Hilarious A.I. bot fights email scammers by trolling them, wasting their time

Email scammers are the worst, aren’t they? At best, their emails are a big, fat waste of our time. At worst, they actually succeed at bilking some unsuspecting person out of their hard-earned cash, thereby making the whole sordid endeavor worth their while. Fortunately, a New Zealand cybersecurity company called Netsafe has come up with an ingenious way of turning the tables.

Called Re:scam, the company built an email chatbot which responds to suspect emails by sending long, drawn-out replies from a proxy email address. Simply forward your next scam message on to me@rescam.org, and Netsafe’s chatbot will do its absolute best to waste the time of whichever villainous, money-hungry creep is at the other end — in somewhat hilarious fashion.

“Re:scam was created to raise awareness about scams, and to give people a way to fight back against them,” Netsafe CEO Martin Cocker told Digital Trends. “The bot engages scammers in a never-ending conversation until the scammer stops replying. The replies sent by the bot have been crafted to appear natural and to be difficult to detect. It also replies with different time delays to appear more natural. If a scammer engages in a conversation, Re:scam will let you know, and you can view a summary of the conversation. Over the last three days since Re:scam launched, we’ve received tens of thousands of emails from New Zealand and around the world. [As a result], Re:scam is currently having simultaneous conversations with scammers all around the globe.”

scammers ai chatbot rescam  make money

Cocker said that the concept behind Re:scam came from the insight that it might be interesting to try and flip the conventional wisdom, which states that chatbots should be both helpful and efficient. By making one that is neither helpful nor efficient, it provides an original approach to addressing a massive problem. As Cocker makes clear, “Scamming is a global problem that has no borders. It’s a unique problem that needs to be addressed in innovative ways.”

If that way just happens to involve a scammer being cheated out of a few hours of their time, assuming they are speaking to a gullible mark who is on the verge of handing over their credit card details … well, we’re not going to lose any sleep about it.

Social Media

Tumblr promises it fixed a bug that left user data exposed

A bug on blogging site Tumblr left user data exposed. The company says that once it learned of the flaw, it acted quickly to fix it, adding that it's confident no data linked to its users' accounts was stolen.
Social Media

Grow your Twitter audience overnight with these simple tips and tricks

Using Twitter can be intimidating, but these tips will help you feel less inadequate when you look at your follower count. As long as you use a bit of moderation, you'll soon be one step closer to social media fame.
Mobile

Number not recognized? Here's why you're receiving calls from 'Scam Likely'

While it may seem like a bold marketing move to tag your calls "Scam Likely," these alerts are actually your carrier's way of helping you identify scams. Here, we'll walk you through what exactly these markers mean and how you can turn them…
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (October 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Healthy mice born from two genetic mothers using stem cells, gene editing

Healthy mice have been born from two genetics mothers and later went on to bear healthy offspring of their own, according to a recent paper published by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Emerging Tech

Light-swallowing room promises Call of Duty fans the blackest of ops

What's it like to be in a room fully painted with the world's darkest material, Vantablack? The makers of one of the year's top video games teamed up with Vantablack scientists to find out.
Emerging Tech

Japanese scientists are chewing over an ‘electric gum’ that never loses flavor

Researchers at Japan's Meiji University may have found the secret to unlimited chewing gum -- and it just involves zapping your tongue with electricity. Here's what makes it all work.
Smart Home

Vector, the engaging Alexa-like robot, is ready to roam around your home

Anyone who has ever watched Short Circuit or WALL-E has surely dreamed about having a robot buddy come live with them. Finally, that dream is now a reality. It's name is Vector, and it's available now.
Emerging Tech

Ekster 3.0 lets you ask, ‘Alexa, where did I leave my wallet?’

Ekster's newest smart wallet is its best yet. It's slimmer than ever, boasts a neat card-dispensing mechanism, and will even let you know where it is, thanks to smart speaker integration.
Emerging Tech

Johns Hopkins’ lab-grown human retina could lead to big insights

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have successfully grown human retina tissue from scratch in a lab. The work could help with the development of new therapeutics related to eye diseases.
Wearables

Skydio’s self-flying drone now has an Apple Watch app for flight prep

Skydio's clever R1 autonomous drone now has its own Apple Watch app, making flight preparations simpler than ever. The $2,000 flying machine is now also selling at its first retail outlet — Apple Stores in North America.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Scientists created a condom that self-lubricates during sex. You’re welcome

Researchers from Boston University have invented a special coating for condoms which make them respond to bodily fluids by becoming more slippery. Here's how their new breakthrough works.