Friday, August 31, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: The Next Crime Scene is only a Phone Call Away

There is a scary new trend in the world of crime: bomb threat by cell phone. All week long, Walmart stores and other business across the United States have had some creep calling them via cell phone and demanding the manager wire money to an overseas account or a bomb will blow up in the store. The caller tries to terrify the customers and management of the store by making it seem like he is watching the store and is just outside in the parking lot with his finger on the detonator. He even got some people to remove their clothes because they thought he could see if they were obeying him.

Sure enough, some of the managers were frightened enough to wire money and so this scumbag is collecting off of his ruse. To think, this guy is just sitting in his living room (or bedroom if he is a young crook) in some country (and the last guess was Portugal), running down a list of store names on the Internet and making phone calls like he was a salesman cold calling his prospects. He doesn't have to actually walk into a store or physically threaten people or risk getting in a confrontation with the police. He just sits in the comfort of his home with a phone to his ear. and gets a darn good profit from his crime

Sadly, unless people stop falling for this ploy or some law is passed that makes sending money to the blackmailer a crime in itself (aiding and abetting a criminal), the number of these crimes may skyrocket. If it works well enough, think of all the criminals around the world who can copy this crime with just a cell phone and a computer and a way to retrieve the money (and not get caught). Already the Nigerian scams have netted god knows how much money with the fake checks they are printing and sending to their victims, and now we have a more frightening form of crime being perpetrated from overseas.

It is hard enough for law enforcement to deal with home grown crime. Just imagine what will happen if they have to work across international boundaries and get cooperation from foreign legal systems. With globalization and world wide communications, crime means offenders don't have to find victims just in their neighborhoods; they can find them thousands of miles away.

As Maxwell Smart would have said, "Too bad he didn't use his cell phone and the Internet for niceness instead of evil." The new technologies we now can't live without will be bringing us a whole bunch of crimes we wish we would never have to deal with.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

1 comment:

preraph said...

There was a story on one of the documentary news shows last year about a guy who was on the phone instructing fast-food employees to undress in front of the camera. They finally caught him. They had one whole episode on tape. It was possibly the most appalling thing I've ever witnessed, on so many levels.

This year, we've seen the deliberate poisoning of our animals from China, and there's rumbling that that was only the tip of the iceberg. Trading with countries over whom we hold no jurisdiction is a huge problem facing us today. At the present time, we are the favorite target for internet fraud as well as poisoning. I realize that the small amount of control we do have over countries such as China and Korea is because we DO have trade with them, but it's not enough control to ensure the safety of our citizens. And I doubt it's enough control to stop one from using a nuclear missile on us if they want to either. I don't think many people are aware that some of our biggest enemies are people who we are allowing to manufacture our aircraft and other war tools. It's how we supposedly keep them under our thumb -- but at what price?

If we pulled the plug on China trade right now, I wouldn't squawk. I have followed the dog poisoning events because I lost a dog then, and I haven't seen anything reassuring me that the matter has been adequately dealt with from a punitive standpoint.