Every year tens of thousands of people in the UK are conned by online scammers, but it is not only the authorities taking action – “scam baiters” take the fight to the scammers.
Wayne and Jill (not their real names) are scam baiters. Jill explained her approach and some examples on a recent BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme.
“We waste scammers’ time, we waste their resources and we make them believe they are not as good as they think they are,” “Scammers are always going to be there but if we can take them down a peg and take a victim away from them any time we can, then we are doing something good,” says Jill.
The scam baiters often publish online their interactions with the scammers as a way of warning people.
The aim is for these to appear in search engine results, so potential victims will be alerted if they type in the scammer’s name.
The Scam baiters don’t make money from their actions – they do it to stop others being scammed. For Wayne, the motivation is simply the “buzz” he receives from knowing he can help someone.
Wayne’s Set-Up as a Scam Baiter
Wayne’s set-up is rudimentary. He works under various aliases, mostly named after characters from his favourite children’s television shows of his youth.
He often makes himself seem more vulnerable – and potentially gullible – by pretending to have recently broken up from a partner.
Both Wayne and Jill always wait to be approached by scammers, rather than seeking them out. Their names are on a so-called “suckers list” – effectively a database of people thought to be easy to con – which is passed around by scammers online.
The latest to get in touch is a man who emails Jill to say she has won the lottery in Africa. Pretending to be husband and wife, Wayne and Jill make a joint contact back, the aim being to waste the scammer’s time by arguing about which one of them gets the money. Surprisingly, Jill considers her biggest success to be the time she received a death threat from a scammer she had targeted.
“If you get a death threat you know you’ve really wound someone up. I had one scammer driving round Madrid for a day trying to find ‘Lynn’, who had gone to Madrid.
“Of course, I hadn’t gone to Madrid, I was in my front room. Jill tells it as a funny anecdote, but it underlines the seriousness involved.
“I take great care in protecting my online persona,” she says. “I bait with email addresses that aren’t traceable. I don’t use any of my real-life information. All of my characters are based somewhere 100 miles away from where I live.”
Click http://fightback.ninja/scambaiting-with-the-crown-prince/ for an example of Scambaiting.
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