Frank Abagnale: You've Already Been Hacked
Frank Abagnale: You've Already Been Hacked

Legendary fraudster details what puts franchises at risk.

As a youth, Frank Abagnale made a name for himself as an expert fraudster (it’s not every criminal that gets played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie version of their life … unless you’re Jordan Belfort and Jim Carroll, that is.)

However, Abagnale maintains the stunts he pulled off as a teen pale in comparison to what’s possible with today’s technology. Keep in mind, this is the guy who convinced people he was an airline pilot, a lawyer and a doctor while most kids his age were still working up the nerve to round second base.

“What I did 50 years ago as a teenage boy is 4,000 times easier to do today because of technology,” Abagnale recently told Bloomberg. “Technology breeds crime. It always has, and always will.”

In fact, just this week, Abagnale told U.K.’s The Times that if you live in the Western world, chances are you’ve already been hacked.

“You should know, whether you live in the U.S. or in the U.K., that your identity has already been stolen,” he said.

If cybersecurity threats are so pervasive, businesses may wonder just what they can do to protect themselves. According to Abagnale, employee training may be the answer.

The reformed conman and current fraud consultant said most information is not easily accessed because hackers are evil geniuses. Instead, it’s because employees fail to follow basic security guidelines, making it easy for sensitive details to fall into the wrong hands.

Abagnale told The Times that simple precautions, such as not downloading work files at a home computer or avoiding attachments from suspicious emails, could prevent many work-related security threats.

Franchisors and franchisees alike will be able to hear more about Abagnale’s life and security knowledge at the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference in Las Vegas, where he’s a keynote speaker.

Then again, if you couldn’t make it to Vegas, there’s always “Catch Me if You Can” on Netflix.