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 Scambaiting: Ethical for a Christian?

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Bustyn_Yuhrass
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:44 am Reply with quoteBack to top

As a Christian and Sunday School teacher I can tell you that I have absolutely no problem with scam baiting. There are many cases of deception being condoned in the Bible. Just remember, we're the good guys here. If it takes a little deception to stick it to the bad guys, then that's what I'm going to do. They're lucky it's only lies they're getting from me. I wish I could get my cross hairs on them. Wink

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mrsbean
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:23 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Jedi_Night wrote:

I guess, to me, when I think about it, I ask: "Am I really making a difference?" I guess I would feel better about scambaiting if I knew I was actually doing something. It's just...I start to think about it, and even if I scambait and trick a scammer, they are just going to move on to a real victim. I'm sorry for sounding discouraging, but I just ask if I could really make a difference, and MAYBE steer the scammer away from scamming.


Possibly you just need to readjust to more realistic expectations of "making a difference". Much like a single policeman or policewoman can't kill the entire drug trade by arresting a minor dealer, a single scambaiter can't expect to stop the entire 419 industry cold. They can' t even necessarily expect to be the sole factor that stops a single scammer from scamming any further.

But scambaiting does make a difference. Volunteering at victim support or information sites makes a difference. Generally, a difference far larger than what you get feedback on. Reformed lads aren't going to get back in touch. Not every victim who reads a thread you participated in on a forum is going to tell you the information you posted kept them from making a mistake. Even if you only keep a scammer busy five minutes of his day, maybe that's five minutes he doesn't use to contact a victim who doesn't initially look as promising as your baiting character but would eventually pay. Maybe that five minutes saves someone you never even know about. Just like that police officer may save some kid from "trying it just this once" and ending up dead by removing a particular dealer from a particular street corner.

Could you possibly be a factor in reforming a lad? Sure. Are you likely to hear about it even if you are? Probably not.

Is even a minor (in the big scheme of things) impact in the statistics worth the effort? I think the person who fails to lose money and "face" to a scam that you help prevent would say it's a rather significant impact to them, personally.

I tend to look at it more from a victim support/information viewpoint, since I get more solid feedback doing that sort of thing. I can either look at it as "Big whoop. I saved one guy from sending $300 to some lottery scammer. I'm sure that will totally bankrupt the entire scamming industry." or I can look at it as "That $300 was most of that man's yearly income, and I saved him from bankrupting himself." Or "Big deal. I killed one website. They'll just set up another in a week." as opposed to "I just cost him up to $1200 in website costs, and yanked one brick out of his wall of lies. Maybe he has a harder time convincing the next victim." And I figure for every person who emails or posts out of the blue saying they were "saved", there's probably at least another ten who never let you know.

They key to baiting or volunteering on the anti-scam front happily is keeping your expectations realistic and focusing on what you can do. You're not going to rip through the 419 industry and convert people left and right like Paul on speed, but you can do something. And something is almost always better than nothing.

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Bustyn_Yuhrass
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:53 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I've heard that two lads reform for every one that gets whacked. Coincidence? I think not. Razz

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komsomol
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:27 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Jedi_Night wrote:
I can see why, in some instances, lying is acceptable (such as pointed out- the lying to save Jews from the Nazis during WW2). Lying to save a life is even in Scripture (Abraham lied to save his life and his wife's life when they were in Egypt).
I guess, to me, when I think about it, I ask: "Am I really making a difference?" I guess I would feel better about scambaiting if I knew I was actually doing something. It's just...I start to think about it, and even if I scambait and trick a scammer, they are just going to move on to a real victim. I'm sorry for sounding discouraging, but I just ask if I could really make a difference, and MAYBE steer the scammer away from scamming.

As a godless person, I've read this thread with great interest. My own view of Christianity has always been, that it is within the boundaries of absolute moral laws. This I've always understood as the opposite of moral relativism/pluralism, and this perception has been backed by numerous statements of various clergymen (among them, prominently, various popes) against it. Having read the arguments in this thread, I couldn't help it but got the strange feeling that the Christian moral law in question (the one that apparently forbids lying) is being interpreted and relativized.

Wikipedia wrote:
[...]Moral relativism is the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances. [...] Relativistic positions often see moral values as applicable only within certain cultural boundaries or in the context of individual preferences.

(See "Moral relativism")

If I read the 9th Commandment saying "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor", I can't find subordinate clauses to the effect of "...unless you have a good reason to, in which case it may be ok, depending on the situation". It says what it says, nothing more and nothing less. The same goes for the quoted Revelation 22:15 and Proverbs 6:17, although - as mentioned at the beginning - as a godless person I am probably not in the position to determine whether or not the persons in question, including God, were just trying to stay focused on the essence and wanted to avoid some complicated legal mumbojumbo with much "unless" followed by lengthy exceptions, applicability rules and footnotes, or what was said was meant to be understood and followed "as is", respectively. In fact, I guess, attributing any measure of incompleteness to God in his commandments and rules to mankind is probably a blasphemy. So I really don't know what to think here.

So I visited http://biblicaldefense.org and found following contradictory sequence of sentences:

Quote:
The situation never determines what is right. It is God who determines what is right. Still, the situation may aid the Christian in finding which of God's laws should be applied.15 For when two of God's commands come in conflict due to a situation so that a person cannot obey both, God requires that the person obey the greater command. God then exempts the person from obeying the lesser command. An example of this is the fact that god compliments Rahab the Harlot for lying in order to save two innocent lives (Joshua 2; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25).

(See Refuting Moral relativism)

To me, only one of following statements can be true: (1) It is God who determines what is right. (2) For when two of God's commands come in conflict due to a situation so that a person cannot obey both, God requires that the person obey the greater command.

If God's rules are in conflict, then the person is required to determine what is right (regardless of the euphemistic way of putting it as "obey the greater command"), and this boils down to judging God's own rules in the course of determining, which one is greater and which is lesser. Apart from the blasphemy aspect of it, that appears to be an enormous task for a believer of God, and most of all, it is contradictory to the first statement (It is God who determines what is right.)

My conclusion is the recommendation, that you (Jedi_Night) should not risk making a mistake by transgressing God's law, you should probably choose a field in scamfight in which your actions can stay strictly within the boundaries of your religion with no sophisticated relativism. Finally, following are quotes from a criticism page of Joseph Fletcher's Situational Ethics:

Quote:
Situational Ethics is based upon "God is Love" in I John 4:8. However, in the very next chapter we read, "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (I John 5:3). While Fletcher holds that any commandment may be broken in good conscience if Love is one's intention, the Bible states that the keeping of God's commandments is loving God. To break any commandment, regardless of your intentions, is to not love God. Therefore, logic holds that the breaking of the commandment was not done in Love.

[...]

It is best not to transgress God's Law under any circumstance, regardless of your motive. God knows best and instituted His Law for a purpose. He has not given permission to any man to transgress His Law. If you will suffer because of keeping His Law, rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for so the Prophets suffered before you, and great is your reward in Heaven. If you can save a loved one from suffering by breaking God's Law, do not. For you are taking away their opportunity to persevere and receive blessings from God. Furthermore, you are breaking God's Law, bringing His displeasure upon yourself. To break God's eternal Law for a temporal concern is to focus upon things of this world and to ignore eternity.
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Jedi_Night
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Joined: 02 Aug 2006
Posts: 110
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:16 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for your post, Komsomol! You raised some really good points about lying and the Commandments in general.
Well, for a few days Ive been learning about killing fake banks. However, if we are still doing that "mentor" program, I could use a mentor to teach me the ropes of killing the fake banks. Very Happy
Oh, and I'll forward any scam letters to the FBI if that's cool with you guys. I happened to be on their website, and I typed in "419" and it brought up some instructions on what to do with the letters, and they say to send the letter to them (what they will do I have no idea).
Thanks again for everyone's posts and God bless!

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DrWho
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:22 am Reply with quoteBack to top

OT
I wouldn't bother forwarding scam email to the FBI. I'm surprised the said that. There is nothing they can do about them. I didn't see anything where they ask for emails. They ask for information if you are a victim, only. If they really want some regular emails all they have to do is open an email account. I think you are mostly wasting your time if you sent all scam emails you get.

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Jedi_Night
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:42 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Well, I'm not talking about all of them. But I found that thread on here about the death threat scammer, and I sent them that scammer's email address. It's unfair that these scammers can threaten people with death and exthort money and no one does anything. HOPEFULLY the F.B.I. will do something in this case.

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Connie L. Gus
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:57 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I hope you read Dr. Who's advise about the FBI a few more times.

I've read this thread from the original posting and have been considering the implications way before that. I figure I'm going to hell and that's the end of that. I'm the worst of the worst, targeting charity scammers with a flippant church and two misogynistic named Pastors. Every few months I suffer angst over all my poorly named characters. It must be the lack of hormones.

So we see Christians with wristbands with WWJD? Well yeah, what would He do?

There are several reports of when He got really cheesed.

Quote:
'My house will be called a house of prayer but you are making it a den of robbers.'" (Matthew 21:13)

Quote:

So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the Temple, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said: 'Get out of here.' (John 2:15-16)


Thank goodness, nothing about goats. But interesting word usage with robbers, or rubbers in mugu. I understand that the Hebrew word that was used was "pereets'", defined as violent robber. Like armed robber instead of a simple thief. That's what these people are. They want you to fly there and meet them. Do you want to even bother to think what they will do to you?

The underlying story of why He got really angry is not because of commercialization or making a fair profit. It was about obtaining money under false pretenses. Pay for a cow and get all of your sins removed. Yes, it was all about advance fee fraud.

Whip them? I'd like to. Waste their time and baptize them? That's what I do.

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Doctor X
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:32 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Either truth is respected or it is not.

You do not get to pick and choose based on what maintains your fantasy.

--J.D.

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ואטמא אותם במתנותם בהעביר כל־פטר רחם למען אשםם למען אשר ידעו אשר אני יהוה

Last edited by Doctor X on Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:17 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:06 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@ Doctor X, I have split your last comment from this topic and removed it, you should take your own advice from your previous post to that one, where you said:

Doctor X wrote:
Right, enough, I said I would not get into this. . . .

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:13 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

You prefer refusing good men salvation?

That is in the text. Or are matters of actual evidence irrelevant to you?

Do you only allow that which supports what makes you feel good?

You should take heed of my own advice: do not raise such issues if they disturb you.

Nor should anyone else.

Raise issues and they may get examined.

Censoring them do not make them go away, but they will make you appear the hypocrite.

--J.D.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:29 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Your comment deleted was simply offensive and crass. That is why I reported it. Whether or not you believe what the original poster does, that does not give you the right to make offensive comments about someone's religious beliefs.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

jojobean wrote:
Your comment deleted was simply offensive and crass.


Your comments in this thread are both, but I do not bother reporting such.

Quote:
Whether or not you believe what the original poster does, that does not give you the right to make offensive comments about someone's religious beliefs.


So you find the truth offensive?

Curious.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:43 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Here you go Doctor X, if you want to make remarks about religion, there is something here more to your taste, because it's not for this forum:

http://www.google.com/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=religious+debate&sourceid=opera&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Another mod can re-open this if they like, although I can't see the point if it will only descent in to religion bashing etc

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