How to outsmart a scam: Strategies from legendary con man Frank W. Abagnale


It doesn’t matter who you are. Anybody can be scammed. I mean I know that I can be scammed. Anybody can be scammed. So, the target is not just necessarily someone
who you might think is an easy pushover or that might not be real intelligent. It can be anybody. So doing the research for this book I realized
that no matter how sophisticated the scam was or no matter how amateur it was and I
looked at every type of scam I found that there were really basically two red flags. At some point someone was either going to
ask me for money, and it had to be immediate. Go down to Walmart, get me a Green Dot card,
read the number back to me, give me your bank account number, give me a credit card over
the phone. It had to be right now, this moment. Or I was going to ask you for information. Whats your social security number? Whats your date of birth? Where do you bank? Whats your credit card number? Every scam has that red flag. So one of the things I realized is that you
start to recognize those red flags no matter what the scam, whether its a romance scam
or its someone trying to say its a grandparent scam, sweepstakes scam. If you start to recognize those flags you
know it. Of course, all con artists try to get people
under the ether. The only thing thats real scary today is that
50 years ago when I did it, and there were con men and con women, which basically stood
for confidence men, they had to gain your confidence and it was one-on-one. You were sitting right in front of me. I had to dress well, speak well, have a good
vocabulary. And, of course, you got to like me, know me
and we had a relationship. Because of that there was some emotion and
obviously there was some compassion. I might have said well Im not going to take
this guy for all his money. Hes kind of a nice guy. Im just going to take some of his money. I dont want to leave him broke. The difference today is the con man is someone
sitting in a kitchen with a cup of coffee in their pajamas on a laptop in Moscow. They never see you. You never see them. There is no emotion. The victim never sees you. The victim doesnt know theyre being victimized,
so there is no compassion. I find that they rob you for every single
penny they have and theres no compassion involved at all. One of the things Ive found doing the research
for the book is that millennials are scammed more often than seniors but seniors lose more
money because they have more money. I actually realized that anybody can be scammed. I do a podcast out of Washington DC for AARP
called The Perfect Scam. When people get scammed, we send an investigator
out to interview them and talk to them, and then I later do a podcast about that particular
scam. Weve had two former FBI directors in their
70s and 80s now that have been scammed. You know these are typically like grandparent
scams. A grandparent scam is one of the most common
scams today where basically the phone rings in the evening, you go over and the caller
ID says that its a New York police department. Right away you believe the caller ID because
it says its NYPD. The easiest thing to do is manipulate caller
ID. I can make it say U.S. Treasury, IRS, your
brother, the neighbor next door, whoever I want it to say. You pick up the phone and they say this is
Sergeant ORourke. We arrested your grandson. They give you the grandsons name. He was on the Westside Highway. He was DWI. He was driving this type of vehicle. They tell you his car. Of course, it registered in your mind you
know thats his car. He had a passenger, her name was and you say
oh, thats his girlfriend. And then they say he asked us not to call
his parents and they give you the parents name. Of course you know that. You recognize that. And they say he asked us to call you. And what it is is he needs to post bail in
the next 24 hours or two hours or whatever they say. And if he doesnt hell have to spend the weekend
in jail. Oh, no, no, no, no. How could I do that? Well, you could just give me a credit card
over the phone if you like. Its $500. And people fall for that and thats what one
of these FBI directors fell for, and they do it. But what happens today is they go to social
media first. The grandson has pictures of his car. He has pictures of his girlfriend and her
name, pictures of his family and their name. They get all of that so that it sounds so
realistic along with the caller ID. And if youve never heard of the grandparent
scam or you werent aware of it, obviously it sounds very real to someone. Thats why in writing this book, I always have
felt that education is the most powerful tool to fighting crime. Thirty-five years ago I went around the country
talking to police departments about developing crime prevention units and they thought I
was crazy. I said its not just investigating crimes,
its preventing crimes. And today there are crime prevention units
all over the world. So, whether Im training an FBI agent at the
academy or Im training a banker at a bank or Im training a consumer, if I tell them
heres the scam, heres how it works, this is the red flag, theyre smart enough to catch
it next time it comes up or remember it. Typically people are honest, thank god. And because theyre honest they dont have a
deceptive mind. So when that phone rings or that email comes
over or that call they dont start immediately thinking this is a scam. Somebody is trying to rip me off. That never enters their mind unless somebodys
taught the that it is a scam.

53 thoughts on “How to outsmart a scam: Strategies from legendary con man Frank W. Abagnale”

  1. Hi there, I'm a Nigerian prince and I need your help. I have a bankaccount with $500 million but it is blocked. Please transfer $400 and I will reward you. DM me for more info!

  2. I am involved in what I deem to being scammed for the past few years by US companies, and the most recent one involved is the mobile phone company I let go. And what I think is the common process many of these US companies use, is that you’ll be to busy to contest any false charges or undermining offers because of the lack of legal information and personal time. I would expect that most of the country is not able to afford legal representation for these types of issues and others types of legality as well. In the closing stages the outcome personally seems inadequate when you do give effort because of cost, monetarily and personal. I guess it’s just a part of doing business in the US with a deficient ending in response, and after great lengths of time, is, “oh, my mistake.”
    There is another tactics smaller business have used on me, and that is a smile upfront, and then ignore your issues, there’s more than this although, you‘re in proficient company Frank. It seems to me you are an expert business man.

  3. oh my god..This speaks so much to me as I was recently scammed out of my throne in Nigeria. Please donate to help me get my kingdom back and I will reward you when im king again ten fold!

  4. I found out (years later) that when I was little, a child psychologist told my family that I "would never fall for a scam." In retrospect, I think what he should have said is "this kid is chronically paranoid."

  5. There's a saying~"You can't con an honest person."
    I've never agreed with that. I'm an incredibly cynical person, so suspect everyone of not being 100% honest about anything. I'm perpetually suspicious of everything anyone says tbh.
    So my way of thinking changes the saying from that of above to:
    "You can't con a cynic because they expect everyone's out to con them."
    Pessimism helps too. Cynics never believe anything they're told.
    My answer to any of the dozens of calls we get from fake telemarketers is to keep them on the line as long as possible. I kept one asshole on the phone for 45 minutes because I kept asking him how his wife could be happy with the small cock he tries to please her with. That one sets em on fire, lol. Especially the calls from overseas ~ India mostly ~ here in Canada.
    Jenn in Canada 🇨🇦

  6. Everyone in MLMs should watch this (and also see the FTC's detailed report on why those "businesses" leave most people with lost money they'll never see again).

  7. That police scam was pretty smart. Intuitively though, my first thought was to say that I would come down to get him myself though, and pay at the station.

  8. Fun story about Frank Abagnale, when he was younger, at least, the square in his suit pocket was usually a pair of women’s underpants. Not a joke. The man told me himself in NY in like 1988. As a kid I thought it was amazing. Nice guy.

  9. I'm a compassionate guy ill only steal some this guys money, not like KIDS NOWADAYS stealing ALL the money. Totally different

  10. The biggest scam happens at a scale so big that most don't see or recognise it, and it's a scam that robs us 24/24, 365/365.. it's called the financial system. It makes the elites richer and richer without having to lift a finger, and it pushes the 99% deeper and deeper towards poverty.

  11. I feel like I just got scammed watching this. The title says, "how to outsmart a scam"; the video simply describes a couple of scams.

  12. The Trump campaign has a lot of data on the people who have contributed financially also the guy who created a gofundme for the wall. They should be an easy target easy to scam them.

  13. In the first minute when he says "all scams involve the scammer immediately asking for something" tells me he doesn't know what he's talking about. Take cat fishing as an example. It's a long term game to gain trust and eventually ask for money. Why are the police and FBI being trained by someone who is probably too old to be in touch with the modern day scams? This is quite concerning…

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