Friday, 14 March 2008

confessions of a retired scambaiter


I was thinking about a blog on the contents of my e-mail bulk folder but as most of this stuff is boring, it would make a boring blog so my mind turned to a variant: the scam e-mail. In its classic form, the scam e-mails are advance fee (or occasionally identity theft) frauds also known as 419 scams, after the article in the Nigerian penal code prohibiting the same, Nigeria being the epicentre of this activity. The hook usually involved African politics, a sudden or violent death, a well-known name and a monstrous amount of money in a bank account needing assistance in transfering. The sums of money offered for assistance were enough to put anyone on notice that this was a blatant scam apart from anything else. You would have to be cornfed dumb to fall for these scams but some people must be as the scams kept coming.

Happily, the scammers also tended to be thick as bricks and a cottage industry developed baiting them. As can be seen, a scammer could actually be persuaded to send a photo of himself holding a sign reading 'I AM A DILDO'. I can't find it any more but one scambaiter persuaded an entire football team to pose in their kit, every man jack of them holding up the dread dildo confession.

I sort of got into scambaiting by accident. I have now given up on it, but it was fun for a while. I got an e-mail with the usual money laundering scam. I must have been having a bad day or something as I sent a two word reply, second word 'off'. Much to my surprise, a reply arrived thanking me for my interest and asking for my bank details.

Ha! I thought. We have an idiot here! Let's see how far he can be pushed.

I sent a reply to the effect that I would love to help but unfortunately, I had to go into hospital for a foreskin transplant.

I got another reply. DoubleHa! We have a real idiot here. The reply was that the sender was sorry that I had to go into hospital for transplantation (sic) but could I take a little time to send my bank details first. It wouldn't take long.

Righty! All guns blazing for the reply! I replied that there was bad news on the transplant front. The transplant had not taken and the old bell end had turned green and blotchy. My Doctor, Dr Frank N Stein and his team of expensive surgeons were very worried. Would my kind correspondent, I enquired, consider being a tissue donor? I went on to say that I suspected that we were of different pigmentation but that could make an interesting feature.

Tragically, no reply! I suspect the last reply was so over the top that I was busted as a scambaiter, even in the mind of the dimmest scammer. Having said this, some exchanges between scammers and scambaiters are protracted and reach dizzying heinghts of surrealism. There is a website, scamorama, dedicated to scambusting and scambaiting.

Scamorama contains a huge treasure trove of scambaiting exchanges and is a wonderful way to waste time - go look see...

Oh - and one scammer even claimed to be unicorn farmer. Unicorns at $US 750 a pop. He had pictures. Nice unicorn, I'm sure you'll agree...


That Hank said...

About 10 years ago, maybe just 8, I got a Nigerian scam as a fax. Same stuff you see via email now. I saved it for a while because I thought it was so odd, but it's long gone today.

Frank Partisan said...

I liked before it went down.


Anonymous said...

Mr Wabbit you have excelled yourself on this one! Top marks!

Julie said...

I've read some fabulous scambait exchanges here - almost feel sorry for some of them, in the end:

Unknown said...

I usually read the scambaits at they are exciting and they also put these wankers in jail.

They also cost the scammers a whole bunch of money in cash.