I recently attended Moravian Manor’s Engaging Community Program, which featured speaker Frank Abagnale, whose life is the subject of the popular book, movie and Broadway play, ‘Catch Me If You Can’. Much to my surprise, many of the attendees I spoke with at the event hadn’t seen the movie; if you haven’t, I highly recommend it. Directed by Steven Spielberg and featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, the movie gives you an adventurous visual for what otherwise may be considered an impossible journey of a young man in the 1960s.
Between the ages of 16 and 21, Frank Abagnale perpetrated the unthinkable and posed as an airline pilot, a college professor, a lawyer and a pediatrician. Let’s also not forget to mention that throughout those 5 years, he cashed 2.5 million dollars in fraudulent checks throughout every state in the U.S. and 26 foreign countries. It sounds like a glamorous life filled with unlimited funds and travel, but in actuality, Frank lived a life of fear and desolation. His life on the run began when he found out about his parents’ divorce and was forced to choose between them. He ran out of the Family Court proceedings and never saw either of his parents again. He spent 5 years in U.S., French and Swedish prisons until he was released under the condition that he would educate and aid the federal government for free on fraud and fraud prevention. Thirty-six years later, Frank continues in his partnership with the FBI.
Frank admits that the crimes he committed many years ago are even easier to commit in today’s tech-filled world. With ‘International Fraud Awareness Week’ just around the corner (November 11-17), there is no time like the present to evaluate the security of your identity and assets. Here are some helpful tips and resources to get you started:
- Buy a ‘security micro-cut’ shredder, which turn documents or CDs into confetti. If it doesn’t say ‘security micro-cut’ on the box, identity thieves will still be able to piece together your confidential documents.
- Educate yourself! Mr. Abagnale has written multiple books on the subject, including ‘The Art of the Steal’ and ‘Stealing Your Life: The Ultimate Identity Theft Prevention Plan.’ Who better to learn from than the con artist himself?
What tips do you have to help prevent identity theft?