An Interview With Former Fraudster Elliot Castro
What was the best thing you bought during that period?
It's hard to say, as there were so many luxurious items I bought. I think that three which stand out the most would be a Rolex watch which was valued at £12,500, a BMW at £55,000 (despite not having a licence) and a £12,000 flight on concorde. Of course, looking back on these now, the fact is that these weren't 'real', as they weren't really mine. I remember vividly the day I received and started spending my first pay cheque - the absence of worry was a welcome novelty. Having said that, I cannot honestly say that I didn't enjoy some of the experiences I lived during my fraud 'career'.
How did you get into corporate speaking?
After publication of my book, Other People's Money, I was lucky enough to be asked to give a series of talks by one of my first clients. The audiences consisted mainly of fraud specialists and senior managers, some of whom then invited me to speak to their staff and/or clients. From there, word of mouth, and TV and radio appearances have played a massive part in new people hearing of, and hiring me.
What advice would you give to people to make sure their details stay safe?
My number one piece of advice is quite simple - never ever divulge sensitive information unless you are absolutely certain that the person asking is authorised to have it. In terms of businesses specifically - ensuring that your business is PCI compliant is key to keeping your sensitive data, and that of your customer, totally secure.
How did you get caught in the end?
My demise came thanks to a very dangerous combination of complacency and greed. I began to make mistakes and started failing to use the very important safeguards I had created in order to keep me out of jail. I purchased £2000 of vouchers from an upmarket department store on a dodgy card, and, ironically, despite passing all security 'checks', the thing that brought me down was the cashiers simple 'hunch' that something was wrong. Returning to the store less than an hour later to spend the vouchers, I soon found myself under arrest, with five different identities in my wallet - there was no talking my way out of that one.
How do you like to spend your weekends?
I have an unabiding passion for music, and I DJ most Fridays and Saturdays. During the weekend I spend most of the day in my studio, writing, producing and remixing house, disco and pop music. I also enjoy weekends away, and spending the evening in the kitchen cooking for friends and family, when I have the time.