Back in 2002, the dream-team casting of legend-in-the-making Leonardo DiCaprio and Hollywood superstar Tom Hanks made the Steven Spielberg picture “Catch Me If You Can” a bonafide blockbuster. But despite being the kind of tale that seems as though it could only be thought up by Hollywood’s best screenwriting talent, the unbelievable story of Frank Abagnale was based completely in fact, making it one of the most enthralling cases of identity theft in movie history.
Before he was 19 years old, Abagnale, played by DiCaprio in the film, had accumulated millions of dollars by posing as a commercial airlines pilot, private prosecutor and even a doctor as a means to escape his own troubled home life. Carl Hanratty, a real-life bank fraud investigator at the FBI who was portrayed by Hanks, was on the case the whole time, uncovering the roughly $2.8 million in payroll checks from PanAm Airlines that Abagnale had forged as part of this long-term fraud.
While this film depicted the excitement and adventure that goes along with a life of crime, even Abagnale eventually had to pay for his misdeeds. In fact, in almost all other cases of fraud or identity theft, the individuals who commit these actions never live the life of luxury that Abagnale enjoyed before he defrauded several individuals to build a false fortune. What’s worse is the fact that the victims of such crimes usually lose out significantly on hard-earned cash because of the greed of these thieves, especially when they catch on to the crime before it’s too late.
While preventing ID theft is never a 100 percent guarantee, there are steps you can take to alert yourself to suspicious behavior before any damage is done and while you can still take steps to stop it. Look into protection from identity theft so that you will be aware of certain suspicious activity taking place in your name.