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Publisher's Summary

In his celebrated best seller Catch Me If You Can, Frank Abagnale recounted his youthful career as a master imposter and forger. In The Art of the Steal, Abagnale tells the remarkable story of how he parlayed his knowledge of cons and scams into a successful career as a consultant to businesses on preventing financial foul play - while revealing to listeners how they can identify and outsmart perpetrators of fraud.

Technology may have made it easier to track down criminals, but cyberspace has spawned a skyrocketing number of ways to commit crime - much of it untraceable. In fact, Frank Abagnale has discovered that punishment for fraud, much less recovery of stolen funds, is a rare occurrence. Prevention is the best form of protection. Drawn from his early years of experience as an ingenious con artist (whose check scams alone mounted to more than two million dollars in stolen funds) and his 25-year career on the other side of the law, The Art of the Steal provides eye-opening stories of true scams, with tips on how they could have been avoided.

©2001 Frank Abagnale, Jr. (P)2001 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A useful work on business and personal privacy." (Library Journal) "Captivating and useful." (

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Barbara
  • Rochester, NY, USA
  • 12-02-03

Financial fraud was never so interesting

I've changed some key things I do because of this book. I bought a shredder. I don't carry my social security card. Those seem obvious, but if you want to know why you should never, EVER toss out your ATM receipts anywhere near your ATM, listen to this book. The financial frauds are astounding, not only on the corporate scale, but also on the personal scale. Sprinkled liberally with his own brand of humor and stories from his own colorful past, he makes a potentially dry subject not only interesting, but downright entertaining.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Allen
  • Larchmont, NY, USA
  • 08-20-03

Protect Yourself - Listen to this book.

Again, Mr. Abagnale regales us with some of the best and relevent material I have heard on Audible. (See 'Catch Me If You Can') This book will open your eyes to how crooks go about their business and the not-common-enough sense ways you might discourage them. It covers such ordinary scams as the 'short change scam' (I had to listen to this several times before I got it) to identity theft and online crime. Should be required listening for anyone who engages in ecommerce.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mike
  • New Franken, WI, United States
  • 03-22-10

Great Book - Entertaining Listen

I got this for 4.95, lol. Saw the movie about this guy, sounded interesting, was very pleased.

Is there a lot about net security, no, so don't listen if you are expecting the definitive narrative on internet security. But to be fair to the work, what you get is a look into the predatory nature of a master criminal, and just how scarily easy everyone makes it for them to steal. Scam after scam after scam revealed in shocking simplicity.

Are some of the stories outdated yes, to say they are not worth hearing is like saying I don't go to museums because the paintings are all old.

Is it very centered on check security, sure, that's what he did, and did better than anyone, but the point he is trying to make is that checks are not going away, with just a fragment of information you can lose anything to a person who knows how. He also goes into credit card, debit card, phone scams, and a ton of ways that a simple piece of paper, even a deposity slip can cost you everything.

And he does say a lot about internet fraud protection, all that needs to be said, which is to be secure, don't enter you information on the internet. Sometimes I don't know why people are so harsh. If you buy a cook book, and it says how to cook food, and you want a book that has Italian recipes, you cant slam it for not having enough Italian recipes. Get an Italian cook book.

This is a fascinating read. It will scare you and amaze you at the clever ways criminal meticulously work at ways to take our money. The great lengths they will go to to bust the most complex countermeasures, but also how insanely simple it is, and how completely senseless and open to these schemes even educated people can be.


And come on guy, 5 bucks, even if you don't find it entertaining, and you got just one tip from it, you spent more than that on your lunch. Geeeez

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonathan
  • Cape TownSouth Africa
  • 09-08-08

A must read for a small business owner

This is a real eye opener, even though some of the WEB based stuff is outdated... Still makes you think! a must read for everyone, even if you are NOT part of the corporate world.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • The Woodlands, TX, USA
  • 02-27-05

Get streetwise - listen to this book!

An amazing book which describes just about every possible way fraudsters can rip you off. I leant a hell of a lot in listening to this book and made several changes in my life as a result of reading the book that will minimize me falling susceptible to rip-off artists, which in this day and age most of us can encounter multiple times on a daily basis without even knowing it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very Limited and Misinformative

Frank Abernathy is very "Check Centered". This book has some very good descriptions about check safety, but sadly much of it is very dated. Advice such as choose a bank than requires you to pick up your checks at the bank. hmmm....

He also exposes his technology phobia clearly. On the internet he states simply that he recommends not using it!? He never does! I was hoping as the description leads the user to believe that there would be a wealth of information on how to protect your identity on the internet, not simply to "say no"...

Also this narrator is not one of my favorites. Very dry with a sarcastic tone to it that was irratating to me. It implied a dismissive, irrated tone that I don't know if the author meant it to have.

I got three quarters through really looking forward to the Internet section. Once I got there I was extremely disappointed, and thus disappointed with the entire book.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Jerret
  • Crockett, VA, USA
  • 03-23-06

A peek inside the mind of a con man

Great audiobook. I broke from my usual mystery/suspense category to download this book and I'm super glad I did. This book gives insight into the way a criminal's mind works. Normal folks simply do not think this way. You will find yourself stunned at how you've NOT been paying attention to certain things. The chapter on embezzlement alone is worth the download credit. It will have you looking at your co-workers from a whole different angle.

Great narration. The writing was a little flaky and could have used the services of an editor but hey, the author was a crook not a novelist. Highly recommended download.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • JustScott
  • Woodland Hills, CA United States
  • 07-21-04

A very interesting book!

Overall, a very interesting book. The author spends the majority of the time identifying various 'tricks' used to defraud companies and individuals of money. The categories include: checks, credit cards, the Internet, counterfeit money, etc.

Many times throughout the book the author presents situations which seem innocuous until you hear the ways very clever thieves can take avantage of them.

At times there are arguments which lack backup, particularly those regarding the Internet. I had trouble determining if the author skipped the technicals of his arguments or if they were simply based on the merits of "back in my day we didn't need fancy communications networks". In either event, this was a great book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very informative!

Worth listening to even if only for the real cases you hear. Very entertaining and informative.

I also highly recommend his bio 'Catch Me If You Can.' You won't believe the things he got away with!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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eyes wide open about fraud, color me rivotted the whole way through the book. highly recommended.

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  • Ryan Law
  • 05-06-17

Fantastic read

Read it practically in one sitting. Narration is fantastic and the occasional mention of Franks past spices it up nicely.
I did read it at 1.45 speed comfortably though so the narrator maybe talks quite slow but well worth getting.

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  • Maid Marian
  • 01-22-15

Interesting in parts, aimed at US readers

Would you try another book written by Frank W. Abagnale or narrated by Barrett Whitener?

Yes I would, even though a lot of the information is irrelevant to UK readers/listeners, he does tell a good story.

If you’ve listened to books by Frank W. Abagnale before, how does this one compare?

Not quite as entertaining. There was a very long section on the American 'checking' system (cheques to us in the UK) which bored me rigid. Quite a lot of it was out-of-date.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The section on various scams, which don't rely on technology and are relevant today. The one about the 'short change ' scam was mathematically challenging and I can see why it works (although I hasten to add, I shan't be trying it)!

Do you think The Art of the Steal needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Updated version for the 21st century? Should be made more relevant outside the US.

Any additional comments?

Good entertaining read.

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  • Rosemary White
  • 05-19-13

Bad Boy made good and shares valuable insights.

This book is clearly directed at an American audience yet there are useful ideas and important facts for everyone in our current culture of internet fraud, identity theft and credit card security. I, like many people, was fascinated by Frank W. Abagnale's precocious and illegal exploits as seen in the movie "Catch Me If You Can". This book tells you how easy that was for him, what happened after he was caught and what he made of his life since then. He tells you how unscrupulous con artists and thieves misrepresent themselves to perpetrate scams on ordinary people in their own homes, retail theft, credit card and cheque fraud, identity theft, and other misdemeanours and just how vulnerable the internet can make us. Its scary. He also tells you how you can make yourself less vulnerable and much of it is common sense. Well worth a listen.

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  • Mark W
  • 10-07-17

Enjoyable & informative

An enjoyable and informative guide to all kinds of scams, the book ends on the future of scamming which is very interesting.