Anatomy of a Scam: Important Note

Irksome

A person I have mentioned in this "Anatomy of a Scam" series claims that her family is being harassed as a result of it. She claims increased car traffic near her house, and believes that this traffic represents harassment. She reports harassing phone calls, including someone posing as a police officer, whose number came back to a computer shop in Laguna.

Frankly, I'm not inclined to believe anything this person says without hard proof, in light of what I've seen in the course of the investigation. I specifically doubt this claim.

But if it happened, such harassment is absolutely unacceptable to me. I said that already, and I meant it. If you make harassing calls or drive-bys or any other form of harassing contact, you are part of the problem. You are my foe, and a foe of the detection, investigation, and exposure of fraud. Don't do it. The proper remedy for fraud like that exposed in this series is reports to the authorities, and publicity designed to expose and deter it.

I will cooperate with any law enforcement inquiries into any actual harassment. I am not legally obligated to do so, or even to post this notice. But I will. Ask yourself: based on this series, what is Ken likely to do to me if I use the information in his posts to behave badly?

I'm asking this person for the number of the computer store that was allegedly the source of the harassing call. If I get it, I will investigate accordingly. Both telephone harassment and posing as law enforcement are crimes in California. Conduct yourselves accordingly.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Russell  •  Sep 20, 2011 @5:21 pm

    I read once that lawyers were the gunslingers of the 21st century. This reminds me of that.

  2. Charles  •  Sep 20, 2011 @8:56 pm

    There are honorable and just ways to deal with douches. Becoming a douche yourself is neither. It is perhaps not as fun as being a douche yourself. But the upside is, you aren't a douche.

  3. PeeDub  •  Sep 20, 2011 @10:00 pm

    *Does* driving by someone's house constitute harrassment??

  4. jb  •  Sep 21, 2011 @8:51 am

    PeeDub,
    Are you going out of your way to do it? Are you doing it with intent to harass, or on the advice of someone who intends harassment? Would you have driven by their house in the absence of some behavior on their part, or is the decision internal to you?

  5. Richard Hershberger  •  Sep 21, 2011 @9:03 am

    Just to make sure I have this right, you are asserting that driving on the public road in front of someone's house is a proper matter for police involvement?

  6. Al  •  Sep 21, 2011 @9:10 am

    As I read it, Ken is saying the person he talked to is asserting that.

    As far as dealing with the public information on these scammers Wil Wheaton put it best: Don't be a dick.

  7. mojo  •  Sep 21, 2011 @11:37 am

    Maybe she should call LaPolice, huh?

  8. Amy Alkon  •  Sep 21, 2011 @1:13 pm

    "If you make harassing calls or drive-bys or any other form of harassing contact, you are part of the problem. You are my foe, and a foe of the detection, investigation, and exposure of fraud."

    Truly appreciate this sentiment. Intimidation and harassment put a chill on free speech and cause people to live in fear, and it's so important to understand that and stand up against it.

  9. Erik  •  Sep 21, 2011 @9:38 pm

    I nailed a scammer two years ago using many of the same methods you mentioned here. I managed to not only get my money back but people who had been ripped off by him since 2005.

    Every action he took, was the one your target used too. But one he used was "people are harassing me now because of what you wrote". I do not know if this was true or not, he claimed his car was vandalised and death threats but police reports where he lived did not confirm this.

    So what I promised him was that if he filed a police report I would co-operate with the police about the other victims I had talked to, IP addresses on my website, everything because I did not approve of harassment.

    Nothing came of it. It was just another ruse he used. But it is still a good thing to mention since your investigation is different than mine.

    Great posting on this btw.

  10. Richard Hershberger  •  Sep 22, 2011 @6:39 am

    @jb:

    So whether or not it is harassment is a matter of the driver's internal mental state? An otherwise perfectly legal action becomes a matter for the police due to the purported harasser's thoughts? Wow. People complain about hate crime laws, which take the mental state into consideration when determining exactly what level of crime was committed. This harassing itinerary theory is far, far more oppressive: an example of a pure thought crime.

  11. PLW  •  Sep 22, 2011 @7:01 am

    How novel! I bet this is the only law on the books that require juries to evaluate and infer what was in the mind of the perpetrator at the time of taking the action. Well, except for murder, fraud, trespass, and just about every other crime I can think of.

  12. Ken  •  Sep 22, 2011 @7:23 am

    Simmer down. I wasn't suggesting that I bought her story. I wasn't suggesting that driving by someone's house, once, could be criminal or actionable harassment. However, repeatedly driving past somebody's house with the intent to cause fear could potentially be actionable or criminal harassment. But I'm not going to engage in an analysis of harassment law today.

  13. SPQR  •  Sep 22, 2011 @8:02 am

    Besides, I don't think a regular of this blog would be caught dead in La Crescenta, I mean, we have standards.

  14. Scott Jacobs  •  Sep 22, 2011 @8:24 am

    If we have standards, explain why we are here. :)

  15. Ken  •  Sep 22, 2011 @8:25 am

    Hey. I live in La Crecenta. It's VERY NICE here. It's called the Balcony of Southern California. That means we store all our shit out here and occasionally drunk people fall off of us.

  16. PeeDub  •  Sep 23, 2011 @8:18 am

    Sorry Ken, I wasn't trying to get all excited up in here, I was just genuinely curious.

  17. Sean Benward  •  Sep 23, 2011 @10:20 am

    Personally, I say screw them. There is nothing in your blog that suggests that anyone do anything to these scum that could be considered nefarious.

    Considering the amount of pain, financial loss and psychological damage to the victims mounted by the eradication of trust and civility to our society that these scums perpetrated, they [remainder deleted by Ken]

  18. Ken  •  Sep 23, 2011 @10:46 am

    Sean, I've deleted the portion of your comment that I take as encouraging or endorsing harassment. Even though I am not responsible for it, I don't want to see it here. Period.

  19. Sean Benward  •  Sep 23, 2011 @9:00 pm

    Wow! Quite a heavy censorship pen. But it is still okay to call them scu*s. Is that better? Sheesh!

  20. Ken  •  Sep 23, 2011 @9:26 pm

    Call them whatever you like. Don't advocate harassment here.

  21. Sean Benward  •  Sep 24, 2011 @5:51 am

    Was it the fact that I said Fu*k or Ted Bundy or was it when I suggested that from your own quote

    "Ask yourself: based on this series, what is Ken likely to do to me if I use the information in his posts to behave badly?"

    That perhaps you would be bullying the wrong people to suggest that you would "go Ken" on anyone who dares slip from the fold.

    In any event your suggestion that I "advocate harassment" is misleading, but of course, how would anyone know as you: A. censored me and B: you add your own ala carte commentary to justify you censorship.

    Hmmmm.

  22. Ken  •  Sep 24, 2011 @6:41 am

    I'm sorry that, in the course of deleting paragraphs arguing that harassment is justifiable, that I deleted your insight that someone engaged in fraud is the equivalent of one of America's most famous and prolific serial killers. That was a real great argument there.

    I am also sorry that I deleted your argument suggesting that (a) harassment of con men, if it happened, would be justifiable and appropriate, but (b) telling people I would expose and/or report them for doing so would not be appropriate and would be "bullying." That was a real great argument, too.

    Are you going to be all right?