Jim Browning is a Scambaiter

Scambaiting is the practice of conning scammers – when they phone or email or text, the scam baiter plays along and if possible, gets the scammer’s bank details etc. to pass along to the relevant bank and the Police.

Jim Browning is the alias of a Northern Irish YouTuber with nearly 3.5 million subscribers who has been posting scambaiting videos for the past years.

Browning regularly gets access to scammers’ computers and has even managed to hack into the CCTV footage of call centres in order to identify individuals. He then passes this information to the relevant authorities including the police plus banks and other organisations where relevant.

Jim says “I wouldn’t call myself a vigilante, but I do enough to figure out who is running the scam,’ and I pass it on to the right authorities.”

He adds that there have only been two instances where he’s seen a scammer get arrested. Once where he worked with BBC’s Panorama to investigate an Indian call centre – as a result, the centre was raided by local police and the owner was taken into custody.

Browning says becoming a YouTuber was “accidental”. He originally started uploading his footage so he could send links to the authorities as evidence, but then viewers came flooding in. “Unfortunately, YouTube tends to attract a younger audience and the people I’d really love to see looking at videos would be older folks,” he says.

In his most popular upload, with 40m views, he calmly calls scammers by their real names. “You’ve gone very quiet for some strange reason,” Browning says in the middle of a call, “Are you going to report this to Archit?” The spooked scammer hangs up. One comment on the video – with more than 1,800 likes – describes getting “literal chills”.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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