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dolittle
Hello I'm New here!


Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 5
Location: Australia


PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:03 am Reply with quoteBack to top

hi all, just ran across your site today and had a good chuckle, however I am wondering a couple of things about the ethical and legal side of things which your ethics stuff didn't seem to cover:

* the ol' "two wrongs don't make a right" seems applicable. Scamming a scammer at best makes them waste a little time and lose a little money, it also makes them feel that scamming people in the future is a reasonable activity rather than changing their tune. So how seriously do you try and contact the police to get scammers arrested? And do you believe your vigilante-ish actions have any positive effect beyond a laugh at the scammer?

* is what you are doing legal? I mean couldn't the same scam laws be applied to you as to the initial scammer? Eg. if you promise to pay for the delivery of a DVD/photo/whatever aren't you legally obliged to pay for it? Even worse if you impersonate a police officer or make up a false company, that seems like fraud to me.

I'm sorry if I missed obvious replies to these points, but for me they would put me off scambaiting. Thanks for your thoughts in advance
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Canadon Alfa
419Eater is my life


Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 293


PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:27 am Reply with quoteBack to top

If you haven't read the "ethics of scambaiting" sticky topic, you should, there are some good things there that may be responsive to your questions. Wink

Someone on this forum, I don't recall who, put it very well: we think of ourselves as soldiers in a war. It's an electronic war. We're on the front lines, and our objective is to harass the enemy, disrupt his communications and force him to waste time and resources on us instead of targeting legitimate victims.

I have never done anything illegal or, to my own standards, immoral while scambaiting. If I promise to send you $500 by Western Union and then refuse to do so, I've broken no laws in any state or country that I'm aware of.

When you hear the stories of victims of these bastards it's very difficult to have any sympathy for the criminals who target them. If we can make their jobs harder and more frustrating by sending some emails and inducing them to get tattoos and hold up silly signs for us, that's more than most people are doing to prevent victims from being scammed.

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B. A. Ware
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Joined: 14 Apr 2007
Posts: 1828
Location: I've fallen and I can't reach my beer.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:31 am Reply with quoteBack to top

dolittle,

Welcome to the eater.

You are right in the fact that we aren't very well regulated.

Is what we do wrong?

We could go away and then more people would become victims to these scum that would rob your grandmother of her last dollar. No law enforcement organization can catch them because they cover their asses too well.

If you want to help but don't feel comfortable with how we do it then go to www.aa419.org and learn to help without doing anything even remotely immoral. As a member there I can assure that we would love to have your help.

Please don't question what we do until you understand what THEY do.
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Luther Blissett
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Joined: 06 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:32 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Yay! Another ethics thread! jump_4_joy

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dolittle
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Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 5
Location: Australia


PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:11 am Reply with quoteBack to top

thanks for the fast replies, I had a look at the ethics thread before I posted and I couldn't see anything on those points which is why I thought I'd ask, for me its a grey area which I thought I check your views on. I'm not condemning you, in fact I have a mate who I'm sure would love to counter-scam a fraudster who I'm sure I'll send here ^^.

I think the warrior analogy is appropriate (at least in the context of acceptance of the 'war on drugs' or 'war on terror') and in truth it was why I referred to scambaiting as a kind of vigilante-ism. I remembered discussion in the media about 419 scams and governments mumbling about tightening laws in response. I think you should really try to find out what is legal and what isn't for your own protection more than anything else (eg. in one scambaiting a police officer was impersonated, which I'm pretty sure can be quite a serious offence)

as you say, these guys are difficult to trap, but given they fall for scambaitings they are hardly bin-laden-esque fugitives, it would be nice if the consequences of scambaitings could lead to arrests or information the police could act on (though I'm unsure how atm). In part I think of this becuase a recent article in the paper here had a journalist go on skype listing their age as 14 and received paedophilic comments within 10 minutes of doing so (and I sure hope the police are now acting on that kind of information). Police are usually way behind on web phenoma, and the whole 'entrapment defence' makes things complicated, but still it would be great to work out a way to incorporate the police in catching these guys.
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Eight
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Joined: 11 Sep 2004
Posts: 8711
Location: UK


PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

dolittle wrote:
but still it would be great to work out a way to incorporate the police in catching these guys.


We do. Very Happy Anyone with a shield in their signature has had a hand in arrests, and we are rightly very proud of those. But that is only part of what we do, and we are proud of all of it.

We try to maintain a legal line here, although different jurisdictions will have different rules about deception and fraud, and we cannot guarantee that what we do is legal everywhere in the world. And we also try to stick to our own ethical code, but we don't get too prescriptive about that except when talking about damage to third parties. People find their own way to be comfortable with their own conscience when baiting, and it's unique to each of us. I hope you'll stick around, try reading some of the ethical discussions we have had before, and then decide whether it is for you. Smile

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Obi-Wan Knievel
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:59 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi Dolittle! In part I believe you are correct. 2 wrongs may not make a right. 3 rights however, do make a left. It's true - I looked it up.

Other than that, some of what we do here might maybe be viewed by some as sort of against one or two laws. I'm sure certain banks, wire transfer providers and other businesses would rather not have their logo mis-used, even for the noble and sadistic purposes of baiting. If I ever get the chance, I'll ask them if it's OK.

Also, keep in mind that we are not law enforcement officials. We do try to have scammers busted by the law, but that's easier said than done since law and justice are rarely the same thing. When you consider the fact that many bank, wire transfer, and legal officials are actually in on the scam process, prosecution is difficult indeed.

I don't know who wrote it, but there is an old ethics rule that says "turnabout is fair play". That might not be a legal defense, but I'll stick to it anyway. Because after all, three rights make a left. So bait sticky, read the safeties, and have fun.
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HitchHiker
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Joined: 12 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 7:51 am Reply with quoteBack to top

@ Dolittle
Welcome to the forum.

Right or Wrong? If I agree to send 100 to a scammer who has promised to send me 8,000,000 lottery winnings and I do so, would I be right? No I'd be an idiot. Because I know I would never see the 8 million, and I would probably be asked to send more.

I know there is no 8 million coming my way, the scammer knows this, so I promise to send money for something I know I'm not going to get, and I fail to send it, am I committing a crime? I don't think so.

When ever we get anything like bank detail, we send then to AA419 and they deal with that information through the proper channels.

Who should I report a scammer to? The police in my country cannot do anything because the scammer is in Africa, even if I can identify roughly where he is (ie country). Thay could only approach the authorities in that country, but with what evidence? A false name, possibly an IP address?

As most of the scammers use Internet Cafes anyway, how do you identify which user of the cafe is a scammer and which is not?

I think there is nothing wrong with us wasting the scammers time and money, if there is a chance that they miss out on a real victim. We do not force them to be scammers, that is their choice.

If I was to go and get a big tattoo done, because my greed drove me to follow what are basically stupid instructions from someone I had never met, then that would be my own stupid fault, wouldn't it? I mean you wouldn't throw yourself off a cliff just because someone said there was 100 in it for you, would you?

Therefore, following that logic, these scammers only have themselves to blame.

As said by others, if you feel its not for you, but would like to help in some way, join AA419. (I'm also a member there, but I'm not as involved there as I am here. I think their job is a lot harder than ours.)

Phew, must go and lie down after all that typing Wink
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SlayerFaith
"Loves her joy stick"


Joined: 03 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 8:49 am Reply with quoteBack to top

A few points:
Quote:
the ol' "two wrongs don't make a right" seems applicable.

How, exactly? If I see a mugger approaching someone vulnerable, wave a roll of $20 bills around to turn his attention to me, and then lead him on a merry chase; I'm doing something wrong? Confused You seem to misunderstand most of what is done here.
Quote:
Scamming a scammer at best makes them waste a little time and lose a little money, it also makes them feel that scamming people in the future is a reasonable activity rather than changing their tune.

No. At best it costs them their fake bank sites, real bank accounts, hours of internet cafe time, potential victims, and possibly their freedom if the LEOs are cooperative. That said, if you have a way to change their tune, we are all ears.
Quote:
So how seriously do you try and contact the police to get scammers arrested?

This has been addressed rather well by Eight. Getting arrests in these cases is very difficult due to jurisdictional issues as well as corruption in many of the countries where 419 scams are based. Its a bitch, but we do our best to get the appropriate LEOs involved.
Quote:
And do you believe your vigilante-ish actions have any positive effect beyond a laugh at the scammer?

Ask any number of potential victims that have come here and either asked our advice on their situation or found their scammer's format/ name/ email addy posted. There might also be just a few people who didn't fall for a 419 because they learned about 419 scams from either having a laugh at the fora or the media interviews given by several of the members here.
Quote:
is what you are doing legal? I mean couldn't the same scam laws be applied to you as to the initial scammer?

I'll leave this for the legal types on the board to handle, but I really would like to see the testimony:
Quote:
Prosecutor: How did you come in contact with the defendant?
Lad: Well, I sent him an email telling him that he won the British Lottery
Prosecutor: And why did you do that?
Lad: So I could steal his money
Prosecutor: Then what happened?
Lad: He wasted my time for months and frauded me into making a video tape of myself wanking a bull.
Defense Attorney: The Defense rests....


Quote:
as you say, these guys are difficult to trap, but given they fall for scambaitings they are hardly bin-laden-esque fugitives

No, they are the cowards that hang about in the bushes watching for their chance to roll a senior citizen for their Social Security cheque.
Quote:
In part I think of this becuase a recent article in the paper here had a journalist go on skype listing their age as 14 and received paedophilic comments within 10 minutes of doing so (and I sure hope the police are now acting on that kind of information).

Apples and oranges. You really can't compare baiting pedos to baiting scammers.
Quote:
the whole 'entrapment defence' makes things complicated, but still it would be great to work out a way to incorporate the police in catching these guys.

Entrapment isn't really an issue unless the baiter in question is LEO. I believe the "why don't the police nab them" question was already covered.

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it wasn't me
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 8:54 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^^ clapping clapping clapping

And in my opinion, here endeth todays lesson.

Thankyou SF Wink

PS @Dolittle. Please note the shields in Slayerfaiths sig.

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Luther Blissett
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Joined: 06 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 9:37 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Well said, SF! Wink

Everybody: Please notice the shields in SF's sig-line. And the buns! Razz

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dolittle
Hello I'm New here!


Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 5
Location: Australia


PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:49 am Reply with quoteBack to top

erm have to admit to a fair bit of forum noobishness, what do the assortment of flags, buns and shields mean? Is this the internet forum equivalent of military medals for successful arguments? ^^
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Inspector Gadget
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:51 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Stand for killing off fake bank sites, having people arrested, shutting down fake web-sites, shutting down fake phone seller accounts amongst others.

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Slightlyoutofit
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 11:15 am Reply with quoteBack to top

dolittle wrote:
And do you believe your vigilante-ish actions have any positive effect beyond a laugh at the scammer?


I'm not a vigilante. Vigilantes take the law into their own hands which means that they often act outside of it or break it. I don't believe that anyone here on theEater does that. Sure, some may stretch a few rules here and there but we are not criminals. If any baiter accidentally steps outside of the law it's probably only on a minor technical issue that wouldn't have any repurcussions if any LEA knew about it.
You can see how careful and conscientious we are concerning legality when you take a look at issues such as cash-baiting (a no-no).

As for positive effects? The simple answer is "Yes".

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Luther Blissett
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 11:24 am Reply with quoteBack to top

@ slowfreddie: But, but, but, which one is for what? Wink

@dolittle:

Nigeria Flags, like this, are for killing fake banks used by lads, i.e. reporting them to the appropriate hoster and having the hoster take shut them down. Which flag you get, depends on the location the website claimed to be in. Shutting down fake banks costs the lads money because they had to pay for setting them up & hosting them to use them in their scams.

Cellphone Stands for shutting down a "Phonelad", i.e. getting his email address shut down by reporting it to the email service provider. We don't normally advocate shutting down of email addresses because it costs the lads nothing to set up new ones and might disrupt baits in progress, but phonelads are different as they spend much time spamming their email addresses all over the Internet to lure customers to their fake businesses, so shutting down their addies means they have to go through considerable trouble to "seed" them again all over the Internet.

Stands for getting scammers arrested or playing an important part in getting scammers arrested.

pyramid Stands for killing HYIPs (High Yield Investment Programs, all of them scams) or Pyramid schemes.

Pith Helmet 5 and Suitcase and Globe Stand for getting lads to travel considerable distances, also referred to as "Safaris".

Mugu Reseller Stands for shutting down "reseller accounts", i.e. website hosting resellers who host a lot of scam sites or are themselves a scam operation.

Jolly Roger and I could tell you what these stand for, but then I'd have to kill you. Wink

Santa Err, Merry Christmas, or something to this extend.

:robot: No idea, maybe killing a robot?

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Pretty Rose Don's rose. Given out by Don, the sweetest Mod ever, for services best left unmentioned.

My invention Wink Given out by lotta for having the right "perky buns" attitude. Wink

Mhmm, the "Green House". Goes nicely with Don's rose, I suppose. An award for gardeners.

Hello Kitty! Hello Kitty. An award given out by a nice member here, who's name currently escapes me, but who's not around much these days. Mod edit (Eight) so as not to hijack thread - it was RooRoo, she used to be a mod but she's been on a leave of absence studying law. Smile

star No idea, but they're almost as inflationary as the pink ponies these days.

Did I forget any? Wink

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dolittle
Hello I'm New here!


Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 5
Location: Australia


PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:14 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

ok thanks, thems some impressive sigs then Smile
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dgloryhole
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Joined: 04 May 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

100 pounds to throw a lad off a cliff-is that 100% risky free-yes nothing morally wrong with playing games with the lads

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Ima Baeder
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:09 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Nice post SlayerFaith! well said.

I'd also like to add that the only reason we know WHO the scammers are (ie their email addresses) is that THEY contact US. We aren't out hunting down innocent email addresses and spamming them. All I personally did was sign a few (3) guestbooks on websites and I have easily received 1000 scam emails/month. Yes, all scams. No viagra etc. Just scams.

Also, in one of my baits I told the scammer that I couldn't send the money ($550) unless I took the money my mother needed for her next month of medication, without which, she would die. . . . or if i asked some friends for the money, which would take time. His response? "never mind asking your friends, just take your mother's medication money, she will be fine". I have NO qualms about lying to this man as much as I possibly can and keeping him busy with me because not only would he take someone's last dime, he would essentially be willing to cause a death by doing so.

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JMRazor
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Welcome dolittle. Your questions are reasonable and your replies to the answers have been respectful. You should get a Pony just for that. Wink

Stick around and read for a while. You'll see a lot of good being done by Eater -- and yes we mix in some fun too, but it doesn't take away from the seriousness of our goal -- namely to make the lads' scamming lives as difficult as possible.

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Tsnerd
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:21 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I am not a vigilante, nor do I 'counter-scam'. Rolling Eyes

If I were a vigilante, this would imply that I go all Paul Kersey on a lad with either a baseball bat or firearm, and extract justice outside of the law.

If I were a counter-scammer, this would imply that I swindle the swindler and take money from him in another type of confidence game.

We do neither of those things here.

These don't mean anything, and are the punchlines to jokes forgotton a long time ago:
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The Man
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I got my hello kitty from TS Smile

In terms of ethics/law I don't think that for the most part what we are doing is illegal. At best it could be a civil action for breach of contract.

Take a straight bait first, where you just play a long with the lad. Lad says send me $500 and I'll appoint you as heir to the lost $25M. We all know well and good you are NOT the next of kin to the "dead" guy. There is no dead guy there is no $25M. So you say you will send the money and then send the lad on a wild goose chase. What law have you broken? What jury in any civilized country will find you guilty?

Now take the more elaborate scams. For example there is a member around here trying to get a lad to send him a video application to be a stunt man. Send me a video of you riding a motorcycle doing some crazy stunt and if it is good enough you will get a $200,000 a year job in hollywood. Lad sends video. No job. You MIGHT be able to make the claim that is criminal fraud. Again a defense attorney would have fun with this as the credibility of the lad is zero. He is in the fraud business. If he were to come forward to press a criminal complaint you would have him basically pleading guilty to the original scam that started the whole mess in the first place.

In terms of your personal morals if you do not feel comfortable with the elaborate scams, the straight bait might work. Or as someone else pointed out, focus on shutting down fake banks over at AA419.org or work on phone lads. That is certainly "honest" work and very valuable in terms of helping other people not become victims. Another thought would be bait the check scammers. Get them to send you the checks and then shred them. That way they cannot be sent to another victim.

Regardless, welcome, and never feel affraid to ask questions around here.

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pug
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:54 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi and welcome!
I can't add much to what's already been said, except to say that IMHO you have every right to question things if and when you want to. Most of the questions probably have an answer or a huge thread discussing what you want to know, but finding it can be a pain, so it really doesn't hurt just to ask. Sometimes people get tired of "ethics threads" but what the heck, such threads can be good for clarifying thoughts and can be very educational for newbies in helping to find and set personal baiting boundaries. For those who don't like the ethics threads, don't read 'em!

My personal baits tend to be fairly straight, with the goals of getting the scammer off script, then alternately frustrating them and giving them hope, only to have those hopes dashed. I don't try for trophies or try to get them to do anything, I just waste their time and frustrate them so they have less time and energy for real scams. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that at all.

Keep reading, find out how to bait safely, and have fun.

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dolittle
Hello I'm New here!


Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 5
Location: Australia


PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

thanks all for your replies, I have to say that this is the most welcoming forum I've signed on to (though admittedly I've only spent time on a handful).

From what I've read I'm really amazed at the creativity and ingenuity of all the baits here. Have just spent a few hours going through the GWB v YMCA thread, which had me in tears.

as for the ethics, I'm most comfortable with pug's position, I still think there's a touch of the vigilante involved and baits with money/trophies switching hands I'd still call a counter-scam - but I wouldn't have asked the questions if I didn't think it was a grey area, and as you say its very hard to defend someone who'd encourage someone to effectively euthanise their mother for a bit of cash :/

soz again if I was bringing up old points, figured the ethics thread summarised points raised so far so I probably didn't search as much as I should have lol
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Kdrive
Master Baiter


Joined: 25 May 2006
Posts: 146
Location: Sucksville, USA


PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Entrapment would be me emailing some guy and saying "hey, do you have a $40 million trunk box? Why don't you tell me about a $40 million trunk box. Come on, just send me an email about a $40 million trunk box".

We receive these emails from scammers of their own will...none of us told them to emal us, no one here encouraged, conned or otherwise forced them to email us. If we play around with them, that's not entrapment.
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Inspector Gadget
Angel of unrealistic meetings


Joined: 20 Feb 2007
Posts: 6193
Location: Trumpton


PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hopefully you'll stay, consider the bank forum or the phone lads forum, they seem to be leaning towards your way of thinking. They are out and out con-men/women who set up fake sites in order to lure people in. You simply report them to the correct authorities with your evidence and they get dealt with.

Thank you for being open to talk and taking on board what has been said.

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