Scam Baiting: An Innovative Approach to Combating Online Fraud

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Introduction to Scam Baiting: Outsmarting Scammers with Creative Tactics

Background on Scam Baiting: A Thriving Online Movement Against Cybercrime

1. Taking the Fight to Scammers: Scam Baiting as an Offensive Strategy
a. Exposing Scammers: Shining a Light on Deceptive Tactics
b. Disrupting Scammers’ Operations: Throwing a Wrench in Their Plans

2. From Deception to Defense: Scam Baiting as a Catalyst for Safer Online Interactions
a. Scam baiting: A Tool for Promoting Awareness and Protecting Consumers
b. The Viral Impact of Scam baiting: The Role of Entertainment in Spreading Awareness

3. The Unintended Consequences of Scam Baiting: Exploring the Effects on Scam Baiters and Victims
a. The Perils of Scam Baiting: Emotional, Legal, and Personal Risks.
b. The Hidden Toll of Scam Baiting: Unintended Consequences for Victims

Conclusion: Scam Baiting: A Powerful Force in the Fight Against Online Scams.

Executive Summary

In the dynamic landscape of cybersecurity, scam baiting has emerged as a captivating and unconventional approach to combating online fraud. Scam baiting is the practice of engaging with scammers to expose their tactics and disrupt their operations. It serves as an offensive and a defensive measure, safeguarding individuals from falling prey to scams, promoting data protection education, and empowering individuals to protect their digital security. While scam baiting’s impact extends beyond education and disruption, it is crucial to acknowledge potential drawbacks. Scam baiters may face emotional, legal, and personal risks. Additionally, their tactics may inadvertently harm unsuspecting victims. Despite these drawbacks, scam baiting remains a powerful tool against online fraud. Its ability to disrupt scammers’ operations, educate the public, and empower individuals to protect themselves makes it a valuable asset in safeguarding the digital landscape. As online fraud continues to evolve, scam baiting is poised to play an increasingly important role in protecting individuals and fostering a safer online environment.

Introduction to Scam Baiting: Outsmarting Scammers with Creative Tactics

In the ever-evolving landscape of cybercrime, scam baiting has developed as an unconventional yet effective approach to combat scammers. Scam baiters intentionally waste scammers time and resources, disrupt their operations, and deter them from targeting unsuspecting individuals. They employ a range of strategies to outsmart scammers. Some scam baiters will make fake personas, such as “Ben Dover,” along with voice modulators, photoshopped records, and fake addresses. These scam baiters may engage scammers in lengthy conversations, provide false information, or lead scammers to believe they are interacting with potential victims. This not only hinders the scammers’ ability to defraud others but also exposes their deceptive tactics to the public, raising awareness and empowering individuals to recognize and avoid scams proactively. However, the actions of scam baiters are not without risk. Engaging with scammers directly can expose scam baiters to retaliatory measures, including harassment or even violence. Additionally, scam baiting can potentially put scam baiters at risk of criminal liability. Despite these risks, scam baiting offers a promising avenue to combat the growing threat of scams. By employing creative and strategic tactics, scam baiters can disrupt scammers’ operations, educate the public, and contribute to a safer online environment for all.

Background on Scam Baiting: A Thriving Online Movement Against Cybercrime

Over the past five years, scam baiting has evolved from a niche online activity to a global phenomenon, capturing the attention of millions. [1] Scam baiting videos have skyrocketed in popularity, drawing in viewers eager to witness the downfall of unscrupulous scammers. It has become a prevalent form of online entertainment, with millions of people regularly watching scam baiting videos. Many large and vibrant communities have emerged that are focused on scam baiting across multiple platforms, fostering a global network of individuals dedicated to combating online scams. These communities boast active and engaged audiences eager to learn about and contribute to scam baiting efforts. Prominent scam baiters like Jim Browning, Kitboga, and Scammer Payback have cultivated massive followings on YouTube, amassing over 14 million subscribers and generating over a billion views.[2] There are many factors that contribute to the rise of scam baiting content, such as it is a form of schadenfreude, or the pleasure people take in the misfortune of others.[3] People enjoy seeing scammers get fooled or frustrated, especially when they are known for preying on vulnerable people. In addition, scam baiting is a way for viewers to feel empowered[4]. Scam baiters often take control of the situation and turn the tables on scammers, which can be empowering for people who have been victims of scams or who feel helpless in the face of scammers. Likewise, scam baiting can be comical. Scam baiters often use humor to waste scammers’ time and frustrate them. This can be fun to watch, especially when scammers are clearly not amused.

Furthermore, scam baiting is distinct from other forms of cyber defense because it can generate revenue.[5] Scam baiters often earn money from YouTube views, sponsorships, and donations. This revenue allows scam baiters to invest in their equipment and software, and to produce high-quality content. In contrast, most other types of cyber defense efforts are funded by governments or corporations. As a result, they are often limited in their resources and scope. Scam baiters’ ability to generate revenue gives them a number of advantages over other types of cyber defense efforts. First, it allows them to be more independent and flexible. They are not beholden to governments or corporations, which means they can focus on the scams that they are most passionate about. Second, scam baiters’ revenue streams allow them to reinvest in their work. Consequently, they can constantly improve their methods and techniques. Third, scam baiters’ revenue streams incentives them to reach the widest possible audience. This helps to raise awareness of scams and to educate the public about how to avoid them. Overall, scam baiting is a unique and effective tool for fighting scams.

1. Taking the Fight to Scammers: Scam Baiting as an Offensive Strategy

Scam baiting is a useful offensive tool against scamming. It can take many forms and target almost any type of scam; however, most forms of scam baiting revolve around two main objectives: exposing scammers’ identities and tactics, and disrupting scammers’ operations.

a. Exposing Scammers: Shining a Light on Deceptive Tactics

Scammers can take advantage of their victims when victims are unaware that they are being scammed. When scammers’ tactics are made widely known, scammers become less effective.[6] This can be seen in “Nigerian Prince” scams. This type of scam is well known now due to the frequency that it was encountered and how it was satirized by mainstream media. As users became more familiar with this type of scam, it became less effective.[7] Scam baiting serves as a valuable tool for raising awareness about scams by pulling back the curtain on scammers’ schemes and strategies.

Ben Taylor, also known as Pleasant Green, is a prominent scam baiter who has garnered over a million subscribers on YouTube by exposing scammers’ tactics. [8]  His videos delve into the “scripts” or common strategies scammers employ to exploit their victims. He has captured and analyzed scripts from a wide range of scams, including gift card scams,[9] Telegram pig butchering scams,[10] printer support scams,[11] and even Facebook Taylor Swift ticket scams.[12] Pleasant Green’s videos typically begin with a narrative of how he encountered a scammer. Often, someone provides him with the scammer’s contact information, or the scammer inadvertently reaches out to him directly. Pleasant Green then engages with the scammer, feigning interest in their scheme. For instance, he may inquire about the supposed prize he won or the alleged change to his Amazon account. Unaware of his true identity, the scammer continues to interact with Pleasant Green, aiming to extract money, personal information, or access to his accounts. Pleasant Green skillfully maneuvers the scammer along, prolonging the interaction to uncover as much information as possible. This may involve creating realistic documents to maintain the scammer’s belief that he is a genuine victim. Throughout the process, Pleasant Green gathers valuable insights into the scammer’s operations, including their account information, personal identities, money mule networks, locations, victim details, scam websites, and potential co-conspirators. Once the scam can no longer be prolonged, Pleasant Green confronts the scammer and reports their accounts. This typically results in angry outbursts or immediate blocking by the scammers. By exposing scammers and their tactics, scam baiters like Pleasant Green play a crucial role in safeguarding potential victims from falling prey to these deceptive schemes.

b.  Disrupting Scammers’ Operations: Throwing a Wrench in Their Plans

Scam baiters employ a broad range of tactics to disrupt scammers and their operations, including intervening with potential victims to impede scammers’ schemes. Others scam baiters may interfere with scammers’ technical infrastructure, such as disrupting their call center operations or preventing them from accessing online resources. In some instances, scam baiters may engage in more assertive tactics to directly hinder scammers’ operations, such as saturating their phone lines, inundating their websites with traffic surges, or even gaining unauthorized access to their systems. This can hinder their ability to scam individuals. Likewise, some scam baiters gather evidence of scammers’ activities and report them to law enforcement agencies, ISPs, and other relevant authorities. In extreme cases, scam baiters’ actions may lead to the closure of entire scam call centers. This can have a significant impact on scammers’ ability to operate and defraud individuals.

A YouTuber, known as Jim Browning, is widely recognized for his ability to dismantle tech support scam call centers.[13] A tech support scam is a type of fraud in which scammers pose as representatives of legitimate tech companies to trick victims into giving them access to their computers or personal information.[14] They often use scare tactics or fake error messages to convince victims that their computer is infected with a virus or malware. Once they have access to the victim’s computer, they may install malware, steal personal information, or demand money to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. They may also try to pressure a victim into purchasing unnecessary software or services. Jim Browning’s prowess lies in his ability to penetrate tech support scammers’ computers, networks, and even their security cameras, although he never reveals how he does so.[15] Once inside a scam call center, he covertly gathers intelligence about the scammers and their operations. Armed with this information, Jim Browning embarks on a multi-pronged approach to disrupt these illicit activities. In the past, he has made it a point to directly call victims during their ongoing scams, alerting them to the fraudulent nature of the interaction and urging them to disengage or block the scammer. [16] Unfortunately, not all victims are receptive to his warnings, often dismissing them as intrusive or suspicious. Jim Browning has also employed more proactive measures to thwart these call centers, preventing them from making outbound calls. In other instances, he has eavesdropped on scammers’ calls with victims, sabotaging their carefully crafted “scripts” and exposing their deceptive tactics. Furthermore, Jim Browning collaborates with website administrators to hinder scam centers from generating revenue, utilizing internet phone applications, and laundering funds. His relentless efforts have even led to the closure of entire call centers, demonstrating his remarkable impact in combating this form of online fraud.[17] Jim Browning’s activities serve as a testament to the power of individual action in combating online fraud and safeguarding the public from harm. His unwavering commitment to disrupting tech support scams has undoubtedly saved countless individuals from falling victim to these deceptive schemes.

Scam baiting has emerged as a proactive and offensive strategy in the fight against online fraud. By employing tactics that expose scammers and disrupt their operations, scam baiters like Pleasant Green and Jim Browning play a crucial role in safeguarding individuals and protecting the digital landscape from these harmful practices. As the prevalence of online scams continues to rise, scam baiters stand as a formidable force in protecting unsuspecting individuals and upholding the integrity of the digital world.

2. From Deception to Defense: Scam Baiting as a Catalyst for Safer Online Interactions

The rise of scam baiting as a novel form of online vigilantism has brought about a unique opportunity to combat cybercrime by promoting awareness among internet users. Scam baiting is an effective way of fostering consumer awareness, and it is an invaluable tool to educate the public about common scams and provide practical tips for avoiding them. The impact of scam baiting extends beyond mere awareness campaigns; it has evolved into a captivating form of entertainment that effectively disseminates knowledge about online scams. Scam baiting videos, often humorous and lighthearted, showcase the interactions between scam baiters and scammers, revealing the absurdity and inherent flaws of these scams. This entertainment format captures the attention of viewers, particularly younger generations, and effectively conveys the importance of cybersecurity vigilance.

a. Scam baiting: A Tool for Promoting Awareness and Protecting Consumers

Scam baiters provide a stark reminder of how poor cybersecurity can lead to severe consequences. Despite a common belief in one’s immunity to scams, scam baiters effectively demonstrate how easily scammers can manipulate people into revealing personal information, installing malware, or paying scammers. By exposing the tactics scammers employ to exploit people’s curiosity, naivety, and trust, scam baiters encourage viewers to reevaluate their online interactions. For instance, some scammers may request non-standard payment methods, such as using third-party platforms like Zelle, Venmo, or CashApp.[18] They concoct elaborate justifications for using these alternative methods and pressure victims to comply if they refuse. Once individuals are aware of this technique, they become more adept at recognizing this red flag and avoiding scams.

Furthermore, scam baiters raise awareness of many less sophisticated aspects of scams. Many of these scams begin with victims using poor data protection measures. Doing actions such as using weak passwords, reusing passwords, or falling for phishing emails. This can result in scammers gaining access to victims’ personal accounts, including their Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. Once scammers gain access to victims’ accounts, the scammer can directly target the victims’ families and friends. Consequently, scam baiters encourage their viewers to take steps to enhance their data security. Many scam baiters collaborate with or receive sponsorships from companies that specialize in cybersecurity solutions. Examples include password managers like 1Password, VPN service providers like ExpressVPN, and virtual cards like[19]

Moreover, scam baiters encourage their viewers to cultivate a healthy dose of skepticism, reminding them to exercise caution whenever an offer or opportunity appears too good to be true. Experienced internet users often recognize the absurdity of emails claiming a million-dollar inheritance or promising unrealistic investment returns. However, many individuals remain unaware of more subtle scams, such as those offering lucrative employment opportunities requiring minimal effort. Scam baiters help raise awareness about these less obvious scams, emphasizing the importance of critical thinking and thorough investigation before engaging with online offers. They encourage viewers to question the credibility of sources, scrutinize claims closely, and seek independent verification before making any decisions. This approach promotes a more discerning mindset among internet users, empowering them to identify and avoid potential scams.

Additionally, scam baiters serve as living testaments of why everyone can benefit from being more aware of scams. This notion is often dismissed by individuals who believe their intelligence or vigilance will shield them from such schemes, but no one is truly safe from scammers. In fact, even seasoned scam baiters like Jim Browning have been scammed. Jim Browning, as mentioned earlier, is a highly tech-savvy individual, but even he fell for a phishing email that caused his YouTube account to be temporarily deleted.[20] By openly sharing their own experiences, scam baiters effectively challenge the misconception of immunity and underscore the importance of maintaining constant vigilance against scams.

b. The Viral Impact of Scam baiting: The Role of Entertainment in Spreading Awareness

Like a digital vaccine, scam baiting inoculates users by exposing them to scams in a safe and engaging format. It possesses a unique ability to achieve virality that surpasses traditional forms of data protection education. Many scam baiters command substantial audiences and can effectively educate their viewers about trending scams with one Facebook video, TikTok, or YouTube Short. Likewise, scam baiters create content that can easily be shared. A concise video about car wrap scams is inherently more shareable than an extensive five-to-ten-page article. Similarly, entertaining content is more likely to be shared and engaged with Scam baiting can also empower viewers to take charge of their data protection.

Many people are unaware of the potential threats to their online security. By exposing the tactics of scammers, scam baiting can raise awareness about the importance of strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and other data protection measures. It can also encourage discussions about online safety and promote positive cybersecurity practices. While scam baiting can be readily shared online, it often fails to reach the demographic most susceptible to scams: the elderly. This challenge can be partially addressed by scam baiting’s popularity among younger audiences. By educating younger generations about scam tactics, we can empower them to share this knowledge with their older loved ones, thereby helping to safeguard them from potential scams.

Scam baiting has emerged as a powerful tool for promoting cybersecurity awareness and safeguarding internet users from scams. Its ability to capture attention through entertainment, raise awareness about common scams, and empower viewers to take charge of their data protection makes it an invaluable resource in the fight against cybercrime. By fostering a culture of skepticism and vigilance, scam baiting plays a crucial role in creating a safer online environment for all.

3. The Unintended Consequences of Scam Baiting: Exploring the Effects on Scam Baiters and Victims

While the intentions of scam baiters may be noble, there are several unforeseen risks and consequences associated with this practice. Scam baiting can take a significant emotional toll on those who engage in it. While scam baiting may seem like a harmless way to fight back against scammers, it can also have unintended consequences for victims of scams.

            a. The Perils of Scam Baiting: Emotional, Legal, and Personal Risks

Scam baiters, in their quest to expose and ridicule scammers, may inadvertently find themselves entangled in emotionally draining and potentially harmful interactions. The constant exposure to the manipulative and often malicious tactics of scammers can lead to feelings of frustration, anger, and even burnout. In addition, scam baiters can put themselves at risk of criminal liability. Particularly if the scam baiter receives funds from scammers through theft or fraud.[21] Moreover, scam baiters can put themselves at risk of harm of retaliatory actions from scammers.[22] The biggest risk to scam baiters comes from scammers targeting scam baiters with malware attacks and doxing. Although physical harm is not likely, given most scammers are engaged in criminal activity, the risk of physical harm is never out of the question.  Despite their noble intentions, scam baiters must be mindful of the potential emotional, legal, and personal risks they face in their interactions with scammers.

  1. The Hidden Toll of Scam Baiting: Unintended Consequences for Victims Scam baiting may also have unintended consequences for victims of scams. Scam baiting, while intended to protect individuals from scams, can inadvertently expose scam victims to further humiliation and embarrassment. Public exposure of victims of scams can lead to feelings of shame and even social isolation. The public airing of their victimization can exacerbate their emotional distress and hinder their ability to recover from the scam. While exposing scam tactics can help prevent future victimization, it may also inadvertently alert scammers to new vulnerabilities and prompt them to adapt their methods. In their pursuit of exposing scammers, scam baiters should be mindful of the potential collateral damage their actions may inflict on innocent victims.

While scam baiting may appear to be a harmless way to combat scammers, it carries with it significant risks and consequences that can negatively impact both scam baiters and victims. Scam baiters put themselves at risk of emotional distress, legal repercussions, and personal harm, while victims may experience further humiliation, social isolation, and hindered recovery from scams. Therefore, it is essential for scam baiters to exercise caution, consider the ethical implications of their actions, and prioritize the well-being of both themselves and potential victims. By approaching scam baiting with a responsible and mindful approach, we can minimize the potential for harm and maximize the potential for a positive impact.

Conclusion: Scam Baiting: A Powerful Force in the Fight Against Online Scams

In a world where online scams seem to proliferate unchecked, scam baiting emerges as a beacon of hope. This unconventional yet impactful tactic disrupts the scammers’ operations, educates the public, and instills a sense of empowerment among potential victims. Scam baiters are the unsung heroes of the digital frontier, as they engage scammers in a battle of wits, wasting their time, resources, and emotional energy. They expose the scammers’ tactics, dismantle their elaborate schemes, and ultimately deter them from pursuing their predatory activities. The ripple effects of scam baiting extend beyond the immediate impact on scammers. By raising public awareness, scam baiters equip individuals with the knowledge and vigilance they need to navigate the online world with confidence. They empower potential victims to recognize and avoid scams, protecting them from financial and emotional harm. While the actions of scam baiters are not without risk, their contributions to the fight against online scams cannot be overlooked. In an era where cyber threats seem to loom large, scam baiting offers a glimmer of hope, a testament to the power of human ingenuity and resilience. It is a reminder that even in the face of overwhelming challenges, individuals can make a difference. Support scam baiters in their tireless battle against online deception by sharing their videos with friends, family, and loved ones. Together, we can create a safer, more secure online world.

[1] Malcolm Higgins, Everything you need to know about scambaiting, NordVPN (Sep 19, 2023),

[2] Jim Browning, YouTube, (last visited Nov. 22, 2023); Kitboga, YouTube,, (last visited Nov. 22, 2023); Scammer Payback, YouTube, (last visited Nov. 22, 2023).

[3] Baiters Teach Scammers a Lesson, WIRED, (AUG 4, 2006 12:00 PM),

[4] Higgins, supra note 1.

[5] Steve Nelson, The Art of Scambaiting, Medium, (May 5, 2020).

[6] Angelita Williams, New Research: Repeated Exposure to Fraud Awareness Education Reduces Susceptibility to Investment Scams, FINRA Investor Education Foundation, (March 10, 2021),

[7] Cassandra Cross, $2.5 billion lost over a decade: ‘Nigerian princes’ lose their sheen, but scams are on the rise, The Conversation, (July 5, 2020 10.28pm),

[8] Pleasant Green, YouTube, (Last visited Nov. 22, 2023).

[9] Pleasant Green, A Very Interesting Email from my “BOSS”, YouTube, (Oct 22, 2020),

[10]  Pleasant Green, Pig Butchering Scam Exposed!, YouTube, (Sep 2, 2023),

[11] Pleasant Green, Printer Support Scammers Caught in the Act!, YouTube, (Mar 25, 2023),

[12] Pleasant Green, Behind the The Taylor Swift Ticket Scam!, YouTube, (Oct 1, 2023),

[13] Jim Browning, YouTube, (last visited Nov. 22, 2023).

[14] How Tech Support Scams Work, Tech Support Scams, (Aug 2021),

[15] Frequently Asked Questions About Jim Browning, Tech Support Scams, (Aug 2021),

[16] Jim Browning, Thwarting scammers – Successes and Failures, YouTube, (Dec 12, 2019),

[17] Jim Browning, Scammers Raided Live!, YouTube, (Jul 26, 2023),

[18] Herb Weisbaum, Use payment apps like Venmo, Zelle and CashApp? Here’s how to protect yourself from scammers, NBC News, (June 11, 2019, 2:58 PM),

[19] 1Password, (last visited Nov. 22, 2023); ExpressVPN, (last visited Nov. 22, 2023); What are Virtual Cards, Privacy, (last visited Nov. 22, 2023).

[20] Jim Browning, My channel was deleted… HOW?, YouTube, (Jul 30, 2021),

[21] Shannon Flynn, What are the Risks of Scambaiting, Make Use Of, (Jul 24, 2023),

[22]  Scambaiting – The dangers and (possible) benefits of wasting a scammer’s time, Hypertext, (June 14, 2022),

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