In something of an ironic twist, the con man whose exploits were portrayed in the 2002 film “Catch Me If You Can” is now the Fraud Watch Network Ambassador for the American Association of Retired Persons.
The new role for Frank W. Abagnale, who became a consultant for the FBI after they finally could catch him, was revealed in a recent AARP Bulletin article about the top scams currently aimed at older people.
In the article, by Joe Kita, Abagnale said con artists find their marks though methods that are almost like playing roulette.
The AARP Bulletin story highlights a serious issue facing more and more senior citizens.
“According to a survey by True Link Financial, older Americans are criminally defrauded of $12.76 billion annually,” the article began.
“This includes identity theft and all those crazy scams you hear about but smugly think will never work on you. Do you consider yourself friendly? Thrifty? Financially sophisticated? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then according to that same survey you are more likely to be defrauded because you may give strangers the benefit of the doubt, are more enticed by bargains and are comfortable moving larger amounts of money around.
“The next scam victim could be you.”
Among the biggest consumer scams AARP is warning people about is one in which a caller claims to be from Microsoft tech support. Those who fall for this wind having malware installed on their computers.
“Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls,” the story quoted Courtney Gregoire, senior attorney at the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, as saying.
Another current con involves callers pretending to be with the Internal Revenue Service.
“It’s our number one reported fraud right now,” according to Amy Nofziger with AARP Foundation and Fraud Watch Network, “and I think it’ll get more sophisticated.”