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Famous con artist shares tips on protecting your identity

A legendary con-artist spent the day at Microsoft. The life of Frank Abagnale was profiled in the hit movie, “Catch Me If You Can”.  Today, he works with the FBI informing about identity theft.  He has surprising information about who he believes are the nations biggest target for identity theft.

“Catch Me If You Can” shows the old Abagnale – living the high life as a pilot faking and scheming his way through his victims pocketbooks.  He posed as an attorney and even a doctor.  Eventually he was get caught and when to prison.  After serving time, he switched sides and became an FBI agent teaching his tricks to agents.

“Right now we have a victim every two seconds in the United States,” said Abagnale.

Frank teamed up with the AARP and Microsoft to explain how easy it is for fraudsters to get your information.  His first line of business is to get people to stop using their debit cards.

“Debit cards – the worst tool that was ever given to the American consumer because with a debit card, every time you pull it out of your wallet, you access your money.  So, if I get your debit card, I’m stealing your money. If you use a credit card, I’m stealing the Mastercard, American Expresses money, not your money,” explained Abagnale.

As for the most sought after identity to steal – Abagnale says it’s your kids personal information, not the parents.

“So I can become that child for a long period of time before the parent or the child ever know i’m using their name and their credit,” said Abagnale.

It really comes down to being very careful with that information.  Don’t put it online, don’t tell everyone your kids birthday on Facebook. Guard it like you do your child’s future because it is.  Abagnale says there were 15 million victims of identity theft last year, creating $50 billion in losses.  As time goes by, the old thief said stealing is still easy because we make it that way.

“It would be like you asking me to count to three. One, two three. It’s that simple. All I need is your name, your social security number, your date of birth. Unfortunately that’s everywhere. Unfortunately on social media there is so much information,” said Abagnale.

Do you have a story you want me to check out? Call 1-844-77-JESSE (53773) or send me a message here. I’ll be part of KIRO 7 Eyewitness News most weekdays at 5:15 p.m. You can also check out my Facebook page and click here to follow me on Twitter.


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