Frank Abagnale, often considered the “best” conman of all-time recently warned users of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) about its privacy issues along with other technologies that make it easier for criminals to cause harm.
This was the man, who was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in Steven Spielberg’s film Catch Me If You can, and has worked as a security expert for the FBI for the last 37 years. While a number of his claims make sense, the fact that Pan-Am Airlines claimed he flew more than a million miles for free on 250 aircraft to 26 countries during his teenage crime spree doesn’t really work with today’s airline restrictions.
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“What I did 40 years ago as a teenage boy is 4,000 times easier now,” he said. “Technology breeds crime.” While that may very well be the case, I question if he’s been through a full-body scan or tried to fly into the States following a two year hiatus in South America. The latter has caused me hours of trouble upon my arrival back in the States and will undoubtedly continue to for the foreseeable future.
A number of other comments he recently made when speaking to the Advertising Week Europe conference in London recently just seem contradictory and often obvious.
“I always knew I would get caught. Only a fool would think otherwise. The law sometimes sleeps, it never dies. Some say you were brilliant, a genius, I was neither, I was a child. If I had been brilliant or a genius I wouldn’t have needed to break the law just to survive. I’ve had to live with it the rest of my life”. That hardly jibes with something being 4,000 times easier given technology.
To the obvious, though relevant….. Abagnale who is not on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) listed a number of suggestions for those who use the social media site. Prior to that list, he did tell people that they are responsible for their own privacy. Something that far too many people don’t seem to believe and simply blame others when necessary. “Your privacy is the only thing you have left,” he said. “Don’t blame all the other companies – Google, Facebook – you control it. You have to keep control of your own information.”
Some simple suggestions for Facebook users:
- Do not give people either your birth date or birthplace on Facebook. These make identity theft simple.
- Use a group photo for your profile picture.
- Teach your kids, the same. They could be revealing information about you.