Abagnale in 2008
|Born||Frank William Abagnale, Jr.
April 27, 1948
Bronxville, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||CEO of Abagnale & Associates (security consultants);
Ex Confidence Artist
|Criminal charge||Fraud, forgery, swindling|
|Criminal penalty||12 months in French prison (about 6 months served)
6 months in Swedish prison
12 years in US prison (4 years served)
|Spouse(s)||Kelly Anne Welbes|
What I did in my youth is hundreds of times easier today. Technology breeds crime.
Criminals look at identity theft and say only 1 in 700 criminals gets convicted of it. And they look at check forgery and they know that for every 1,400 forgers arrested, only about 123 get convicted and about 26 go to jail. So the rewards are great, but the risks are very slim. So that's one of the reasons that make it very popular.
When people ask me about being portrayed onscreen by Leonardo DiCaprio, I always say, 'I love it – no matter how old I get, people are going to think that's what I look like.'
Technology breeds crime and we are constantly trying to develop technology to stay one step ahead of the person trying to use it negatively.
The front of a cheque alone gives someone enough information to steal your identity.
When 'Catch Me If You Can' was published back in 1980, I never dreamed that it would become a bestseller, much less a major motion picture and now a big Broadway musical. What's amazing about the book is that it has never gone out of print.
I don't use a debit card. The safest thing is a credit card because you're using the bank's money. If someone accesses your information, they are stealing the bank's money, not yours.
Banks are so protected from liability they would have to really do something that was their mistake in order for them to be liable for it. Banks don't look at signatures. They're processing millions of checks and they have very little liability.
Most people are fascinated by what I did as a teenager, but when I look back at my life, I don't think very much about those years. I was an opportunist and got away with things because I was very young, but I went to prison and came out and remade my life.
Whether you're earning $7 an hour or $700,000 a year, it's very important to protect your credit rating.
It's amazing to me that we live in such a wonderful country where anyone can have a problem in life and get up, dust themselves off and start all over again.
Why do the Yankees always win? The other team can't stop looking at the pinstripes.
The Internet is a wonderful thing, but it opens the door to many crimes, so you have to stay ahead of it.
I'm a true believer that you have a moral obligation to keep your employees honest, and that is why you have controls, so I'm never tempted or put in a position where I could do something to defraud my employer.
I was just a guy who ran away from home at 16 because my parents were getting a divorce and the judge was making me choose which parent to live with. I didn't want to make that choice. I ended up in New York City.
I use a shredder for bank statements and phone bills. Most people use ribbon shredders that cut things straight: we can put those back together in an hour. Look for a security microcut shredder, which cuts papers into confetti.
I think my wife understood from the day I met her how important she was to me and how important it was for me becoming a husband and a father.
The biggest thing that concerns me is when we start getting countries using cybercrime to shut down infrastructure, electricity, communications systems, the Internet, et cetera.
In the old days, a con man would be good looking, suave, well dressed, well spoken and presented themselves real well. Those days are gone because it's not necessary. The people committing these crimes are doing them from hundreds of miles away.
If you happen to tell me where you were born, your date of birth and that kind of information, then I'm 98 percent of the way to stealing your identity.
I was an opportunist and got away with things because I was very young, but I went to prison and came out and remade my life.
A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father.
The police can't protect consumers. People need to be more aware and educated about identity theft. You need to be a little bit wiser, a little bit smarter and there's nothing wrong with being skeptical. We live in a time when if you make it easy for someone to steal from you, someone will.
If my forgeries looked as bad as the CBS documents, it would have been 'Catch Me In Two Days'.
Every case involving cybercrime that I've been involved in, I've never found a master criminal sitting somewhere in Russia or Hong Kong or Beijing. It always ends up that somebody at the company did something they weren't supposed to do. They read an email, went to a website they weren't supposed to.
My proudest moment was probably when my oldest boy finished law school and went on to become an FBI agent. It was just beyond my imagination that – with my background – my own son would become an FBI agent.