What Will the Scammers Think of Next?
I remember one of the witnesses was the meanest man I had ever seen, causing us all to shrink down in our leather chairs. He made Humphrey Bogart as Duke Mantee and Edward G. Robinson as Johny Rocco seem like Lawrence Welk.
Another witness, a third-generation family member, was rail thin, elegantly dressed in a custom tailored blue suit, shirt and muted tie with gold cuff links and a gold watch. This was the new breed of businessman Mafioso--the Robert Duvall character in the film version of The Godfather.
When he was excused, the young U.S. attorney asked if any of us noticed the ring on the witness's right hand. We all shook our heads.
"West Point," he said quietly.
I was irked. We had paid for this bastard's education, and now he was cleaning our clocks.
Not that we learned much from them beyond their constitutional right not to incriminate themselves. They all took the Fifth.
Other witnesses, plus the circumstantial evidence, were overwhelming, and we ultimately voted a true bill (indictment).
That was my first firsthand look into the world of crime.
At that time--pre-Internet--honest folks came into contact with crime in three ways: either your home or car was broken into, you were mugged on the street, or you witnessed a shooting or some other act of violence.
Today we are witnesses to--and very often victims of--crime every day. We need look no farther than our computer screen.
Who among us has not had messages from phishers, pharmers, hackers and spoofers? For example, the Anti-Phishing Working Group (www.antiphishing.org) recorded the following reports of phishing scams from October 2005 to July 2005:
October 2004: 6,957
November 2004: 8,975
December 2004: 8,829
January 2005: 12,845
Feburary 2005: 13,468
March 2005: 12,883
April 2005: 14,411
May 2005: 14,987