VIC COLUMN: Be Aware of a Whisper
The late George Michael is spinning in his grave.
The Wham-singer recorded an ‘80s anthem, “Careless Whisper,” that was PG-13 rated. Now in the ‘10s a “whisper” is R-rated, or worse.
The Ware Shoals Police Department is reporting that alleged activity within an online community called "Whisper" led to the arrests of four Upstate men.
Advertising itself as the "largest online platform where people share real thoughts and feelings, forge relationships and engage in conversations on an endless variety of topics - without identities or profiles," Whisper even sounds like a bad idea.
Arrested were 25-year-old Robert James Teseniar, 29-year-old Nicholas Scott Schultz, 28-year-old Daniel Claudie Jackson, and 19-year-old Thomas Her. Investigators said they had inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old girl through Whisper. None of these gentlemen are guilty of any crime, until a court says they are guilty.
Teseniar and Jackson asked the victim to send them photos of her body, allegedly. Schultz and Her sent the victim pictures of their genitals, allegedly.
All are charged with disseminating obscene material to a minor. Jackson and Teseniar are charged with sexual exploitation of a minor. Schultz is charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
Repeat, they are not guilty, they have not been convicted. Their arrests give us pause, however, to issue another reminder that social media can be a minefield for young people not yet mature enough to realize that everyone does not have their best interests at heart.
“Grown-ups” mess up everything social media-related for teens and younger anyway. Facebook killed MySpace, then Facebook got gray-headed. Now they’re off to Instagram (where photos never go to die) and Whisper. Twitter already has been corrupted, mostly by journalists who’ve claimed it as an “instant information” tool. Who know what’s the next “platform” for showing people hopping out of moving cars.
And, even as new ways of communication pop up, the scammers stay with or go back to the old school. Scammers are trying to trick people out of their banking information - routing and account numbers off checks - by calling on the telephone and saying, “Your water’s going to be turned off in 45 minutes.”
“But I paid my bill!”
“Well, prove it.”
Hang up on this scum, please people, and call the police. You don’t have to “get involved,” just let them know you have been contacted. Don’t engage the caller - these people are so skilled they’ll have you sending $1,000 to a Nigerian prince. Informing the police might help to build a criminal case, or cause them to move on. Better yet, it may put an end to it, because we don’t really want scammers in anybody’s town.
Your utility company might call you to say a bill is over-due, but that’s to prompt a payment. They’re not going to rush right out there and cut off the utility - and if they do, without proper ID, let the dog take a chunk out of their leg and hold them for the police.
Sure, they’ll bond out and go to the emergency room. But at least you’ll be able to wave at the paddy-wagon and yell, “Have a nice day!”
(Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. Reach him at 833-1900 or email@example.com)