At this point, most of us are pretty savvy to email scams. Unless you’re literally 90 years old, you’re probably not going to be particularly credulous when someone emails you saying you’ve inherited $45 million.
That doesn’t stop them being REALLY ANNOYING, though. Yes, you can just delete them and move on with the rest of your life, but sometimes you just want to get your own back on them.
Lo: this one particular bot, Re:scam, cometh. Created by New Zealand charity NetSafe, Re:scam uses AI to mess with email scammers, basically by replying to their emails with credible nonsense.
“Re:scam can take on multiple personas, imitating real human tendencies with humour and grammatical errors,” NetSafe explains. “It can also engage with infinite scammers at once, meaning it can continue any email conversation for as long as possible.”
The aim, NetSafe say, is to “turn the tables on scammers” by wasting their time – ultimately damaging their profits. Phishing isn’t just annoying – it costs the global economy $12 billion a year.
First, the bot checks to “make sure it is a scam attempt”; then a proxy email address is used to engage the scammer. This “floods their inboxes with responses… without any way for them to tell who is a chat bot and who is real, vulnerable target”.
The Verge points out another bot has been wasting scammers’ time – Lenny, a bot that uses 16 pre-recorded snippets to waste the time of annoying telemarketers.
If you fancy ruining a phisher’s day, just forward a scam email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Job done.