Frank Abagnale Jr, arguably one of the most famous American conmen of all time, believes Facebook has made life easier for fraudsters across the world.
Abagnale, who was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in Spielberg's film Catch Me If You Can, believes the huge social network poses a number of risks for children and everyone whose identity is worth stealing. Speaking at Advertising Week Europe, Abagnale said that children need to be made aware of the serious risks of revealing information online.
"I'm not on it [Facebook, but] I have no problem with it," he said, reports The Guardian. "I have three sons on it. I totally understand why people like it. But like every technology you have to teach children, it is an obligation of society to teach them how to use it carefully."
Abagnale should know a thing or two about security. After authorities caught up with him in the early seventies , following a global cheque fraud spree, he served his time and went to work for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. With four decades of experience under his belt, Abagnale has plenty of bragging rights.
He pointed out that the FBI has become aware of a number of techniques to gather vast amounts of personal data from Facebook. What's more, the techniques are widely available and can be used be people with little to no experience in tech.
"If you tell me your date of birth and where you're born I'm 98% to stealing your identity," he said. "Never state your date of birth and where you were born, otherwise you are saying 'come and steal my identity'."
In other words, people with elaborate Facebook profiles are begging to be ripped off.
Abagnale also has a few simple tips for Facebook lovers who would rather not learn that they opened a shell corporation in Cyprus and owe the Russian mafia a few dozen million rubles.
They should never choose a passport-style photo for their profile picture, they should not go around "liking" everything because it reveals political and ethnic affiliation, along with sexual orientation, and they should just keep their eyes open.
"Your privacy is the only thing you have left. Don't blame all the other companies – Google, Facebook – you control it. You have to keep control of your own information," he said.