268. Who says crime doesn’t pay?

268. Who says crime doesn’t pay?

An article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek caught my attention. It seems a website, possibly based in Ukraine, acquires stolen credit card numbers and then sells these numbers in batches to its customers for fees ranging up to $100 per card.

In many cases the site will guarantee the validity of the numbers meaning they provide an assurance that the numbers – remember, these are stolen credit card numbers – will work, and they have absolutely no shortage of customers

I guess one shouldn’t be surprised to discover a website, owned and operated by conscience-less criminals, whose sole reason for existence is to sell the results of its criminal activity – the stolen numbers it has acquired – to other criminals who openly purchased them through this website.

The article states that the sites customer’s “are praising the guy (the owner) like a rock star over the quality of these numbers.”

What amazes me is how open this whole process is. There is no need for clandestine meetings and hushed whispers in dingy parking lots to exchange stolen goods. Simply go online and purchase the stolen numbers and pay for them with what is presumably also a stolen credit card number.

Have we really come to a time in our evolution where we are so brazen about our criminal wrongdoings that websites like these can prosper and grow with seeming impunity?

The vast majority of us take pride in the hard work enables us to carve out the lives we want for ourselves and yet, for some, this seems like fools play when they can obtain everything they want simply by using stolen credit cards openly listed for sale on the internet.

We frequently read of companies like Target and Home Depot whose data security systems have been breached and sensitive customer information (like credit card numbers) stolen but we don’t expect to see those stolen items openly listed for sale in the same way as Amazon promotes its merchandise.

It’s not that there is no shortage of customers for this site that surprises me, it’s that this site – and I imagine many other similar ones – can operate as easily and openly as this.

Speaking of having no conscience, sometime today a young couple will be evicted from one of the suites in the condo complex where Gimalle, my wife, and I live.

This couple rented the suite from its owner and moved in around the beginning of September. On Wednesday, September 3 the building operations manager noticed that several storage lockers had been broken into and, using the sophisticated fob tracking system and CCTV cameras that we use to protect our building, was able to immediately identify this couple as the responsible pair.

The police were called, search warrants were executed and the couple were carted off in handcuffs only to be returned to the building several hours later where we were informed that at least one of them – presumably the male – had been charged with the commission of a crime.

We also learned that he is the proud owner of a lengthy criminal record and yet despite having caused extensive damage to property, stolen property belonging to others’ and not paid his landlord one nickel of rent the law allowed this couple to stay in the building until a court hearing earlier this week at which time an eviction order was obtained..

When the owner of the suite asked them to vacate his premises they refused, citing their rights under the law and he – as well as our building management – were powerless to do anything other than allow them to continue living in our building while presumably scheming their next criminal venture.

Our lawyer informed me that they also appeared in court for the Eviction Hearing and, despite not defending against any of the charges levied against them – brazenly asked the judge to be allowed to remain in the suite until the end of the month.

When that request was denied they attempted to negotiate a 10 day extension. Fortunately the judge bore no tolerance for this despicable couple and ordered them evicted.

What I find so disturbing is not so much that they are criminals but they are absolutely shameless in their endeavors. They openly entertained their friends while enjoying the use of the buildings facilities and ignoring all requests to move out while constantly reminding their landlord of their rights.

In order to protect the residents of the buildings as well as their property the building management placed security guards outside their suite and these guards accompanied them wherever they went on our property.

And they were not phased one bit by this.

It makes for an interesting scorecard.

Rights of criminals: All

Rights of landlords: None.

Rights of neighbours to be safe in their own homes: None.

Rights of building management to protect the property: None.

One of the police officers involved in arresting these lowlifes told me that, despite the males lengthy criminal record, he will most likely be sentenced to 6 months – or less – if convicted of this crime and will then spend, perhaps, as much as 4 months in jail.

In the words of the cop, “A brief vacation, and then back to work.”

Those of you familiar with the Broken Window Theory will quickly realize how we have arrived at this point. You will understand, sadly, how much further down we will go as a society unless we take action to prevent the next window from being broken.

As public hangings are no longer in vogue, I personally have no idea how we should best treat criminals. Clearly our system of incarcerating people and then returning them unchanged to the lives they lived before imprisonment does not seem to have been much success.

Until we, as a society, raise the bar around what constitutes acceptable behaviour, and substantially change the consequences that follow unacceptable behaviour, people like the piece of human garbage who openly offers stolen credit card numbers for sale and the couple in our building will continue their present behaviour and lifestyle because, well frankly, the consequences of said lifestyle, are pretty darn good.

Hmmm, perhaps public shaming is not such a bad idea. Anyone have a spare pillory?

Till we read again.

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