Q: What do I need to know before I start baiting?
A: Although scam baiting can be very satisfying and loads of fun, there are 6 things you should never do under any circumstances:
1) Never use your real email address to bait. Always bait from an email account made just for scam baiting.
2) Never give real personal information (such as your real name, address and phone number) to the scammers. Please remember that these people are CRIMINALS and should be treated as such.
3) Never believe anything these maggots tell you. 419ers are unscrupulous people of the worst kind. They are lying liars who will even lie to you about lying.
4) Never feel sorry for the scammers you bait. They have caused a lot of suffering for a lot of
. So please "twist the knife" every chance you get.
5) Never open a file that a scammer sends you that could be potentially malicious. Only open files that are in the following formats: .gif .jpeg .jpg .bmp .png .tiff .tga If the extension is something else, especially if it's a .exe or .scr, do not open it because it could be a virus!
6) Never involve innocent people in your scam baiting activities without their consent. (For example - don't give a scammer your bitchy ex-girl friend's phone number or try to fool a scammer into visiting the house of a neighbor you don't like.)
Q: What else should I be aware of before I start baiting?
A: Be prepared for the ugliness of scam baiting. Scammers will say hateful, racist and profane things to you when they discover you have been baiting them. You will likely receive several death threats too. Some of the things these criminals say are creepier then a psychotic clown's laugh. (Examples) So you need to have a reasonably thick skin to be a baiter. If you are a sensitive person who is easily intimidated - scam baiting might not be for you.
Q: How do I get started?
A: It might be a good idea for you to write out a quick "cheat sheet" for your fake scam baiting identity. For example...
Name: Will Dicker
Address: 103 Humpalot Rd. Crotchville, IL. 62221, USA
Occupation: Truck Driver
Date of birth: January 11, 1976
This "cheat sheet" is also a good place to write other important bits of fiction that you tell the scammer as the bait progresses. For example, if you tell the scammer that you work at "The law firm of Dowe, Cheatem and How" then it might be a good idea to write that down on your cheat sheet in case the scammer brings that up later. (Remember the Ferengi's Rule of Acquisition #60 - "Keep your lies consistent.")
Q: What's next?
A: Next you need at least two email address - a "catcher account" and a "baiter account". You can get free email accounts from many places... http://www.gmail.com/ , http://www.fastmail.fm/ , http://www.hushmail.com/ , http://www.crawler.com/ and http://www.s-mail.com/ are some of the best and all five will hide your IP address from the scammers. Remember to enter false information when you register.
The first email address will be your "catcher account". A catcher account is an email account you have for the sole purpose of collecting 419 email scams. It's likely that your catcher account will eventually become so overwhelmed with spam that you might find it difficult to use. You can name it anything you want, it does not matter. (See "How do I get 419 scammers to email me?" below for details on how to attract juicy fresh 419 email scam spam to your new catcher account.)
The second email address will be your "baiter account". This will be the email account from which you will be answering the emails and corresponding with scammers. You might want to give a little thought to what your baiter account email address will be. A safe choice might be firstname.lastname@example.org or something similar. It's a good idea to make the password something simple and easy to remember, but completely different from any other password that you use.
Q: How do I get 419 scammers to email me?
A: Do a Google search for "guestbook mugu OR guyman" and then sign 10 or more of the listed guestbooks with your fake name and catcher account email address. Remember that most of these guestbooks belong to innocent third parties, so post something nice like "Cool website!" or "Thank you for the information." On those guestbooks you might find comments entered by someone signing the name "Mugu" or "Guyman" who left messages such as "I dey here ooooooo,", "i dey ooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" and "Guyman stay off." These cryptic messages are left by Nigerian scammers after they harvest email addresses to alert other scammers that the email addresses on the guestbook have been harvested. The presence of these words indicate that scammers will be back to harvest again later. That is why these are good places to post your catcher accounts. Some times Baiters will intentionally start a guestbook just for the purpous of posting baiter catcher accounts such as this one... http://www.419baiter.com/guestbook/
Q: Can I reply to an 419 email that was sent to my friend's email account?
A: Sure. But make sure that you send the reply from your baiter account and not from your friend's real email account.
Q: What should I say when I email the scammer for the first time?
A: That depends on what kind of scam it is. But most of the time you just need to pretend to be a gullible adult who is slightly skeptical of the offer. You don't need to say much. But it is a good idea to give the scammer at least one good relevant question to answer. For example...
- "Is this for real? Please don't bother to email me back if this is a scam. I'm too smart to fall for a fake offer."
- "How can I know for certain that you are a real lawyer? What kind of proof can you provide me with?"
- "I won the National Spanish Lottery!?!!? But I'm not from Spain. Can I still collect the $985_MILLION_USD?"
Q: I emailed the scammer, but he never emailed me back. Did I do something wrong?
A: Probably not. Many emails to scammers go unanswered for reasons known only to the scammers. I recommend attempting to bait many different scammers at the same time. If you get too many - just ignore the more boring ones.
Q: I'm scam baiting a scammer who wants me to send him money transfer information (Western Union or Money Gram). What do I do?
A: You can give your scammer one or more fake forums to fill out. Tell him - "I can't send the money until you fill this out." You can find some on our Fake Forms page. You can also feed the scammer false information. Here are some examples:
Name used to send the money = Your Fake Name
Name of the person you sent the money to = Scammer's Name
Amount Sent = $0,000.00(USD)
Place the money is sent from = FakeTown, State
Place the money is sent to = Scammer's City, Country
Control Number = 12345678 (any 8 random numbers if Money Gram, 10 random numbers if Western Union)
Test Question = A simple question of some sort - such as "What is my favorite color?"
Answer = A simple answer to the test question - such as "Blue"
Here are some scam baiting tips for "twisting the knife" in regards to money transfers:
1) Tell the scammers you sent it by Money Gram - Even if they specifically asked you to send it by Western Union. The reason for this is that Western Union has an online system that allows scammers to check, by computer, if the money has really been sent or not. Money Gram, on the other hand, forces them to waste time going to the money gram office.
2) Insist that the scammers call you to collect the money transfer information. I often tell them "I have sent the money that you requested. However, the people at the money transfer office specify told me to never share the transfer information by email. So you will need to call me so that I can give you the money transfer information by phone."
3) When they call, don't give them the fake information right away. Instead - take the opportunity to ask them a few questions. "You said your father was murdered - how?", "What is the name of the bank where the trunkbox full of gold dust is being kept?", "You say you are a doctor - what is your doctorate in?" Etc...
4) While giving them the information - pretend to be frequently interrupted by various problems - someone at the door, baby has something in her mouth, dog needs to be let out, grandpa can't find his glasses, etc...
5) Make the test question and answer something complicated and hard to spell. For example: "What is the fear of spiders called? = Arachnophobia", "What is the full name of my dog? = Captain Rumpelstilskin Fluffy-Poo the Third", Etc...
6) Remember to take your sweet time. Particularly when they ask you to spell things. (Remember that the scammers are the ones paying for the long distance call.)
7) Send the money to the wrong person. For example - if the scammer calls himself "John Smith" but he wants you to send the money to his secretary "Desmond Ugo" - "Accidentally" put "John Smith" as the person you sent the money to. They will probably ask you to change it and then call you back later.
8) Send the money to the wrong place. For example - if he claims to work in "London, UK" - but wants you to send the money to "Lagos, Nigeria" - "Accidentally" put "London, UK" as the place you sent the money to. They will probably need you to change it and then call you back later.
9) You can always add some time to the conversation by asking them to review all the information once more so there are no mistakes.
10) If/when they call back later, after the transfer number fails to work for them, read the number back to them with one small change. "No, it is 12345978... not 12345678. You must have wrote it down wrong..."
11) Be clueless. When they demand to know why the transfer number was rejected. Tell them you don't know why. "Did you go to a certified 'money gram' office or to a bank?", "Did you give them the answer to the question I gave?", "I'll tell you what - I'll go check with the money gram office on my lunch break. Please call me back in 6 hours and I'll update you."
Q: I'm baiting a scammer who wants me to send him my bank information. What do I do?
A: Give him fake information. Here is a list of typical bank information that scammers might request with examples of what they should look like:
Account type = Examples: Checking Account, Savings Account, Home Equity Line of Credit Account
Name of the bank = Examples: Citizens Community Bank, Washington Mutual Bank, Bank of America, New York Trust, United Klingon Savings and Loan,
Account number = Examples: 1234567890, 123-456-789-012, 123456789012 (10 or 12 random numbers)
Social Security Number = Example: 123-45-6789 (9 random numbers)
Bank Phone Number = Say you don't know your banks number. If they insist that you give them one you can use this fake one here 1-206-984-2397
Account name = Your Fake Name
Routing Transit Number (RTN), or Routing Number = 123456789 (9 random numbers)
Sort code = 10-78-66, 004-00012, 1234
Swift code = UNASL44, NEDSZAJJ, CITIGRAA
Bank Address = 1234 Whatever St. Faketown, State, Zip Code, USA
Here are some examples you can use. (The bank names, addresses, routing numbers and swift codes are authentic, but the account numbers are randomized. Use your fake name as the "account name".):
BANK NAME: STANDARD CHARTERED BANK
BANK ADDRESS: 1 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK 10010 USA
ACCOUNT NO.: 3581082723001
SWIFT CODE: SCBLUS33
Bank Of America 1080 South Elmhurst Road Mount Prospect, IL 60056 USA
Account No: 293006314592
Routing No: 081904808
Swift Code : BOFAUS3N
Bank of America 101 West Baltimore Pike Media, PA 19063 USA
Account Number : 383303781582
Rounting Number : 026009593
Swift Code : BOFAUS3N
BANK NAME: CHASE BANK
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 6377392840
ROUTING NUMBER: 021000021
BANK ADDRESS: 405 LEXINGTON AVE, NY 10017.
Q: I am baiting a scammer who SAYS he wants to send some money to my account. I'm curious if he really will send some money or not. But if I send him fake account information (as you suggest above) I will never know for sure. Would it be safe to give the scammer a REAL bank account number to an account that is EMPTY? Perhaps I could open a new bank account with my fake name to further protect myself.
A: For multiple reasons that is a VERY bad idea...
1) First of all - it is not necessary for most baits. 98% of the time, when scammers ask for account information, they only ask so that they can give false hope that a big payoff is coming and have no intention of ever sending you anything. So just send them fake, randomly selected, account numbers - they almost never check.
2) Sometimes scammers will attempt to send a fake electronic transfer to the account in an effort to make it appear, temporarily, that you have money in your account. This is called "flashing" an account. Eventually your bank will discover that the transfer was fake. Even if you never try to withdraw the fake money - the bank, will still report it to the police who might press charges if they suspect, correctly, that you knew that the transfer was fraudulent.
3) Another reason a scammer might want your account information, could be that they want to exploit you as a "money mule". (That is - the scammer hopes you will accept money that was stolen from someone else - and then forward part of it to him in Ladland) If a real victim sends you money, he might later report it to the police. The stolen money would then be traced to YOU. Even if you make a genuine effort to send the stolen money back to the real victim - this will still appear very suspicious to both the police and your bank.
4) If your intention is to open a new bank account under a FALSE name - that is even worse! Doing so, even for noble intentions, is still a crime. If the police are ever able to track you down (and there is a good chance that they will) you will have a very hard time explaining your deception!
So, basically, giving real bank information to a scammer is never a good idea.
Q: A scammer has given me HIS bank account information that he wants me to send some money to. Is there something I can do with that information?
A: Yes. Please take the time to visit the forum at "Artists Against 419". There you can find people who specialize in busting scammer bank accounts and fake online banks. Busting bank accounts is very annoying to scammers. It takes a lot of time and effort for them to be replaced. After the scammer sends you the account information - tell him that the account does not appear to be working. That way he might send you a new account.
Q: Is it safe to give real personal information (such as names, addresses and phone numbers) to scammers?
A: No! Under no circumstances should you give any real private information about your self to the scammers that you bait. The people we bait might not be criminal masterminds who can rival Professor Moriarty, but they ARE dangerous criminals and should be treated as such. Your pet scammer might appear witless and non-threatening on the computer screen - but you would likely think differently if you ever came face-to-face with him. While the chances of a scammer traveling to your location to seek vengeance is very low (astronomical even) I still think it is foolish for anyone to share real personal information with someone they know is a criminal.
Q: Wait a minute! You just got done telling victims (On the Victims Help page) that "It is extremely unlikely that a scammer will ever travel to your home and cause you harm." Now you are telling scam baiters that "Under no circumstances should you give any real private information about your self to the scammers that you bait....they are dangerous criminals and should be treated as such.." What gives?!?!?
A: There is a big difference between a baiter and a victim. Typically a victim has done nothing out of the ordinary to anger the scammer. So there is very little motive for a scammer to seek vengeance. Baiters, on the other hand, go out of their way to "burn", humiliate and frustrate scammers. In fact provoking a scammer to the point that they threaten one's life is a mark of distinction among baiters. So there is a much bigger motive for the scammer to seek vengeance upon a baiter then a victim. That having been said - the odds that a scammer will travel thousands of miles, and risk going to jail, to seek unprofitable revenge upon a baiter is still very low. Still it is wise for baiters to never give real information to the scammers that they provoke. Use your head and bait safe.
Q: I'm baiting a scammer who is now asking me for my address. What do I do?
A: Never give a scammer your real address. Instead - just make up an address.... 125 Sukmibals Ave, 461 Kismebutt St., ETC... They almost never check. However, some scammers will mail you fake checks and documents as part of their scam - so if you send them a fake address, their mail will be returned to them unopened. This is particularly true with "work at home" scams where the scammers offer you a percentage if you cash fake checks for them. You can pay a few bucks to get a P.O. box for scammers to send mail to. Or you could do what I did - I talked to my local chief of police and politely asked him if I could use the police station as my address for scam baiting. Fortunately he was very open minded and let me do so. While I can't promises you that the police in your town will be as accommodating - it never hurts to ask. If you get a P.O. Box, you might want to make it appear to be the address of an apartment or office building.
For example, instead of...
PO Box 123,
YourCity, YourState, Zip Code"
Address of Post Office
YourCity, YourState, Zip Code"
Q: I'm baiting a scammer who is now asking me for my phone number. What do I do?
A: Never give a scammer your real phone number. It can be used to find your real address. Here are some options...
1) You can simply ignore the scammer's request for your phone number. While this is safe, it might tip off the scammer that you are a baiter. It will also rob you of the opportunity to incur expensive long distance charges upon the scammer. If you would rather not give the scammer a number - then I recommend you provide a plausible reason why you don't wish to share your phone number. For example - "I'm a widow who lives alone and have been warned by my friends to never give my home phone number to strangers. I'm sure you can understand why."
2) There is a free service you can use called K7.net http://voicemail.k7.net/ that will give you a fake phone number that you can use for free. All calls are automatically directed to a voice mail service (answering machine) and the messages are then emailed to you. You can even customize the voice mail message if you like. Unfortunately you are never able to talk directly with the scammers when using this service, but at least you can hear the messages they leave and give them a number to call rather then stalling every time they ask you for one. I've been told that there are two similar services at http://www.yac.com/ and http://www.j2.com/jconnect/twa/page/homePage?CMP=OTC-US but I have never tried them myself. If the scammers ask why you never seem to answer your own phone you can tell them "My phone company blocks international calls to prevent abuse." or "I have limited service that does not include international calls so my service provider sends all incoming international calls directly to my voice mail."
3) Use "Call Safe" http://www.call-safe.com/ (UK users only) to generate a free anonymous phone number for inbound calls that will be forwarded to your real phone. ("Call Safe" also charges a small amount of money to the scammer's phone bill.) I have never used "Call Safe" so I can't testify to it's usefulness. But, heck - it's free. "UKnumber.co.uk" http://www.uknumber.co.uk/ (Can be used by people both in the UK and elsewhere) is similar to "Call Safe", but gives you a free UK phone number you can give to scammers that will then be forwarded to your phone. I've been told that there are four other services that do pretty much the same thing - http://www.flextel.co.uk/ , http://www.freedigits.com/ , http://disguisemynumber.co.uk/faq.php and http://www.grandcentral.com/home/features so you might want to look into them too.
4) Get a cell phone. It is not free, but it is anonymous and safe. And you can always toss it away if things get ugly or if you lose interest.
5) Get a second phone line. My second phone line only cost me $30 to install and $3 per month to maintain. My second phone line also has a distinctive ring - so I know, before I pick up, which line I'll be talking on.
6) Give the scammer one of the following fake numbers...
1-317-823-9991 ... One ring. Then the sound of someone picking up the phone followed by slight humming sound.
1-301-576-1106 ... No ring. Just total silence for two minutes. Then disconnects.
1-908-355-9969 ... Continuously rings without answer.
1-501-374-0453 ... Two rings. Then strange beeps. Then silence.
1-617-743-2362 ... Continuously rings without answer.
1-407-209-3437 ... No ring. Just total silence for two minutes. Then disconnects.
1-508-583-9997 ... Continuously rings without answer.
1-978-772-9404 ... No ring. Just silence followed by static.
1-978-784-1700 ... One ring. Then brief silence followed by loud screeches and beeps.
1-401-427-2989 ... No ring. Just total silence for two minutes. Then disconnects.
1-757-484-9987 ... No ring. Just PAINFULLY LOUD static that responds slightly to the caller's voice.
Most of these numbers are used by phone companies to test equipment and could change. So I recommend you test them out to make sure they are still working (or not working in this case) before giving them to scammers.
7) Give the scammer a "Jenny" number...
Thanks to the popular 80's song "867-5309/Jenny" the phone number "867-5309" has been prank called so often that in most area codes the number has become invalid or has been turned into a prank number. For a complete list (that needs updating) visit: http://rocketboom.wikia.com/wiki/8675309 Here are some examples:
1-207-867-5309 ... No ring. Beeps. Then... "The number you have reached 867-5309 in area code 207 is not in service. Please check the number and dial again."
1-208-867-5309 ... No ring. Then... "The person you are trying to reach is not accepting calls at this time. Please try again later."
1-231-867-5309 ... Rings 7 times. Then a man's voice says... "To leave a message please press pound, press 3, then dial your name, then 6, then dial your number, then press 69. To contact extension 4443, you will need to leave a message by hitting *2, then bark like a dog, spin in a circle, press one 26 times, then spin in a circle and wait for..." Then it beeps.
1-313-867-5309 ... Woman's voice says "Please enjoy this ring tone while we connect you." Then the song "867-5309/Jenny" plays while on hold. Then a man's voice says "I'm sorry I can't come to the phone right now. Please leave your name, phone number and a brief message and I will get back to you. Thank you for calling." Then it beeps and you can record a message.
1-419-867-5309 ... Continuously rings without answer. (Notice that it's in the "419" area code.)
1-425-867-5309 ... Rings 3 times. Then some party boys sing the "867 5309/Jenny" song (badly). Then a young man cuts in and says "If you guys want to leave a message like this - we have heard it before. If you are a hot chick with big tits and cool friends leave a message. Wooooo!" Then a recording says "mail box is full."
1-775-867-5309 ... Rings about 12 times. Then a woman's voice says... "Your party is not answering. We're sorry, your call will now be disconnected."
8) Give the scammer a busy number...
Most of the numbers listed below are always busy. Each of the "#" can be exchanged with any number of your choosing. (For example "213-###-1117" can be 213-123-1117 or 213-419-1117 or whatever.) Most of these are continuously busy, but some are in normal use. So you should test them out, during normal business hours, before giving them to scammers.
1-213-###-1117 (Los Angeles, CA)
1-213-###-1118 (Los Angeles, CA)
1-213-###-1119 (Los Angeles, CA)
1-213-###-9198 (Los Angeles, CA)
1-216-###-9887 (Cleveland, OH)
1-310-###-1117 (Long Beach, CA)
1-310-###-1118 (Long Beach, CA)
1-310-###-1119 (Long Beach, CA)
1-310-###-9198 (Long Beach, CA)
1-518-571-#### (Albany, NY)
1-714-###-1117 (Anaheim, CA)
1-714-###-1118 (Anaheim, CA)
1-714-###-1119 (Anaheim, CA)
1-714-###-9198 (Anaheim, CA)
1-717-980-#### (Harrisburg, PA)
1-818-###-1117 (Pasadena, CA)
1-818-###-1118 (Pasadena, CA)
1-818-###-1119 (Pasadena, CA)
1-818-###-9198 (Pasadena, CA)
1-860-525-7078 (Hartford, CT)
9) Give the scammer a pay phone number...
You can tell the scammer that you don't have a phone of your own - then give him the number of a pay phone in your area. For example you can give him the number of a pay phone located at a Jack-in-the-box restaurant and ask him to ask for "Jack" when he calls. (Well, perhaps YOU can think of something more clever.) You can find a directory of pay phones here: http://www.payphone-directory.org/ and here: http://www.mcpayphone.com/il.html
- If you use options 3, 4 or 5 - be prepared to receive discourteous calls from scammers at all times of the day and night. Scammers have no qualms about disturbing people while they sleep.
- If you use options 2, 3, 6, 7 or 8 - it's possible (but rare) that a scammer will notice that your fake number is in the wrong area code. If that happens, just tell the scammer "I once lived in that area code and my phone number came with me when I moved." Or tell him it's a "roaming phone number".
- If you use options 6, 7 or 8 - the scammer might demand to know why your phone is always busy or does not work. Tell him "I called my phone company and they told me that my number is fine, but my limited service might be hampered if calls originate from a non-participating international location. Please try to fix this problem by calling your phone company and asking them to give you direct calling privalages for my number."
Q: How do I record my phone conversations with scammers?
A: There are several audio recording programs available. The one that has worked best for me (and is free) is "Audacity" http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
Q: I have a fake phone number set up (a cell phone or second phone line) but I'm not sure what to say to the scammer when/if he calls.
A: I recommend that you take a few minutes to write down ten or more questions that you can ask the scammer when he calls - that way you won't get flustered or be at a loss of what to say. Make sure the questions are open-ended and can not be answered by a simple "yes" or "no". Remember that the goal is to keep these mush-mouths talking for as long as possible. Every minute they are talking to you costs them money. Here are some examples of what you can ask...
- What country are you calling from? What city? Which province is that city in?
- What is the address of your office? What is the name of your company? How long have you worked there?
- How did you acquire my email address? You found it online? How? Which search engine? What were you searching for when you found me?
- Where did the money originally come from? Your father? Where did he get it from?
- How much money is there in the bank? XXXMillion? Exactly XXX? Wouldn't it be XXX + change because of interest?
- Is that in American dollars? What is your local currency? Why is it in American dollars and not in your local currency?
- If such a large amount of money is put into my bank account - will that make my bank account blow up and "pop" like a balloon that gets filled too much with air?
- I require that you send me a copy of your photo ID. When can you send it to me? Do you drive a car? Good, then send me your driver's license.
- What is your position where you work? Lawyer? Where did you go to law school? Doctor? Where did you go to medical school? What is your field of study? Tell me all about it!?
- You said that your father/brother/mother/boss/husband was killed. What was the cause of death? Where and why did he die? How have you been coping with the loss?
Q: What other scam baiting tips can you give me about talking with scammers by phone?
A: Here are some tips for "phone baiters":
- Keep your "cheat sheet" next to the phone so you don't suddenly forget your fake address or how to spell your fake name.
- Try to relax. Remember that, short of blurting out your real name or address by accident, there is very little that can go terribly wrong.
- Ask logical questions when they present themselves. "You are a prince? I thought Nigeria was a democracy?", "You are a homeless refugee? Why can't you use your millions to by a house?"
- Reject the scammer's invitation to hang up and have you call him back. (Remember that you what to talk while HE pays for the long distance bill.)
- Some scammers love to talk. If they are paying the long distance bill - let them. Scammers like to rant too. Particularly if you have disappointed them in some way. I usually let them rant and wait for them to calm down before I go back to disappointing them. Feel free to get agree back at the scammers if you want - you can always kiss and make up via email later.
- Misunderstandings can be fun... scammers like to call people "my brother". When this happens, you can act confused and start explaining what the definition of "brother" is and how unlikely it is that you and the scammer have the same father or mother, bla bla bla... then give the scammer time to explain what he really meant by that. Before you know it - you have burned another 3 minutes off his phone card.
- When scammers ask "How are you?" they are really telling to you to "Just say 'fine' and shut up." ... but it is funnier if you take that opportunity to really tell them how you are. "How an I? Well thank you for asking. Actually my back kind of hurts right now. It's an old injury that fairs up whenever it rains. You see I was injured while marching in a gay rights parade back in July of 1995. It happened just as the giant inflatable Liza Minelli came around the corner. Two of the... Bla bla bla..."
- When the scammer starts asking for payment be understandability leery. Ask him lots of pertinent questions. It is only natural that you should have doubts. Express those doubts to the scammer. Make him take the time to convince you why it is you should trust him. Use the praise "Look at it from my point of view." a lot.
- Interruptions are good things. Pretend to be frequently interrupted by various problems - someone at the door, baby has something in her mouth, dog needs to be let out, grandpa can't find his glasses, etc...
- If you get flustered and can't think of a good lie - you can always buy some time by pretending to have network problems. "Cone again?... WHAT?!? .... Are you still there!?!..... I think the lie went dead there for a short while." Don't use this tactic too much or the scammer might get frustrated and hang up.
- Even if you can hear the scammer fine, try telling him that you can BARELY hear him and that he must speak VERY loud for you to understand him. If he lowers his voice later in the conversation, demand that he repeat himself and speak up.
- Be clueless. Scammers typically deal with people who are not too bright - so pretend that you have no idea what a "money transfer" is. Act surprised to learn that Ghana is a
country and not a venereal disease.
Q: How much do scammers pay in long distance charges when they call victims and baiters?
A: Rates vary greatly. Some scammers who use "pay as you go" cell phones do pay as much as $5.00 per minute. However smarter scammers use land line connections for a lot less and still others can use computer connections that drive the cost down to $0.12 per minute. Based on my research and educated guess work - I estimate that scammers pay an average of about $3.00 per minute when they call a victim or baiter. That might not sound like much. But most scammers (about 95%) are from Nigeria where a dollar is worth a lot more. The average per capita income in Nigeria is $330 per year. So a fruitless 9 minute conversation with a baiter can cost a scammer what the average Nigrian makes in a month!
Q: I'm baiting a scammer who wants to send me a fax. What do I do?
A: You can use K7.net http://voicemail.k7.net/ (for free!) to collect voice mail AND faxes. But you can't send faxes this way - only receive them.
Q: I'm baiting a scammer who is talking in some sort of code that uses words that I don't understand. Can you help me make heads or tails of it?
A: Baiters call that "Ladspeak". Most of the time it is Pidgin - the language of Nigeria. Pidgin is a hybrid of the Queen's English (Nigeria was once a British colony) with numerous words from Igbo and other tribal languages such as Biafran, Yoruba and Hausa. (For example: "wie dey mai cut of di moni?" = "Where is my share of the money?") Nigerian scammers use it when speaking and emailing each other. Some times pidgin slips out when they are talking to victims. If a 419er, you are scam baiting, is using a lot of pidgin in his email to you - then he might be under the impression that you are a fellow scammer. Or, perhaps, he realizes that you are a baiter and no longer feels the need to write in convincing English. This is often the case when the scammer is ranting at a baiter. If you want to know the meaning of the words he is using - you can look for them on our 419 terminology page under the
heading "Ladspeak". Or you can use this online pidgin dictionary: http://www.ngex.com/personalities/babawilly/dictionary/pidgina.htm
Q: I want to fool a scammer into thinking that I am a Nigerian scammer too - similar to how you did in the Mikel Bolton bait. Can you teach me how to write like a Nigerian email scammer?
A: I've devoted a whole page to that subject titled "How to write like a Nigerian email scammer". Enjoy. :)
Q: I've been asked by a scammer to send him my ID. What do I do?
A: Regarding baiter IDs:
1) The easy thing to do is to ignore the scammer's request or claim that you don't have a scanner or fax machine.
2) You could also say "I can't send you my ID because I don't trust you yet." OR "I never send my ID to anyone to prevent criminals from stealing it."
3) You can tell the scammer "Fine - I'll show you my ID if you show me your birth certificate first.". Rather then taking the time to make a fake birth certificate - the scammer will probably just stop asking for your ID and continue with his attempts to scam you.
4) Another method would be to use this tool http://www.xnet.se/fd/ to make and unusable file. You can then email the file to the scammer claiming that it's a scanned copy of your ID. He will be unable to open it and will probably blame his outdated computer system. (I recommend you make the file size a random number between 20,000 and 50,000 bytes. Make the file type ".jpg" or ".bmp". Name it something realistic like "MyID" or "passport". Save it to your desk top when done so you can find it easily.) If the scammer complains that he can't open the file - blame it on his operating system or small brain.
5) You could make a fake ID with the help of a graphic editing program. Two good programs, that are free, are "Gimp" http://www.gimp.org/ and "Photoscape" http://www.photoscape.org/ps/main/index.php While it is technically a crime to create a fake government issued ID (Such as a driver's license or passport) it is perfectly legal to make fake business ID cards for a place that dose not exist. For example - a photo ID that shows you are employed as a security guard at "Frank's Heart Valve'n'Stuff Medical Supply Depo" or as a fry cook at the "Krusty Krab". You can find some real employee ID cards for inspiration on Google's image search.
Q: I'm baiting a scammer who is insisting that I call him. What do I do?
A: In my opinion you should never call the scammer. Always have the scammer call you (at your fake number). Let the scammer be the one to pay the long distance charges - not you. Here are some plausible excuses for why you can't call:
"I have tried phoning several times, but the call will not go through.",
"I don't think you gave me the right country code because the number still won't work.",
"My service plan won't allow me to make long distance out-calls.",
"My husband is a very stingy man who refuses to pay for a long distance service provider.",
"If you want my help, then you must do me the courteousy of calling me first.",
"I can't call you because there is a borg dampening field being used by the Klingon high command that prevents me from calling someone on the edge of the Romulan neutral zone."
My own experience is that most scammers are happy to call anyone they think is a potential victim.
If you REALLY want to be the one to call the scammer - you should use "Skype" http://www.skype.com/ (It makes your calls very hard to trace and relatively inexpensive - but not free.
For example a call from the United States to a cell phone in Nigeria will cost about $0.25 per minute) "Gizmo" http://gizmo5.com/pc/ Is also a good one. Most scammer's keep thier cell phones with them at all times waiting for victim's to call. So, if you use Skype or Gizmo to call scammers - try calling them every 20 minutes between the hours of 2:00am and 7:00am (thier time) and ask short stupid questions, mumble incorhearently or just listen and hang up. (Be sure to record thier responces.) LOL!
Q: The scammer I am baiting won't do what I want. What do I do?
A: Dump his lazy ass! If the scammer refuses to supply you with a photo, document, phone call, ID, proof of residency, video, etc.... then tell him "Ether provide me with what I require or the deal is off!" Some of the time the scammer will do what you demand. If not - then drop his lazy ass. If the 419er you are scam baiting is boring you - then move on to another. There are litterally tens of thousands of scammers to choose from.
Q: The scammer I'm baiting wants to see a receipt for something that I told him that I bought. What do I do?
A: This online tool lets you make fake receipts - http://www.customreceipt.com/index.php (Just remember to remove the "www.customreceipt.com" from the bottom before sending it to your scammer.)
Q: I'm baiting a scammer who is running a fake pharmacy website and he wants me to provide him with a prescription. What do I do?
A: You can make a fake prescription here - http://www.prescriptionmaker.com/ (Just remember to remove the "www.prescriptionmaker.com" from the bottom before sending it to your scammer.) By the way - the fake prescriptions you make with this tool will fool 99% of scammers, but 0% of real pharmacists. So don't try to use this tool to aquire glacoma medication.
Q: I'd like to tell the scammer that my fake persona is dead. Any tips for how I can fake my own death?
A: Perhaps you can make a fake tombstone with this tool: http://www.jjchandler.com/tombstone/ Also, here is a cool online tool that lets you generate realistic looking news paper clippings to coroberate your story. = http://www.fodey.com/generators/newspaper/snippet.asp
Q: I told the scammer that I own my own business. Any advice for how I can back up that clame?
A: You can make a fake store front HERE. ...Simular sign makers can be found here: http://www.signgeneratormaker.com/ and here: http://atom.smasher.org/
Q: I have an idea for a scam bait that involves pretending to mistakenly send emails to scammers meant for someone else. To pull it off I'll need the email addresses of hundreds of scammers. Could you provide me with a list of scammer email addresses that I could use?
A: Sounds like you want to run a ASEM bait ("Accidentally Sent E-Mail" bait). You can find an alphabetical listing of scam emails here http://www.joewein.de/sw/419-bl-b.htm#419-bl and also here: http://www.419scam.org/419-by-domain.htm Here is another place to get scammer email address for ASEM baits: http://www.419baiter.com/_scam_emails/scammer-email-addresses.html
Q: I'm baiting a scammer and have made a date to meet with him. (Of course I have no intention of actually doing.) Now he is asking to see my flight schedule. What do I do?
A: You can make a fake flight schedule here: http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/ by logging in as as a guest.
You can also go to Orbitz.com to make a fake flight schedule. Here is how:
1) Go to http://www.orbitz.com/
2) Enter destinations and dates.
3) Click on the blue "find flights" button.
4) Click on one of the blue "select" buttons.
5) Then click on the "More flight details" text link.
6) You will get something that looks like what you see below. You can change the times to suit your needs. For example - have the scammer pick you up at 5:05AM or at some other inconvenient time of day...
Tuesday, June 24, 2008 Leave American Airlines 386
90% on time
Boeing Douglas MD-80
Depart: 6:50am morning St Louis, MO Lambert-St Louis Intl (STL) 1 stop Arrive: 7:55am morning Chicago, IL Chicago O'Hare International (ORD) Change planes. Time between flights: 1hr 15min
American Airlines 90
Depart: 9:10am morning Chicago, IL Chicago O'Hare International (ORD) Arrive: 10:40pm evening London, United Kingdom London Heathrow (LHR) Total duration: 9hr 50min Total miles: 4210 miles
Q: I've been scam baiting the same scammer for a long time. I burned him several times and had a ton of fun doing it. But he has stopped emailing me back. Now I'm sad. How can I get the scammer to come back so I can abuse him some more?
A: Here are five scam baiting tips for reviving dead baits:
1) "Please Update" - Send the scammer one or more emails saying "It has been a very long time! Why have you not responded to my last email? Please update me."
2) "Wave a bucket of naira under his nose" - Money is what motivates scammers. Telling them something like "I have the money now. Who should I sent it to?" might be all that you need to do to get the 419er hooked again.
3) "Apologize" - Tell the scammer something like. "I am very sorry that I have been so uncoroperative. You are right - this is an opportunity for us both to make a fortune. Please give me another chance. I won't disappoint you again. What do you want me to do?"
4) "Plausible excuse" - Give the scammer a plausible reason for why you have been abusing him up to this point. For example... "I have been delaying payment to you because, to be frank, I am not a wealthy man. I have been stalling in the hopes that I would be able to acquire the required funds from relatives. Unfortunately I was only able to collect half the required sum. That is, of course, insufficient for our needs. I'm sorry to have deceived you up to this point...bla bla bla."
5) "New Persona" (also called "Rinse and repeat") - Answer the scammer's original introductory email, but from an all new fake email address and fake name. Start by saying something like "Sorry to have taken so long to respond to your email...."
6) "Bedtime Call" - Do you still have the scammers phone number? Do you have an inexpensive way to make long distance phone calls (such as "Skype" or "Gizmo")? Most scammer's keep their cell phones with them at all times waiting for victim's to call. So, if you use Skype or Gizmo you can try calling the scammer every 20 minutes between the hours of 2:00am and 7:00am (their time) and ask short stupid questions, mumble incoherently or just listen and hang up. (Be sure to record their responses.) LOL!
Q: I've baited a scammer to the point that he knows for certain that I'm a baiter. How best can I insult him so that I can get a funny reaction from him?
A: You might be able to induce I humorous rant from a scammer by insulting his mother. For example... implying that she is a whore, a slut, ugly, fat, etc... You can also insult his father by implying that he is an unemployed bum, an alcoholic, a physically abusive parent, ignorant, illiterate, etc...
Other methods of inducing a rant include:
- Harshly criticizing his poor scamming abilities.
- Insulting his country of origin - if you know it. (About 95% of scammers work out of, or are originally from, Nigeria.)
- Making fun of his poor grammar and spelling.
- Telling him how much fun you have had at his expense.
- Calculating how much of his time and money you have wasted.
- Under estimating the size of his penis.
- Calling him "poor", regardless if you know it to be true or not, is also an effective insult. For example, don't just call him a "thief" - call him a "poor thief".
- Youth is, evidently, a negative thing in Nigeria. So calling a scammer a "young fool", "ignorant child" or "stupid boy" can be quite insulting.
Here are some good examples. Feel free to use them if you like...
Dear poor little boy,
Go run home to your fat slut mother and lazy unemployed father - tell them how a rich American man was able to beat you at your own game. Then cry your eyes out so they can see what a sad little boy you are. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!!
Your mother called and requested that I pass along the following message... "You are a pathetic failure that she wishes she had aborted as a fetus." Wow! That is a harsh thing for a mother to say to her bastard son! But your mother is a drunk and a whore, so I would not take too much stock in how the bitch regards you. Why don't you go back to the poor 3rd-world shit-hole home town you where spawned from so you and your whore mother can have a good heart-to-heart? Sounds like a good idea, yes?
You know how when you go to take a piss and you discover that someone has left a day-old turd floating in the toilet? And when you piss on the turd - it creates a brown cloud? That is a good example of something that is both revolting and fun at the same time. That is what you are to me - an revolting piece of shit that is fun to piss on. LOL! Now I am done with you... Flushhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
The real reason that I did not send the money you requested was not because I did not have it - it was because I was too busy fucking your mother. Normally I don't fuck skanky fat whores like your mother - but she was VERY accommodating; she let me screw her in all three holes! She was also very cheap. "Just five dolla, American" she said to me. "Just five dolla and me will love you long time." Who can turn down a sales pitch like that?!? "Sucky-sucky good time!" She added. After I was finished with your mother - I wiped the spunk off my dick with a five-dollar bill and then tossed it at her feet as payment. "Thanks for the fuck, bitch." I added as I left. Of course the $5 bill, that I paid your mother with, was a worthless fake - just like you.
Q: I am a baiter who has a VERY good plan for catching a scammer. What must I do to get police to investigate and take action against the scammer?
A: Nothing. I have it on good authority (and I know from personal experience) that baiters themselves will NEVER be able to get a law enforcement officer to investigate anything, write a report or take action. Generally authorities both distrust and dislike vigilantes of all sorts and that includes baiters. Even if you locate a law enforcement officer who does not have this prejudice - there are still other factors that make police involvement next to impossible for a baiter...
1) A real victim is required. Police will NOT take action against an email scammer unless a real person has already been victimized. This automatically disqualifies most baiters from getting help from police as usually there are no real victims during a typical bait.
2) Attempts don't count. Police will NOT take action against an email scammer merely for "attempting" fraud against a real victim - only AFTER the fraud has been committed will the police take action.
3) The person reporting the crime must be the victim himself. Police will not listen to a baiter or other civilian who is not the victim.
4) $100,000 or more in losses are required. The exact threshold varies, but as a general rule - authorities won't even file a report about an email scam unless a victim's losses are over $100,000.
5) The crime must occur from "normal-land". American authorities won't touch a case that takes place from a "lad-land" country such as Nigeria or Ghana (where over 95% of email fraud takes place). The crime must occur from a "normal-land" country where extradition is comparatively easy - such as the United States, Australia, United Kingdom and South Africa. Email fraud occurring any other place will be ignored by American authorities. And, of course, the scammer must physically be in normal-land for an arrest warrant to be issued.
6) Prosecutor interest must be established first. Before police will take action against a email scammer - the person reporting the crime must first locate a prosecutor who would be willing to prosecute email fraud. The reason for this is that most authorities will not touch a case of email fraud unless a prosecutor has already expressed wiliness to prosecute.
Q: So, basically, you are telling us there is virtually no way a baiter can get police to take action against a email scammer?
A: That is correct. I fooled a email scammer into meeting me in St. Louis during the "Frank Owusu" bait and tried to get the police involved. Most of the ten law enforcement officers I spoke to were polite, but they were apathetic and lazy. I am an articulate person and I presented my request for assistance intelligently. The police responded with total disinterest...
Can you come and arrest the scammer for attempted fraud? - No.
Can you come and check his ID to make sure he is here legally and not wanted for other crimes someplace else? - No.
Can you come and tell him that scammers are not welcome here? - No.
Can you come and just make sure that no violence occurs? - No.
Can I file a report of some kind? - No.
Can I make a citizen's arrest and then call you? - No. That would be dangerous. If you do that - we might arrest YOU for kidnapping.
Q: Is scam baiting legal?
A: The short answer is yes, baiting scammers is legal. There are no laws that prohibit sending emails to scammers and poseing as a naive victim. That having been said, there are some things that some baiters do in the course of a bait that could be considered illegal (if only techniclly). For example: making a fake driver's license or passport, impersonating an FBI agent or some other member of law enforcement and (depending on jurisdiction and method) recording phone conversations with scammers. However, as far as I know, there has never been a case where a baiter has ever been prosecuted for doing these things while scam baiting.
Q: Is it legal for me to "turn the tables" on the scammers and steal money from them?
A: No. That is called "cash baiting" and usually falls under the category of wire fraud which is definetly NOT legal. I personally do not have a moral objection to cash baiting scammers and it is highly unlikely that a 419 scammer (who was in the prosses of attempting wire fraud himself) will ever report the crime, press charges, appear in court, etc... None the less - cash baiting is NOT legal.
Q: The scammer sent me a check. I know that it is fake - but can I cash it anyway?
A: Hell no! Knowenly cashing a fake check is a crime. You can keep it as a suvenear, toss it in the trash or give it to the cops. But do not try to cash it!
Q: Ya ya. But, hypoteticly, what would happen if I deposited a fake check that a scammer sent me?
A: If the bank accepts the check, your account ballance will reflect the added money. However the money you see in your bank account is called "flash money". It is imaginary money that will appear, temporarily, in your bank account following the deposit of a fake check. When the bank eventually discovers that the original check or electronic transfer is fraudulent (could take days or even weeks) the credit will be reversed and you will be held accountable for the loss. Even if you don't try to take out the money - the bank will still contact the police. If they suspect you knew the check was counterfeit when you deposited it - the police could bring charges against you. So don't do it.
Q: Is it legal for me to send the scammer a bomb or a poisonous snake?
A: What?!?!? Are you fucking retarded!?!?!?! Of course not!!! You can't kill someone just because you don't like them, stupid!!!
Q: Is it legal for me to send the scammer a practical joke ittem - such as a box of exploding cigars or a candy bar made from ex-lax?
A: I'm almost sure that would be illegal. Besides - there is a good chance the scammer might sell or give those ittems away to an innocent person. A candy bar made of ex-lax could be faital if eaten by a small child. Particulary in a country, like Nigeria, with poor medical facilities. And an exploding cigar, if left unattendid in an ash tray, could start a fire and hurt lots of innocent people.
Q: Is it legal for me to send the scammer something harmless, but disgusting. Such as a dead fish or a soiled baby diper?
A: Sure, I guess that would be legal. Unfortunetly that might be kind of expensive. Better send it postage due. ...And wrap it up tight in a large ball of duct tape so it will be very difficult to open.
Q: Is it legal for me to setup a fake bank to fool scammers into depositing money?
A: Deffinetly not. A baiter by the name of "Fred Flintstone" had set up a fake online bank and named it the "First National Bank of Bedrock". He did this to fool scammers, but ran into some trouble with the feds. See here: http://www.occ.treas.gov/ftp/alert/2004-19.txt ... He was arrested, taken in for questioning, and threatened with prosecution. He was eventually released without any charges.
Q: I just want to be clear on what I can and can not do. Could you please clearly list what is legal and what is not?
- Emailing a scammer with a fake name and pretending to be a naive victim.
- Requesting silly photos from scammers.
- Wasteing the scammer's time with meaningless paperwork.
- Sending incorrect bank account information.
- Sending a fake NON-GOVERNMENT issued ID. (Such as a "Dwarf Tossing License" or "Krusty Krab fry-cook certificate")
- Talking with scammers by phone in an effort to waste their time and phone card minutes.
- Insulting scammers and trash talking their mamas.
- Arrangeing a meeting with the scammer and then failing to show up. (Then doing it again! Ha!)
- Tape recording scammers without telling them. (Depends on method and which state you are in. Very unlikely that you will be prosicuted for this.)
- Forgeing fake GOVERNMENT issued ID's and documents. (Passports, driver's licenses, etc...)
- Cash Baiting (stealing money from scammers)
- Sending the scammer a dangerous or poisonous ittem as a prank.
- Setting up a fake online bank or possing as a bank official.
- Knowningly cashing a fake check that was sent to you from a scammer.
- Threatening a scammer with bodly harm or sending death threats.
- Impersonating a member of law enforcement.
Q: How do you judge how susessful a scam bait is?
A: Good question. Some will argue that scam baiting is more of an "art" then a "sport" and therefore can't be measured. But if you simply must have something measurable to go by...
- Legnth of bait thread. (How many times did the scammer email the baiter.)
- Number of photo trophies. (Number of custom made photos that the baiter tricked the scammer into making. For example, if the baiter tricks the scammer into taking a photo while holding a sighn to prove his legitimacy - then that would be an example of a photo trophy.)
- Number of customised forged documents. (Any forged document made by the scammer just for that particular baiter.)
- Number of airport burns. (Number of times the baiter tricks the scammer into traveling to an airport to pick up the scam baiter who, of course, fails to show up.)
- Total number of phone burn minutes. (Amount of long-distance minutes the scammer spends talking to the baiter.)
- Total cost of postal burns. (Postage spent by the scammer mailing checks and documents to the baiter.).
- Minutes of video footage. (Amount of time the scammer was tricked into standing in front of a hidden video camera waiting for the baiter to show up.)
- Bonus points can also be awarded for non-tangible qualities such as style, flair, humor, cleverness, moxy, wit, etc...
- Victim Warnings (Number of victims the baiter was able to warn. See our Victim Warnings page for examples.)
Q: Are there any forums or chatrooms that begining baiters can go to for advice?
A: Here are two: "The Scam Baiter" http://www.thescambaiter.com/forum/ and "419 Eater" http://forum.419eater.com/forum/
(Index page where I showcase some of my favorite scam baits.)
FAQ - General Questions
(Information about 419 scams and this website.)
FAQ - Scam Baiting Tips
(Learn how to be a first class scam baiter like me!)
FAQ - Scam Victim Help
(Advice for people who have been victimized.)
Nigerian Scammer Survey
(100 scammers reveal their ugly souls.)
Types of Nigerian Scams
(List of typical scams used by 419ers.)
FAQ - Scammer 'Help'
(My not-so-helpful advice for scammers.)
FAQ - Is This Email a Scam?
(How to spot email scams.)
(Funny quotes from angry scammers I've baited.)
(Examples of people we have helped.)
Scam Baiting Terms
(Words scam baiters use.)
(Look at me!!! Look at me!!!)
(Scam baiting and anti-fraud links page.)