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 Scambaiting morals - unanswered question

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juliette
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:30 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi,

I spent a lot of time reading stuff on this site and it made me a big fan of scambaiting. I'm thinking of starting a scambaiting career as well. However, there is one question about the morality of the thing I found unanswered even though I read most of the sticky's on this site (yes, the 'ethics FAQ' as well).

My concern is about the people scammers use to fulfill the demands of the baiters - whether it is making of an artwork or posing as a vlad girl - you know what I mean.

Two things bog me:
1, Scammers make their living by making people give them money in view of a future profit. What makes you think they don't do the same thing with the artists? I mean, a baiter posing as a scholarship offering agency provided the scammer with all he needed to get the artwork from the poor guy. That would mean the baiter scammed an innocent victim.

2, Scammers supposedly work in well structured crime organizations. Now, coming from a former communistic country I have seen these kind of organizations at work. They do not pay for things they can get by force. I don't see any reason why they would pay a russian girl to pose as a romancer's face. To me it seems the same as the way they run brothels - the prostitutes get barely enough money to buy food and clothes and more often than not they are not doing the job willingly.

Is there any place you discussed this point of view in the forums? I didn't find anything. I only found vague assurances that the scam helpers are 'surely in on this' and they 'surely were paid for this' with no explanation or proof.

Is there any actual proof that these people are either not innocent or are paid for what they do? I would hate to abuse an innocent person!


Last edited by juliette on Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mr.X
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:34 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Well if you have morale issues with some things then don't do it. You can always just do the things that you think are right.

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luckey
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi juliette, welcome aboard!

You raise some good points, and yes they have been raised and discussed before. We usually go around and around for ten or twenty pages until the chorus synchs up with some version of what Mr.X said.

I think getting scammers into trouble with members of their community is one of the few ways we have of getting to them. Personally, I would stop short of doing anything that would cause an ITP (innocent third party) bodily harm or irreversible loss.

The risk you describe is present on even seemingly harmless requests, like sending someone to Western Union to pick up an imaginary payment. A scammer could easily convince an innocent person to go on his behalf and that person could be arrested or beaten to death by an irate WU employee who can't stand to see another victim lose money. OK, maybe not, but you get my point. Wink

We do have guidelines against things this group or the Eater staff have deemed to be over the line. If anything we do endorse rubs you the wrong way, there are plenty of other ways to jump in, have some fun, and do some good in the process.

Edit to add:

In case you missed it, here's a link to an ethics thread that was sparked by Scampatroller's excellent Village People bait where he was able to get a choir started. It's a long one, but I thought some good points were made. Click

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Last edited by luckey on Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JMRazor
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:09 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Let's see, an ethics thread so this must be a month ending in "Y"... Laughing

No harm in asking, but ultimately, as said above, do what you are comfortable with. Even the most benign scambait involves deceit on your behalf. Everything we do here is a matter of degrees -- and we have established a cut-off point where the majority of us feel it is appropriate to stop. Some would go further (much further); others think it is too far already.

The larger point is that you'll never know how your lad is obtaining the wood carvings or obtaining enough money for a bus ride to another country. If that sense of not knowing is disturbing to you, please refrain and only go to the point you feel comfortable.

Last, do not overblow the "organization" of lads - yes, there are gangs that operate in an organized fashion, but there are just as many, if not more, lads who operate on their own or in a very loose confederation. You shouldn't necessarily compare the lads to a Russian mafia (unless you're speaking of the Vlads, in which case that may be a more apt comparison, but again, you won't likely ever know).

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

juliette wrote:
1, Scammers make their living by making people give them money in view of a future profit. What makes you think they don't do the same thing with the artists? I mean, a baiter posing as a scholarship offering agency provided the scammer with all he needed to get the artwork from the poor guy. That would mean the baiter scammed an innocent victim.


No, the baiter scammed a crook, and the crook scammed an artist victim instead of an Internet victim.

juliette wrote:
2, Scammers supposedly work in well structured crime organizations. Now, coming from a former communistic country I have seen these kind of organizations at work. They do not pay for things they can get by force. I don't see any reason why they would pay a russian girl to pose as a romancer's face. To me it seems the same as the way they run brothels - the prostitutes get barely enough money to buy food and clothes and more often than not they are not doing the job willingly.


I don't understand this point all. Do you think West Africa has brothels full of Slavic women? And that it would be unethical to trick a crook into sending a picture of one of their faces? In reality, they do a photo search on the Internet.
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luckey
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^I think the brothel comment was just a metaphor. Wink

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juliette
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:59 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks everyone for the answers, you made points I have to think about.

Bengali in Platforms:

Let me simplify my point for you:
If you ask a scammer to do something for you that he can't do by himself, he might:
1) Scam an innocent into doing it for him
2) Force an innocent into doing it for him

The brothel example was just a metaphor (although in the case of 'vlads on phone', it might not be far from the truth)
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:03 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have done a lot of baits. I have never seen one instance where the scammer has gotten someone else to do his dirty work for him.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:11 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hello and welcome, you will have to pick your lads according your wellbeing, I don't do tattoo's and have none, I don't do "funny" pictures or artwork, just because..., but that's me, I'm a slow straight baiter and realize that the money they use (I like to think I make them spend Wink) comes from victims, local or international, so I just waste their time, try to give them stupid idea's(that will warn real victims) and drag them along as long as I can stand them. My first lad after two years, is still writing me once a week, that's only an hour a year, but it's an hour. Battles are usually won shot by shot Laughing
You could do more damage, but if you don't like to lower yourself to their level, just keep them happy and occupied. Warp their brain over modern customs, word spelling or new laws, close a bank account a year and they will remember you and keep wondering what went wrong there(=more wasted time)
No musts here, just stay SAFE and HAVE FUN with your new "friends" the way you see fit.
Read a bit more, get a mentor and read even more, you'll find the scenario you can live with and bug the $#@$ out of your special friends Laughing

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Bengali in Platforms
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:14 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

juliette wrote:
If you ask a scammer to do something for you that he can't do by himself, he might:
1) Scam an innocent into doing it for him
2) Force an innocent into doing it for him


Given that these are the means they typically employ to enrich themselves, it is not unethical to divert their ill-gotten gains for own purposes.
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GomerPyle
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:40 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The point is juliette, that if you took the view about ITP's to the logical conclusion, police would never take any action against criminals in case some ITP got harmed or affected. Sure, if criminals run prostitues or go around getting their way by threatening people and demanding money from them, they'll do it for baiters, but that's because that's the way they are and the way they operate day to day.

Law enforcement (and I am not suggesting that we are LE in any way) will try to avoid ITP's getting harmed, but they will still do their job.

One of my mentees got a trophy picture and we were shocked to see he used a kid for the picture, probably his own child. Even if you never do anything to involve an ITP our slimey friends can be guaranteed to let you down sooner rather than later.

Once you've seen some of the things that Lads do you will not find it such an issue, which is not to say that I or any other baiter is lacking in ethics or morals. You won't be criticised or mocked if you choose to avoid baits that may transgress your own code, and I think you'll get a clearer view if you take things gently.

Confucius said - "I can't un**** the world but I sure can **** up scammers"

Welcome to our wacky world.

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FrumpyBB
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Welcome Very Happy

He would be doing much more harm if left "unattended", i.e. not baited, don´t you think so? Smile
Hence baiting is a good thing to do.

Regarding your 2nd point, we can even take advantage of this fact (provided the lad is not a "lone lad"):
He might have needed to borrow money to do a safari / pay the artwork / etc. - now this will shatter his scamming reputation, and his chairman´s wallet will be much tighter in future Very Happy

A lad most recently been on safari has lost many old valuable money connections and his cell phone and is broke now it seems. I woul dnot consider his money providers being ITPs. I´m happy that in the near (and far) future no one is going to borrow him any more money "to meet his girlfriend in Chad".
Just an example.
They lose credibility and resources Smile and their chairs lose money and will make the lad responsible. I think these are good prospects.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:02 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

reasonable risks, foreseeable dangers, practical safeguards.

the waste of time and resources are the main thing - and the way to this is the old mind vs mind battle between you and him. poison his thoughts. spoil his sleep. confuse his days. shorten his temper and sap his resolve.

do this, and all his other scams will be stuck in 2nd gear.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:00 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I haven't baited any vlads, but as I understand it, they're selling romance. The pictures I've seen are of attractive fully dressed women. Pictures possibly taken from modelling agency websites.
Worst case scenario is that they are from a local brothel. If so, isn't posing for a vlad picture better than their usual occupation? Pictures that are taken to trap scam victims.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If I bait a lad for a bit of artwork and he gets it off an artist who he can't pay, there's always the risk that the artist may kick the shit out of the lad as payback.

That's a chance I'll take. Twisted Evil

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

artists typically have lots of sharp things around like chisels, palette knives and box cutters... and chemicals, mostly flammable...

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have had misgivings about artwlork of the quality that Reaper has been collecting - those lovely carvings. My understanding is that they are done by an artisan, not the lad. If the artisan does not get paid for his work, is he a harmed ITP?

That is one reason why I would never bait for that kind of trophy. Pics of models from internet sites, even pics of random families (no harm in having a picture taken), forms and other documentation - those are all OK in my book. If an ITP should be paid and is likely not to be paid, I won't go there.

But that's just me - YMMV.

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Bengali in Platforms
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:23 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Titania wrote:
If an ITP should be paid and is likely not to be paid, I won't go there.


Suppose you did finally send over a few thousand dollars to the scammer. Do you imagine the artist would see a dime of it? This is why we are not ethically responsible.
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Newdonym
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:30 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Yes they might force the artist to do it for free, but i've seen a few baits where the guy was paid.

They always inflate the cost to the baiter anyway, so why not pay it and keep the artist happy. Also, they think they will get repeat business and get paid lots more money each time. If the artist won't do it, then they are boned.
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Gladesrunner
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:35 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

In regards to the art baits. Not only will the scammer most likely catch a beating from the artist. But the artist will more than likely go to the police or sue the scammer for his art. More headaches for the scammer

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GomerPyle
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

We all set our own guidelines (apart from the 419eater ones) but when it comes to artwork, do we really think that artisans in West Africa aren't cute enough to ensure that they aren't paid in advance ?

I once bought a thanka in Nepal and it involved taxis bodyguards and a detailed discussion on the manner of handover that would have befitted a UN nuclear disarmament operation. It started off as a quaint and spiritual experience but quickly became a well planned money transaction.

I doubt any ITP provider of artwork is left out of pocket.

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juliette
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for the replies, guys. I'm not fully decided yet, but I will probably not try to pry any artwork or similar things out from the lads.

I'm joining on the fun anyway. I hope vyj3bk0 pr1p1c jr., a naive slovenian student and his wealthy but cautious father are going to give the lads a lot of headaches. Let them taste some slavic temperament for a change Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:04 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

As an art baiter, I try and get receipts for artist fees from all my lads to try and make sure the artist is paid. (The lad usually pays half the fee in advance). So far, EVERY lad has given me a receipt(s).

It's funny how they like to add on other costs in the email to inflate the final pay out. It usually ends up being over 10,000. (For something that costs a few hundred to a few thousand)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:16 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you for setting my mind at rest on that score, Reaper.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:23 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm trying to do an art bait right now, and I have a feeling that the artists in Nigeria are a little too used to all the scammers surrounding them to fall for the "I'll pay you later" line. Keep in mind, Nigerians have no qualms about scamming each other out of money either, and any artist who allowed themselves to be tricked so easily would soon be out of business anyway.

I'm curious where to draw the line for ITPs. For instance, can I give the scammer a real address and phone number of a hotel I'm supposed to be staying? Worst case scenario, the hotel staff has to blow off a guy who doesn't have enough information to contact one of their guests. I know many safari baiters have told the scammers that they're in a hospital, and they've shown up there and talked to the staff. Does that qualify as an ITP breach? If the scammer has a family to support, then baiting him affects ITPs (his kids). There seems to be a huge gray area here, and I don't think the line is very clear.

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