I somehow spent an hour or so this weekend reading various ‘baits’ in the PublishYourWork forum over at 419Eater.com, a site devoted to the art of scambaiting (if you’re not familiar with scambaiting, read this post by Tom Whitwell at The Times Online).
As I read through the threads, I was surprised at how scambaiters talk about their work. Scambaiters use specific terms to describe what they do: a ‘lad’ is a targeted scammer, a ‘trophy’ is something the scambaiter receives from the lad, a ‘mark’ is a victim of a scammer (known as a ‘mugu’ in scammer circles apparently), and so on.
I was also impressed with how involved some of these ‘baits’ are. A few of the better scambaiters put a lot of effort into working the scammers: they play multiple characters, from clergymen to hackers to other scammers; they do their best to send the exchange into odd twists; and they often wait until the right moment, just when the scammer has done all he thought he needed to do in order to get the money, before revealing the hopelessness of the situation/play their trick/etc.
July 15th, 2009 / 11:38 pm