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Stories about breaking the law!

Fool Me Once, Shame On You. The Second Time Ends In Arrest.

, , , , , , | Legal | November 27, 2021

I am walking down a busy street in NYC when a man steps in front of me.

Man: “Your hair is beautiful.”

I try to side-step him.

Me: “Thank you.”

He steps in front of me.

Man: “Hey, look, I’m an artist trying to get my name out there.”

Me:Move.”

Man: “Look, wait. I’m [Man]. What can I call you besides beautiful?”

I recognize him from somewhere. It doesn’t click right away, but when it does, I decide I can waste a few minutes with him.

I give him a random name, and he starts to write the fake name on the CD sleeve.

Man: “Okay, [Random Name], now look: I just need a donation of, like, $10.”

Me: “Why?”

Man: “For the CD, you know?”

Me: “Nobody buys CDs anymore. It’s all online.”

Man: *Getting mad* “Now look—”

Me: “I don’t even have a CD player.”

Man: “Are you f****** joking?!” *Louder* “Hey! Hey, I need a cop! Come here!”

A nearby cop comes over.

Man: “This girl asked for a CD — I wrote her name on it and everything — and now she won’t pay me for it.”

Me: “I never said I’d pay for anything.”

Man: “I put her name on the CD! I can’t sell it to anyone else!”

He shows the CD.

Me: “That’s not my name.”

I pull out my ID and show the officer. He looks at my ID, then at the CD, and then at the man.

Cop: *Grinning* “Well, she’s not [Random Name]. Go on, miss. Have a nice day.”

Man: “What the f***, man? Come on! This b**** is costing me money!”

Me: “Thank you, sir.”

I get a few feet away before I continue talking.

Me: “And by the way, these CDs are probably blank. I have one back at my apartment if you want proof.”

The man lunged at me but the cop grabbed him and put him on the ground. I walked away to the sounds of the man yelling at the cop for allowing me to scam him as he was being tucked into the back of the cop car.

Those Teachers Aren’t Green About The Green Stuff

, , , , , , | Legal | November 25, 2021

My mother told me this story. It was teacher training day at the school where she’d been a teacher for a long time, around 1970. A couple of police detectives were running a training session about illegal drugs. They passed around some marijuana so the teachers could learn what it smelled like.

Young Teacher #1: “This doesn’t smell like marijuana at all.”

Young Teacher #2: “I agree.”

Police Officer: *Sheepishly* “The sample really isn’t marijuana. We couldn’t locate any in time for the training session.”

Scammers Making Things Harder For Themselves

, , , , , | Legal | November 23, 2021

Scammers have thought up a new scheme while more and more people start working from home during the height of the current health crisis. They call people at home pretending to call from their companies’ tech support to fish for data.

I’m sitting in my home office working when my private phone line rings. I route it to my headset and answer without looking at the caller ID.

Me: “Hello?”

Scammer: “This is tech support. We’ve been compromised! Please boot up your station and follow my instructions.”

He has a heavy accent, but we hire diversely, so having an accent isn’t immediately alarming. But he didn’t say the name of our company or his own name and I don’t recognize the voice at all.

Me: “What’s your name, please?”

Scammer: “I’m [Name I’ve never heard before]. This is urgent! I’m from tech support! Get into—”

Me: *Interrupting* “No, you’re not from my company’s tech support.”

Scammer: “I assure you, miss! I am from your tech support! You’ll need t—”

Me: *Interrupting again* “No! I know for a fact you’re not! I’m our tech recruiter. We have currently exactly twelve internal tech supporters working for us and I have personally recruited every single one of them! You are none of my recruits. You don’t work for our company. Get lost.”

Scammer: *Click*

If they’d reached one of our less tech-savvy employees who had just been set up for home office, they might even have succeeded. Since we’d just gotten a lot of people into the home office, there were indeed situations where tech support had called them to smooth out bumps, so this might have slipped past one or the other, especially if they were waiting for a call back from our real tech support anyway. The employees couldn’t do much since we had pretty sharp security systems in place, so it was unlikely that the scammers could log into our workstations remotely even if they got passwords. But still, they might have gotten sensitive information concerning our clients that way, and in the end, no system is foolproof.

I immediately got to work on a new process. After running it by our head of human resources, who agreed to it, I gave all our employees exact details they now had to request for verification.

Within the day, I had all divisions answering and agreeing to the new arrangement. Our data is very sensitive and data protection is taken seriously, so there’s no one complaining. We’re well used to double- or even triple-factor logins and strenuous verification processes anyway. 

No, you won’t get anything from us, scammers! Not on my watch.

You Have To Stand Apart(ment) Somehow

, , , , , | Legal | November 21, 2021

I found a well-paying job as a software engineer in Berlin and naively believed that I wouldn’t have any trouble finding an apartment in the largest city in Germany.

As it turns out, the competition for vacant apartments was FIERCELY competitive and applying was akin to buying raffle tickets. Each apartment showing would have approximately twenty to thirty people piling their applications onto a tower of other applications, only ONE lucky applicant receiving the apartment. And as I would leave, I would pass by another crowd of thirty-plus people appearing for the next appointment showing. To gauge the level of competition I was up against, I posted a fictitious advertisement for an apartment — no photos, crappy part of town, more expensive than usual. Twenty-four hours later, there were 315 messages in the site inbox!

I found myself living in hostels, and out of desperation, I decided to try something innovative. I posted an advertisement offering a €2,000 reward to anyone who was either moving and willing to give up their apartment to me or otherwise knew someone else with a vacant apartment they were willing to give me.

As I should have guessed, this attracted a number of aspiring con artists. I say “aspiring” because either I have the word MORON stamped on the back of my head or they’re accustomed to swindling third-graders.

Message #1: “Send the reward money in cash to [post office box] and I’ll help you out!”

Message #2: “I own an apartment in [Area]. Meet me at [Restaurant], bring the €2,000 in cash with you, and we can discuss the terms of the lease.”

Message #3: “I have an apartment I’m ready to move out of. Send the reward money to [bank account number] and I’ll give my landlord a three-month notice, and it’s all yours!”

Message #4: “My mom owns an apartment. Give me the €2,000 and I’ll have her hold it for you!”

I ended up amending the advertisement to say that the reward would be paid AFTER the keys and signed lease were in my hands and I was physically in said apartment. This drastically whittled the responses down to people who actually did have an apartment they were planning to vacate.

Fortunately, I ended up finding an apartment, and ironically, the girl who gave it to me insisted I keep the €2,000.

The Cop Car Needs An Ambulance And The Lieutenant Needs To Chill

, , , , , , , | Legal | November 19, 2021

I used to volunteer with my township’s all-volunteer first aid squad. For overnight calls from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, we responded by pager from our homes. I had a quick five-minute drive to the squad building where I picked up an ambulance and a partner before heading to a call for help.

One morning at 3:00 am, my pager sounded with a call for CPR in progress. I drove quickly (but safely) to the squad building and then headed by ambulance with my partner to the home of the patient. There was an extra sense of urgency due to the nature of the call, but I drove safely and legally.

Upon arrival at the house, I noticed a police car parked on the street in front of the house; it was standard practice in the town for police to respond to every first aid call. My intention was to pull in front of the police car and park along the curb. I slowed and started the maneuver. All of a sudden, I heard a loud crunch and scraping and felt the ambulance rock. I had hit the police car!

I pulled up and parked. There was nothing to do about the accident right then. We had a patient to attend to. As we entered the house with our equipment, however, the police informed us that the patient had a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order so CPR had never actually been started. We had to wrap up some paperwork issues and were soon ready to leave. It was then that I approached the officer.

Me: “Hey, [Officer], I hate to have to tell you this. I hit your police car. I’m so sorry. It’s pretty bad.”

The officer and I went out to look. I had heavily damaged the front driver’s side of the vehicle. The tire was pointed perpendicular to the car and the fender was completely smashed in. The ambulance had a gouge down the back half of the passenger side. The scene was a mess.

Officer: “All right, accidents happen. I’ll call my lieutenant and we’ll make an accident report.”

Me: “I can’t believe I did this. I’m so very sorry. I’ve been a member of [Squad] for thirteen years. I’ve been driving for twenty-eight years and I’ve never been in an accident where I was at fault.”

The lieutenant on duty arrived and I explained what happened as best I could. To this day, I still don’t really know how I did it. Obviously, I was too close. But it didn’t seem that way to me as I was pulling in. It shook my confidence in driving. I was very embarrassed.

I was too shaken up to go to work that day, so I took the day off. Somewhere around mid-morning, my doorbell rang. It was the lieutenant.

Lieutenant: “Hi, [My Name]. I had to issue this ticket to you for careless driving. I’m required to do so for insurance purposes.”

Me: “No, you’re not. I’m a licensed insurance agent. I deal with claims all the time. There isn’t an insurance company in the state that requires a ticket to be issued in order to pay on a claim.”

Lieutenant: “Well, it’s been written. Here you go.”

I was angry. I knew the ticket involved points on my license and would cause my insurance premium to rise. I knew the lieutenant only by sight, as he didn’t answer first aid calls. He certainly didn’t know me, but he must have looked up my driving record and seen that I didn’t have any at-fault accidents and not even as much as a parking ticket in my life.

A few days later, at the scene of another first aid call, the responding sergeant approached me.

Sergeant: “Hey, [My Name], I heard about what happened. Did [Lieutenant] actually issue you a ticket for careless driving?”

Me: “Yes, he did.”

Sergeant: “That’s bulls***. The whole department is talking about it and we all agree. Do you have a court date?”

Me: “Yes, it’s scheduled for [date and time].”

Sergeant: “Great, I’m on duty that date. Here, take my cell number. When you go, speak to the district attorney. I know him. Tell him I want to talk to him.”

Me: “Thank you so much. I really appreciate this.”

On the day of court, I arrived and got in line to speak with the DA. I explained the circumstances of the accident. I also gave him [Sergeant]’s phone number and told him that [Sergeant] wanted to speak with him.

DA: “Wait a minute. Let me get this right. You were volunteering your time in the middle of the night for the first aid squad when this happened? And [Lieutenant] still issued you a ticket?”

Me: “Yes.”

DA: “How fast were you going at the time?”

Me: “Well, I was on a residential street and I was pulling in to park along the curb. I couldn’t have been going any faster than five miles per hour.”

DA: “Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. I don’t even need to speak with [Sergeant]. You don’t deserve a careless driving charge on your record. I’m lowering the charge to impeding the flow of traffic. It’s a no-point ticket and the fine is only [low amount] instead of [much higher amount]. And I’m going to talk to [Police Chief]. He’ll have a chat with [Lieutenant].”

Me: “Thank you so much!”

And so it was. I plead guilty to the lower charge and paid the small fine. I was an apprehensive driver for some time after that. Since I didn’t know exactly what I had done wrong in causing the accident, I didn’t know what it was that I should be doing differently. Luckily, it’s now ten years later, and I haven’t had any at-fault mishaps.