The Big Con: How I Stole £30 Million And Got Away With It by Tony Sales

This is a true story that’s thought provoking and worth reading even though the blurb at the top is misleading.

From the age of 7, Tony Sales embarked on a life of crime stealing car radios, emptying fruit machines, before progressing to identity theft and defrauding high street electronic and department stores.

Having worked out how to taking advantage of slack security by the world of business, and operating solo or leading a gang, Sales paints a colourful picture of his life of crime leaving nothing out.

Along the way, we learn about where he grew up, his family, friends, and a cast of quite scary people.

Sales describes the various crimes he committed and how he used social engineering and technology to steal identities and money. Some time is spent on explaining how various techniques were developed.

The book is written in a way not to glorify his crimes and there are sections where he talks of remorse.

After his second spell in jail, Sales turned his back on his life of crime, and moved into the corporate world helping organisations to understand their fraud vulnerabilities.

He also produces documentaries, is frequently interviewed and speaks at anti-fraud conferences. He also works within communities to encourage youngsters not to follow a life of crime.

During the book, references are made to Frank William Abagnale Jr, the master forger and counterfeiter who became more famous due to the movie ‘Catch Me If You Can’.

Abagnale was caught, went to prison and then helped the FBI catch forgers. I’ve read Abagnale’s book but found Sales’ better because I found it more relevant to what is happening in the world today.

Both are worth reading though.

There are a few minor typos, most notably when the English pound sign is used. I read this on a Kindle.

Unless I missed it, no mention was made about how much was stolen by Tony Sales; the heading is redundant in my view.