Scambaiters: Meet the modern-day heroes who scam scammers

Both my ex-wife (Kris) and my current girlfriend (Kim) tell me I get too worked up about things sometimes. “You over-react,” they both tell me. Maybe so. I prefer to think of myself as passionate.

One of the things I’m passionate about is scammers. I hate them. Scammers are evil, evil people who prey on the most vulnerable members of society. They take advantage of social constructs in order to manipulate people into parting with their hard-earned money.

No surprise then that one of my favorite sub-genres of YouTube videos is “scammers getting scammed”. Scambaiters are modern-day heroes. As much as I despise scammers, I think scambatiers deserve high praise.

Today, I’ve collected together several YouTube videos (representing a couple of hours of viewing) that document, in an entertaining fashion, how scambaiters uncover scams, help victims, and are now actively working with law-enforcement agencies in an attempt to thwart the bad guys.

Scamming the Scammers

First up, here’s a year-old YouTube video from Mark Rober in which he shows how he managed to use one of his famous glitterbombs to catch a phone scammer, who was then arrested.

Rober didn’t do this on his own. He collaborated with some well-known YouTubers who specifically work to thwart scammers. Here, for instance, is Jim Browning’s video about the above incident: Catching Money Mules.

And here’s the Scammer Payback channel working with Rober. I like this video quite a bit, actually. It provides a lot of info.

But wait! That’s not all! Here’s another Rober video from a couple of weeks ago in which he documents his year-long quest to infiltrate the scam call centers in India in order to disrupt their operations (and, he hopes, to shut some of them down).

And let’s wrap things up with Kitboga as he trolls a scammer into spending ten hours with him, eventually goading the crook into losing his temper in a nuclear-level meltdown. It’s a thing of beauty. (Note, however, that the video is nearly ninety minutes long.)

I have zero patience for scammers. Zero. I believe they deserve the harshest possible punishments. But, as Rober mentions in one video, it’s like playing whack-a-mole. You put one scammer out of business and five more rise to take his place.

In one of his sequels to Dune, Frank Herbert wrote: “Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exists only a difference of degree. You have done violence to him, consumed his energy.”

Let’s extend this comparison. If time is money (or, more precisely, money is a manifestation of the time required to create it), if money represents “life energy”, as the authors of Your Money or Your Life put it, then depriving a person of her money is also only different from murder by a matter of degrees.

Further Reading

Want more info on scams and how to prevent them? Here are some intersting articles and useful resources I’ve found over the years:

Let me know if there are other videos or resources I should add to this list!

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There are 6 comments to "Scambaiters: Meet the modern-day heroes who scam scammers".

  1. MSB says 24 May 2022 at 19:24

    You Tuber Pleasant Green is very entertaining as he uncovers scams largely out of Nigeria. He has had some luck turning the tables on the scam and flipping the revenge script by offering jobs and showing other ways to make money.

    • J.D. says 24 May 2022 at 19:37

      I love the idea of “flipping the revenge script”, making something good out of something awful. That’s awesome. I’ll check out Pleasant Green.

  2. Shellee Pavlak says 25 May 2022 at 04:46

    What about romantic scams

    • J.D. says 25 May 2022 at 06:52

      What are romantic scams?

      • Treo says 26 May 2022 at 00:19

        The Tinder Swindler comes to mind, but that’s just one very high profile example. Humans are very vulnerable when it comes to romance and that has led to a rise in scams in that arena.

  3. Josh K says 13 October 2022 at 12:49

    I detest & abhor scammer scumbags; long live scambaiters!

    Also, condolences on the passing of your mother, JD; stumblign upon your blog when I was in uni years ago was like finding fresh water – we don’t really have personal finance education in the UK (at least not when I was growing up).

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