Scambaiting – The Great Lie!
Scam Baiting Is The Use Of Deception By Vigilantes Thinking They Are Preventing Scams – 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.
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.
Scam baiters often claim that they are protecting the world (this is very typical of those that are both extremist and suffer from Savior Syndrome). 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 Security, a reporting partner of the FTC, and registered with the Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime, we have access to substantial criminal 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 fraud 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 trauma, 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 rage 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 anger, 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!