'Catch me if you can' ex-con artist warns of social media scams

PHOENIX - When it comes to scams, no one is immune.

But former con artist Frank Abagnale says you could be unknowingly helping them out.

"There is so much information on social media that all scam artists go there first," he says.

Abagnale is the infamous fraudster portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Catch Me If You Can. The movie highlights some of his most successful cons. He made millions pretending to be a doctor, pilot, and lawyer by forging payroll checks.

After his conviction Abagnale started working with the FBI on fraud investigations. Decades later he works as a financial and cybersecurity consultant.

He says we do most of the scammers work for them, thanks to our unnecessarily thorough social media accounts.

"They love Facebook, for example, because we tell them everything about us; our wife's maiden name, our children's names, where they go to school.  We tell them when they were born, we tell them where they were born," he says it's way too much information.

His advice: keep that stuff to yourself, and rethink that profile picture.

"You don't want a straight photograph of yourself, like passport picture because they'll steal that pic and put that on identification and be you," he says.

He also warns not to click on pop-up ads, because it's possible a scammer made it just for you.

"I obviously see that you're a big golfer in Phoenix, so I'm going to send you a pop-up where maybe a set of golf clubs that are normally $2000. I'm offering the brand new set for $1000. Now that's a great deal," he says. "You think it's a legitimate company so you order them over the phone or online and you give me your credit card number, you give me your debit card number, you give me your security code. That's the whole purpose of the scam."

Recently Abagnale partnered with AARP "to help people keep their computers and sensitive personal information safe from cybercriminals," according to a spokesperson.

He will be in Phoenix on November 16 for a free cyber security seminar. You do not have to be an AARP member to register. Find out more information here.

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