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News Release

“Catch Me If You Can” Movie Inspiration To Speak On Latest Fraud And Cybercrime Schemes

Clerk Sharon Bock Presents Frank Abagnale as Part of Ongoing Educational Series

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (November 22, 2010) –  As part of her ongoing commitment to educating citizens about matters affecting their public records and public funds, Clerk Sharon Bock welcomes renowned forgery and embezzlement expert Frank Abagnale to speak Monday about how people can best protect themselves against identity theft, fraud and cybercrime.

Abagnale, a former confidence man turned consultant for government agencies and corporations, is best known for his best-selling book, Catch Me If You Can. It later became a hit movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. The seminar, titled The Art of the Steal: Fraud in the Digital Age, is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today at the West Palm Beach Public Library’s auditorium. There are no longer seats available for this filled-to-capacity free educational seminar sponsored by CSI: Computing System Innovations, Inc.

Clerk Bock says that Abagnale’s seminar is especially important because of a growing trend in internet-based crimes. While Palm Beach County has seen a decline in the number of felonies committed countywide, there was roughly a 20 percent increase in reported cybercrimes last year, according to FBI stats.

“Before, we used to worry about pickpockets,” Clerk Bock said. “Today, it’s not a pick – it’s a click of a computer mouse that leads to cybercrimes such as identity theft.”

Previous community education seminars from the Clerk’s office have featured well-known speakers such as former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, CNBC economic commentator Bob McTeer, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Marc Kielburger.

Protecting Palm Beach County residents from possible identity theft in public records has been a top priority for Bock since becoming Clerk in 2005. Her office uses sophisticated redacting software to remove private information, such as Social Security numbers and bank account information, from millions of official records. The office has scanned and redacted legally-mandated personal information from all records dating back to 1968.

Clerk Bock urges residents to be vigilant in checking public records to ensure their private information is not available online. To search official records in Palm Beach County, visit the Official Record section of www.mypalmbeachclerk.com. On the Clerk’s Web site, you will also find Identity Theft Resources and information about protecting your privacy in public records.

The Florida Constitution established the independent office of the Clerk & Comptroller as a public trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Clerk Sharon Bock is directly elected by and accountable to Palm Beach County residents.  In addition to the roles of Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Recorder and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, the Clerk & Comptroller is the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Auditor for Palm Beach County.

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