I suppose it was only a matter of time before I would be targeted by an online thug. I’ve had a few near misses and once stupidly paid for a popular toy from a social media advertisement and found it was all a big scam.
I actually paid the money into an account opened at my own bank and when I complained, was told it had been emptied with no forwarding address. The bank refused to offer any recompense.
This week someone wants me to pay hush money because they say they’ve broken into my Mac’s webcam and have taken images of me in front of the screen and plan to merge them with some naughty videos.
The fiend also claims to have installed a software programme to uncover my entire contacts list and is threatening to share the work with them unless, of course, I pay a tidy sum to have it erased.
The amount being demanded as a ‘reward’ is $1,559. I wonder why he, or she, has come up with this particular amount. Why not round it down to 1,550 or up to 1,600? What’s a dollar between enemies? It reminds me of a special car dealership or supermarket marketing ploy, the customer will never pay $1,600 but we’ll get him for $1,559!
A former colleague was once the victim of a cyber-hate campaign with her face being doctored on to the bodies of scantily-clad models and her email address being forwarded to perverts preying on women.
She reported the matter to the police, who took down details and investigated and, although the creep appears to have disappeared, she still gets occasional calls today from desperate men who find her name listed on deviant websites.
I only hope whoever has captured my image manages to doctor my body too. Please superimpose my head on some Hollywood hunk’s frame. I quite fancy going viral and becoming an internet sensation as Schwarzenegger Stan.
Whoever is responsible had better be warned though. The last person to try it on ended up serving a six months prison sentence, although it was well before the internet exploded and was at a time when answerphones were about as high tech as it got.
The man who had inundated my old newspaper with a torrent of abusive, threatening and racist telephone calls eventually pleaded guilty to charges of racially aggravated harassment when it came to crown court.
He had admitted leaving abusive and threatening messages on my office answerphone. Police scrutiny of his phone line found he made some 60 calls to me, though only 28 were the subject of the charge.
Initially, he told police he hadn’t made them. His solicitor, however, said he later admitted the comments were “foul, abusive and offensive”.
The bully first came to my attention more than two years earlier when he started abusing colleagues so I decided I would handle all future calls. The first conversation I had with him was quite amicable but then he started to take out all his frustrations on me.
Some of the calls were really sick and evil. He threatened to attack my teenage daughter with broken glass and when he said he was going to lob a brick through my window I had to move my younger son to a room at the back of the house.
The case was protracted, leading to me spending five days in court, but you have to be persistent if you want to tackle this kind of menace.
Today’s online criminals may hide under a more devious cloak of anonymity but it won’t be long before technological advances catch them out. See you in court one day, sucker.
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Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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