Monday, October 22, 2007

Stealing Your Life

by Frank Abagnale

This is the same Frank Abagnale who was the subject of Catch Me if You Can, the movie with Leonardo di Caprio and Tom Hanks. (And actually Catch Me if You Can is the title of one of his memoirs. ) Speaking of which, there's an amusing anecdote towards the end of the book where he is stopped by a police officer while driving a U-Haul somewhere. The police officer runs his license and comes up with his previous criminal record, which is actually substantial. Mr. Abagnale points out that these are all a long time ago, and tells the officer he is now legit. What is his current job? He is a consultant on crime prevention for the FBI. To which the officer replies, "What do you take me for? I wasn't born yesterday!" Too bad that actually happens to be the truth.

As a consultant for various law-enforcement agencies, Mr. Abagnale is in a position to see a lot of identity theft, and this book is his response to what he views as an epidemic increase in this crime. It's interesting to read, with lots of case histories, and also lots of practical advice. Not only does he outline the steps you need to take if you become a victim, but he also gives his personal ideas on the steps you should take to avoid it. He also veers ever-so-slightly into the self-serving, since he is a spokesman for a company that provides identity-theft protection, and has designed a shredder he thinks should replace the common confetti shredder. Assuming, however, that he genuinely believes that in the protection these offer, he would be remiss in not mentioning them, and he certainly doesn't spend an inappropriate amount of time singing their praises. Just the facts, ma'am.

This book is well worth reading. I think I'm going to look into his other two books, too.



Blogger Vivian said...

I will certainly look into this book. I really enjoyed reading Catch me if You Can (in fact, that was my sig line on IM for awhile), the book and the movie.

3:42 PM  

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