Friday, June 24, 2005


This morning, Morning Edition included a report on scambaiters. This is a group of people who turn the tables on email scammers. A scambaiter wastes the scammer's time by sending him on a wild goose chase. For example, he might pretend to wire some money and then repeatedly ask the scammer to check a nearby Western Union office. This old BBC report shows how one scambaiter used an elaborate hoax to waste a scammer's time. Blinded by greed, some scammers will do incredibly stupid things.

There's even a scambaiting community at 419 Eater. Personally, I think the 419 Eater Trophy Room is disturbing on many levels. Yes, scammers are criminals, but vigilante justice is not pretty. Scambaiters claim they are doing a public service. I think they enjoy humiliating incompetent crooks just a little too much.

By the way, Joe Russo is not exactly a professional scambaiter, but his blog includes some really funny transcripts of his chats with scammers. See parts one, two, and three of his "International Financier" story.

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