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What is scambaiting?

You may have heard the term thrown around online, or stumbled across a forum thread about Scambait tactics and ideas. This vigilante world of ordinary citizens fighting back against scamming injustice, helping to protect the good folks of Gothem.

Put simply, have you ever planned on taking revenge on fraudsters and scammers? Have you ever thought of countering spam email senders and scam phone calls?

Do you know about scambaiting? If yes, you are surely among the minority. Although anti-fraud movements have always been on the rise, scambaiting is comparatively a little-known occupation.

Scambaiting is about wasting the time and resources of the scammers. Usually most users avoid online scams, but there are still people who fall victim to different scam schemes every day. Sometimes the tables turn and people purposefully engage the scams, while being fully aware of the real scam. (wisegeek) Scams have evolved from simple and easy untargeted email messages to more sophisticated and difficult scams targeted at users of classifieds, dating and other websites. A specific type of scam is described as "advance fee fraud", more often known as "Next of Kin scams" or "419 scams". It is called "advance fee fraud" because the scammer will almost always require an advance payment of some sort in exchange for the money he promised to the victim. It is a scheme of online fraud that not only causes financial loss to individuals and businesses, but also can bring emotional or psychological damage to victims.

We all have received unsolicited emails offering us a ’get rich quick’ opportunity by just paying an amount of money upfront. Usually users just delete letters like this but scam baiters will not do this. At this moment when the scam baiter receives the letter, the scam baiting starts. Users are fully aware that someone is trying to rip off them. Scambaiters play the roles of victims to purposefully engage the scammers. The main point is to do everything to keep scammers from stealing money from innocent people.

The scambaiter starts their own game. It is social engineering at its best form because it involves fake stories and a lot of interesting lies to make the scammers believe in them. The scambaiter uses the exact same manipulation on the scammer that scammers use on their victims.

Scambaiters' one objective is to waste a scammer's time. Scambaiters try to get information that can be reported and to help the victims. Today there are online communities that deal with scammers. Volunteers are working together to bait the scammers, as well as share their tools and stories. One the most popular sites is and it has been active since 2003. Scambaiters put in countless hours of their time to pay back the scammers.

Read more at Woods LLP

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