Re:scam is an e-mail chat bot designed to waste scammers' time

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,080   +131
Staff member

While most of us can sniff out an obvious scam from a mile away, some people – perhaps senior citizens or those with a mental disability – can sometimes be a bit more susceptible. It’s unfortunate that people are willing to take advantage of others in such a manner but it’s a harsh reality associated with e-mail usage.

If you’re like me, you’ve been tempted to reply to an obvious scam message just to screw with the person on the other end. Now, you can get that satisfaction without having to invest all the time and effort.

Re:scam is an artificial intelligence e-mail chat bot designed to barrage scammers with questions and anecdotes in an attempt to waste their time. The idea is that, the more time they spend replying to bogus inquires, the less time they’ll have to try and scam real people.

Re:scam’s bot will continue the conversation indefinitely (or until the scammer stops replying).

The bot comes courtesy of Netsafe, a New Zealand-based non-profit online safety organization founded in 1998.

To participate, simply forward a scam e-mail to me@rescam.org and they’ll take it from there. The group will even send you a summary of the conversation their bot has with the scammer which can sometimes be quite hilarious.

Then again, what if this is a scam designed to confirm active e-mail addresses? Hrm…

Permalink to story.

 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,789   +3,996
As I see it, the better thing to do, if you are using an mail client that will let you view the full source of the e-mail, is to sign up for a free account at https://www.spamcop.net/

Once you have an account, you log in, submit the full source of the e-mail, the site automatically parses it, strips any identifying addresses that could trace it back to you, looks up the abuse reporting addresses for both the originating domain of the e-mail and any embedded URLs, then reports them to those abuse addresses.

It is highly likely that the end result is that the spammer gets their web site taken down, and they also get the account, or hole if it is an open e-mail relay, taken down or plugged.

I would not be surprised if a spammer, after getting one of these chat things and figuring it out, would retaliate in some fashion. With spamcop, retaliation is impossible, or at the least, highly unlikely.

As I see it, it is better to fight spammers rather then annoy them.
 
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Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
Yeah, I love it .... can I program it to track them down, then give them a baseball bat to reinforce the message???
 

Roush60

Posts: 23   +13
Better yet, get a hacker friend, who is also a white hat, go onto the dark web and generate an avalanche of e-mail responses to the spammer address and overwhelm their network and e-mail server.
 

Vladislav

Posts: 17   +4
"While most of us can sniff out an obvious scam from a mile away, some people – perhaps senior citizens or those with a mental disability – can sometimes be a bit more susceptible".
In the same spirit the author should consider adding: "..., also people of different race, religion or belief and sexual orientation". That would make this discriminatory remark more complete.
 
S

senketsu

"While most of us can sniff out an obvious scam from a mile away, some people – perhaps senior citizens or those with a mental disability – can sometimes be a bit more susceptible".
In the same spirit the author should consider adding: "..., also people of different race, religion or belief and sexual orientation". That would make this discriminatory remark more complete.
chill out dude, I have helped my senior citizen father up until recently when he had to move to a Senior's Facility (turned 81), I have two mental disorders and do some volunteer with peer support. The statement is true and was gently worded "can sometimes be a bit more susceptible". I'm in that group and I took no offence from it.
 
There's just one problem: Many email apps (e.g. Yahoo Mail) require you to open a message before you can forward it. This can notify the spammer that the message was read, and confirm that your address is valid and active.