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Note To Criminals — Don't Call Tech Support 266

Posted by kdawson
from the caught-short dept.
Billosaur writes "Darwin Awards, here he comes: Ars Technica has up a story about a would-be identity thief who did himself in by calling tech support about printer drivers. Timothy Short must have thought he'd hit the mother-lode when he stole a PC and a Digimarc printer from the Missouri Department of Revenue, perhaps with dreams of cranking out thousands of fake ids. Problem: he could not unlock the computer he stole and without the necessary drivers, he couldn't use the printer. Ever resourceful, Short called Digimarc tech support a couple of days later (twice), which brought him to the attention of a Secret Service agent, who recognized his voice from a recording of the calls. Short now faces a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison."
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Note To Criminals — Don't Call Tech Support

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  • by evildarkdeathclicheo (978593) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:01PM (#21091289)
    Um, Darwin awards? Unfortunately, criminals are still allowed to procreate and spread their genes. So unless he's either dead or rendered an eunuch, we're still screwed. -W
  • idiot. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by andreyvul (1176115) <andrey...vul@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:01PM (#21091295)
    use driverguide or google, ya moron!
  • Not all dumb people are criminals. Well, not unless being stupid is outlawed.
  • Re:Ha. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by VJ42 (860241) * on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:19PM (#21091545)
    Considering his apparent IQ, I'd say not very far at all. The guy's such an absolute moron he almost qualifies for "evil genius" status. Why are evil geniuses always so dumb anyway?
  • by VorpalEdge (967279) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:22PM (#21091583)
    I believe the intent is to say that he will end up as a Darwin Award winner in the future, even if he hasn't yet managed the feat.
  • by Lust (14189) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:25PM (#21091631) Homepage
    No one should call Tech Support - it's too frustrating.
  • won't help (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quadraginta (902985) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:26PM (#21091643)
    Well that would be true if, as shown on TV and movies, criminals are fiendishly clever Snidely Whiplashes, twirling their thin mustaches slowly as they ponder deeply the implications of their next criminal caper.

    But they're not. Pretty much anyone with an IQ above 90 figures out before he's 12 that crime does not pay, in the long run, and he goes into other lines of business as an adult. That doesn't mean he has to give up being antisocial or deploying his uglier personality traits to advantage, of course. Would-be rapists and contract murderers can become divorce lawyers, bullshit artists and con-men can go into subprime lending or telemarketing, and so forth. You can be a very successful legitimate businessman instead of a crook with some fairly small adjustments in your choice of victim and methodology.

    So as a rule those we have left in the actual criminal class tend to be irredeemably stupid, the kind who pull stunts like this -- and who would not learn anything useful by reading the story, since they lack the ability to generalize the lesson.
  • by madsheep (984404) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:26PM (#21091645) Homepage

    Problem: he could not unlock the computer he stole and without the necessary drivers, he couldn't use the printer.
    So um... how did he unlock the computer? I'm not quite following that part.
  • Re:Why ?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:27PM (#21091659)
    Where do you see in the article that this was a laptop? The article always says "PC" so it appears to be a desktop or workstation. A better question how in the world did he steal this large set up. I seen one of these things for mid-scale ID production from my former workplace and it is not small so he must of had some help and a very large truck or SUV to steal it.
  • by Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:31PM (#21091695) Journal
    We can dream of that future.
  • Re:Why ?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Saija (1114681) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:32PM (#21091709) Journal
    Right spanish is my native language and thanks for the tip.
    Muchas gracias viejo !
  • by uofitorn (804157) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:50PM (#21091985)
    This is funny and all. But I can't help but wonder how often this kind of thing goes on that we aren't aware of and is perpetrated by non-Darwin candidates. I mean, news is only "news" when it's interesting and unusual (given that it's usually reported by a for-profit institution).
  • Re:won't help (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quadraginta (902985) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @06:14PM (#21092291)
    Many forms of crime do pay well.

    Not if you subtract the penalties. For example, running 10 kg of coke at a time across the Mexican border pays very well. At first. But you'd very quickly come to the attention of the relevant authorities (the existing Mexican drug gangs) and be flayed alive and fed to dogs as an example to others. Intelligent people realize making $10 million with a day's work doesn't compensate for the risk of being eaten by dogs before you celebrate your 25th birthday.

    You won't be able to think of a good counterexample, by the way, because society is so constructed that any activity which is highly profitable, can be engaged in by most anyone, and is insufficiently noxious to really piss people off is legal or at least quasi-legal (meaning perhaps only technically illegal). Why would it be otherwise? You think our ancestors were not able to dream up pretty much every conceivable scam and method of gathering power and influence (which is all money is)? The basic questions of what fundamental activities are and are not tolerable have been settled for centuries, if not millenia.

    All that happens is that technology changes, and briefly enables old scams to surface under new disguises. It takes a little while for people to figure out how to categorize the new activity, but they do, and then it gets filed either under legitimate (if sometimes unsavory) business or crime that gets seriously punished. No doubt the length of time this takes enables a few lucky (?) entrepreneurs to retire rich while the issue is still in flux, but they won't be leaving the business to their children. So it's a dead end, if you're at all intelligent.

    Many IT people know a great deal about identity theft...

    And so what stops them from becoming identity thieves...? Their Christian consciences? The good of the many outweighs the good of the one? Please. I realize this is /. and all, where we venerate the geek, but don't make me laugh coffee out my nose.

    The reason IT people don't become identity thieves is because they can make a better living as IT managers. Not just in terms of plain salary but in terms of the pleasure of good work-related company (it's hard to get invited to parties with pleasant looking, sweet-natured, single women if you're a sneak and a thief), and in not having to look over your shoulder all the time.

    Of course, I don't deny many of them might not have Walter Mitty daydreams of running up the Jolly Roger and turning piratical, slitting a couple of throats over in marketing and force sundry managers to walk the plank. Who doesn't?
  • by viscus (1178513) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @06:16PM (#21092329)
    Had he been able to get the printer working with his computer, he probably would've promptly made a posting to his local Facebook network reading: "HAY GUYS I CAN HOOK YOU UP W/ FAKE ID LOL" and been busted anyway.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @06:23PM (#21092401)
    This is why I've given up on Slashdot and come in here MAYBE once every other week. The innate need for a conspiracy to exist in multiple story descriptions per day, plus conspiracy comments, plus the general idiocy of comments, plus the factual problems with some stories, well..

    It's a bad sign when Fark.com seems WAY more 'grounded'.

    I mean, a user calls tech support because he can't unlock a locked device and he can't do anything to prove he actually is the legal owner of the equipment. The authorities get involved at the request of the company that provides the product and tech support.

    OMG CONSPIRACY!
  • by George Beech (870844) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:16PM (#21094681)
    Ummmm so they would be able to trace the printer back to the agency he stole it from??? I'm sure he is scared of that happening.
  • by Eddi3 (1046882) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @01:51AM (#21096181) Homepage Journal
    Hey look, an Albert Einstein quote. Also, it's "And I'm not so sure about the former."
  • Re:harsh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Technician (215283) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @02:05AM (#21096273)
    10 years for stealing a printer? Seems a little harsh.


    Try swiping a "Printer" from Fort Knox.. It's the intended application and who it was stolen from is the problem. It was an ID printer. If you want years, grap a printing press and the plates for a few $20's from Fort Knox. It is not the same as stealing a newsprint press or an HP inkjet.

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