Frank W. Abagnale The Art of the Steal

ISBN 13: 9780786121373

The Art of the Steal

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9780786121373: The Art of the Steal

While technology may make it easier to track down criminals, cyberspace has spawned a skyrocketing number of ways to commit crime, much of it untraceable. In fact, punishment for fraud, much less recovery of stolen funds, is a rare occurrence. Prevention is the best form of protection. Frank Abagnale, former con artist and bestselling author of Catch Me If You Can, 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. Drawn from his twenty-five-year career on the other side of the law, The Art of the Steal provides eye-opening stories of true scams with tips on how they could have been avoided.

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Product Description:

America's most sought-after fraud-prevention expert reveals the tricks of the scam trade. The Art of the Steal tells how to prevent identity theft and safeguard the use of social security numbers, create forge-proof documents and spot phony ones immediately, and avoid information embezzlement by employees as well as hackers.

Review:

Author Frank W. Abagnale knows something about fraud--he once committed it for a living. "Through my various hustles, I passed something like $2.5 million worth of checks, a blizzard of paper that I scattered in earnest throughout all fifty states and twenty-six countries, all before I was legally allowed to drink," he writes. "I was proficient enough at cashing fraudulent checks that I earned the distinction of becoming one of the most hunted criminals by the FBI." Abagnale was ultimately caught, and he served prison sentences in France, Sweden, and the United States. In the 25 years since his release, Abagnale (who also wrote Catch Me If You Can) has become a leading consultant on fraud prevention.

"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," he explains. "I've applied the same relentless attention to working on stopping fraud that I once applied to perpetrating fraud." His expertise comes in handy: businesses lose an estimated $400 billion each year to fraud. The stories Abagnale tells in The Art of the Steal provide fascinating glimpses of a criminal underworld. He describes "shoulder surfers" who rip off bank customers at ATMs by videotaping their fingers as they enter PIN numbers, retrieving receipts from wastebaskets, and then creating fake credit cards--all rather inexpensively. Whole sections of the book almost read like a how-to manual for aspiring thieves, though Abagnale has other motives. Throughout, he offers sensible advice on how to foil the con artists. Much of this is common sense (cut up credit cards when they expire), but some of his suggestions aren't so obvious. He warns readers not to write checks to the "IRS," for instance: "Envelopes to the IRS are common targets because of where they're going." Instead, checks should be made out to the "Internal Revenue Service," because criminals can turn the "I" of "IRS" into an "M," and turn a tax payment into a gift for "MRS." Smith. The chapter on the emerging problem of identity theft--with its tips on how to keep Social Security numbers private--is especially helpful. In all, The Art of the Steal is captivating and useful. --John Miller

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Frank W. Abagnale
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Frank W. Abagnale
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