some things that we gotta do. Provide this year-round alternatives at a much more competitive cost basis for a student. The other thing we can do is provide opportunities for, you know, kids who are juniors and seniors to have creditations for a certain, they even take a test out of a class and you can get a college course in junior or senior year so you don’t have to take 4 years’ worth of college courses after you graduate high school. That can also defray the cost of college tuition. So, there are things that can be done. You know, I don’t like the notion of the federal government forcing it. I think it’s gotta be from the competitive basis through the private sector.
Craig: Yeah, absolutely. And of course now more technology. There’s more online opportunity. And frankly I think it’s gonna go that way anyways. One last thing, let’s leave on a high note here with Congressman Frank Guinta. STEM education is so important. And I love, for instance, USFIRST. It started here in New Hampshire. The program has grown worldwide. It goes from kids with LEGO and first grade all the way up to building and competing robots. But not just that building businesses, marketing plans, safety training. It’s incredible what these types of programs were like. And it’s self-funding basically here. And it’s in almost all of the schools in New Hampshire. I love the program. I love the encouragement behind it. And I like the fact, too, that you’ve been helping to drive that program.
Frank: You know, I think the STEM program is a phenomenal program that goes back to prior to my term in congress. But, you know, my wife Morgan works for Dean Kamen, not just at USFIRST, but then at Segway. So, you know, we’re big believers in it. We’ve got two young kids that we wanna see excel in math and science. But you know one of the things that I think we need to recognize is at the federal level. We have, you know, I have voted there for the STEM Act. It will ward merit –based plans to elementary and secondary programs that are exceeding expectations and goals and objectives. And which also includes fellowships and trainings for instructors. I think that’s an incredible opportunity for our kids to get into, you know, those high-skilled employer-based opportunities. And the more we have our public school system that is focusing on a 21st century educational opportunity and employment opportunity rather than just a traditional C time, I think the more competitive our public schools can be. So you wanna continue to see that growth all around the country. I think, Dean Kamen, we’re fortunate to have him right here in the state of New Hampshire. If you remember Craig when USFIRST started was a very small operation, not just a national but an international operation that makes math and science cool for kids. So we wanna continue to see that grow. But we wanna make sure that our public school systems are competitive in the sense that seeing math, science, engineering are critical in terms of what your growth potential can be. And the more we have these programs, the STEM programs in schools, the more competitive kids will be as they get older.
Craig: That’s fantastic. It’s gonna help everyone. It’s gonna continue to…
Craig: Alright. Got a primary coming up and of course the general election. People can find out more by going to Guinta, that’s G-U-I-N-T-A, Guinta.house.gov, about what you’ve been doing down there. And congressman, is there a good website for people to go to? When is the primary day?
Frank: Yeah, primary’s September 13th. So the campaign website is teamguinta.com. My federal website, which is everything I’m focusing on the federal level is as you said, guinta.house.gov. And we have continued to, from a campaign perspective, run around the state and make sure we’re meeting as many of our constituents as possible. But you know, one of the most important things for me is to try to be reflective of what the views and values of the First Congressional District and I always invite people to please let me know what issues they want me to focus on. What particular pieces of legislation they want me to consider because, you know, I represent, and I’d like to let people know that we’re in the people’s house. I’m closest to the people in terms of representation and you can affect how I vote, and what legislation I file just by communication with me and talking with me about particular issues. So I always invite people to come in to the office or reach out to us, give us a call and make sure that we’re doing everything that we possibly can to effectively represent the First Congressional District. And it’s truly an honor to serve and I look forward to inviting people to vote in September 13th and then again in November general elections.
Craig: Alright. Teamguinta.com. Congressman Frank Guinta, thanks again for being with us today.
Frank: Craig, thank you so much.
You may recognize the name of this guest from the movie called “Catch Me If You Can.” He wrote the book about his life. Since then, for four decades he has been advising the FBI on how to outsmart the bad guys and has written three other books. Today he runs Abagnale and Associates where they develop new procedures and create manuals and educational programs utilized by over 14,000 financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and corporations.
Mr. Abagnale was named AARP Fraud Watch Network Ambassador in 2015. In that capacity, he launched a “Watch Your Wi-Fi” safety campaign which was created to educate people on the best practices for public Wi-Fi use and how to keep yourself safe when using them.
The AARP has created a free Fraud Watch Network that allows you to beat con artists at their own game by giving you access to the latest scam alerts delivered right to your inbox and tips to prevent and access to expert resources. You can also download their free e-book, “Protecting Yourself Online for Dummies,” which will help you to bank and shop safely, create the best and most secure passwords, use social media safely and protect yourself from identity theft.
You can sign up here: https://action.aarp.org/site/SPageNavigator/FWN_Registration_Page.html
Although he is now one of the world’s most respected authorities on forgery and identity theft, Mr. Abagnale was once a master at stealing identities, as depicted by the 2002 movie Catch Me If You Can, starring Leo DiCaprio. After cashing in millions in fraudulent checks, getting caught and serving jail time, he switched teams and for four decades has been advising the FBI on how to outsmart the bad guys.
Frank W. Abagnale is one of the world’s most respected authorities on forgery, embezzlement, and secure documents. For over 40 years he has worked with, advised and consulted with hundreds of financial institutions, corporations and government agencies around the world. Mr. Abagnale’s rare blend of knowledge and expertise began more than 45 years ago when he was known as one of the world’s most famous confidence men. This was depicted most graphically in his best-selling book, Catch Me If You Can, a film of which was also made, directed by Steven Spielberg with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Apprehended by the French police when he was 21 years old, he served time in the French, Swedish and U. S. prison systems. After five years he was released on the condition that he would help the federal government, without remuneration, by teaching and assisting federal law enforcement agencies. Mr. Abagnale has now been associated with the FBI for over four decades. More than 14,000 financial institutions, corporations, and law enforcement agencies use his fraud prevention programs. Mr. Abagnale was named AARP Fraud Watch Network Ambassador in 2015.
Mr. Abagnale is known as one of the world’s most respected authorities on check fraud, embezzlement, and secure documents. He has developed new procedures and created manuals and educational programs utilized by over 14,000 financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and corporations.
Mr. Abagnale lectures and instructs extensively at the FBI academy and field offices for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He conducts over 100 domestic and international seminars each year for his clients with the single objective of instructing attendees on how to reduce their exposure to fraud, forgery, and embezzlement.
Today, the majority of Mr. Abagnale’s work is for the U. S. government. His company does not sell products or provide services with the exception of his public speaking engagements which are handled through Keppler Speakers (www.kepplerspeakers.com) in Washington, DC.
Mr. Abagnale is the author of “Catch Me If You Can,” “Stealing Your Life,” “The Art of the Steal,” and the “Real U Guide to Identity Theft.”
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Frank Abagnale Airing Date: September 3, 2016
Craig Peterson: Welcome back to Tech Talk with Craig Peterson. We talk a lot about security here on the show and we’re joined right now by someone who knows a lot about it from both sides of the law. We’re joined right now by Frank Abagnale. He has been very busy here. Wrote some books including Catch Me If You Can, which of course they made into a movie. Stealing Your Life, The Art of the Steal, and The Real You Guide To Identity Theft. We’re gonna talk a little bit about what you can do, what you should be careful of in order to make your life a little bit safer and more secure. Hey Frank, welcome.
Frank Abagnale: Thank you.
Craig: So let’s talk a little bit about this. You started out in the opposite side of the law if you will. You were a con man and you had kind of been self-taught, right? You learned all of these yourself?
Frank: Yeah, I was just a runaway at 16 years old and ended up in the streets in New York and realized I had to survive so I became a little creative and unfortunately got into some trouble and was arrested. When I was 21, I spent 5 years in prison. When I was 26, the government took me out of prison to work with the FBI and I’ve spent the last 4 decades working with the FBI. And I’ve had this over my career the opportunity to work with banks and corporations and financial institutions. But up until a couple of years ago, when AARP invited me to come and help them deal with crimes against consumers, I found it was really interesting and worthwhile thing to do to actually teach people how to protect themselves, both on the internet and about crime in general. But the telephone, over the internet, through the mail, etcetera. And that’s why we go out and try to educate people and give them the proper tools to protect themselves with.
Craig: Well Frank it’s come a long way from the day where you kinda self-taught. Today where we have criminal organizations, some of them backed by countries in fact, who are trying to get at our information. They’re trying to break in. They’ve been successful. Look at the hacks recently. And people are concerned. I just had a message come in this week in my insider line, where a lady was getting calls at home and she was confused. And I’ve received them. I had 8 calls right in a row, supposedly from Mrs. Harrison at the IRS. These are getting more sophisticated. These hacks, these attacks, the spam. And I’m glad to see what the AARP is doing here with the fraud watch network. They have a lot of information. A lot of stuff available online. As people are out and about, obviously, don’t answer the phone and give your information out to a stranger. What kind of tips can you give us Frank?
Frank: Ok, first of all, back to that. When you get a phone call, even though it may say on your phone that it’s the IRS calling, that doesn’t mean that it’s the IRS. It’s very simple to manipulate. You wanna make sure that you understand that the IRS does not make phone calls. If they wanna contact you they write you a letter. There’ll be a file number on it. Usually that scam is just to say to you that we’re the IRS, you owe back taxes, if you don’t pay them in 24 hours they’re gonna put a lean on your property, a lean on your bank account. That’s not gonna happen. You’re not gonna get an email from Microsoft to say that there’s malware on your computer, we need to take over your computer. If you allow them to do that, they’re gonna steal all the information on your computer. Your records, your financial records, your photos, and then they’d wanna ransom them back to you. You just have to be a little smarter and pick up the phone and verify that information. One of the things we did is we ran a survey out to see how many people in public Wi-Fi actually go and check their credit cards, check their bank accounts and we’ve found that 70% of people actually in the survey go to Facebook, they look at sensitive emails, and they go to do actually, 33% of them actually, do banking on there, they look at their credit card transactions, buy things over there. We remind people that Wi-Fi, public Wi-Fi is not private. So that if you’re in a coffee shop or in the airport, you shouldn’t be checking bank information, you shouldn’t be wiring money. You shouldn’t be purchasing things with your credit card. And the safe thing to do is to just go to your settings and take your auto-connect to Wi-Fi off so that you don’t forget about it and go to the airport and pick up a fake network or pick up a legitimate network and do something you wouldn’t normally do and give out information you shouldn’t do. So, we created a simple website AARP.org/watchyourwifi, and you can go there and get these simple tips and you can also watch videos to see how people actually steal that information in a public setting. We found that education is the powerful tool to fighting crime, so if we can just tell people how to protect themselves, people who are smart enough to go out and do it. They just need the information and the tools to do it with.
Craig: Frank, the thing I hear again and again is people saying that they don’t need to… well maybe they should worry about it, but there’s not much they need to do about it. And that includes businesses because they seem to have a… no one’s gonna want my information, no one’s gonna attack me. Why would someone want to use the open Wi-Fi network to go get into my computer or my cellphone?
Frank: It’s as simple as me getting your name, social security number, date of birth. If I had those 3 pieces of information, I can get credit in your name, I can buy a car in your name, I can get a mortgage in your name, I can get a job in your name, or I can ultimately commit a crime in your name. I can get medical services in your name under your insurance. If I can become you, what I can do with you is only limited to my imagination. So, anybody can be a victim and you shouldn’t be ashamed if you are a victim. I could be victimized tomorrow. I could be scammed tomorrow. I’m aware of that. But being aware of that and being a little smarter and being a little wiser goes a long way from people taking advantage of you, and you’re right. If I’m a corporation, or an insurance company, or a government agency, I have the responsibility to keep the information you gave me safe. You entrusted that information with me. I should have the proper technology, which is available and does work, in place to keep people from breaching into my system and stealing that information. So, yes. We all have to do our part to keep everybody safe. But we can’t rely on the government, we can’t rely on the bank, we can’t rely on the police to protect us. We have to be a little smarter and go to websites like AARP.org/watchyourwifi, which is giving you for free, there’s nothing to sell, simple tips that you can easily remember so you can do it yourself and know how to protect yourself.
Craig: You mentioned a couple of things people should not do when they’re on Wi-Fi, like check their bank account, credit cards, and other things because it can be intercepted. Their information can be stolen. Are there other things that AARP has on the side or other tips how can I then, keep my information safe? Do I have to do everything in the office or everything at home?
Frank: You just need to learn about how to protect yourself and one of the great things about AARP.org/watchyourwifi or the Fraud Watch Network is it’s absolutely free. You don’t have to be a member of the AARP. There’s just a great deal of information there. You know, in my career of 40 years, that was one of the most difficult things I wrote books because I couldn’t find anybody… not a government agency, not a private entity that was giving out information to consumers to how to protect themselves. 20, 30 years ago, we saw a lot of public service ads. We saw bank statements stuffers with tips about protecting yourself. We don’t see that anymore. So I think this is great that AARP is taking on this initiative through the Fraud Watch Network, to always give people the most current information about protecting themselves. There’s an 800 number you can go to if you feel you’ve been victimized so they can walk you through it and tell you what steps to take. So I would encourage everyone to simply just go to AARP.org/watchyourwifi. Pick up those tips. And if you go to the Fraud Watch Network at AARP, you can get a whole bunch of information about telephone scams, internet scams, mail scams, sweepstakes scams, grandparent scams, you name it. There’s a great deal of information there, it’s free. Take advantage of it. Learn how to protect yourself.
Craig: They also, at the Fraud Watch Network, have a sign up, so you can give them your email address and they’ll keep you up-to-date on the newest scams. Obviously, that’s not a scam. You can find it all online at AARP.org. We’ve been speaking with Frank Abagnale, who is been talking a little bit about what is going on out there in the world from a security standpoint. Frank, anything else you’d like to add?
Frank: Just have people out there to remember that if you make it easy for someone to steal from you, it’s unfortunate, but somebody probably will, so just don’t make it easy.
Craig: Alright. Thanks again for your time today.
Frank: Thank you.
Do you want to have better control of your cloud and public internet resources? Check out Dyn.
This week Dyn’s Chief Strategy Officer, Kyle York joined Craig to discuss how the Dyn platform can monitor, control and optimize applications and infrastructure through Data, Analytics, and Traffic Steering, making sure that your traffic is delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever. What this means is that they can measure Internet connection speeds and find the best route possible for web traffic. When huge events such as the Olympics, Political Conventions, Natural Disasters, etc. take place traffic needs to be optimized to get it where it needs to go, and Dyn is at the forefront in this technology.
Kyle is an expert in global Internet and technology trends; Kyle is often a featured expert in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur & Web Hosting Industry Review. He holds a BS in Marketing from Bentley University.
Keep listening to Craig Peterson’s Tech Talk for all the latest in technology.
Kyle York is the Chief Strategy Officer at Dyn where he has been a long-time executive, having joined in 2008. Over the years, he has held go-to-market leadership roles in worldwide sales, marketing, and services. In his current role, Kyle focuses on corporate strategy, including: positioning and evangelism, new markets, strategic alliances and partnerships, M&A, and business development. As an expert in global Internet and technology trends, Kyle has been featured in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur & Web Hosting Industry Review.
<[>He has been a guest speaker at many universities and technology conferences globally, such as Harvard, Bentley, Stetson, Launch, Web Summit, HostingCon, and Interop. Prior to joining Dyn, Kyle spent nearly six years at SaaS company, WhippleHill Communications, Inc., acquired by Blackbaud Inc. (Nasdaq: BLKB). In addition to his efforts at Dyn, Kyle is also a board member, advisor and investor in several fast growth startups looking to scale including CloudApp, Datanyze, Fastly, and YORK Athletics MFG. He holds a BS in Marketing from Bentley University and lives in Bedford, NH, with wife, Katie and two sons, Henry and Teddy.
Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance Management (IPM) company that provides unrivaled visibility and control into cloud and public Internet resources. Dyn’s platform monitors, controls and optimizes applications and infrastructure through Data, Analytics, and Traffic Steering, ensuring traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
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