What is scambaiting and is it a good idea?

When you come across an obvious scam text, email or phone call, it can be tempting to respond to the scammer with abuse or to simply disrupt them. But ‘scambaiting’ can actually make it more likely you’ll experience further scams – or maybe something worse.

Scambaiting is a term used to describe a practice where people intentionally respond to and engage with scammers to waste their time, gather information, or even turn the tables on them.

The goal of scambaiting is to expose and disrupt scam operations and potentially prevent others from falling victim to them.

For example, you might receive an email from your bank that seems legitimate at first glance, but upon further inspection contains a link that doesn’t seem right.

Instead of simply ignoring the email, someone engaged in ‘scambaiting’ may reply to the email pretending to be interested in the scam, and play along with any subsequent requests from the scammer.

It might seem fun to waste the scammer’s time by providing fake information, but you may be putting yourself at unnecessary risk by doing so.

While you’re busy providing the scammer with false information, you may be inadvertently broadcasting some very real data at the same time.

Scammers can get access to data such as your IP address, which can be used to physically locate you in the real world.

Simply responding to scam emails or texts in any way tells the scammer there is actually somebody real on the other end. And rather than being discouraged, once scammers know you are there you can expect to be bombarded with even more.

There is even the potential for this criminal activity to cross over into your everyday life. While it’s true most scams originate from overseas, some of them operate from right here in Australia.

Scam rings are often controlled by less than savoury characters, who may have no qualms about using physical violence against you if they can gain your actual address.

Ultimately though, scambaiting is a waste of your time and resources. Very rarely do these actions result in successfully disrupting scam operations or getting scammers arrested, others simply waste time without achieving any meaningful results.  

It’s a lot of potential risk for little, if any, potential reward.

Have you ever answered a scammer? Did you notice an uptick in scam attempts afterwards? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Beware this new breed of bank impersonation scams

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.
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