Tuesday, September 15, 2015 9:13 pm, Posted by Absolute Destruction
Cinephiles will remember Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Critically acclaimed as a stylish and fun romp through white collar crime, it tells a tale that’s more fact than fiction. Based off of the life of ex-con, Frank Abagnale, Catch Me If You Can details a long and implausible list of fraud carried out by the American in his youth. Now nearly in his 70s, Abagnale consults and lectures for the FBI while operating his own financial fraud consultancy, using his experiences on the wrong side of the law to help others protect themselves from fraud.
Abagnale’s earliest dip into financial crime started with bank fraud. When his bank demanded money for the overdrawn cheques he had been writing from his personal accounts, he devised a plan to continue drawing cheques without culpability. His plan depended upon opening accounts under false identities and depositing fake payroll cheques. By encouraging the bank to advance him cash, Abagnale was able to defraud millions of dollars from these financial institutions. Of the identities he successfully assumed, he impersonated an airline pilot, teaching assistant, physician, and an attorney.
Eventually, Abagnale was caught and sentenced to 12 years in a federal prison, for which he only served 4 years. After his release, he began to put use his unique knowledge of cheque fraud, secure documents, and embezzlement to help authorities, financial institutions, and individuals protect themselves from fraud. When not consulting, Abagnale conducts seminars to instruct clients how to avoid being a victim of fraud.
Abagnale fully admits that it’s much easier today, in 2015, to steal someone’s identity than it was in the 60s. In order to open false accounts, Abagnale had to complete an extensive amount of research. Culling newspaper obituaries, he would cross-reference the name of the deceased in other public records archived at his local library. The process would take a considerable amount of time and devotion before he could connect the name listed in the paper with an account number. Now, people willingly give out this information on various Social Media platforms, listing their full name with their place and date of birth – all of which can be found in a few a minutes after as many clicks.
If you remember from any of our previous publications, these pieces of information are the exact details that you cannot let leave your house in un-shredded documents, so why would you publish them online for anyone to see? Like Abagnale, we suggest you review your privacy limit on all of your accounts (especially Facebook) and make sure you keep your information hidden.
Abagnale is also on the same page regarding the state of your physical documents. Just as you beef up security on your online accounts, he suggests that you take care with your documents. Straight and criss-cross home shredders aren’t enough to destroy your private information, and the paper put through these machines can very easily be put back together after a day’s work. Only mobile shredding trucks that employ the latest (NAID-approved) techniques and equipment can assure that your personal information is completely destroyed and can’t be retrieved to be used against you.
Because it may seem like Hollywood fantasy, but identity theft and financial fraud are completely real threats. Take the advice of a real expert and protect yourself. Give one of our dedicated team members a call to get started and see which one of our services best suits your needs.