Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Adhering to this little bit of wisdom can really help us grow as individuals, accept new things, and the list goes on. But if you have something that may be valuable to others, you need to realize that this saying really isn’t enough. John Donald Cody was an incredibly accomplished man with a very unique personality which proved to be attractive. He graduated from Harvard Law but if that’s not good enough for you, he also has a background in military intelligence. With a successful history in law and his own practice, people didn’t find reason to suspect any foul play.
Well I guess his public image took a turn in a different direction when he hit the age of 36. Despite his impressive resume, nothing positive can really come from conning clients out of $100,000. I’ll call this a pivoting point and fast forward to October 2nd, 2012. The linked article describes the capture of ‘Bobby Thompson,’ the pseudonym used by Cody during his Navy vet charity scams that net him over $100 million. Some of the pictures provided within the article show Cody next to a few high profile Republicans whom donated to his fake charity.
The ultimate goal of this post was to use Cody’s story to provide a bit of perspective in regards to social engineering. Just because a person has a list of verifiable credentials doesn’t mean you should stop being skeptical. As students we don’t really have much that would attract con men like Cody, but as we travel down one of life’s many paths we may end up on their radar. If you have something to protect, you really must set your brain’s ‘default mode’ to skeptical or doubtful and you can’t make exceptions.