Crime can be categorized in many ways. Felony vs. Misdemeanor. Violent vs. Non-Violent. Personal vs. Impersonal. I’d like to add another to the list. Cockroach vs. Light-of-day.
A Light-of-Day crime is a crime where the criminal shows his face. For example, when my mom was young, she worked in a bank, and on several occasions a man pulled a gun on her and demanded cash. (One bank robber was on a successful spree after he robbed my mom and returned to rob her bank several months later. While he was in line, he made eye contact with my mom and panicked. He hadn’t kept good records of which banks he’d previously robbed. Even successful criminals are brought down by bad record keeping.) But that’s what I call a Light-of-Day crime. The criminal shows his face.
But there are crimes where the criminal doesn’t show his face. I call those cockroach crimes because like cockroaches they commit crimes in the dark, hiding and pretending to be good citizens. (Like the person who stole my husband’s identity and committed fraud—you’ll find that the bank thinks you’re guilty until you prove yourself innocent. Or the scum-of-the-earth man who stalked me in college and knew the minutiae of my life and eagerly called me during the middle of the night to share it with me.)
You may know what inspired this post if you follow me on Twitter. Yesterday my account got hacked. A friend’s account got hacked in the early morning, so I checked my account when I found out several hours later. My account was clean, so I shut down my computer and snuggled up with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, which my daughter had asked me to read. Big mistake. Not the book. The mistake was assuming that my account was okay. Six hours later when I checked my account again, I had scads of notices from friends telling me that my account had been hacked. GRRR. (Hopefully, it’s all been rectified.)
Of course, other than some embarrassment on my part and some hacker harassment of my friends, the hacker didn’t get much. (At least, I hope not.) Not like a blogger friend who had her account hacked and had years’ worth of blog posts deleted. And her email address book gutted. And the emails to and from her agent and editor deleted. That’s nasty.
It gets worse. I’ve received notice of a writer whose e-books have been stolen and republished—with new titles. Interestingly, the thief kept her name on the books (you need the name recognition to sell), but the money is funneled into another account.