Bait & Switch

It’s hard not to admire the scam baiters profiled in this article.

After all, who hasn’t been driven crazy by an email box full of messages from foreign dignitaries just dying to pay you to pick up money? Or responses from the poster of that amazing apartment listing you saw on Craigslist, who it turns out is actually a missionary looking to lease his perfect pad for far less than market value, in exchange for the small fee of your social security, credit card number, account information and firstborn child? Or how about the one where you’re the lucky winner of a million bucks, and all you have to do is give them access to your bank account so they can dump the dough right in?

Still, as obnoxious as all those dignitaries and dough-dumpers are, I don’t know if they deserve all the things these scam baiters put them through. After all, it’s one thing (and a noble thing at that) to try to impede a potential scammer’s influence by feeding him information that will hopefully make him less believable to others. But sending scammers on a wild goose chase through combat zones is karmic retribution of the worst kind. After all, how can we look down our noses at those who intentionally try to use the internet to manipulate others when we’re using those same noses to sniff out targets we can torture ourselves?

Frankly, as much as I admire the dedication and diligence of a lot of the scam baiters, manipulating your fellow man through malicious misuse of mass communication systems always smells kind of fishy to me.

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