Scambaiting – The Great Lie! [UPDATED]

ScambaitingScam Baiting A foolish activity where a victim or nonvictim engages in deception and fraud to lead on a scammer into revealing information or for the sport of it. Deliberate deception online, regardless of the reason, is both unethical and in many places may also be illegal. While not prosecuted, Scambaiting has no legitimate benefit and should never be performed by victims since it is an act of revenge and only amplifies trauma. It is a reprehensible practice that is popularized by amateur anti-scam groups driven by their hate for fraudsters. Learn more: SCARS Position Statement Against Scambaiting – Does Nothing To Stop Scamming

A SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Special Report

ScamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. Baiters would have you believe that wasting a scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer.’s time is valuable – it is not

All you are doing is teaching them to be better scammers!

This is part of an extremist view that deception is both justified and useful. It is also based upon a mistaken perception that scammers work alone!

Scambaiting – The Great Lie!

Scam BaitingScam Baiting A foolish activity where a victim or nonvictim engages in deception and fraud to lead on a scammer into revealing information or for the sport of it. Deliberate deception online, regardless of the reason, is both unethical and in many places may also be illegal. While not prosecuted, Scambaiting has no legitimate benefit and should never be performed by victims since it is an act of revenge and only amplifies trauma. It is a reprehensible practice that is popularized by amateur anti-scam groups driven by their hate for fraudsters. Learn more: SCARS Position Statement Against Scambaiting Is The Use Of Deception By Vigilantes Thinking They Are Preventing ScamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. – It is Just Another Scam – Of Themselves And Others

In this article, we will expose the great lie that is being sold to countless scam victims by individuals that self-justify their own online deception. A great lie that both interfere with active investigations and arrests, but more importantly does real harm to scam victims themselves.

Here is the introduction to what is claimed to be the largest community of scambaiters on the web:

So what is scambaiting? Well, put simply, you enter into a dialogue with scammers, simply to waste their time and resources. Whilst you are doing this, you will be helping to keep the scammers away from real potential victims and screwing around with the minds of deserving thieves.

It doesn’t matter if you are new to this sport or a hardened veteran; if you are wasting the time of a scammer, or frustrating them in any way well that’s good enough for us, and we would welcome you to join with our now very large community. 

Scambaiter Claims

Scam baiters often claim that they are protecting the world (this is very typical of those that are both extremist and suffer from Savior SyndromeSyndrome It is a group of symptoms that can consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms.). In other words, they are doing what no one else is doing.

They ignore the fact that law enforcement is functioning worldwide, and that in 2021 more than 130,000 scammers were arrested – not one of them as a result of scam baiters! As a partner of the U.S. Department of Homeland SecurityDepartment of Homeland Security The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the U.S. federal executive department (under the President) responsible for public security, roughly comparable to the interior or home ministries of other countries. Its stated missions involve anti-terrorism, border security, immigration and customs, cybersecurity, and disaster prevention and management., a reporting partner of the FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov, and registered with the Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime, we have access to substantial criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. reporting data. We have seen cases of tips being provided by victims and third parties, but none identified as being scambaiters. Additionally, any evidence that scambaiters obtain would mostly be inadmissible in a trial, since it is third-party hear-say information.

Scambaiters also claim to have returned hundreds of thousands of dollars to their victims that were lost to scammers? Yet when asked for proof, they never seem to have it.

Our position on the extremist form of vigilantism is based upon a factual position that no scambaiter has ever disproved. If any of their vigilante communities can provide proof of their actual accomplishments, we are always willing to revise our position.

Until then, we dismiss their claims as extremist rhetoric that remains unsubstantiated. Please show us the numbers, police reports, and the victim you claim to have recovered money for. Also, we would love to see a single case where a scambaiter testified in a trial against a scammer – something that SCARS has done as recently as November of last year.

Oh, by the way, most vigilantes are also violating laws as unlicensed investigators. Asset recovery is a licensed profession, as are investigations. Scambaitors, please include your corporate information and license numbers in any correspondence.

Let’s Look At What Scam Baiters Actually Do?

They engage online criminals in deception and fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. under the idea that this somehow prevents scamming – meaning they weave a web of their own lies to keep the scammer engaged as long as possible.

Does This Really Work To Prevent Scams?

No. What it is doing is allowing the self-justifying scambaiters to claim they are accomplishing something they are not. While some of their recordings make good comedy, the simple fact is that not one scambaiter has prevented a single victim from being scammed. Additionally, during the period from 2008 through 2016 while all of these scambaiters were running around “stopping” scamming and scammers, the fact is that romance scams grew by almost 100% per year! And since 2019, scams have grown by over 2,000%.

The Hundreds Or Thousands Of Scambaiters Did Absolutely Nothing To Prevent Scamming, But They Actually Made It Worse!

How did they make it worse? By engaging with the scammers in extended dialogs they helped the scammers actually improve their skills. Meaning the more scammers talk to potential victims (in this case scambaiters) the more they improve their English and grammar. Why scam baiters may not give money to the scammers, they give their time, their language skills, and most importantly help the scammers better see through the scambaiters own games.

One scambaiter argued that scambaiting causes scammers to become so depressed by never knowing who is or who is not a scam baiter, that they would give up scamming? Really? First off, scammers generally do not work alone. Second, scamming is a game of numbers, and the numbers are mostly on their side right now – scambaiting changes nothing. That is the kind of mentality that phone trolls belief in screaming at telemarketers – phone salespeople know it is all numbers, even if 90% yell at them, they only need 5% to be successful. Scam baiters do not understand the business models of scammers.

For scammers, time spent with scam baiters is a learning opportunity!

But Let’s Look At It From An Ethical Perspective

Not All Ends Justify The Means!

Scambaiters engage in online fraud in an attempt to deceive scammers. They will say or do anything to waste the time of a scammer.

This may come as a surprise but this is, in and of itself, is a crime. It is called online fraud or wire fraud. We do not know of scambaiters that have been arrested for this, but from a legal and ethical point of view, it is still a crime.

However, also think about it from an ethical perspective. Police regularly use “stings” or deceptions to entrap criminals but they do it with the goal of making an arrest and to be able to prosecute the criminal. It is not done to “play” with the criminal. There is a reason why professional law enforcement is trusted with these tactics and vigilantes are not. It is because criminals require legal evidence gathering to arrest them not the games of vigilantes.

Scambaiters will give you all manner of self-justification about how they are doing this or that, but the truth is that it is a game to them. In their own words, it is a “SPORT”. In reality, it is not crime fighting it is masturbation.

On a personal level, all it does is compromise the ethics of the individuals involved. It glorifies and justifies the use of the same tactics that online criminals use but somehow when done by a scambaiter it is all just fine! Once you head down that slippery slope all credibility goes out the window.

Scambaiters Are Scammers Themselves

A Scammer Is What A Scammer Does!

Many scambaiters have put scammers through all kinds of actions that resulted in the scammer spending time and money. While we are not sympathetic to the scammer we recognize that the ethical justification is not there. You can’t engage in crime to satisfy a broken set of ethics that permit anything as long as it harms the scammers. This reduces the scambaiters to nothing more than scammers themselves.

Doing Harm To Victims

As a legitimate online crime victims’ assistance organization, SCARS has helped millions recover from their scam experience. Not once did we advocate for scambaiting as a potential solution for victims. Why is that?

Romance scams are profoundly traumatizing experiences. While each victim shows different degrees of traumaTrauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS., the continued exposure to scams and scammers limits their ability to recover effectively. Imagine that you were a rape victim – would you want to spend all day looking at the photos of rapists or talking to them? That is nonsensical. If you were the victim of a severe auto accident would you want to look at accident scene photos all day? How about murder scenes or photos of murderers? How about talking with murderers about their crimes? How could that possibly be good for your recovery? It is not.

YET THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT SCAMBAITERS SUGGEST YOU SHOULD DO!

You should set aside your recovery and engage your rageRage Anger, also known as wrath or rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, trigger, hurt or threat. About one-third of scam victims become trapped in anger for extended periods of time following a scam. A person experiencing anger will often experience physical effects, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view anger as an emotion that triggers a part of the fight or flight response. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively, and physiologically. Anger can have many physical and mental consequences. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of "what has happened to them", psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability. and direct it into vigilantism.

Recovery after a scam requires looking away from the crime and focusing on your own emotional wellbeing. Constant, repeated exposure to scammer photos, or worse, engaging them in dialog only creates an underlying rage against scammers and inhibits a victims’ ability to heal.

At best scambaiting feeds their obsession. At worst it is a path towards greater trauma.

This Is Not A Complicated Topic

It is using unethical (even illegal) tactics to play with scammers while accomplishing nothing in reality. It feeds a delusion of justice but solves nothing.

It is for this reason that the Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams Inc. bans scambaiters from its membership because it explicitly violates its Code of Conduct.

We sincerely hope that you – if you are a victim – will avoid the path of scambaiting. It will not help you get over your scam or get even with the scammer. Thousands of people worldwide are working on real solutions – in 2018 over 21,000 scammers were arrested – that is real crime-fighting and not one of them was arrested because of a scam baiter. Plus in the U.S.A. another 12,000 fraudsters were arrested and deported.

Enforcement of the law works, but this is a far more complex problem to be solved. We are working the problem – as the only worldwide registered and incorporated nonprofit nongovernmental organization focused on scams and online crime we are working behind the scenes with governments to solve these problems. Vigilantes just get in the way!

The Choice Is Yours

If you are a victim that chooses the path of scambaiting you will only be making your life more difficult in the long run. But the choice is yours.

Just remember that last choice you made to fall for your scammer and how well that turned out!

Of course, this article is not addressed to scambaiters. They live in their own delusional bubble and do not listen to any factual argument or rational discussion. This article is intended for scam victims who may be lured into yet another scam because it sounds right. But as any victim knows what sounds good is not always.

WE HOPE YOU CHOOSE WISELY!

One Last Thought – There Is A Difference

There is a difference between talking to the scammer to get more evidence and scambaiting. If you are trying to get information instead of it being a game then you are not scambaiting! There is also a difference between scambaiting and legitimate investigating.

Yes, it is important to try to get hard data on scammers if you can. The difference is when it crosses the line based upon rage and angerAnger Anger, also known as wrath or rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, trigger, hurt or threat. About one-third of scam victims become trapped in anger for extended periods of time following a scam. A person experiencing anger will often experience physical effects, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view anger as an emotion that triggers a part of the fight or flight response. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively, and physiologically. Anger can have many physical and mental consequences. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of "what has happened to them", psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability., or revenge or vengeance, and turns into vigilantism and sport.

Scambaiters seek out Scammers for Sport, it is a form of Entertainment or an Obsessive Compulsion. Either way it is Ethically Bankrupt.

That Is The Difference.

But as we said earlier, we hope that someday scambaiters will share their proof. Until then, there is nothing to talk about.

However, if you find yourself involved in this obsession, we strongly urge you to seek professional trauma support. Savior Syndrom and other disorders can have consequences in your life, and if you are a victim involved in scambaiting this can have serious consequences to your recovery.

Please stop listening to amateurs!

Do Not Scambait

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2 Comments

  1. SAMANTHA ACKLAND February 22, 2019 at 5:37 am - Reply

    Ive just read your post about scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. baters and over the kast 2 weeks i gave dine just that. I have made 2 reports with bank and address details, that in my defence i woukd never have got othereise, as i knew they were scammers with in 5 mins of the first hello.
    BUT i totally see your point and do agree with what you say, ok I wouldnt have been able to report anyone if i hadnt coversed with them, but i do understand what you have said and in future i will just blockBlock Blocking is a technical action usually on social media or messaging platforms that restricts or bans another profile from seeing or communicating with your profile. To block someone on social media, you can usually go to their profile and select it from a list of options - often labeled or identified with three dots ••• them from my Twitter as soon as they speak with me. Please dont remove me from the site! As i mentioned my conversing with them in my reports! I will in future just ignore them and block them as asked.

    • There is a difference between talking to the scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. to get more evidence and scambaitingScam Baiting A foolish activity where a victim or nonvictim engages in deception and fraud to lead on a scammer into revealing information or for the sport of it. Deliberate deception online, regardless of the reason, is both unethical and in many places may also be illegal. While not prosecuted, Scambaiting has no legitimate benefit and should never be performed by victims since it is an act of revenge and only amplifies trauma. It is a reprehensible practice that is popularized by amateur anti-scam groups driven by their hate for fraudsters.
      Learn more: SCARS Position Statement Against Scambaiting
      . You were trying to get information instead of it being a game. Don’t worry, we appreciate your comment and welcome to our websites and social media pages.

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