Frank Abagnale Jr.

For anyone new to the name, Frank Abagnale was one of the most notorious fraudsters who had duped investigators for a very long time- but eventually landed up being the owner of Abagnale & Associates, a financial fraud consultancy company some time after he was hired by the US Federal Department for aiding fraud investigations w.r.t banking frauds. To know more read the Wikipedia article at

Wondering why this is mentioned in this blog? It is about fraud management and investigation. Still wondering– read on.

Abagnale was hired by the US federal department for aiding them in case investigation of fraud– does not that sound interesting? Well all that i want to showcase is the fact- he was the best fraud detector because he was the best defrauder.

In today’s parlance — when we look at fraud detection methodologies especially through data analysis and or use of a tool (more so during the design of the tool itself) — the basic objective is somehow lost in designing a system that would “try and catch a fraudster”– but what we essentially lose out is trying to implement ‘how a defrauder actually thinks’ … that is the key to understanding how fraudulent patterns need to be detected. If I am a fraud analyst it is about answering the question — what can i do to defraud the system and reap benefits. It is only then the gig-saw puzzle of millions of snippets of available data join to form the actual trap for catching the criminal.

In one of my own posts “

“Catch me if you can” — said the fraudster” (click for reading the post)

i had told how the behavior the data-stream  itself is the big key for catching and identifying a fraudulent pattern. As a matter of fact only a fraudster’s brain would actually allow you to detect the changing pattern in a seemingly harmless data. 

Abagnale was successful because he had the mind to think how “he” would defraud the system and thus look at the available data. It was never the opposite way.

This all sounds like a familiar concept that we have heard a number of times– but of course there are practical challenges.

If you want to share/ discuss / refute what I say– please feel free to do so. I welcome all comments.


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