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