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Stealing Your Life: The Ultimate Identity Theft Prevention Plan Hardcover – April 24, 2007

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Stealing Your Life: The Ultimate Identity Theft Prevention Plan + The Art of the Steal: How to Protect Yourself and Your Business from Fraud, America's #1 Crime
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Offering spine-tingling terror for anyone who has a Social Security number and birth date, counterfeiting expert Abagnale (author of Catch Me if You Can—a memoir detailing his former life in crime) chronicles the means and aftereffects of identity theft. Studded with alarming case histories, the first half of the book reads like a how-to for would-be thieves, offering a closeup look at financial and criminal fraud and Americans' particular vulnerability to it. By page 100, many readers will be willing to do anything to prevent a future fraud against them. Fortunately, Abagnale supplies a 20-step prevention plan in the second half, including basic tips such as regularly checking your credit report, using a shredder and avoiding questionable Internet sites and ATMs. For those unlucky enough to be victimized, he offers step-by-step instructions on filing a police report and contacting the Fair Trade Commission. Above all, this heart-pounding guide drives home the point that identity theft can come from any direction at any time to anyone—whether a careless credit card user, diehard check-writer, "cash-only" buyer or even the deceased. (Apr. 24)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

As a young man, Abagnale made a career out of impersonating others and forging checks to support a wild lifestyle. The fascinating story of his evasion and final capture by the FBI was told in his memoir Catch Me If You Can, which was made into a major motion picture. He now works with the FBI and banking institutions to prevent identity crimes. Identity theft has come a long way since Abagnale's capers, and the incidence of these crimes by perpetrators using the Internet has ballooned out of control. Abagnale explains how frighteningly easy it is to open bank accounts and credit cards in someone else's name and quickly trash their credit. It is getting so bad that even parents and children are snatching each other's identities! In addition to profiling the variety of forms these crimes take, Abagnale gives 20 easy steps to safeguard your identity and credit, explains how to obtain and read your credit report, and recommends ways that society at large can take measures to prevent this insidious crime. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; First Edition edition (April 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767925866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767925860
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,003,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Andrew R. Allen on May 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book can help you to learn everything you want to know about protecting your personal information. Abagnale, a former counterfeiter and now consultant to the FBI and many large financial institutions around the world, gives an inside look at the various types of identity theft and how to reduce the likelihood of it.

He goes into technology oriented identity theft schemes such as pharming and phising as well as discussing more low tech methods such as dumpster diving. It's highly recommended that you shred any personally identifiable information prior to throwing it away. Looking through a person's garbage though it might seem disgusting but is an actual method some thieves use to steal a person's identity. Abagnale also advises mailing bills from an official Post Office box rather than raising your mailbox flag which also alerts a potential thief that there might be information worth stealing inside. Another tip is to always choose to opt out when a financial institution sends you a privacy policy. This helps prevent the spread of your personal information and the potential for it to be stolen.

Surprisingly, personal information such as social security numbers is still used on some driver's licenses or as employee ids. One should avoid this when possible due to the windows an SSN can open for a thief. Abagnale also recommends limiting your usage of checks due to the large number of hands and eyes that will handle it throughout the processing. A dishonest person along the way can grab this information and either sell it or use it himself.

Abagnale indicates that the most important thing one can do in guarding against identity theft is to pull your credit report from the three major credit reporting institutions.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Frank Abagnale's latest cautionary book, "Stealing Your Life," is more frightening than a gory murder mystery. Any one of us, from cradle to grave, is vulnerable to a swindle that can wreck us emotionally, cost us serious money, ruin our credit ratings, and take us years to straighten out. Identity theft is here to stay, and as long as legislators, businesses, law enforcement agencies, and individuals fail to take it seriously, the number of victims will continue to climb.

For thirty-two years, Abagnale has been a law-abiding citizen; his criminal past, famously recounted in the book and film "Catch Me If You Can," is a distant memory. However, he knows how crooks think, and this knowledge has led to a lucrative career as a consultant for the FBI and corporations all over the world in preventing frauds and scams. Abagnale is horrified at how easy and tempting identity theft is for the budding criminal. He calls it "a crook's dream come true."

By accessing someone's personal data, a criminal can become that person for all intents and purposes. He can purchase items on credit, buy a home, cash checks, and even commit felonies in someone else's name. Unless the perpetrator is caught, the victim bears the burden of proof that he never made those purchases or broke that law. Untangling the mess can be a terribly daunting, time-consuming, and frustrating task. What makes this crime so attractive is that you need never meet your victim to take over his identity. The risk is small and the rewards are potentially enormous. Scam artists have stolen the identity of babies and even of dead people. Millions are affected by identity theft every year and the cost runs into the billions.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ben Rothke on July 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It's a fallacy that our elected officials take forever to get things done. Two examples where Washington acted with speed are with the National Do Not Call Registry and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

The National Do Not Call Registry was slated to take effect on October 1, 2003, but various marketing associations challenged its legitimacy and even if the FTC had the jurisdiction to enforce it. Notwithstanding, President Bush speedily signed the bill authorizing the no-call list to go into effect in September 2003 and the United State Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the registry in February 2004.

On June 25, 2002, WorldCom revealed it had overstated its earnings by more than $7 billion by improperly accounting for its operating costs. Senator Paul Sarbanes then introduced Senate Bill 2673 that same day where it passed 97-0 less than three weeks later. The House and Senate formed a Conference Committee to reconcile the differences between Sarbanes's bill and Representative Michael Oxley's bill (HR 3763) and on July 24, 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was passed.

The bottom line is that when politicians really want votes and PR, they can act swiftly. The frustration is exacerbated when politicians choose to do nothing when it comes to identity theft. In Stealing Your Life: The Ultimate Identity Theft Prevention Plan, Frank Abagnale details the frustration that consumers face (and will face in the years to come) when their identities are stolen, the ease at which the criminals carry out such crimes, and the months and often years of effort required to regain ones identity.

Abagnale's tenure on the criminal side long ago gives him the advantage that he knows firsthand how criminals think and such an outlook is pervasive throughout the book.
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