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Dan Goldstein - A Scammer Tells All

We pull back the curtain on call centers and learn about the rise and fall of one call center employee who scammed victims daily

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In this episode of The Perfect Scam, we pull back the curtain on call centers and learn about the rise and fall of one call center employee who scammed victims daily.  We’ve talked a lot about scams but not big news breaches. Frank discusses major online breaches, Equifax, checking your credit scores, and monitoring your kids' credit/identity. 

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TIPS: Monitor your credit and check it regularly.   Freeze your credit.  Some states charge a fee to freeze or unfreeze your credit.  Parents and grandparents need to be concerned about childrens’ credit to make sure it’s not being misused.  Con-artists are more interested in stealing and selling a child’s identity than an adult’s. When your having technical issues with your computer, use a trusted IT person, not an online service.  Technology makes it easy to scam people, no personal connection.  Don’t trust popups on your computer, solicited calls.  Call regular household named companies like Best Buy for computer support.

Full Transcript

[00:00:01] HOST: Coming
up on this episode of AARP's Perfect Scam. The rise and fall of a call center

[00:00:07] I realize
that this was just no longer something I wanted to do, and it really put me
into a, a downward spiral, and eventually I just, I knew I needed to get out.

[00:00:16] HOST: Your
phone rings. You don't recognize the number or maybe you think you do. You pick
up, and before you know it, they've got you. You've said too much, or shared
what you know you shouldn't share. But who are they? Who are these people
shamelessly calling your number and requesting private information? What tricks
do they use to steal your money? Today we're pulling back the curtain on call
centers to answer these questions and to help you be better prepared the next
time the phone rings. For The Perfect Scam, I'm your host, Will Johnson. I'd
like to introduce once again, my cohost and AARP's Fraud Watch Network
Ambassador, Frank Abagnale. Frank, welcome back.

[00:00:48] Frank
Abagnale: Thanks, Will, good to be here.

[00:00:50] HOST: We
haven't talked much about breeches and big news stories involving breaches, but
that's an everyday part of life now. Let's touch on that before we get to
today's story.

[00:01:00] Frank
Abagnale: Alright. Well, let's talk about first of all that there's been 1206
breaches that occurred in 2016 resulting in 1.7 billion identities being stolen,
and then we found out in the last just couple of weeks that actually that
number goes up too, because we found out that the SEC had been breached,
Security Exchange Commission, and of course, Deloitte, which is a big
accounting firm.

[00:01:25] HOST: So,
those are the actual agencies that are reporting on the breaches.

[00:01:27] Frank
Abagnale: Right, they're finally getting around to reporting it, so that they
had a breach in 2016. In my career, I've worked a lot of these breaches going
back to TJMaxx about 15 years ago. And every breach occurs because somebody in
that company did something they weren't supposed to do, or somebody in that
company failed to do something they were supposed to do. Hackers really don't
cause breaches, people do. All the hacker does is wait for the door to open and
then comes in and steals the information but the door opens because of the act
of the company itself, or the people working in that company. When we have a
breach at like say a Home Depot or a Target or a TJMaxx, a retail breach,
they're stealing credit card numbers and debit card numbers. That has a very
short shelf life. So you have to get rid of that right away. When you steal
someone's name, social security number, date of birth, you can't change your
name, you can't change your social security number. You can't change your date
of birth, so the longer I hold it, the more valuable it becomes when I go to
sell it, so they typically do what we call warehousing that data for like two
to three years before then it starts to show up on the dark web and starts to
be sold, and even then it's sold in batches, not all together, so what happens
is we immediately turn around and say, I'm going to give you one year of credit
monitoring service for free, when in reality one year is worthless, because in
one year nothing's going to happen. Even based on the premise that if I told
the criminal for a year I'm telling all these people they'll be monitored, why
would I go put the information out in the year? I'd wait till the year was

[00:03:04] HOST: So, as
a consumer, that doesn't make me very comfortable though, knowing that, well
everything seems fine right now, but two or three years from now, maybe
somebody will steal my identity. Is there anything I can do about that in the

[00:03:14] Frank
Abagnale: All you can do is monitor your credit, so you can freeze your credit
and you can monitor your credit. Those are the only two things you can do. You
can freeze your credit, but again, that varies from state to state. So some
states don't charge a fee to freeze your credit, some states do charge a fee,
$10 to freeze, $18 to unfreeze, $10 to freeze it back. But that becomes a big deterrent
to people, so people don't do it. There really should be a federal statute that
allows people to freeze their credit through all 50 states, and there should be
no fee attached. The truth of the matter is, I didn't give Equifax permission
to have my data. They took my data and they now sell it and make millions of
dollars selling it, but I never gave them permission to use it. So if they're
using it, I should at least have the ability to control it, and say, I want to
freeze it, I don't want you to use it unless I give you permission to use it,
or expose it unless I give you permission to expose it. Not that I should then
have to turn around and pay them a fee to get my own information off the
market. It's ridiculous. So, we really need to have.

[00:04:15] HOST: It's a

[00:04:15] Frank
Abagnale: Yeah, we have this scam, and we really need to have that done across
the board. And the credit, you know, if you, if you are a victim of identity
theft, I've had a credit monitoring service for 25 years, since 1992. I like it
because I can then go check my own credit. I don't need anybody to do anything.
I can go look every day at my credit, and I can correct mistakes, I can see
who's making inquiries on my credit, and I...

[00:04:45] HOST: So
that's an important one, because you can immediately see if somebody's gone and
applied for something.

[00:04:48] Frank
Abagnale: In real time, and so I can do something about it, but they also, for
part of that fee, they're monitoring it. So, they'll let me know as well.

[00:04:55] HOST: But if
someone is stealing your identity, I know this is somewhat of a probably
there's a long answer to this, but the short answer, if your identity is
stolen, the thieves are looking for a way to make money, right?

[00:05:06] Frank
Abagnale: Right. This is...

[00:05:08] HOST:
Nothing else, right?

[00:05:09] Frank Abagnale:
This is why all, all identities are not used otherwise everybody would everyday
having their identity being used...

[00:05:15] HOST:
Because everybody doesn't have money?

[00:05:16] Frank
Abagnale: No, well, a lot of that, so the criminal, if you're the criminal and
I'm looking at your identity, who are you? You know, and what value is it to
me? So, identity thieves have come to learn that the best identity to steal are
children. That's the best identity to steal.

[00:05:30] HOST: That's

[00:05:31] Frank
Abagnale: More so than say a 62-year-old male who's a multi-millionaire, owns shopping
malls, office complexes, and hotel complexes. You'd be much better off with a 14-year-old
who's in junior high school and has nothing. And that's because the 14-year-old
has nothing, so that means I can become that 14-year-old for a long period of
time, 5 or 6 years before the 14-year-old ever knows I stole their credit. And
so I can use that credit, resell that credit. That's why I'm...

[00:06:00] HOST: So
does a young person start with the good credit score? I don't remember.

[00:06:03] Frank
Abagnale: No, what happens here is this. So this is why on the dark web, if you
said I have in this envelope a newborn, just released from the hospital two
weeks ago, but I have his or her social security number, vs. I have a
14-year-old in this envelope, they're going to take more money for the
2-year-old because now I have 18 years or so that I can become that 2-year-old,
reuse that over and over.

[00:06:24] HOST: And
build up good credit for that person. Is that true?

[00:06:27] Frank
Abagnale: Yes.

[00:06:27] HOST: That
you actually would go through the process of...

[00:06:29] Frank
Abagnale: Of becoming that identity of that individual. And now, what happens
here is that credit bureaus by federal law are not allowed to keep credit files
on anyone younger than 18. So they don't even know a file exists, so they're
creating a file with that new social security number and saying that they're
this individual.

[00:06:44] HOST: That's
really creepy.

[00:06:45] Frank
Abagnale: Right, and this is why we hear so many times, Carnegie Mellon did a
great study a few years ago that went across America. They interviewed 40,000
children in every age bracket or their parents or guardian, and asked them if
they had been a victim of identity theft; more than 10 percent had already been
a victim of identity theft, and that was a few years ago. It's much higher today.
But this is why I get emails from young kids who say to me, I applied to the
University of Idaho, I'm 18, I just graduated from high school in June. They
tell me that I've already had a student loan and defaulted. I've never even got
a, I just got out of high school. Well someone got that loan in their name and
then defaulted on that loan.

[00:07:22] HOST: You
can't get a credit card, or you can't...

[00:07:24] Frank
Abagnale: You can't get a credit card...

[00:07:25] HOST: Or you
turn a certain age, and you say, alright, my parents want me to, or I want to
get my credit monitored, or check the score. It should be absolutely flawless,
right, if you're just starting from scratch, and all of a sudden you learn that
somebody's been running around using your name and your social security number.

[00:07:41] Frank
Abagnale: And that's what happens. Because if you were just starting out, the
credit bureau would say to you, we have no file on you. Say, well no, cause I
just graduated from high school, and I got this job, but I want to buy a car.
And you'd have to build up credit in, in your name. I do want your audience to
know that parents need to, grandparents need to be concerned about their
grandchildren's credit in making sure that their credit's not being misused or
their social security number is not being misused.

[00:08:07] HOST: But
most of the time we don't even know.

[00:08:09] Frank
Abagnale: Right.

[00:08:09] HOST: Or we
can't find out.

[00:08:10] Frank
Abagnale: Right.

[00:08:11] HOST:
Alright, Frank, we're going to shift from talking about online breaches and
credit scores and all of that incredibly important stuff to pulling back the
curtain on a tech center in Florida and we actually got to speak to a
gentleman, his name is Dan. He started working at a call center in Florida in
March of 2013. He saw the job posted online and based on sales experience, he
was immediately interested.


[00:08:36] Dan: My
background has always essentially been sales. Again, I come off very confident.
I come off very friendly, and I am a very confident, friendly guy, you know I,
I do believe that I am a very trustworthy, ethical, moral person, so I believe
sales was a good way for me to go. Pretty much out of high school, it was, it
was sales, and literally the ad was, "All leads are hot, exclusive leads
coming directly to your phone in real time of people actively looking for our
help and services." You know easiest sales you could imagine. No
outbounds, no cold calls, you know, it was, so that was kind of the draw. Then
the fact is, you're giving me an hourly plus commission, you know, you realize
that there certainly could be some money to be made.

[00:09:22] HOST: Dan
quickly got the job, and a short time later started a week of training.

[00:09:25] Dan: Well,
the first, the first week was spent at a separate building than the one I
actually worked at. It had a small training room where they would set you up in
front of the computer and they would do a PowerPoint presentation, kind of
walking you through what you're going to say, what you're going to look for on
people's computers, how to access those parts of the computer, and parlay that
into being able to sell your, our services to the consumer. After that ended
after about a week, we were put into our actual building where we were going to
work out of, which was just one very large room. It was just a very large open
area with approximately, I'd say about 12 or 13 tables that were probably 40 to
50 feet long each and each table was packed with computers and people sitting
in front of every computer. And the first couple of tables were called the bone
pickers. Their job was to pick the meat off the bone. Essentially try and get
as much money that we couldn't get from you at the beginning. The next set of
tables were the actual registrants, which is what I was doing, and then the
third set of tables was in-house technicians. I didn't go in, again, knowing
that it was a scam. You know, they did not present it that way. They did not
train us in that regard, they trained, they told us right up from juncture,
you're going to be helping people out. They need their computers fixed, all you
need to do is just show them where the issues are, and then hand them off to
our technicians.

[00:10:58] HOST: As Dan
mentions, they were all inbound sales calls. In other words, he didn't have to
pick up the phone and make cold calls. The potential clients were people who
had already responded to an ad about some type of PC cleaner software, and then
downloaded the software. Dan would then basically try to upsell the callers
with more products and services.

[00:11:15] Dan: The
consumers would end up on the phone with me by either seeing an advertisement
or by actively looking out for the PC Cleaner, which was a downloadable software
that they could put on their system that would clean the background of their
files and speed up their PC. What would happen was they would download that
software, and it would run a, it would run a scan and tell them they had X
amount of problems with their computer, henceforth, it needs immediately fixing
in order to make their computer better. They would then end up paying for the
software to actually make it work and then to register the software, it would
give you a phone number that you would have to call. This phone number you
never really actually needed to call it. Anybody could easily register their
own software if they knew what to do. It was literally taking the license key
that was already sent to your email and just inputting it into the system. But
most people weren't aware of that, and they saw the phone number, and that
phone number would lead directly to my call center, specifically my department.
After my, after we got on the phone, we would then remotely access the
consumer's computer by explaining to them how to make that process happen,
which would be downloading another piece of software so we could do so. Once
that happened, we would very quickly just copy and paste the license key from
their email into the software, and then say something along the lines of, while
we're already, while I'm already here in your system, how about you just let me
take a look into it deeper, just to make sure that this speeds your PC is what
you're going to need. At which point then, it would literally just be following
the script and the training that we were given to go through different aspects
of the computer, where we would look at the processes that we're running on the
task manager. We would look at the error log which was essentially a gigantic scare
tactic somewhere in the back of the computer that would show you different
issues that your computer had had at certain times, and essentially just kind
of showing you other areas that would essentially be, again, scare tactics in
regards to what your computer actually needed.

[00:13:26] HOST: So,
Dan jumped into the job. As he explains it, the calls were more of less
constantly coming in, day or night.

[00:13:32] Dan: The
company itself was a 24-hour company. So there were people that, to take calls
and fix computers all day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including Sundays.
The shift I worked went for about 4 o'clock to 12 o'clock. There was probably a,
anywhere between a, I would like to say about 40, somewhere between 40 and 60
people doing just what I did during that shift. Solid, 8 to 10,000 calls a day.
Between all the people that worked 24 hours a day, it had to have been close to
that. The incentive was, if I remember correctly, it was $12 an hour plus 10
percent commission on whatever it was that you could sell. So the actuality
was, there was a pretty good deal of money that could be made from doing this,
especially if you got the people that had multiple computers in the household,
because that was a more expensive plan and fix, and wanted to sell the
antivirus software which is where the main majority of your money came in, was
the antivirus software and selling the lifetime keys. But there were sometimes
where you could get 1000, 1200, 1500 dollar deal off one person, and you made
100, you know, 100, 150 bucks just on that call alone. So there were definitely
most weeks, I'd say I'd probably average out to be about a $1500 a week

[00:14:58] HOST: The
reality of the job for Dan as he came to realize was that his sales background
was turning into something more like fear tactics.

[00:15:04] Dan: Without
question, the scare tactic that worked best was the error log. The error log
would come in towards the end of the, would come in right at the end, it was
the cherry on the icing of the cake, essentially is, all of a sudden this error
log would come up and for most people's computers, it would have thousands and
thousands and thousands of errors from, it's the day they owned the computer
until the time we were on it, and that was certainly an eye opener for a lot of
people to think that there was definitely something going on behind the scenes
that they didn't realize was happening with the computer. And it was easily the
way to show people that look, this problem that you're explaining, definitely
goes deeper than what it does. You've been having problems with your computer
since day one of owning it, and it's a good thing you're on the phone with us
now, cause now we can actually fix this properly and do it the right way, which
most of the time actually never really happened. After they've seen the error
log, now it's where you know, we explain to them that I have inhouse
technicians that are ready to go and ready to fix this right now, no waiting
for a call back, no having to drop off your computer, you know, at a retail
store, a Best Buy or anywhere like that. We can get this done from the comfort
of your own home, you know, and this would be the price. And then the price was
actually whatever it was that we could make it. I'd like to think that a lot of
the people that I did actually got some sort of services for what I had. I do
know for a fact that there were people that I sold that never got anything

[00:16:37] HOST: So,
along the way, Dan realized what he'd gotten himself into. As he explains it,
it's not how it started.

[00:16:42] Dan: Going
into this job, we didn't actually know what it was indeed, a scam. We were told
that this is exactly how the company works, this is how the company makes their
money, and that they follow through with everything like that. We didn't, I
honestly didn't figure out that what was going on until much closer to my, when
I left the company. I don't think without question that what we were doing was
absolutely a scam to people. There would be a lot of times where we would tell
people that if they actually went through, it was probably going to be a few
hours where they'd have to fix the computer, so don't touch the computer, let
it stay put and my remote technicians are going to do what they need to do in
order to fix the computer system. There were a lot of times where people would
call us the next day saying, "I never touched my computer all night, and
nobody's done anything to it." And I know in my, the way my job was, was
after we made the sale and gone through, was to talk to the consumer about the
issues at hand and why they even wanted to do this in the first place, and then
after that would be to remotely access our technicians in India that were doing
the fixes and sometimes they would come on and start fixing it immediately, and
then other times, just no one every actually picked up the work order to start
fixing their computers, and they would call back 24 hours later, quite upset
with the fact that, you know you told me it was going to be 3 or 4 hours, and
nothing's been done in a day and I spent 700, a thousand, 1200, whatever it may
have been to get this service done.

[00:18:15] HOST: But
with or without any actual services to offer, the bottom line was always making
money. As much as they could get out of people.

[00:18:23] Dan: There
really was no maximum that we could put in place. I mean if we felt that we
could get somebody that was gullible enough to really spend what we told them
to spend, then it, it was essentially kind of almost unlimited.

[00:18:36] HOST: And
targeting older people was definitely a sales strategy.

[00:18:39] Dan: Without
question, the senior citizens that just didn't have the knowledge because it
just wasn't part of their day and age were the easy ones to convince that there
were definitely issues that were deeper than the surface.

[00:18:50] HOST: Dan
had been on the job for less than six months when he got a call that gave him a
wakeup call. Ultimately it was the signal for him to get out.

[00:18:58] Dan: The
incident that happened is something that I probably will end up remembering
forever. I had talked to a woman, an older woman, definitely clearly in her
70s, potentially even her 80s, possibly even older than that and was very nice.
Very sweet lady. Let me go through everything. Was having me through the
computer, and was more than willing by the end of the call to let me fix her
computer system and get antivirus software and go through the whole spiel, and
I don't, if I remember correctly, it was approximately about a six to
700-dollar sale, if you will. She did not have her credit card on her at the
time and had asked me to call her back the next day when she saw her daughter
to be able to put it through at that time. So, I told her no problem. I'll, you
know, there’s very little I can do at that point, so I made the appointment
with her to call her back, and the next day when I was in there, I indeed
called her, she answered the phone, again very nice, very sweet lady, and her
daughter took the phone, and her daughter immediately started screaming at me.
Screaming at the top of her lungs at me with curse words and expletives, who
the F is this? Why are you calling my mother? And you could tell that she was
quite distraught. And I calming explained to her I was talking to her last
night and I was trying to help her fix her computer system because she called
in with issues, and that this was, this is what she asked me to do. The
daughter then immediately, I could hear her just absolutely screaming at her
mother, saying I can't believe you're going through this again. You know how,
you've already been scammed a couple of times with your identity and you've
lost thousands of dollars on things like this before, and yet you continually
fall for this, and you could tell the daughter was absolutely just besides
herself, crying over the fear for her mother's, you know wellbeing. And they
had clearly dealt with some sort of issue like this before in some other facet
with her, and the daughter just was broken down in tears. And at that
timeframe, when that mother and daughter call came into play, and I really
heard it firsthand through the daughter's eyes that this is an ongoing issue
with probably a lot of senior citizens in the country that just don't have the
same mental capacities that they did, you know when they were younger, that it
just kind of dawned on me at that point that, how many other of these people
that I have talked to, have that I've taken their social security income to fix
just, just to simply fix their computer? How many people did I talk to you know
did I potentially remove this money from their rent checks? Did I remove from
their grocery bills? Did I remove from their car payments? You know, not
everybody has kids that are able to look after their finances to make sure that
everything stays copacetic with that, so they continue to pay their bills. You
know, a lot of these people are indeed self-reliant on themselves, and it
started to really make me think how many of these people did I really screw

[00:22:06] HOST: So
take it from someone who's been in a position of taking your money for
nonexistent services. Dan has this piece of advice for anyone needing help with
their computer.

[00:22:14] Dan: Without
question, if you were looking to try and get your computer fixed, take it to
someone you can physically see and trust or deal with people face to face.
People that can explain to you what they're doing, that won't try and charge
you an arm and a leg, cause it's really not as expensive as it's made out to be
by a lot of people.

[00:22:31] HOST: And
I'm back with AARP Fraud Watch Network Ambassador Frank Abagnale. Frank, this
is an interesting story. It's probably one that you're very familiar with in
terms of the set up and the boiler room and all of that. Dan's an interesting
guy, he clearly is good for the job in the sense that he's a salesman,
considers himself one. His experience though of getting into a situation where
he was going to make some money and then wanting to get out when he realized
what was going on, is that a common one, do you think?

[00:23:00] Frank
Abagnale: Yeah, I think so. I think in a lot of these things, they are selling somewhat
of a legitimate service, they're downloading the product, they claim it works
and does these thing. So someone working there would assume that that's what it
does. I think you'd have to be there a while to start to realize that maybe
it's part of a scam and that somebody's really selling something that really
doesn't do what it says it does, and then I see people walking away from that.
Other people just look at it as a job. I sell things and this is what I sell.
It's not my job to worry about whether it works or doesn't work. I'm just
selling the technology. So, you know, I always tell people when it comes to
your computer, if you feel there's a problem with your computer, that there's something
wrong with it, or someone calls you which of course, and then tells you
something's wrong with it, you need to have a trusted IT person to come where
you are locally. I have an IT guy that comes to my house, whether it's my
laptop or it's my computers in my home. I would never download or install
something without calling him first, or just sending him a text and say, what
about this? And he'll tell me yes or no, but if I have a problem, I'd rather
pay some guy $100 or $150 max that's going to come out to my house, sit down,
and go yeah, you do have some malware. Took it off and I fixed it and
everything's up and running, and that's the end of it, rather than get into
this $600, $500. You know now sometimes when you hear about the daughter, I
totally understand where the daughter’s coming from, but this is what happens
sometimes unfortunately with elderly people. They start doing things like that,
just because they want to talk to someone on the phone, they might be lonely.
They start buying services they don't need. I remember once, a friend of mine
telling me that he had gone to see his mom, she lived out in the country and he
hadn't been there for about 8 months or so. The minute he walked in the house,
there were UPS boxes everywhere. I mean it looked like a warehouse, and he
said, none of them are open. He said to his mother, "What is this?"
And these are all these things she was buying on TV, like toasters and whatever
she saw advertised on TV, she'd buy it, and they'd make it easy for you, cause
you'd just click your thing and you'd say, I'll buy that.

[00:25:10] HOST: Far
too easy.

[00:25:10] Frank
Abagnale: Yeah, and so I can understand why unfortunately sometimes elderly
people do that, and I can understand why their children get very, very
concerned about that, but again, you know the safest way to deal with any kind
of computer issue is not trust some pop-up that comes up or some solicited call
that comes up, or you call some company you just happened to see their phone
number, it's better to call, you know you have Best Buy. I mean there are a
regular household name companies that you can call and ask if a tech can come
out, look at your computer.

[00:25:44] HOST: The
error log trick he mentions, I don’t know if you've heard of that one before,
but it seems pretty sneaky to be able to say, not, I mean if you know about a
computer a fair amount, you know that everybody has error logs, right for
anything and everything that's gone wrong or not quite right, but they're
making it seem like, oh, something's wrong with your computer and it's been
that way for a long time.

[00:26:00] Frank
Abagnale: Right, and as you and I discussed, Will, they have ways to even make
your computer flicker, they can make lines come on it, they can download these
little things.

[00:26:08] HOST: To
manipulate the screen.

[00:26:10] Frank
Abagnale: To manipulate the screen so you actually are sitting there going,
there is something wrong with my computer. And so again, it could or it could
not be but why not be safe and just call someone locally trusted to say, can
you come out and look? And if it's an honest guy that's going to come out and
say, you know, ma'am, I'm just going to charge you a service call because
there's really nothing wrong with your computer, I checked it out, it's working
fine, and that's it.

[00:26:33] HOST: But
again, the scene, going back to the scene in Florida in this boiler room as
they're known, whether it's in Florida or Oklahoma or Idaho or California or
maybe even India or somewhere else, typically similar scenes that you'll run

[00:26:46] Frank
Abagnale: That's how they're kind of set up. There are people who ex--, are
experts in certain areas. It's almost in a legitimate company you have
salesmen, and you have a sales manager, so when you go buy a car, the salesman
says, here's the car, do this deal, and then the sales manager has to come in
and say, this is the kind of deal I'll give you, it's the same thing in these
scenarios. They've got people who make the initial sale, then if it's a hard
sell, they pass it onto somebody else, and then finally if it's a real thing
where they see a real live wire, they pass it on to somebody's really a pro at
closing those deals. It's the same way but in a, selling an illegal service or
something that they're not going to fulfill, so it's a way a lot of companies
actually work that do legal telemarketing or legal sales.

[00:27:30] HOST:
Another thing that goes on in this one is the, I mean Dan sort of has an epiphany
if we can call it that, but a moment when he realizes, I don't want to be doing
this anymore, and I've got ask you, did you ever have a moment like that in
your past, when you were like, this is not for me, I've got to get out of this,
but you just weren't able to?

[00:27:47] Frank
Abagnale: You know, first of all, what I did for me personally was an extremely
lonely life. There was no one that you could trust and confide in. You knew you
were constantly running and you got tired of looking over your shoulder all the
time. I certainly was getting older, so maturity was setting in, I was starting
to realize this is not the way you want to spend the rest of your life. I was
also smart enough to know I was going to get caught, that I wasn't going to
walk away from this somehow and not get caught. It's not a, it's not a great
life, so obviously I think when people get wrapped up in this, they finally
then try to just figure out how do I get out of it? I don't want to be in it
anymore, and sometimes it is easy to walk away, and sometimes it's not easy to
walk away.

[00:28:32] HOST: One
final point on this, is that the people at the top of the game are the ones
making all the money. I mean these other...

[00:28:36] Frank
Abagnale: They're the real crooks. The people who own that company, the people
who came up with the idea to sell that, they're the real crooks. The people
behind them, sometimes they're just people they're using, and again, they know
or they don't know, sometimes you go in and the more they trust you or the more
you're good at what you do, they advance you, and eventually they bring you in
and say, you know, this is actually a scam, you know that, right? And this is
what we do. We don't really fulfill these things, we don't do this. And that's
again a point where someone can make the decision, well, even though it pays
great, I'm leaving, cause I don't want to be a part of that, you know, or
somebody stays on because of greed. You know, I don't really care, and again,
it's that whole thing of, you're not addressing the victim personally. You're
not looking at the older woman saying, boy, I'm really ripping this lady off
our of her money. You don't see her, so to you, it's just a voice on the phone,
and that's where this whole technology separates the human emotion, and that's
what makes it so easy to scam people. There is no regrets, there's no, I'm
feeling bad, I don't go home and can't sleep, because you're not even, what's
that person look like? How are they? What are their feelings? You know, you
don't know anything about them.

[00:29:42] HOST: This
show has made me think about that a lot. And it's very, I mean it almost makes
a lot of sense that we would think of somebody grabbing a purse off the street
as a real criminal. That's a criminal, but the guy at the call center, maybe
not so much. Even though they're both stealing money.

[00:29:56] Frank
Abagnale: Right, well the con men who years ago spent days separating somebody from
their money and knowing every minute they went to see that person they were
conning them, they were lying to them, they were deceiving them, they were
stealing from them. They had to live with their conscience no matter what it
was, and they had to think about that when they went back, I don't care what
anybody says, and certainly think about it later on in life, but this person
doesn't think about it, because this person's thousands of miles away, they
have no idea what they look like, they have no idea what their real feelings
are like. There's no emotional attachment, so it has made crime a lot easier and
a lot easier for people to do it, because the emotion is not there. Their
conscious isn't there,

[00:30:35] HOST: Okay,
Frank Abagnale, we've learned a lot this episode. We've heard about breaches,
we've heard about credit scores, making sure you have a good credit score.
Protecting your kids for goodness' sake, I mean that's all part of it.

[00:30:47] HOST: If you
or someone you know has been a victim of a scam, please call AARP's Fraud Watch
Network Helpline at 877-908-3360.

[00:30:59] HOST:
Alright, I'd like to thank our producers, Julie Getz and Brook Ellis; our audio
engineer, Julio Gonzales, and of course, my cohost Frank Abagnale. And be sure
to subscribe, download, rate, and of course, please like our podcast on Apple
Podcast or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.


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