How to Get Yourself Into Trouble with the Camera on Your Phone

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Remember that guy who used his camera phone to make a video of himself having sex with his girlfriend, (and can you imagine the logistics involved?), only to have the video show up in the corner porn shop, and on an Internet auction site?

And the folks who use their camera phones for upskirting and downblousing, courting prison time in the process?

We had thought that these were the height of camera phone stupidity – especially the guy who reached out and touched someone while filming it.


But noooo….

That dubious honour now goes to…drum roll please…

The guy who sat undergoing interrogation by the police for his role in a crime involving a particular AK47 – denying hotly that he even knew what an AK47 was.. until his cell phone rang, and the police officer looked over just in time to see the screensaver which was..wait for it… a photo of the suspect holding the very AK47 in question.

Rule #1: If you are going to commit a felony, don’t take a picture of yourself with the evidence.

Rule #2: If you must take a picture of yourself with the evidence, for goodness sake, don’t put that picture in a place where people are likely to see it – like on the screen of your phone.

Rule #3: If you are so stupid as to ignore rules #1 and #2, then you are too stupid to walk free. You deserve what you get.

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Then there is the guy who went in to a local cell phone store in Bakersfield, California to case the joint before robbing it. About two hours later, he came back, cut the phone lines, and in fact did rob the store, making off with the money from the till.

Fortunately, some quick-witted store employees were able to recognize him from his first visit two hours previous, during which he not only cased the joint, but dutifully filled out an application for a phone and service, in his real name, and including his address, date of birth, social security number, and California Driver’s License. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t a camera phone he was going to buy, but they do have a picture of him.

Rule #4: If you are going to rob a store, it’s a good idea to case the joint first.

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How to Get Yourself Into Trouble with the Camera on Your Phone

Rule #5: But not to fill out an application giving them all of your true personal details.

Rule #6: Unless it’s in Bakersfield, apparently, where despite the Bakersfield police department having the suspect’s full name, address, social security number, driver’s license number, picture, and even his signature, the suspect remains at large.

Finally, to round out our quick survey of stupid camera phone tricks, a reader writes that they ran into a situation which is sure to become all too common – while we can’t confirm the authenticity of the post, the potential is certainly there regardless. That reader writes:

“Yesterday I went into a pizza restaurant to pick up an order that I had called in. I paid by using my Visa Check Card which, of course, is linked directly to my checking account. The young man behind the counter took my card, swiped it, then laid it flat on the counter as he waited for the approval, which is pretty standard procedure.

While he waited, he picked up his cell phone and started dialing. I noticed the phone because it is the same model I have, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Then I heard a click that sounded like my phone sounds when I take a picture. He then gave me back my card but kept the phone in his hand as if he was still pressing buttons.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking: I wonder what he is taking a picture of, oblivious to what was really going on. It then dawned on me: the only thing there was my credit card, so now I’m paying close attention to what he is doing.

He set his phone on the counter, leaving it open. About five seconds later, I heard the chime that tells you that the picture has been saved. Now I’m standing there struggling with the fact that this boy just took a picture of my credit card. Yes, he played it off well, because had we not had the same kind of phone, I probably would never have known what happened.

Needless to say, I immediately canceled that card as I was walking out of the pizza parlor. All I am saying is, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Whenever you are using your credit cards, take caution and don’t be careless. Notice who is standing near you and what they are doing when you use your card. Be aware of phones because many have a camera phone these days.”

Rule #7: As illustrated above, camera phones are everywhere. And we do mean everywhere. And here to stay.

Be smart about what you do, and about what those around you are doing.

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How to Get Yourself Into Trouble with the Camera on Your Phone

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7 Replies to “How to Get Yourself Into Trouble with the Camera on Your Phone”

  1. the pizza parlor was a good Idea to cancel and all but why didn’t you just say? the other people might have lost their money because of it

  2. I had thought that these were the height of camera phone stupidity – especially the guy who reached out and touched someone while filming it.

  3. She/he knew that the cashier was doing something suspicious, and didn’t say anything? Complain to a manager, or something! if the guy is perpetuating suspicious activities in one instance, he’s probably doing more, in which case the manager should know about it. If she doesn’t draw anyone’s attn to what he is doing, he is going to continue to get away with it. And for the record, the camera pictures that i get, are pretty detailed. I could imagine this happening very easily-especially as they are required to look at the signature on the back. It is very easy for him to simply remember the CVN on the back of the card, and write it down after she leaves.

  4. Just a note to mention that I regularly and deliberately give the wrong card verification number when I purchase online and I’ve never had payment refused by my credit card provider.
    This raises at least two questions. One, are those companies requesting the CVN checking it or actually using it? and; Two Is the credit card company checking it or actually using it?

  5. Urban legend. I heard this even happened in my town as it is the dining meca of the area. but remember this is still possible, so guard your card.

  6. The phone resolution may not be sufficient enough to capture the numbers on the credit card, but if he was at all able to get her in the picture, he can keep track of who belongs to which card, and if he is being diligent about taking pics of of all the incoming card users, or at the very least, keeping tabs on customers within a certain time period, he can later go through the credit card receipts and would be able to pick out the owners he, or any accomplices, most closely resemble. Also, many companies are not diligent about rquesting the verification number from the back of the card, and thus, many over the phone purchases can be made.

  7. The pizza restaurant story showed up last week on Snopes. Their verdict: possible, but especially given the low resolution on today’s camera phones, there are many more effective (and surreptitious) ways for a clerk to swipe your credit card info—and besides, taking a picture of the front won’t get the card verification number on the back.

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