The swindler-turned-security expert who inspired the movie “Catch Me If You Can” is coming to Montana with tips on how to avoid scams.

Before he was old enough to vote, Frank Abagnale was considered by the FBI to be the most successful bank robber in American history.

He didn’t use a gun; rather, he used his wits, his charm, and his skill as a forger.

And he soon branched out — he became one of the most famous impostors ever, claiming to have assumed no fewer than eight identities, including an airline pilot, a physician, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons agent, and a lawyer. He escaped from police custody twice — once from a taxiing airliner and once from a U.S. federal penitentiary — before he was 21 years old.

He served prison terms in France, Sweden, and eventually the United States, before he got an offer he couldn’t refuse from the FBI agent who had pursued him — he was asked to come work for the agency undercover, helping prevent the very types of crimes he had committed so successfully.

Abagnale’s exploits were depicted in Steven Spielberg’s award winning movie ‘Catch Me If You Can,’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Abagnale and Tom Hanks as the FBI agent who pursued and captured him.

More than 40 years later, Abagnale still works with the FBI, and also runs a consulting firm which specializes in uncovering and preventing commercial fraud. Abagnale has written three books on fraud and scams.

Three years ago, he was approached by AARP to become a “Fraud Watch Ambassador,” and it is in this role that he’s coming to Helena to help Montanans learn how to spot and avoid scams.

The presentation will be at the Helena Civic Center Auditorium on Thursday, August 30 at 7:00 pm. While the presentation is free, tickets are required due to the limited seating.

The event also offers a resource fair focused on fraud and consumer protection. Doors open at 6:00 pm.

Earlier in the day prior to the evening presentation, AARP Montana will host a live Tele Town Hall featuring Frank Abagnale.  Thousands of AARP members, as well as others across Big Sky Country, will have the opportunity to participate. Listeners will have the chance to speak directly with Frank Abagnale and get their questions answered during the live event. AARP members will automatically be called, however others can register for the call here: Montanans can also “tune-in” to the tele town hall via the AARP Montana Facebook page at

“Frank’s personal experiences will provide invaluable insight into the mind of a con artist, and provide attendees with a firsthand understanding of how people of all backgrounds can be caught in the net of the scam artist,” said Tim Summers, AARP Montana State Director. “This free event gives the community an opportunity to experience the AARP Fraud Watch Network mission to empower consumers with the tools and information they need to protect themselves and their loved ones from scams.”

Quick Glance Details – Tele-Town Hall: 

Tele Town Hall on fraud prevention with Frank Abagnale hosted by AARP Montana

Wednesday, August 30, 2018 — 2:00 p.m. MDT

AARP Members will automatically be called; members of the public can participate by registering online at the AARP Montana Tele Town Hall page at:

Quick Glance Details – Evening Presentation:

Presentation by Frank Abagnale on fraud prevention sponsored by AARP Montana

Wednesday, August 30
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Doors Open / Resource Fair
7:00 – 8:30 p.m. – Abagnale Presentation

Helena Civic Center Auditorium
340 Neill Ave, Helena, MT 59601

Both events are free and open to the public. Due to limited seating, an RSVP is required.  Please call toll free at 1-877-926-8300 or log onto  for registration and details.