Legendary con man: Your identity 4,000 times easier to steal today

Frank Abagnale says social media exposes you to international thieves

Frank Abagnale, the legendary identity theft guru portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie “Catch Me If You Can,” told News 6 anyone posting personal profiles on social media like Facebook is an easy target to lose money, credit standing and their identity to internet pirates.

“It’s 4,000 times easier to do today than what I did 50 years ago,” Abagnale told News 6.

During a satellite interview taped last Friday, the infamous master of forgery and embezzling schemes said hackers working with him to assist the federal government to stop internet thieves admit hacking isn’t a necessary art anymore.
“They basically say to me, 'I don’t hack, I just go to people’s social media sites,'” said Abagnale.

Abagnale, who was named the AARP fraud watch network ambassador in 2015, has been working with the FBI along with hundreds of financial institutions, corporations and law enforcement agencies implementing his fraud prevention programs.

“We complain a lot about our identities being stolen… the fact is we keep giving people all of this data and they’re not just U.S. criminals, it’s criminals in Russia, China, Pakistan, India -- all over the world,” Abagnale told News 6.

Abagnale said the top schemes hitting the internet and email right now are the genealogy scam and the shopping scam.

When they have specific information about you, chances are you handed it over on social media.

“I know all these things sound convincing when you get that phone call, that email, that it’s your bank or it is the IRS, whatever the scam because they’re getting all that information that you gave them on social media,” said Abagnale.

Abagnale advises anyone on social media to pull birthdays, anniversaries, schools and photographs from the site.

For more information and tips on how to avoid the latest social media scams, go to www.aarp.org/SocialScams.

About the Author: