cover image Stealing Your Life: The Ultimate Identity Theft Prevention Plan

Stealing Your Life: The Ultimate Identity Theft Prevention Plan

Frank W. Abagnale, . . Broadway, $24.95 (242pp) ISBN 978-0-7679-2586-0

Offering spine-tingling terror for anyone who has a Social Security number and birth date, counterfeiting expert Abagnale (author of Catch Me if You Can —a memoir detailing his former life in crime) chronicles the means and aftereffects of identity theft. Studded with alarming case histories, the first half of the book reads like a how-to for would-be thieves, offering a closeup look at financial and criminal fraud and Americans' particular vulnerability to it. By page 100, many readers will be willing to do anything to prevent a future fraud against them. Fortunately, Abagnale supplies a 20-step prevention plan in the second half, including basic tips such as regularly checking your credit report, using a shredder and avoiding questionable Internet sites and ATMs. For those unlucky enough to be victimized, he offers step-by-step instructions on filing a police report and contacting the Fair Trade Commission. Above all, this heart-pounding guide drives home the point that identity theft can come from any direction at any time to anyone—whether a careless credit card user, diehard check-writer, "cash-only" buyer or even the deceased. (Apr. 24)