Bushwhacked: Scammers keep us on our toes

IT USED to be said that there were three stages in the successful development of any technology.

1. A basic tool to perform a handy task;

2. An over-engineered device which becomes so complicated it is sometimes pointless; and

3. A better blend of refinement which does the original task efficiently and effortlessly.

Cars are an interesting example of this. They went from little more than a horse carriage with a clunky motor, to machines which you needed an engineer’s certificate to keep going, and now mostly they are smoothly operating and rather pleasant.

BUT… there’s always a but to kick.

I reckon there’s now a fourth stage to technology and it slips in between Number 2 and Number 3 on the above list.

It’s when nasty, furtive folk hidden away in residential loungerooms and bedrooms scheme to find a way to use new technology to steal and create chaos.

I’m sick of it. Every time anyone comes up with a good idea which we normal people find interesting and useful, other scoundrels are already working on ways to turn the technology to a criminal purpose.

Credit cards are the latest. You can’t sign for a credit card transaction any more because people have stopped paying attention to the actual signature and the amount of credit card fraud is going through the roof.

So, to counter this, we normal people have another layer of complication added to our lives: we MUST use the Personal Identification Number. 

You watch, the same will happen with Pay Wave, a simple and swift method of paying which I find convenient. But it’s already being rorted.

The latest bit of luggage I bought had an “RDIF Radio Frequency Identification” proof pocket so that scammer couldn’t steal my card or phone information while just walking past me.

Who dreamed up that nasty bit of work?

The internet was a beautiful development which the normal world has embraced with gusto – but which the dark world has turned into a universe of theft, corruption, contamination, abuse and home invasion.

I read the other day about an internet scam in which someone on another continent had sold a Melbourne person’s home without telling him.

Same with emails. I am old enough to remember when communication was snail mail or the dial telephone, so I was rather chuffed when emails came along and communication because faster and easier.

Within seconds we had stuff like the Nigerian scammer, spam and more rip-off schemes than had previously existed in all of human history.

Sadly, it has always been the same with new technology.

I reckon the second phone call ever made was from someone trying to sell a phone plan.

Newspapers were used by scammer soon after they became popular, using them to spread all sorts of lies about products and drugs which just did not work.

It’s estimated that at least seven per cent of the developed world’s economy is lost to fraud – more than a trillion dollars a year.

And the worst aspect of this – for me – is the outrageous explosion in damned passwords. 

A plague on them all.

Someone ought to invent a way of sending scammers straight to technology hell.


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