UPDATE: This famous scam artist has a dire warning for you
By Henry Williams
Frank Abagnale Jr. says things have only gotten easier for swindlers
If you are still paying by check, you might be putting your life savings at risk. That's the warning from Frank Abagnale Jr.
Anyone who has seen the face of a check you write from your checking account or wealth-management account could draft on that account tomorrow, he says.
His name might seem familiar. From 1965 to 1970, he ran a series of scams--posing as a lawyer, a doctor, a pilot--before getting arrested and spending five years in prison. In the 2002 biographical movie "Catch Me If You Can," he was played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
He attributes his success as a scam artist to his youth. "I was just 16 years old," he says. "I was strictly an adolescent. I had no fear of being caught. I had no fear of consequences."
Abagnale now puts his skills to use teaching FBI agents around the country about cybercrime, identity theft and fraud. "Frank has a unique ability" to communicate, says the special agent in charge of the FBI's Charlotte, N.C., field office, John Strong, who has worked with Abagnale on multiple occasions. "The guy is a genius."
Abagnale also serves as an ambassador for AARP's Fraud Watch Network, giving public presentations on the latest scams involving identity theft and other consumer crimes.