Book Review  

Book Review: Scam Me If You Can

Book Review: Scam Me If You Can

Scam Me If You Can: Simple Strategies to Outsmart Today's Ripoff Artists by Frank Abagnale

If you think you recognise the author’s name then maybe you watched the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can with Leonardo DiCaprio as the young Frank Abagnale embarking on a life of crime pursued by Tom Hanks’ FBI agent.

Mr Abagnale started life as a master forger and fraudster, faking his way around America and living the high life on other people’s money and identities posing as a Pan American pilot, a doctor and even a legal prosecutor.

After his capture and serving his time in jail Mr Abagnale became a poacher-turned-gamekeeper, advising businesses how not to get scammed and training their employees to detect frauds.

He even ended up lecturing at the FBI’s own academy on fraud, forgery and cyber security.

This is his latest book aimed at the general public with three aims: explaining how scams work, how the scammers get you on the hook and what steps you can take to avoid getting scammed.

It explains how fraudsters steal your identity details to be able to create fake accounts in your name; use your good credit rating to apply for credit in your name; access your bank accounts; and do investment scams, scams on businesses and romance scams, among others.

Many are illustrated with real examples of how people got caught by scammers to show the techniques they use and how easy it can be to be drawn in by them.

Some of the references are American, there is a entire chapter dedicated to Medicare fraud that does not really apply to the UK – at least not yet.

The methods used by fraudsters are pretty international though and the book also has insights to the behavioural techniques fraudsters use to trap their victims.

It is an easy read, the author has an engaging style of writing and you can easily skip though the more US-focused elements.

The majority of the tips on staying safe are transferrable though and following them will help you keep your identity and money more secure.

It will make a handy holiday read for you and provide good information to pass onto clients.

Darren Cooke is a chartered financial planner at Red Circle Financial Planning

Published by Portfolio