How To Give Spammers A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

November 11, 2017
2 mins read
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PAT PILCHER discovers that there is now a way to get some sweet vengeance against those annoying scammers who fill his spam folder to its brim every day.

 

Deleting several metric tonnes of dodgy emails from the spam folder is the bane of my life. Companies like Google and Microsoft may have become good at weeding out dodgy emails and sending them straight to the spam folder, but I still resent time wasted deleting shonky attempts to scam my money.

If you find dealing with the spam deluge as much of a curse as I do, don’t despair. There’s good news.

You can finally take the fight back to the spammers. Yup, you can even make their lives as miserable as they’re making ours.

This is all thanks to a rather nifty artificial intelligence launched by Netsafe, a non-profit online organisation who promote cyber safety. Their AI utility gives email scammers a taste of their own medicine, and wastes their time and resources.

It’s called Re:scam and is an AI email bot that emails scammers back with a never-ending cycle of conversation.

Re:scam emulates human personalities and uses subtle cues such as humour, typos and even bad grammar. The aim is to trick scammers into thinking they’re dealing with a human stupid enough to fall for the scam they’re peddling.

Here’s the thing. If enough of us use Re:Scam, scammers will find themselves swamped with emails. Vengeance! The nicest thing of all about using Re:scam is that warm feeling of satisfaction I get using it, and knowing the amount of misery you’re causing these scumbags can only be a good thing, right?

According to security specialists Symantec, cybercrime cost NZ $462 million last year. That’s not petty cash – it’s about equal to New Zealand’s total exports to France.

The frustrating thing is that naïve New Zealanders are continuing to fall victim to these emails, which come from fraudsters posing as banks, credit card companies and so on. These emails usually look like the real deal, until you find your identity stolen or bank accounts emptied.

Using Re:Scam is easy. Whenever you receive a bogus email, forward it to [email protected] and the Re:scam bot will do the rest. Your details are not shared and the whole thing remains completely anonymous.

The logic behind Re:Scam is simple yet compelling. Traditional wisdom has always been not to reply (it still is) and to delete all spam. The only problem with that approach is that scammers will continue to target other victims. Scammers have finite resources, but they will respond to people they believe have fallen for the scams. An ongoing and fruitless conversation with an AI will mean they’ve got less time to target people like you or me.

Re:scam is free to use, so share it with friends and family. The more of us who use Re:scam the more impractical it becomes for these cyber scumbags to ply their trade.

Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

2 Comments

  1. Good one Pat. After an unhealthy dose a while back I thought about contacting Netsafe to see if any ‘retribution’ might be available. This covers it and I’ve already put ‘Scam-Bot’ to use – prompt reply from him/her too !

  2. I want to give this a try. Lately, we’ve been receiving tons of email spams. We already have spam filters but some of them can still get through.

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