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20 years

I can see why crime is so prevalent today. It
doesn't matter if its a local, county, State
or federal
cop you call, none of them want jurisdiction.
wants to catch the bad guys.

It's no wonder crime is on the rise in America (even if the politicians keep lying to us by telling us what a good job they're doing bringing crime down). If crime statistics are down even an iota it's only because no cop is wasting his or her time writing up reports on the attempts that fail to steal anything you own that isn't nailed down to the back deck.

The Barney Fifes we call our local police don't view a crime as a crime unless someone makes off with cash, credit cards, your car, its tires or all the gas from the gas tank, or the most expensive things from inside your home including your new plasma TV that you just told told all your neighbors you got just to watch what's left of the world series, two or three computers (one so old it barely qualifies as a word processor), a couple of DvD players, your wife's brand new camcorder, her jewelry from Walmart or your brand new deer rifle.

Barney Fife would call that theft. So, for that matter, would Sheriff Andy Taylor. Opie wouldn't be too upset unless his new bike was gone. But, that's TV-land police work. You call Andy Taylor for the Mayberry-type stuff. For real crime, you call Sgt. Joe Friday. Real police work is even more simple. Because Joe Friday would at least file a complaint. Today's cop—especially if the thief is scared off before he or she steals your identity (the big prize today)—will pass the buck to the lowest cop on the totem pole and Barney gets to write the crime report.

I know. It just happened to me. My cell phone rang a couple hours ago. The number that appeared on the display screen was was (201) 968-0007. The female voice informed me that someone had just tried to access my Washington Post Federal Government Credit Union account and, to protect me, they very quickly shut it down. Of course, had I stayed on the line, they would have been asking me for a whole bunch of personal information like my account number, etc. Of course, since I don't work for the Washington Post and don't have a Federal Government Credit Union account, I simply hung up after noting the phone number (201) 968-0007. I immediately Googled the phone number. I got 248 pages of fraud alerts from that one phone number. In several instances, according to Google, the owner of what I'm sure is a prepaid cell phone appeared somehow to have the last four digits of credit cards, social security numbers or credit union account numbers—with shocked consumers who were asking how it happened. It happened, quite frankly, because the con artist asked them for the information and they rattled it off to them without thinking that when you call your own bank or credit card company for information, they only thing they ask for are the last four digits of your social security number in order to protect you since they have the rest of that information on file. Thus, a thief only needs the last four digits as well, and will only ask for that since you are already comfortable in rattling it off when asked.

Every morning when I go to work, I fire up my two work computers. My first task of the day is to dump from 50 to 100 emails telling me that I just won some lottery I never bought a ticket for, just inherited anywhere from £10,000,000 to ¥100,000,000 to $50,000,000 from people I never of—and to get the money, all I have to is pay the taxes.

Hey, I've got a flash for the idiots running these scams: even if the aluminum foil head band was wrapped too tight around my forehead, I'm always a dollar short but I'm never a day late. When I file my taxes, I'm one of those hapless souls who has to ask the government for payments when I come up short and owe Uncle Sam my last clean pair of boxers shorts. Since the best luck I ever have in life is getting only two or three splinters in my bare behind instead of a dozen when I use Smokey the Bear's outhouse, 100% of the spam always gets deleted from my computer. If I don't recognize the name of the emailer as a regular in my email box I dump the email in the trash because its either a virus or a scam. If the con artist had been lucky enough to pick the right employer out of their hat and also the right savings account, I would have still noted their cell phone, and I would have still hung up. I would then I have called the phone number I always use to call my bank and asked for the teller I always ask for when I need information about my account. Then I would have reported the scam artist to a federal law enforcement agency since bank fraud is a federal crime. Which is what I thought I was doing today.

Today, instead of just hanging up, I just got tired of having Indonesian, Pakistani or Chinese scam artists think that all Americans have the word "STUPID" (or its Chinese, Muslim, Pakistani, Hispani, Indonesian or Russian equivalent) tattooed on our foreheads.

In any event, I found my completely worthless brand new Verizon Yellow Pages directory and tried to use it to call the US Secret Service. Since they work for the Treasury, it seemed to me that crimes against federally-insured banks would be their preview. Only, the phone number was wrong. I got the U.S. Marshal's office instead. Nice guy, but no Matt Dillon here. And, not in the least helpful. "My job," he said, "is arresting criminals as who are on the loose."

I looked at 248 pages of attempted crimes committed by the owner of the cell phone with the number of (201) 968-0007. Two hundred forty-eight pages of attempts to steal identities. I have no idea how many of those attempts were successful. I suggested to the Marshal that this looked to me like there was a criminal on the loose. "Yes," he admitted, "but he's not my criminal. He belongs to the FBI." Directly across from the number for the Secret Service (which I dialed when I got him) was a number for the FBI in West Virginia. (304) 263-3421. If no answer, call (412) 432-4000. The Marshal assured me I would not reach anyone at the West Virginia number because the West Virginia FBI agent lives in Pennsylvania. I called (412) 432-4000 only to discover he wasn't there, either. He must have been out chasing the bad guys the Marshal didn't want to catch.

In all fairness to the Marshal, he did suggest that I call Andy Taylor and Barney Fife first. I replied I had "...already been there, and done that." When they find out there is no real suspect to chase, and definitely no local bad guy to arrest, they suggest calling the State Police or the FBI. "And," I noted, "when you think they are taking notes of the crime you later find out they were just playing tic-tac-toe while you were talking—and Barney lost." The Marshal laughed at that one, saying, "They do that, too?" Now you know that gave me a real sense of security to know we're in such safe hands with such competent, well trained law enforcement officers looking out for us—particularly when I was reporting an attempted federal crime, not two neighborhood kids letting air out of my tires or siphoning gas from my gas tank (which, with the price of gas, almost qualifies as felony).

"Look," I finally said, "I'm looking at 248 pages of complaints—all of them concerning (201) 968-0007. Most are from people who lost money and are begging people to help them find the owner of that phone. None of these crimes are local. Which means neither Barney nor Andy have any jurisdiction. Neither do the West Virginia State Police who will ask me to drive to their barracks to sign a complaint. For what? Because some idiot scam artist who hoped I worked for the Washington Post and had a Federal Credit Union Account would be dumb enough to give him the key to the bank? Not even my weakest-minded relative with an IQ of 137 would be that dumb." In point of fact, 10 to 20 of the pages, all identical, were from the same lady, begging someone to help her. Apparently she called the US Marshal, too.

But, at least this scenario helped answer a question for me. Why is crime still rising when Barack Obama's Congressional and Senatorial socialist goon squads and czars who can't qualify for a tourist pass to the White House have already stole everything that isn't nailed down? There can't be that much left in the country to steal.

The reason you can't get any help is because, the cops know they aren't going to recover anything and, thus, they don't want to be bothered with hours of paperwork describing how stupid the victims of identity theft are for simply giving their most confidential information to strangers they didn't know, and yet are smart enough not to be dumb enough to give that same information to their brothers, sisters, girl friends or boyfriends.

And, other than for the barrel of laughs in the locker room, the cops—city, county, State or federal—don't want to get stuck writing up 10 to 20 page reports about idiots who thought Bill Gates was really awarding $1 million dollar prizes to people who used the new Window Vista. Believe me, Bill Gates would have to personally show up at my house and lay a great big pile of greenbacks on the kitchen table before I'd ever buy another computer with that trash system on it (so maybe that scam's almost believable). But anyone who would fall for the deposed dictator from Nigeria ruse deserves to be taken. Imagine someone you never heard of, (and who if you take a minute and Google his name, doesn't exist), wants to give you $100 million USD if you agree to share some of it with him when he escapes from the rebels who are trying to kill him; or that Sister Margaret Mary (who took a vow of poverty as a nun) now wants to give you the million dollars she won in a lottery because she feels guilty for gambling—providing you will pay her mama's delinquent mortgage before her home goes into foreclosure and her seven brothers and sisters end up in an orphanage.

Yeah, there's a thousand suckers born every minute and there isn't a cop in the world dumb enough to let himself get trapped into writing up those never-ending reports—unless he's planning to write the Great American Scam Artist Book that will definitely be a best seller in Nigeria, Mexico, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, China, and every third world country in the world that will include the book with the purchase of every computer. Only, they will retitle the book, NIGERIAN DREAM: AMERICAN NIGHTMARE, or maybe AREN'TCHA GLAD EVERY GRINGO HAS A COMPUTER?






Just Say No
Copyright 2009 Jon Christian Ryter.
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