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NCJ Number: 43119 Find in a Library
Title: ANNALS OF CRIME - DEAD SOULS IN THE COMPUTER, PART 1
Journal: NEW YORKER  Dated:(AUGUST 22, 1977)  Pages:35-65
Author(s): T WHITESIDE
Corporate Author: New Yorker Magazine, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 31
Sponsoring Agency: New Yorker Magazine, Inc
New York, NY 10036
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: VARIOUS TYPES OF COMPUTER CRIME ARE DISCUSSED, AND STORIES ARE TOLD ABOUT LARGE AND SMALL COMPUTER FRAUDS AND THOSE WHO COMMITTED THEM. THE PROBLEM OF PROTECTING COMPUTERIZED INFORMATION IS EXAMINED.
Abstract: THIS NARRATIVE RECOUNTS THREE TYPES OF COMPUTER CRIME: (1) PHYSICAL CRIMES AGAINST COMPUTERS OR DATA--DISGRUNTLED LIBRARIANS WHO ERASE TAPES OR PROGRAMMERS WHO SHORT OUT MEMORIES WITH SCREWDRIVERS; (2) LARGESCALE FRAUDS USING BOGUS PERSONS OR ACCOUNTS TO DIVERT LARGE SUMS OF MONEY; AND (3) MINOR FRAUDS SUCH AS ROUNDING DOWN SMALL SUMS, USUALLY LESS THAN A PENNY, AND INSTRUCTING THE COMPUTER TO DEPOSIT THESE TO A BOGUS ACCOUNT. THE BIG CRIMES ATTRACT THE MOST ATTENTION, BUT THE SMALL PROGRAMMING FRAUDS COST COMPANIES, BANK DEPOSITORS, AND OTHER PERSONS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS YEARLY. THE LARGEST, MOST ELABORATE 'DEAD SOULS' CRIME WAS THE EQUITY FUNDING INSURANCE SCANDAL WHICH UTILIZED COMPUTER PRINTOUTS TO HIDE BOGUS CUSTOMERS. THE MILLION-DOLLAR THEFTS OF A UNION DIME BANK TELLER ARE RECOUNTED. COMPUTER CRIME IS DIFFICULT TO CONTROL BECAUSE THOSE WHO COMMIT IT HAVE SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE, BECAUSE THE COSTS OF TRACKING DOWN SUCH CRIME ARE GREAT, AND BECAUSE THE PENALTIES ARE SO SMALL (A FEW MONTHS IN PRISON) AND THE REWARDS SO GREAT (OFTEN HALF A MILLION DOLLARS OR MORE). ALSO, COMPANIES WHOSE COMPUTERS HAVE BEEN VICTIMIZED ARE OFTEN RELUCTANT TO PROSECUTE.
Index Term(s): Computers; Fraud; Theft offenses; White collar crime
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=43119

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