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  • Dean Smith

If you Can’t Beat Them…Join Them?

According to an article by Scott Lacourse on PropertyCasualty360, Frank Abagnale has earned the title of “the ultimate fraudster.” So much so, that Leonardo DiCaprio depicted Abagnale in the film (based on his memoir), “Catch Me if You Can,” by Steven Spielberg. Really, though. How much did Abagnale get away with? Lacourse states that, “Between the ages of 15-21, Abagnale amassed $2.5 million by assuming no fewer than eight identities. He conned his way through life as an airline pilot, a lawyer, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons agent, and as a doctor. ‘Becoming’ a lawyer involved forging a Harvard University law degree transcript, ‘passing’ the Louisiana bar exam, and getting a job at the Louisiana State Attorney General’s office at the age of nineteen. Abagnale eluded the authorities for years, twice escaping from police custody before the age of 21.” Pretty impressive…and scary. If a 15 to 21-year-old kid can accomplish fraud of that magnitude, how many others can follow in his footsteps? Abagnale was finally in police custody in 1970 and spent the next five years in prisons in France, Sweden, and the United States. However, Abagnale was released on the condition that he would join federal law enforcement agencies in identifying and fighting fraud. Who better to fight fraud than one who committed some of the biggest con jobs known to man? Abagnale elected to pay back his debt and begin his career as a security consultant, for not only federal law enforcement, but public and private institutions, as well. According to Lacourse, 14,000 institutions have adopted his fraud prevention programs. He’s had his hands in thousands of industries, including the insurance industry when he was elected by the NAIC to be the spokesperson for awareness campaigns geared toward helping educate consumers about fraudulent health insurance policies. Today, however, Abagnale warns about the largest threat: cybercrime. Social media and new technology allow us to see into the lives of others, but also serve as breeding grounds for fraud, false identities, cybercrime, etc. Anyone can create a fraudulent Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account, etc.! Abagnale says, “Technology breeds crime. It always has, and always will. What I did 50 years ago as a teenage boy is 4,000 times easier to do today because of technology.” But it is our job (and Abagnale’s) to raise awareness. Every single one of us is a target and education is the first step to combat these crimes! Source

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