Willie Sutton is Now Back not as a Bank Robber But as a Modern Day Identity Thief

Several times, using his skill of disguise, dressed in a prison guards uniform utilized two ladders carried across the yard and when a spot light hit him he yelled out, “It’s ok” and continued his escape without incident. Later, Sutton attributed the famous quote of “That’s Where The Money Is” to an inventive reporter embellishing a story. It was surmised that he had stolen around $2,000,000 over his career. Later on accountants would use this theory to focus on high cost areas as a target for savings. It was called the “Willie Sutton Rule” following “where the money is” as its basis. While serving a long prison term after his capture in 1952 and was serving a 105 sentence. With failing health, he was released in 1969 from Attica State Prison and died November 2, 1980 at age 79 in Spring Hill, Florida. His legacy lives on.

Today, Willie Sutton, just arriving fresh out of the time machine, could be sitting in his home perhaps in his underwear with a wry smile that this new game was really better than any bank job. With hands spread between the keyboard and mouse with a bent on “Philsing” and stealing as much money as possible online. A cold one would be close by with a tasty snack. These “bank teller windows” are open 365 days 24 hours a day, their motto might be “We never close”. No more casing future jobs, no need for cleaver disguises, no need to carry a gun, no get away car, no threat of shoot outs, no following opening and closing times of the bank, all that is needed is an Internet connection and a computer. What a country!

There are many modern day “Willie Suttons” out there trying to separate citizens from their hard earned money. It is likewise a “worldwide robbery in progress” from the cafés from New Deli, from the depths of Asia or from anywhere in the world where anyone in cyberspace is a potential target for being fleeced of their money. Scams and consumer alerts go from low tech to major firewall crashing and intervention.

From Dumpster diving looking for your personal information to all sorts of scams. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S. today. The con artists are skilled at putting together believable scripts and stories that will play well to the unsuspecting pigeon. The mark wakes up only after their bank accounts have been cleaned out or their credit cards maxed out.

The Identity Theft Resource Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting citizens in fighting scams. Some of the scams are summarized below:

Job Scams where you are asked to provide personal information including dates of birth and Social Security numbers. Some enterprising cons posted employment ads to get applicants to share personal information that can be exploited. No job exists-the con is on.

Calls from credit card “Representatives” to verify unusual purchases and to verify your card by sharing the three-digit number code on the back of the card. This conversation follows after a lengthy discussion on avoiding credit card scam. It is the scam. They already have your credit card number from other sources, only now they need the additional key to gate of your money.

“Phisher” scams involving using web page similar to your financial institution or consumer retail store looking (logos and all) for passwords and personal information with Social Security numbers. This could be E-Bay, Best Buys, Discover, AOL, MSN, Earthlink, PayPal, and Bank of America, Providian and other banks such as Wells Fargo.

Sign In Rosters at schools and such where you list your Social Security and other personal information that can be ripped off by any eyeball noting the information.

The famous Nigerian scam asking you to help them move money out of the country with a big reward to the facilitator. This total fraud has fleeced many citizens of their door.

The Canadian/Netherlands Lottery touting that hey “YOU WON”. The new Spanish Lottery is now hot as well. Naturally, you will be asked to post some cash as good faith.

Promises of “Free Credit Reports” can be a scam with bills and such showing up later OR your information is utilized for a fleece job.

Offers of a FREE GIFT will usually lead to costing you as you share your information.

E mailing and forwarding Chain Letters helps the con collect your friends and contacts e-mail addresses to fleece them as well.

Offers to buy a CD on skip tracing someone anywhere is utilized to gather your credit card information that can be later used to rip you off.

Questionnaires are a good device to gather personal information for “Bad Purposes” where Chat rooms for friends is a slick method to gather information on citizens. Won’t you be my “friend”?

Persons in acting as store security scams to catch a bad employee all the while noting the personal information of the target of identity theft.

Charities on the phone, who are skilled at raising money, call and prey on the good nature of the donors. Many times the charities get like 5% or less of monies collected plus your information is used to commit a later Fraud. A “Do Not Call Verification” representative calls to get verify personal information. This is done online or by mail, if ever.

A person gets a call from a “clerk” of the court regarding jury duty while verifying personal information. Again this is a scam. Normally, jury duty is noted by mail.

Additional scams are referred to as:

Disaster relief, FTC Warning Registry, IRS Scam, “Hospital Personnel”, Pay Pal Verification-Phony, Credit Reporting Agencies ploy, Get Out Of Debt e-mail, and any new wrinkle with larceny in the hearts of the perpetrators of Identify Theft Scam.

When conducting online business one must be very careful with personal and private information that can be turned around and used to the perpetrator’s advantage to screw the consumer. It is not limited to just the U.S. as mentioned, it is now a worldwide effort to pull a scam. With the U.S. being heavily wired on the Internet with good financial depth consumers’ are a focused target for exploitation.

Willie Sutton today would have a huge callous on his mouse hand with all the clicks and spaming necessary to separate the mark from their money. The mantra of “That’s where the money is” has shifted to a new paradigm with a focus on identify theft through low tech and high tech means to rob people of their money by various means. The new Willie Suttons of the world is dedicated to this venture and a consumer must be very careful in throwing around personal information. The difference in bank robberies of the past by “Slick Willie” is that in this case consumers credit histories can be destroyed and ruptured requiring years to recover. Families can be destroyed, divorces happen, bankruptcy can ensue and the dark hole of identify theft is entered. It is a destructive force in our country. Better safe guards and protections are needed to solve this sometimes-heartbreaking crime. Breaking through firewalls and setting up shop on personal computers to steal passwords and establish a base to “spam the scam” to other unsuspecting consumers. Awareness and good set of radar antennae are a good first line of defense. It it’s too good to be true…you already know.

Dale Rogers