- Posted June 29, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Impact Your World
Interstate Crime Ring I Busted but FBI Let Get Away
As part of my home based computer business besides fixing computers I also help protect people against viruses and fraud. I clearly advertise this on my Internet and Newspaper ads but yet I still have people try to scam me. Back in May of 2012 I was contacted by a “Company” out of Texas that inquired about me fixing ten laptops. They asked my terms I replied $35 US Dollars per laptop to reload them if they had the software, $20 if they just required virus removal and protection. They replied back they were willing to pay me $10,000. I was a little leery when they first inquired since they could have found someone local that may not have required shipping but after their response I knew for sure this was a scam. In the past I have let people know that I could tell they were scamming me and they never replied back. This time I played along to their game.
They were going to send me a cashier’s check for the $10,000, they told me to take my fee and send the remaining money to their shipping company out of Atlanta Georgia, the same place that would be shipping the laptops. I agreed and they sent me a Fed-Ex package with the Cashier’s check. When the letter arrived I was prepared. I had purchased a pair of surgical gloves from the local grocery store, the kind they use in CSI movies. I carefully opened the letter just in case it contained Anthrax, you really never know what to expect. Inside was the check and a letter. I carefully removed the contents and setup my work space so I could capture the fingerprints. I use Butane and my Sony digital tape Camera, now I would use my iPhone, Webcam or Android phone but the more megapixels the better the picture. You position the paper under the camera, about 6-12 inches away. Then you turn on the camera and spray the paper with the Butane until it is covered with an icy film. As the ice starts to melt, which is very quickly about one second you will see the fingerprints revealed. They are visible to the camera for about another second before they are invisible again. A snapshot will not work because the fingerprints are only visible as the paper dries so you need a movie camera to capture the whole thing. Digital Tape works well because you can capture frames with crystal clarity.
After I was done getting the fingerprints I printed out the emails I exchanged with the person that contacted me for the job. Normally if someone scams you or you’re taken by a scam, you would contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Division. Since the crime was still in progress and I wanted to catch the people picking up the “Remainder” of the check in Atlanta I went straight to the Cleveland FBI office. It is quite interesting, the building is about as secure as a United States Military base in a foreign country. The gates were far away from the building with barricades staggered in case anyone tried to ram the gates with a truck or a car. You have to press the call button and an FBI security agent replies asking what your purpose is. I told him I had evidence of an interstate internet crime ring and a crime in progress. He was very polite, professional and seemed like he really cared. He came right out and let me in, although he did not stand too close to me in case I was a suicide bomber or tried to attack him. He kept his distance as we walked up to the building.
I have sent the FBI information on several occasions, including information to their Internet crime division. I have never received a reply but I like to think they investigated the information. The Guard that let me in said he called one of the local Cleveland agents and he would be out to talk to me shortly. When the FBI agent came out, he asked me what this was about and if I had been taken for any money. I told him no and that I knew it was a scam so I played along to get more information. I told him what I had and that they were expecting me to send a check to an address in Atlanta. All the FBI had to do was send a couple agents to intercept the person picking up the delivery. The US government tells us all the time that a lot of these “Internet Crime Rings” are funding the terrorists set on destroying the United States. You would think they would be happy to catch someone in the act with very little effort on their part but to my surprise No, they really are not. He told me I would have to contact their internet division but he did not know what the result would be. I mentioned the US reports about funding terrorists and I was told it was probably some individual trying to scam someone.
In my opinion this just goes to show that although the FBI talks big they really do not care about stopping scams. Maybe they are preoccupied with terrorists but in my opinion this is a poor attitude on this FBI agent and possibly the FBI in general. Why do they expect people to report crimes when they just blow them off when they do? I hope the agent was right and that it was just a couple people trying to scam someone and not a big Terrorist organization funding terrorist activities within the United States. I guess I will never know unless something bad happens.