Stealing your life

Before the age of 19, Frank Abagnale had successfully conned millions of dollars worth of checks while posing as a Pan Am pilot, doctor and legal prose- cutor. It is his early life that has been captured in his best-selling memoir and 2002 blockbuster film Catch Me If You Can. However, now he has gone from fraud to a fraud-fighting consultant.

When Abagnale trains law enforcement officers around the country about identity theft, he asks them 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 exercise illus- trates how easy it is for anyone from anywhere in the world to assume your identity and, in a matter of hours, devastate your life.

Considering that a fresh victim is hit every four seconds, this summary offers important tips and techniques from 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. Several anecdotes of creative criminality are included, which are as entertaining as they are enlight- ening. This summary provides clear, practical ways to protect yourself from one of today’s most common crimes.