The man who was way ahead of the identity theft curve — and has the Hollywood bio and rap sheet to prove it — will speak next week in Minnesota about the Target data breach.
Frank Abagnale Jr. is scheduled to appear Oct. 30 at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato in a free presentation that is part of the “Storytellers” series, which is backed by the Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Abagnale in the 1960s posed as an airline pilot, attorney, college professor and doctor from his late teens into his early 20s, combining his document counterfeiting skills with outright gall to shift from one persona to another.
When all was falsely said and deceptively done, Abagnale had cashed more than $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in more than two dozen countries. He spent about six years in prisons around the world.
After prison, Abagnale teamed with the FBI to assist law enforcement agencies, corporations and financial institutions with fraud prevention. The former New Yorker who now lives in South Carolina makes his living as a data security consultant.
The sponsor of Abagnale’s appearance, the Traverse des Sioux Library Association, said he’ll address the recently disclosed Target data breach that involved tens of millions of debit and credit cards.
More breaches will occur, Abagnale said, “if banks and retail stories like Target don’t start working together.”
Abagnale’s story as a financial fraudster and fugitive was depicted in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 movie “Catch Me If You Can,” with Leonardo di Caprio playing the lead and Tom Hanks’ lawman character in pursuit. The movie also was adapted for Broadway.