Scam baiting is where a person responds to a scam and plays the potential victim, in order to waste the time and effort of the scammer, gather information that will be of use to authorities, and publicly expose the scammer. However, some scam baiters do it just for fun.
The objectives of scam baiting are commonly:-
· To keep the call or messages going as long as possible - costing the scammer time and effort and giving them less time to scam other people.
· To gather as much information as possible, so that the scammer can be identified
· To publish all relevant information about the scam and the scammer online so it can be easily found as a warning to others.
Is Scambaiting Legal?
Scam baiting for fun is generally legal and ethical as the scammers start the conversation and there is no reason why you cannot lie back to them and lead them on.
However, things get tricky if you try to get personal information from them for passing to the authorities or publicising their activities.
It is wrong to carry out any illegal acts in scam baiting even if the motive is worthy.
Scam Baiter Actions
If you treat this as a game, it can be a lot of fun as many scammers are both greedy and stupid.
You can fool them into thinking you are taken in by their story, that you believe everything they say but it may be more fun to make them work for your trust. Ask for a sample of the product for free before committing yourself or send them specifications for how the supposed gold bullion can be delivered to you or detailed itineraries for when you arrive in their country to collect your shipment of cash from customs etc.
You may choose to record the audio of your interactions or a video record if relevant.
You may send them a detailed questionnaire to fill in so they can become a member of your fictitious Church in order to then be allowed to send your Church a donation.
Scam baiters often use ridiculous names for their invented characters e.g. Great Aunt Hopscotch Filletofish
It’s up to you and your imagination.
The start of scam baiting is to get yourself a fake email address and use it for answering scam messages. Pretend to be taken in by the scam and keen to get whatever it is they are offering. Then it’s about delaying tactics as to why you haven’t sent them the money yet and it’s about having fun at the scammers expense.
Then come the strategies most commonly used by scam baiters.
· Wasting their time – to keep the scammers wasting more time to deal with the scam baiter not usual people.
· Documenting what how they carry out the scam – the point is to gather information about the scammers and publish it online as a warning against the scammers.
· The Trophy Hunters – Scam baiters who reply to scam e-mails and involve fantastic story-plots, and pull the scammer into their imaginary world.
· Church bait – getting scammers to join your fictitious church
· Art bait – to get them to produce a piece of ridiculous art e.g. tattooing themselves
· Cash bait - trying to get money from scammers
· Freight bait – to get the scammer to pay for shipping something to themselves.
· The romance Scam Seekers – to play along with the romancers as if smitten and make the scammers work hard to win them over. These scams can last for weeks or even months.
· The Safari Agents – Scam baiters who try to persuade the scammers into leaving their home and travel overseas.
Safe Scam Baiting
Scam baiting needs to be done in a safe manner. Do not use any real details about yourself e.g. your email address, phone number, age, location etc. Do not appear in video chats with the scammers as they may be able to use those clips to scam others.
See 419eater.com for more information about safe scam baiting.
This website is all about scam baiting and they concentrate on the Nigerian 419 scammers.
Their tagline is:- Don't fall for common scams like this - fight them!
So what is scambaiting? Well, put simply, you enter into a dialogue with scammers, simply to waste their time and resources. Whilst you are doing this, you will be helping to keep the scammers away from real potential victims and screwing around with the minds of deserving thieves.
419eater.com has lots of advice and stories about 419 scam baiting.
If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-wasters do let me know – go to the About page then Contact Us.