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College Graduates Among The Most Vulnerable To Be Identity Theft Targets

Leading identity theft expert Frank W. Abagnale and uni-ball® 207™ providing "signature" advice to protect against common forms of identity theft

(Oak Brook, Ill. - May 5, 2005) - More than 1.3 million college seniors will graduate this year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, armed with their diploma, ready to make their mark on the world. While this accomplishment makes mom and dad proud, renowned document expert Frank Abagnale and uni-ball® 207™ today are warning these soon-to-be former students that a danger lurks - thieves may be preparing to steal their identity.

According to the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Education, college students are among the most vulnerable to identity theft, based largely on the all-to-often common mindset - "it won't happen to me."This is why Abagnale, subject of the blockbuster movie "Catch Me If You Can," well-known identity theft expert and FBI consultant, is teaming up with uni-ball 207™ gel pens to provide signature advice for college students and recent grads on how to protect themselves against identity theft.

"Whether you're a college student or a soon-to-be graduate, the last thing on your mind is monitoring your bank or credit card statement," said Abagnale, father of three college students. "There are some steps that students and graduates can take to better ensure they're not a victim."

  • Leave It At Home - Do not carry personal identifying documents with you (i.e., birth certificate and Social Security card.) Keep these important documents safe in a locked box back at home.
  • It's Free. Sign Me Up - Be careful when signing up for a new credit card around campus. Never provide your Social Security number to any credit card ambassadors -- even if you are tempted by that free giveaway you could really use.
  • When In Doubt - Shred It - Moving to and from college can certainly be a burden. Don't take any shortcuts by tossing documents containing personal information - especially pre-approved credit applications. When in doubt, shred it.
  • Put Your Mind To Work - Memorize personal pins and passwords. Do not write them down.
  • Who's That On The Phone? - Never give information over the phone to a creditor unless you initiated the contact.
  • Sign Securely - When signing important documents, use a pigmented ink-pen, preferably a uni-ball 207 gel pen, to prevent thieves from "lifting" the ink from checks, titles, mortgages and other important documents.

Abagnale is also warning graduates to protect themselves against "check washing," an old-fashioned form of identity theft that is making an alarming comeback. Check washing is a process where checks are stolen from the mail or by other means and the ink is erased, often using common household products. The thief will then rewrite the check payable to himself or herself, in the amount of their choosing.

"My advice is simple - protect yourself, because it could save you a lot of headaches down the road," said Abagnale. "It may be as simple as the pen you use."

Many uni-ball pens, such as the uni-ball 207 gel pen, use specially formulated inks that contain color pigments. The ink's color pigments are absorbed into the paper fibers. When an individual tries to "wash" the information written on the check or other important documents, the ink is in effect "trapped."

"We are pleased to be joining forces with Mr. Abagnale to provide a good resource for identity fraud prevention advice," says Rory Leyden, president of Sanford North America, who markets uni-ball pens. "As Mr. Abagnale emphasizes - prevention is the key."

Uni-ball 207 gel pens come in black, blue and red ink and are available in 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-pack options at the suggested retail prices of $2.29, $4.69, $6.89 and $8.85, respectively. Uni-ball pens can be found throughout the U.S. in office product superstores, grocery stores, drug stores, as well as almost anywhere writing instruments are sold.

For more information about protecting against check washing and other forms of identity theft, or to take the uni-ball "ID IQ" quiz, go to

About uni-ball®

Part of the Newell Brands portfolio of leading brands (NYSE: NWL), uni-ball is the world leader in providing a optimal writing experience, offering writing instruments with superior functionality and affordability. From Jet Stream's smooth write to the intense color and superior performance of the uni-ball 207 gel pen, the brand allows one to enjoy the ultimate in writing performance supported by a distinctive, contemporary style. Uni-ball is a participating member ofUpromise, helping families save more for college by simply buying products they use everyday.

About Sanford®

Sanford, maker of uni-ball, is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and marketing of writing instruments, art products and office organization, including such well known brands as Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, Parker®, Waterman®, EXPO®, Foohy®, uni-ball®, and Rolodex®, among others. Sanford makes more than 6,000 products, ranging from markers, pens and pencils to professional art products, fine writing instruments and office organization products. Visit or for more information.

About Abagnale & Associates

Frank Abagnale is known as one of the world's most respected authorities on check fraud, embezzlement and secure documents. He has developed new procedures and created manuals and educational programs utilized by over 14,000 financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and corporations. Abagnale lectures and instructs extensively at the FBI academy and field offices for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He conducts over 100 domestic and international seminars each year for his clients with the single objective of instructing attendees on how to reduce their exposure to fraud, forgery and embezzlement. For more information

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Susan Wassel

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