n the past year, Americans have lost over $18 billion to fraud, identity theft and various scams. But how? We all know when something seems too good to be true, it probably is. So, why do people continue to fall for scams or fail to protect their personal data?
This story can be spun in dozens of ways. But one thing clearly emerges for me: Humans are vulnerable; we create our reality indirectly, using words and images, building on dreams. By our nature, our language permits the twinned characteristics of fiction and deception.
I understand why Lance Armstrong felt he needed to dope. I don't understand why he needed to lie (and tweet) with such conviction that I believed in him. I understand why Manti Te'o needed to build a great "brand." I don't understand why he needed a fake social media girlfriend to do it.
Our shows document the stories of fraudsters at large, on the run, who have evaded the authorities. There is a reward offered for information leading to their arrest and conviction. Hopefully, we will be able to apprehend one of them as the result of exposing them.
The con that ensnared me was a mundane one, which made it all the more undetectable. It wasn't an ungrammatical email promising fantastic riches, but a perfectly ordinary financial transaction with two very nice people.
America has always admired a good confidence artist, that sleek and clever shyster whose fancy words promise a golden future. He is a direct descendent of mythic anti-heroes like cowboys or noir detectives, who exploit the ragged edges of the modern world.
The same people who paid for the midterm election ads playing on middle class economic insecurity are the people who made the middle class insecure in the first place. This will become cruelly obvious with the new Congress.