How To Get Back At Online Scammers

Jack is a Sydney-based news watcher, music lover and politics hack who occasionally lists things in threes.

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Approx 2 minute reading time

Scam emails suck. I am yet to find a single person who disagrees with that statement. But we also know there’s nothing better than laughing in the face of adversity.

Australians are being hacked, billed and cloned in countless new and somewhat terrifying ways and it’s costing us almost $90m per year.

The ABC has a helpful list of the scams we’re all most likely to fall for, and if you google “who’s most likely to fall for an internet scam”, you’ll find just about anyone could be susceptible to a suspect email.

But, even if you’ve got a keen eye for detail and you can spot a scam in a URL, and a scammer doesn’t successfully take your money, identity or personal details; they will always steal your time. I mean, you’ve gotta at least read the thing before clicking delete, and that’s at least 10 seconds you’ll never get back. Fortunately, man of the people, James Veitch is here to steal that time back.

In December 2015, James showed us how to respond when asked if he’d be willing to share in an ‘interesting business proposal’ with a ‘Solomon Odonkoh’.

At the end of 2016, he was back at it again, this time he was dealing with ‘1,000 Carats of polished Diamond’.

James does it because “Part of me just wants to annoy them as much as they annoy us.” And most likely because it also makes great material for a banger of a TED talk.

He also invites other people to jump in and try and beat the scammers, “Do do this at home, just not with your actual email address” because if they’re dealing with you, dear scam-savvy reader, you’re stopping them doing actual damage.

There are now two types of scam emails to look out for. The newest might attempt to trick you with their sophistication by getting harder to differentiate from the real thing, whilst the more ‘traditional’ scam emails, the ones that lack any morsel of legibility, still exist. And they harbor a sinister motive; to repel the technologically astute recipients, so they can target the vulnerable and easily confused – often the elderly.

So, if you have the time/wit/patience, press reply, and you could be saving someone who isn’t quite as good at spotting a scam from a lot of heartache.

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