Chris Oaks spoke with master con artist-turned-fraud fighter Frank Abagnale.
Q: As most people know, the story of your darker many years was the subject of the 2002 film “Catch Me If you can.” As part of your day, you had to do it the tough way. With each of the tools today’s con artists have at their disposal, it’s not hard to see why that is this kind of an issue in the high-tech age.
A: You’re completely ideal. Men and women normally assume that enough protections happen to be put in area that performing what I did wouldn’t be achievable right now. When in truth the opposite is real, thanks to the kind of sophisticated engineering that is on the market. It’s vital that individuals are conscious, which is why Fraud Prevention Week (Nov. 13-19) is so essential.
Q: These days, you perform closely with AARP to aid avert seniors from turning out to be fraud victims, but a current survey exposed some vital, and sudden, information about one of one of the most popular scams on the market.
A: It was a survey performed by Microsoft about “tech support scams,” which value customers around the world $1.five billion final yr alone. What was most surprising to me is that only 17 percent of those in excess of the age of 55 have been victimized. But extra than half of people in between the ages of 18 and 34 fell for it. So, this demonstrates that, whilst seniors are sometimes believed to become by far the most frequent scam victims, any individual could be taken.
Q: For anyone that really do not know, how do tech assistance scams get the job done?
A: It is really really basic. You’ll usually get an e mail message or pop-up alert on your laptop about a program error or some sort of virus infection. At times, victims may possibly even acquire a mobile phone contact claiming to become tech assistance from Microsoft or some other well-known enterprise. They may provide to aid repair your system, for any fee, of course. The trouble is two-fold. Very first, victims will hand more than their credit score card quantity. Secondly, they give the scammer remote entry to their laptop or computer procedure the place much more individual information may be stolen.
Q: The challenge is, numerous of us do have anti-virus program that generates notifications when authentic threats are detected. How do we tell the main difference?
A: Hardly ever click on the pop-up notification or perhaps a link in an e-mail message, since you may well not manage to tell if it’s legitimate. As an alternative, launch your anti-virus computer software yourself and initiate a scan manually. Alternatively, and possibly an even superior concept, should be to consider your computer to a community, highly regarded laptop or computer tech firm for support and have them personally tackle any dilemma you believe you may have.
Q: After you realize the scam and just how relatively straightforward it truly is to prevent, you may wonder how anyone could fall for it. But it’s just one more example of what transpires once we turn into complacent.
A: Exactly. This technology is so widespread and so user friendly that we normally let our guard down, and that is precisely what con artists count on. Yet another perfect illustration are Wi-Fi sizzling spots in airports or purchasing malls. I see individuals shopping, doing their banking, and other factors that ought to be secure on an unsecure, public network. We get it done devoid of thinking, and that is how people today get into difficulty. The important thing is schooling and awareness. Be much more cautious, be additional aware. I can tell you firsthand that is the most beneficial fraud prevention tool you can have.