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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Introduction to Scambaiting

A few months ago a colleague of mine showed me a website about "scambaiting" ( "Scambaiting" according to Wikipedia "is the practice of pretending interest in a fraudulent scheme in order to manipulate a scammer. The purpose of scam baiting might be to waste the scammers' time, embarrass them, cause them to reveal information which can be passed on to legal authorities in the hope that they will be prosecuted, get them to spend money, or simply to amuse the baiter." In many of these examples, but not all, the scammers are from Africa. In these letters the scambaiter gets the scammer to do embarrassing things such as taking pictures of themselves holding outrageous signs or other silly acts. In this example below the scambaiter, who was using the name of Father Ron Jeremy of The Church of Fish and Bread, convinced teh scammer to take this picture of himself for verification. Remember that these people are crooks and steal thousands of dollars from innocent people every year!

So after reading some of these I decided to try my luck at it. First I created an email account with a fake name and started signing up on guest books around the web. Soon I started getting spam and scam letter by the hundreds. I picked out a few and started talking to them. Pretty soon one of them was really convinced I was going to send him money. Here are some excerpts and highlights (Note: my name is Arnie Nelson and I am communicating with the alleged Mellisa Jacobson and her Doctor):

Scammer - "My name is Mrs Mellisa Jacobson a merchant in Dubai,in the U.A.E. I worked with Kuwait oil Company and eight years as a contractor. I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer.....The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of eighteen million dollars $18,000,000,00 that I have with a finance/Security Company abroad. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatch it to charity organizations."

Me - "I am so sorry to hear about your illness. I lost my mother to cancer. Please let me know what I can do to help you and further this transaction. I am the president of a charity for the poverty-stricken youth of the world who do not even get breakfast in the morning. The name of my charity is "The Breakfast Club" and specializes in giving breakfast to the youth of the world. We could dearly use this money and would also love to help in any way possible. - Arnie Nelson"

Me - "A few years ago I saw an ad on TV to help support a child across seas. I decided to try this out. I sent in all my info and a few months later I received the picture and information of the child I was to help. The boy's name was Simon and he was only 4 years old. He was very sick and malnourished. I quickly sent some money, food, and a letter to this young boy. A few months later I received a letter back from him (translated) about him and his life. I enjoyed this activity so much that, this is why I started 'The Breakfast Club' charity. I still speak to Simon to this day and he is very important to me and my charity. Now that he has grown he is doing good and getting a proper education. I often joke with him and tell him that he is the true president of 'The Breakfast Club', because it was his inspiration that made me start this. I have told him about you and the contribution you are about to make and he is very excited and grateful.For our charity and for Simon we would like a picture of you because of your generous donations. In this picture I need you to hold a sign that says "Simon is President of the Breakfast Club". This sign will signify why I started this charity for children. I will send a copy to Simon and hang another copy up in our charity headquarters. I would greatly appreciate it if you could email this picture to me. - Arnie Nelson"

Scammer - "Hello Arnie Nelson,Thank you so much for your conscience over Mrs Mellisa Jacobson..I am Doctor Kenneth Brown. Am so sorry to tell you that Mrs Mellisa's Condtion is getting worsen everyday so she wont be able to go through all those stress ok..I already told her everything you said, I just Want you to keep praying for her and make sure you assist her so much, that she has put all her trust in you ok. She also said i should tell you that you should not forget your main objective after which you have receive the Money,she said not only making donations to charity organizations, but making sure it get to those who truly needs it , People like Simon , She said she is really impressed about your Story with Simon. She also said i should ask how far you have went with her lawyer, that hope things are good so well and okay with both of you. She said if you need anything from her, you can let her know. He ask me to tell you that God be with you and your Family and you will never be put to shame. - Dr. Kenneth Brown"

Scammer - "Mr Arnie,I will urge you to please have the money sent via Moneygram Money Transfer or Western Union so that the accountant can have it picked up and Mrs Jacobson can be on her dose. - Kenneth Brown"

Though I never got the picture I was wanting, I managed to waste a whole bunch of the is criminal's time and really frustrate him. The Doctor, who was using the same email as his patient (silly criminal), finally told me that Melissa had passed away and that it was all my fault. I passed the blame back to him since he would not cooperate and we stopped talking. Then amazingly, three weeks later I got the *exact same* introductory letter from the reincarnated Melissa Jacobson. These silly scammers are not very good.

I wish I could have gotten my picture and trophy, but oh well it was a fun first try! Now on to the next scammer and criminal :-)

*If you are going to attempt any of this remember to read up on information at the website I supplied above to keep yourself safe.*

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