Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake

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The uproarious, bestselling true story of the world's most sought-after con man, immortalized by Leonardo DiCaprio in DreamWorks' feature film of the same name.

Frank W. Abagnale, alias Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams, and Robert Monjo, was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters, and escape artists in history. In his brief but notorious criminal career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and copiloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as the supervising resident of a hospital, practiced law without a license, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks, all before he was twenty-one.

Known by the police of twenty-six foreign countries and all fifty states as "The Skywayman," Abagnale lived a sumptuous life on the lam--until the law caught up with him. Now recognized as the nation's leading authority on financial foul play, Abagnale is a charming rogue whose hilarious, stranger-than-fiction international escapades, and ingenious escapes-including one from an airplane-make Catch Me If You Can an irresistible tale of deceit.
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About the author

A former professional impostor, Frank W. Abagnale is one of the world’s most respected authorities on the subjects of forgery and secure documents. A world-renowned consultant for more than twenty-five years, he lectures at the FBI’s Financial Crimes Unit and is a secure-document expert for the Standard Register Company and other high-security printers around the world.
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Reviews

4.7
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Additional Information

Publisher
Broadway Books
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Published on
Nov 19, 2002
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780767915601
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Criminals & Outlaws
True Crime / Hoaxes & Deceptions
True Crime / White Collar Crime
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Frank W. Abagnale
The charismatic forger immortalized in the film Catch Me If You Can exposes the astonishing tactics of today’s identity theft criminals and offers powerful strategies to thwart them based on his second career as an acclaimed fraud-fighting consultant.
Consider these sobering facts:

        *Six out of ten American companies and government agencies have already been hacked.

        *An estimated 80 percent of birth certificate requests are fulfilled through the mail for people using only a name and a return address. So I could take your name and use my address, and get your birth certificate. From there I’m off to the races.

        *Americans write 39 billion checks a year, and half of these folks never reconcile their bank statements.

        *A Social Security number costs $49 on the black market. A driver’s license goes for $90. A birth certificate will set you back $79.


When Frank Abagnale trains law enforcement officers around the country about identity theft, he asks officers for their names and addresses and nothing more. In a matter of hours he can obtain everything he would need to steal their lives: Social Security numbers, dates of birth, current salaries, checking account numbers, the names of everyone in their families, and more. This illustrates how easy it is for anyone from anywhere in the world to assume our identities and in a matter of hours devastate our lives in ways that can take years to recover from. Considering that a fresh victim is hit every four seconds, Stealing Your Life is the reference everyone needs by an unsurpassed authority on the latest identity theft schemes.

Abagnale offers dozens of concrete steps to transform anyone from an easy mark into a hard case that criminals are likely to bypass:

• Don’t allow your kids to use the computer on which you do online banking and store financial records (children are apt to download games and attachments that host damaging viruses or attract spyware).

• Beware of offers that appeal to greed or fear in exchange for personal data.

• Monitor your credit report regularly and know if anyone’s been “knocking on your door.”

• Read privacy statements carefully and choose to opt out of sharing information whenever possible.


Brimming with anecdotes of creative criminality that are as entertaining as they are enlightening, Stealing Your Life is the practical way to shield yourself from one of today’s most nefarious and common crimes.
Roberto Escobar
"I have many scars. Some of them are physical, but many more are scars on my soul. A bomb sent to kill me while I was in a maximum security prison has made me blind, yet now I see the world more clearly than I have ever seen it before. I have lived an incredible adventure. I watched as my brother, Pablo Escobar, became the most successful criminal in history, but also a hero to many of the people of Colombia. My brother was loved and he was feared. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in his funeral procession, and certainly as many people celebrated his death."
These are the words of Roberto Escobar-the top accountant for the notorious and deadly Medellín Cartel, and brother of Pablo Escobar, the most famous drug lord in history. At the height of his reign, Pablo's multibillion-dollar operation smuggled tons of cocaine each week into countries all over the world. Roberto and his ten accountants kept track of all the money. Only Pablo and Roberto knew where it was stashed-and what it bought.
And the amounts of money were simply staggering. According to Roberto, it cost $2,500 every month just to purchase the rubber bands needed to wrap the stacks of cash. The biggest problem was finding a place to store it: from secret compartments in walls and beneath swimming pools to banks and warehouses everywhere. There was so much money that Roberto would sometimes write off ten percent as "spoilage," meaning either rats had chewed up the bills or dampness had ruined the cash.
Roberto writes about the incredible violence of the cartel, but he also writes of the humanitarian side of his brother. Pablo built entire towns, gave away thousands of houses, paid people's medical expenses, and built schools and hospitals. Yet he was responsible for the horrible deaths of thousands of people.
In short, this is the story of a world of riches almost beyond mortal imagination, and in his own words, Roberto Escobar tells all: building a magnificent zoo at Pablo's opulent home, the brothers' many escapes into the jungles of Colombia, devising ingenious methods to smuggle tons of cocaine into the United States, bribing officials with literally millions of dollars-and building a personal army to protect the Escobar family against an array of enemies sworn to kill them.
Few men in history have been more beloved-or despised-than Pablo Escobar. Now, for the first time, his story is told by the man who knew him best: his brother, Roberto.
Frank W. Abagnale
The world--famous former con artist and bestselling author of Catch Me if You Can now reveals the mind--boggling tricks of the scam trade--with advice that has made him one of America's most sought--after fraud--prevention experts.

"I had as much knowledge as any man alive concerning the mechanics of forgery, check swindling, counterfeiting, and other similar crimes. Ever since I'd been released from prison, I'd often felt that if I directed this knowledge into the right channels, I could help people a great deal. Every time I went to the store and wrote a check, I would see two or three mistakes made on the part of the clerk or cashier, mistakes that a flimflam artist would take advantage of. . . . In a certain sense, I'm still a con artist. I'm just putting down a positive con these days, as opposed to the negative con I used in the past. I've merely redirected the talents I've always possessed. I've applied the same relentless attention to working on stopping fraud that I once applied to perpetuating fraud."

In Catch Me if You Can, Frank W. Abagnale recounted his youthful career as a master imposter and forger. In The Art of the Steal, Abagnale tells the remarkable story of how he parlayed his knowledge of cons and scams into a successful career as a consultant on preventing financial foul play--while showing you how to identify and outsmart perpetrators of fraud.

Technology may have made it easier to track down criminals, but cyberspace has spawned a skyrocketing number of ways to commit crime--much of it untraceable. Businesses are estimated to lose an unprecedented $400 billion a year from fraud of one sort or another. If we were able to do away with fraud for just two years, we'd erase the national debt and pay Social Security for the next one hundred years. However, Abagnale has discovered that punishment for committing fraud, much less recovery of stolen funds, seldom happens: Once you're a victim, you won't get your money back. Prevention is the best form of protection.

Drawn from his twenty-five years of experience as an ingenious con artist (whose check scams alone mounted to more than $2 million in stolen funds), Abagnale's The Art of the Steal provides eye-opening stories of true scams, with tips on how they can be prevented. Abagnale takes you deep inside the world and mind of the con artist, showing you just how he pulled off his scams and what you can do to avoid becoming the next victim. You'll hear the stories of notorious swindles, like the mustard squirter trick and the "rock in the box" ploy, and meet the criminals like the famous Vickers Gang who perpetrated them. You'll find out why crooks wash checks and iron credit cards and why a thief brings glue with him to the ATM. And finally, you'll learn how to recognize a bogus check or a counterfeit bill, and why you shouldn't write your grocery list on a deposit slip.
A revealing look inside the predatory criminal mind from a former master of the con, The Art of the Steal is the ultimate defense against even the craftiest crook.


From the Hardcover edition.
Frank W. Abagnale
The world--famous former con artist and bestselling author of Catch Me if You Can now reveals the mind--boggling tricks of the scam trade--with advice that has made him one of America's most sought--after fraud--prevention experts.

"I had as much knowledge as any man alive concerning the mechanics of forgery, check swindling, counterfeiting, and other similar crimes. Ever since I'd been released from prison, I'd often felt that if I directed this knowledge into the right channels, I could help people a great deal. Every time I went to the store and wrote a check, I would see two or three mistakes made on the part of the clerk or cashier, mistakes that a flimflam artist would take advantage of. . . . In a certain sense, I'm still a con artist. I'm just putting down a positive con these days, as opposed to the negative con I used in the past. I've merely redirected the talents I've always possessed. I've applied the same relentless attention to working on stopping fraud that I once applied to perpetuating fraud."

In Catch Me if You Can, Frank W. Abagnale recounted his youthful career as a master imposter and forger. In The Art of the Steal, Abagnale tells the remarkable story of how he parlayed his knowledge of cons and scams into a successful career as a consultant on preventing financial foul play--while showing you how to identify and outsmart perpetrators of fraud.

Technology may have made it easier to track down criminals, but cyberspace has spawned a skyrocketing number of ways to commit crime--much of it untraceable. Businesses are estimated to lose an unprecedented $400 billion a year from fraud of one sort or another. If we were able to do away with fraud for just two years, we'd erase the national debt and pay Social Security for the next one hundred years. However, Abagnale has discovered that punishment for committing fraud, much less recovery of stolen funds, seldom happens: Once you're a victim, you won't get your money back. Prevention is the best form of protection.

Drawn from his twenty-five years of experience as an ingenious con artist (whose check scams alone mounted to more than $2 million in stolen funds), Abagnale's The Art of the Steal provides eye-opening stories of true scams, with tips on how they can be prevented. Abagnale takes you deep inside the world and mind of the con artist, showing you just how he pulled off his scams and what you can do to avoid becoming the next victim. You'll hear the stories of notorious swindles, like the mustard squirter trick and the "rock in the box" ploy, and meet the criminals like the famous Vickers Gang who perpetrated them. You'll find out why crooks wash checks and iron credit cards and why a thief brings glue with him to the ATM. And finally, you'll learn how to recognize a bogus check or a counterfeit bill, and why you shouldn't write your grocery list on a deposit slip.
A revealing look inside the predatory criminal mind from a former master of the con, The Art of the Steal is the ultimate defense against even the craftiest crook.


From the Hardcover edition.
Frank W. Abagnale
The charismatic forger immortalized in the film Catch Me If You Can exposes the astonishing tactics of today’s identity theft criminals and offers powerful strategies to thwart them based on his second career as an acclaimed fraud-fighting consultant.
Consider these sobering facts:

        *Six out of ten American companies and government agencies have already been hacked.

        *An estimated 80 percent of birth certificate requests are fulfilled through the mail for people using only a name and a return address. So I could take your name and use my address, and get your birth certificate. From there I’m off to the races.

        *Americans write 39 billion checks a year, and half of these folks never reconcile their bank statements.

        *A Social Security number costs $49 on the black market. A driver’s license goes for $90. A birth certificate will set you back $79.


When Frank Abagnale trains law enforcement officers around the country about identity theft, he asks officers for their names and addresses and nothing more. In a matter of hours he can obtain everything he would need to steal their lives: Social Security numbers, dates of birth, current salaries, checking account numbers, the names of everyone in their families, and more. This illustrates how easy it is for anyone from anywhere in the world to assume our identities and in a matter of hours devastate our lives in ways that can take years to recover from. Considering that a fresh victim is hit every four seconds, Stealing Your Life is the reference everyone needs by an unsurpassed authority on the latest identity theft schemes.

Abagnale offers dozens of concrete steps to transform anyone from an easy mark into a hard case that criminals are likely to bypass:

• Don’t allow your kids to use the computer on which you do online banking and store financial records (children are apt to download games and attachments that host damaging viruses or attract spyware).

• Beware of offers that appeal to greed or fear in exchange for personal data.

• Monitor your credit report regularly and know if anyone’s been “knocking on your door.”

• Read privacy statements carefully and choose to opt out of sharing information whenever possible.


Brimming with anecdotes of creative criminality that are as entertaining as they are enlightening, Stealing Your Life is the practical way to shield yourself from one of today’s most nefarious and common crimes.
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