Scambaiting, taking down scammers by wasting their time

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Sadly, the scams are pretty common on the internet. From the early Nigerian Prince scammers to the more modern Tech Support ones, there are always some people trying to trick you into giving your money away.

But there are some fierce warriors trying to uncover these people and fighting for a more secure internet where less tech-savvy people are not taken advantage of. One of the techniques used to end this scourge is the “scambaiting”.

Scambaiting is the art of wasting the scammers time in order to expose them or make them lose their temper, to show the results on the internet for the laughs or in the hopes that they will stop their activities.

One of the most common scams nowadays is the “Tech Support Scam”. This scam works by luring you into calling a “Tech Support Service” which tries to extort you for money by damaging your computer, locking it up or showing nonexistent problems that they are going to solve, supposedly. Of course, all in exchange for your money. Most of the call centers that receive the calls are located in India, hence it is becoming strongly associated with this country, where the law enforcement does close to nothing to stop it. The most affected demographics are the elders and other people that are not so knowledgeable. That is why many people, including me, think that this needs to stop.

Usually, they connect remotely to your computer with a RAT (Remote Administration Tool) so, they can basically access and modify everything that could modify when sitting in front of it, giving them the chance to open your documents, see or download your pictures or, most importantly, damage and lock up your system in order to extort you.

Curiously enough, most of the scammers themselves are not very knowledgeable, and hence this type of scam is an easy target for the scam baiters. That said, you should not try to do this without proper preparation, using virtual machines in order to never expose your real machine and some additional techniques to not to be detected. The goal is usually to show how the scammers have no idea of what they are doing, laugh and expose fake companies on the internet.

The trend of baiting the scammer has become very popular lately, and hence they are even Twitch streams and Youtube channels devoted to this, like Scambaiting Central or Kitboga Scambaiting (this one even has different characters that he plays while baiting).

Nonetheless, this has a longer story, going back to the older times of the internet. Most probably you have heard about the “Nigerian Prince”, a.k.a. “419 Scam”, a type of scam almost as old as the internet, where you receive an email from someone that has received some sort of monetary fortune and needs your help to unlock it. One of the funniest resources for scambaiting this type of scammers is 419Eater, which is a forum that compiles the efforts of many scambaiting aficionados.

In the end, the first type of attack towards this type of scam is education and publicity, so every effort directed towards educating people to not to fall for these improves the internet. Spread the word and help the fight!

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