INTERVIEW: Frank Abagnale Teams with AARP to Raise Awareness of Latest Social Media Scams


Scammers have been using email and telephone calls to target unsuspecting victims for years. Now, with today’s boom in social media, the fraudsters are increasingly moving to the social media space. Social media scams can be especially perilous because they can take on many forms – from contest and survey swindles to fake retail sites.

In September, the AARP Fraud Watch Network is launching an education campaign featuring online advertising and a new website,, to help people protect themselves from social media con artists.

On Friday, Sept. 22, AARP Fraud Watch Network Ambassador Frank Abagnale will advise consumers how to recognize the social media scams and how to keep their computers and their sensitive personal information safe from cybercriminals.

Abagnale will discuss the latest social media fraud schemes, including the Shopping Scam and the Genealogy Scam. He’ll also provide his Top Tips for staying safe on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms – everything from information you should never provide online to the best way to post your profile picture.

Although he is now one of the world’s most respected authorities on forgery and identity theft, Abagnale was once a master at stealing identities, as depicted by the 2002 movie Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. After cashing in millions in fraudulent checks, getting caught and serving jail time, he switched teams and for four decades has been advising the FBI on how to outsmart the bad guys. He also serves as AARP’s Fraud Watch Network Ambassador.

Frank W. Abagnale, Leading Security Expert

Frank W. Abagnale is one of the world's most respected authorities on forgery, embezzlement and secure documents. For over 40 years he has worked with, advised and consulted with hundreds of financial institutions, corporations and government agencies around the world. Mr. Abagnale's rare blend of knowledge and expertise began more than 45 years ago when he was known as one of the world's most famous confidence men. This was depicted most graphically in his best-selling book, Catch Me If You Can, a film of which was also made, directed by Steven Spielberg with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Apprehended by the French police when he was 21 years old, he served time in the French, Swedish and U. S. prison systems. After five years he was released on the condition that he would help the federal government, without remuneration, by teaching and assisting federal law enforcement agencies. Mr. Abagnale has now been associated with the FBI for over four decades. More than 14,000 financial institutions, corporations and law enforcement agencies use his fraud prevention programs. Mr. Abagnale was named AARP Fraud Watch Network Ambassador in 2015.

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