For Immediate Release
September 30, 2105
Jason Erskine, AARP / 206-604-7085
Microsoft / 503-443-7070
NOTE TO MEDIA: Frank Abagnale's presentation is part of an event today, Sept. 30 at Microsoft's campus in Redmond. One-on-one media interviews are available with Frank. Please contact Jason Erskine at 206-604-7085 to set up an interview.
ID Theft Expert Frank Abagnale Provides Inside Tips on Spotting and Stopping Fraud
“Catch Me if You Can” Author Joins with AARP Fraud Watch Network, Microsoft and Attorney General’s Office to Raise Awareness of Cybercrime
Redmond, WA – For over four decades, Frank W. Abagnale has advised the FBI on how to outsmart con artists. Today he was welcomed by AARP, Microsoft Corp. and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office to speak to a capacity crowd of local consumers about how to protect themselves from identity theft and cybercrime.
Once one of the world’s most famous con artists, Abagnale’s story was told in his best-selling book, Catch Me if You Can, and in the 2002 movie of the same name, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. After successfully posing as various professionals such as an airline pilot, an attorney and a doctor, and cashing millions in fraudulent checks, Abagnale was caught and served prison time. Upon release, he agreed to assist federal law enforcement agencies including the FBI. Abagnale has continued to work with the FBI for the last four decades, and also advises financial institutions, corporations and government agencies around the world.
“While technology today has put a world of information just a mouse click away, it has also made it easier for scam artists to steal our personal information and hard earned money,” said AARP Washington State Director Doug Shadel. “There’s a new victim of identity theft every two seconds in the United States. We’re learning from industry leaders and experts like Frank Abagnale as an important part of our work to help protect consumers and their families from fraud.”
Abagnale was recently named “AARP Fraud Watch Network Ambassador.” As part of the AARP Fraud Watch Network campaign, he is participating in AARP-sponsored identity theft forums nationwide, and hosts an online “Catch the Con” video quiz.
“We’ve all seen the news of the major security breaches which have occurred over the past two years,” said Abagnale. “Personal information from some of those incidents is just starting to show up, as it is common for criminals to warehouse personal data for two to three years before they make it available in the marketplace. Too many of us are vulnerable, and I look forward to working with AARP to advise people about the safest ways to conduct their financial transactions and manage social media.”
A recent report in USA Today referred to phone scams, which include tech scams, as the number one scam victimizing Americans today. “This year alone, an estimated 3.3 million people in the United States will be victimized by tech support scams, suffering losses of more than $1.5 billion,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft. “Microsoft is partnering with AARP to educate people about these scams and working with attorneys general and other partners to proactively investigate online fraudsters, who prey on consumers with new and evolving scams.”
Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined Microsoft in alerting consumers to be on the lookout for Tech Support Scams. “These scammers may sound credible at first, but what they really want is access to your computer, and ultimately, your money,” says Ferguson. “Never give a caller access to your computer or any financial information before verifying they are legitimate.”
For news about the latest scams and advice from Abagnale on how to avoid identity theft, visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network. If you feel you have been a victim of fraud, contact the Washington State Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-551-4636, or file a complaint online at www.atg.wa.gov
Microsoft is also inviting local seniors for tours of their Microsoft Cybercrime Center and is offering a workshop on how you can identify, prevent, and protect yourself from online scams at the Microsoft Bellevue Store on October 14. You can learn more about the Bellevue store event and register online on the Microsoft Events page.
For more information and to sign up for a Microsoft Cybercrime Center tour, visit the AARP Seattle webpage.
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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.