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Frank Abagnale and his thoughts on fraud

Nearly everyone in the state of Arizona and beyond are familiar with 'Catch Me If You Can' where a young teenage boy runs away from home, eventually picking up a life of crime ending in his capture by the FBI. But long before this story played out on the silver screen it played out in real life, eventually landing Frank Abagnale in a prestigious position as a fraud consultant for the FBI.

But just because he no longer practices the crimes, he admits that with the ever increasing advancements in technology, fraud has gotten a whole lot easier since he started almost 40 years ago.

"It's easy and it's getting easier," Abagnale said when asked why people commit fraud. He says one of the most common, and perhaps the easiest, is embezzlement because a majority of businesses don't keep track of the thousands of transactions they make day in and day out. Business owners trust that their bookkeepers will be honest when sometimes this isn't the case.

He also points out that with the advancements in digital printers and the ease in which we can receive information makes check forgery "4,000 times easier" than when he first did it.

That's not to say that he advocates any of the crimes he lectures about. On the contrary he points out that in the end, crime doesn't pay. He laments the life he chose in his younger years and says that he wouldn't chose to relive it. He does point out, however, that he feels fortunate enough to live in a country where despite all of his mistakes and despite all of the crimes he committed, after paying his debt to society, he was allowed to brush himself off and reinvent himself.

Source: The Business Journal, "Q&A: 'Catch Me If You Can' conman Abagnale tells how to prevent fraud," Jim Hammerand, Dec. 11, 2012

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