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The Art of the Steal: Lessons From a Hired Scammer

By Marcus Chan - 2012-03-07T01:44:23Z

Photograph by Image Source/Corbis

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Chum in the Water

Jim Stickley has robbed more than a thousand banks, but don't worry -- he's one of the good guys.

The chief technology officer and co-founder of TraceSecurity Inc. is hired by companies, the government and the news media to pull all sorts of stunts and scams to expose cracks in security. Beyond the bank heists, Stickley has also fooled consumers with a fake ATM, outsmarted home alarm systems and tricked hotel guests into giving him their credit-card information.

We asked him to pick his favorites among the many scams he's pulled -- all in the name of improving security. Here are 10 swindles that stand out in his mind, as well as lessons to be learned about protecting your confidential data from them.