Beale AFB Gives Identity Theft Speaker Dose of Own Medicine (ouch!)

Beale AFBI spoke about an hour ago to the Airmen (and women) of Beale Air Force Base outside of Sacramento, California. The room was packed with incredibly inquisitive, highly dedicated members of our armed services. There was a General in the audience; obviously the base cares about their personnel and take their data security very seriously. They weren’t there just to see an identity theft speaker, they were there because part of protecting our country against aggressors means that they must also protect the flow of information that makes our nation so powerful. With military, corporate and industrial espionage on the rise, they are smart to be focusing on the proactive protection of knowledge assets.

And they gave me a dose of my own medicine.

After the speech, my cab didn’t show up on base to take me back to the airport, so, in a bit of a panic, I called another cab company. In a rush, the dispatcher asked me for my credit card number, expiration date, name and security code (from the back of the card). Not wanting to slow the process down, I proceeded to give that information over the phone. When I was off of the call, a woman sitting across the lobby who had seen me speak, said this to me:

Trust Me, you need to hear something Mr. John Sileo, Professional Identity Theft Speaker. Hogwash! Sitting here, I could’ve written down everything you just said and shopped all day on your credit card. You shouldn’t give that information out in public! You are letting it out of your Control with no way to Justify how it is used. And you had several better Options – like walking out the door to a more private place. You should have at least Stopped to think about what you were doing. [Then she busted out laughing at my bright-red face].

Touche’. I am humbled and appreciative that this woman not only internalized what I was talking about during the presentation, but she had the courage to call me on it and do something about it. Bravo. You see, even a purported identity theft expert doesn’t always do it right. We are always learning, aren’t we?

It is the highest honor for me to be able to serve the United States military, who so valiantly and humbly serve every American. Thank you Beale AFB, and a special thanks to the woman who fed me my own medicine when I needed it.

During my speech, I promised to give you easy-to-complete action steps to protect your identity against theft, as well as that of your loved ones. I’d like to deliver on that promise by directing you to a full page article I’ve written specifically for you: The Military Identity Theft Protection Kit. If you have additional suggestions for protecting military IDs that I haven’t covered in this article, please include your comments at the bottom of the post. With your input, this conversation should contribute to the financial stability of our armed forces – which is vital, because, as you are aware, financial readiness is mission readiness.

For those of you who asked to purchase a copy of my book, Stolen Lives, you can do so at Be sure you choose the Speaking Engagement Shipping option in your shopping cart as it will give you free shipping.

The wonderful people at the Beale Airman and Family Readiness Center have put additional identity theft prevention resources for you online. If you are already a victim, visit their identity theft recovery PDF.

There were several questions that were asked after my speech was over that I wanted to address here:

  1. Does freezing your credit affect your ability to make charges on your credit card? Absolutely not! It only affects new accounts being set up (car loans, home loans, etc.) using your credit profile. It will not affect any existing accounts that you have. You will still be able to make purchases on your credit or debit card without any additional hassle.
  2. How do I protect my kids? I recommend that you simply monitor your kid’s credit reports, much like you would your own. To learn how to get a free credit report for a child, read this excellent article from
  3. To add children to your identity monitoring service (such as CSIdentity) visit the Child Identity Monitoring Section on their website.

Posted by Identity Theft Speaker in Identity Theft Prevention and tagged , , .

5 Responses to Beale AFB Gives Identity Theft Speaker Dose of Own Medicine (ouch!)

  1. Melany Sarafis: January 7, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Thank you for coming to Beale today Mr Sileo. I was one of many uniformed members in the audience (I asked you protecting my soon-to-be 18 year old son’s credit)
    I took more away from your speech than any others. As a matter of fact, I just walked in the door at home, and fired up the computer. I was planning to go check our son’s credit report (hoping it’s empty) and decided to visit your site first to see if your blog is up.
    I enjoyed meeting you. And THANK YOU for the link you posted for a child’s credit report. You’re awesome 🙂
    (now if you can just help me get him in college)

  2. Eric: January 7, 2009 at 9:43 pm


    Thank you for the eye opening lecture. I learned a lot from your misfortunes and the examples you used throughout your speech. You gave me a healthy dose of skepticism/paranoia…thank you!

    Agent 001

  3. Brett: January 7, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    John –

    I always thought I was extremely careful (sometimes to an abnormal extreme says some friends and coworkers) by shredding anything that has info that can be used for someone else’s gain against me. Thank you for teaching me a better way to prevent our identity theft rather than simply shredding. I learned I could save some wear and tear on my shredder by STOPPING some of this inflowing paperwork at the source by preventing the paperwork to be established in the first place (opting out). Great life lesson today! Thank you for what you have done for those in attendence.

  4. Candy: January 8, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    John, thanks again for a great speech. I learned alot. Compared to the other speeches, you were very engaging and I was awake the whole time:-) I have been a victim twice of identify theft and I’m still learning things I can do to keep my name and info safe. I’m spreading your word to all that will hear. Thanks for “Hogwash”!!

    PS. You look like “The Bachelor” and also Rob Lowe. Just thought I would throw that in there.

  5. John S.: June 23, 2009 at 11:59 am

    I’ve learned a lot from this site – I hope you continue writing because I love your stuff!

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