People have been getting a lot more aggressive in attacking spam lately – by deleting spam comments as quickly as possible and banning the sender’s IP, we have cut our problem down here to a dull roar.
But the Nigerian (insert other nation of origin here) money transfer scam is still going strong via email – who in God’s name would fall for this mindlessly repetitive drivel at this point? Encino Man? Anyway, people have started messing with the spammers. I don’t have the time or patience, but if enough people do things like this, these assholes may give up:
- It has been described as the internet’s first blood sport and is fast becoming one of the web’s favourite pastimes. Fed up with having their inboxes clogged with emails from Nigerian fraudsters promising untold riches, the victims are finally hitting back.
Scam-baiting – replying to the emails and stringing the con artists along with a view to humiliating them as much as possible – is becoming increasingly popular with more than 150 websites chronicling the often hilarious results.
Known as 419 fraud, after the section of the Nigerian penal code that it contravenes, the scam generates millions of pounds each year. According to the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the average loss in the UK stands at around £35,000.
Mike, a 41-year-old computer engineer from Manchester, runs the scam-baiting site 419eater.com, which started two months ago. ‘Almost always the scammer will think you are a real victim and try their best to extract money. It started because I used to get a few emails, and although I knew it was a scam I never knew how it worked. I did some research, found out about scam baiting and decided to have a go. It’s now almost a full-time hobby for me.’
Like most baiters, Mike replies in the names of made-up characters. His sites specialise in collecting pictures of the scammers in order to make it more difficult to find new victims. Using the pretext that in order to believe they are real people they need to take a photograph holding up signs with the name of Mike’s character, he has succeeded in getting one fraudster to pose with a piece of paper stating: MI Semem Stains. Other sites feature similar pictures with signs reading ‘Iama Dildo’, ‘Mr Bukakke’ and ‘Ben Dover’.
….The oldest anti-scammer site is Scamorama, which aims to educate the public about the latest trends as well as waste as much of the fraudsters’ time as possible. The original emails often claim the author has suffered a personal tragedy, usually the loss of a parent. A typical Scamorama reply claimed the recipient has also lost a parent in shocking circumstances, having witnessed their own father being shot. The email was signed ‘Alfredo Corleone’.
The ultimate aim of many anti-scammers is to turn the tables completely and get the 419 gangs to send them money. One of those who has succeeded is an Australian who baits under the name of J Cosmo Newbury and specialises in creating characters and situations that border on the surreal. After months of correspondence, one of his characters even received a marriage proposal. [Guardian]
Anything that can be done to humiliate, confuse, or even just waste the time of these vermin gets the big thumbs up. Extracting money from THEM is the sweetest revenge of all. Murder is perhaps too blunt an instrument, though not without some justification.