I had a discussion with a good friend who is a police officer and has a bit of a speciality in Internet crimes yesterday. He advised me to continue down the road of educating people and screwing with the scammers, but that attempts to prosecute these jack-wagons will likely end in frustration. Mostly because even if I was scammed out of the money (which I was not), the amount lost would be little in comparison to the man-hours it would take to track down these dregs on society. Additionally, they tend to do a lot of their scams across multiple jurisdictions, thus pieces of the case would be spread across various departments and no one department would have all of the evidence. Thus, the costs to chase down the perpetrators of these sorts of crimes is 10x greater than the reward.
Now, I disagree with this sort of cost/benefit analysis when it comes to crime, but I definitely 'get' it. Police departments are faced with limited resources and want to spend those resources on things that get the biggest bang for their buck. I have no issue with that.
My issue, however, is that the folks who are being victimized by these dirtballs are those who can least afford to be victimized: low to middle income folks who are just trying to get by and who see an opportunity to make a little extra cash. Let's face it, the $40 that David DaKing offered me to cash his rubber check and then Western Union his "shipper" the difference isn't even worth my time. However, someone who is making minimum wage is much more likely to go ahead and try this. Especially when they see a check for $1990. Deep down it's likely they know that this guy is a scumbag and a scammer, but they see that money and think of all the bills they can pay with it. Next thing you know, they're cashing the check (or trying to), spending the money, wiring this bastard his cash, and then bam, it all comes crashing down on them and they're in worse shape than they were before the $1990 that never existed in the first place.
So, my mission is clear: Continue to harass and expose these dirtballs for what they are and continue to aggregate evidence as best I can. Maybe someday I'll have enough for someone to use to prosecute one of these tools. Or, maybe I can just enjoy the process.