“Catch Me” Con Man Gives Advice on Identity Theft

The Palm Beach Post reports on a recent lecture on identity theft by famous con man Frank Abagnale, whose criminal activities were made into the movie “Catch Me If You Can”.

From the article —

Frank Abagnale knew about identity theft before it had a name.

In fact, he practiced it with precision.

His legendary exploits as a con man were immortalized in the 2002 Steven Spielberg movie Catch Me If You Can, with Leonardo DiCaprio playing the role of Abagnale.

Between the ages of 19 and 21, Abagnale cashed $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in every state and 26 foreign countries. He posed as a Pan Am airline pilot, an attorney, a college professor and a pediatrician. He also served time in French, Swedish and U.S. prisons starting when he was 21.

”How could I say my life was glamorous?” he said. ”If I had been brilliant, if I had been a genius, I don’t know that I would have felt the need to break the law.” Now a consultant for the FBI and banks such as Morgan Stanley, he spoke earlier this month about his life and about the dangers of identity theft to an audience of around 150 people at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

When Abagnale, 58, did it more than 30 years ago, the process of stealing someone’s identity was simple, if a bit time-consuming. It required going to the county clerk’s office, finding the name and Social Security number of a dead child, asking for a copy of the birth certificate and using that certificate to obtain a driver’s license. With the Social Security number and driver’s license, the financial world was his oyster — and still is for today’s crooks.

The rest of the article discusses the use of technology in modern identity theft and some ways for people to protect themselves.

You can read the full article @ ‘Catch Me’ con man offers advice on avoiding identity theft