IF YOU'RE tired of feeling like scammers have an endless amount of time to bombard your inbox, non-profit Netsafe has launched an email bot called Re:scam designed to help you fight back without wasting your precious time.
The New Zealand-based organisation's new tool in the fight against email scams is an automated artificial intelligence-based bot that will endlessly keep scammers engaged in email conversation until they stop responding.
While fighting back against scammers is nothing new - it's known as 'scambaiting' and has existed for a very long time, growing into huge communities - expending time engaging with scammers isn't ultimately a very productive thing to do. Sure, you're wasting their time, but also yours, as well as confirming that it's an active email address.
Instead, now all you have to do is forward the mail to [email protected] which will then continue the conversation on your behalf, but without using your email address. Once the interaction is over, you'll get a summary of the conversation too, so you know how it turned out without investing that time.
By using AI to power the conversations, the responses seem real enough to keep the scammers suitably enticed to keep responding. At least until they catch on and realise they're never going to get personal or financial details out of the exchange.
But what's the point, I hear you asking? Well, simply to suck up the scammer's time so that they have less of it to waste on actual real humans.
Unfortunately, while web-savvy folks can often avoid the crudest phishing scams, plenty of people still fall for them, and it's a situation that Netsafe says costs around $12 billion per year globally. It's also one that causes a significant amount of embarrassment for the people that do fall foul of them once they realise they've been scammed.
Now, at least, there's a simple way to start that fight back - but you will have to recognise that it's a scam email in the first place. µ
It's the week in Google news
Erik Estrada wouldn't have stood for this
Hacks in support of WikiLeaks founder target gov websites