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Offering spine-tingling terror for anyone who has a Social Security number and birth date, counterfeiting expert Abagnale (author of Catch Me if You Canâ€”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 anyoneâ€”whether a careless credit card user, diehard check-writer, "cash-only" buyer or even the deceased. (Apr. 24)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.