We’ve all come into contact with one or two scammers in our lives. I remember when I was 12, and I got a phone message saying I won 2,000 dollars. I was over the moon. For like a minute. Right until I realized I didn’t enter any contest, and that I wasn’t living anywhere near the United States.
Admit it, most of us have always wanted to teach scammers a lesson, and give them a taste of their own medicine. That’s what Reddit user Barelyonhere did when a guy from Nigeria pretended to be his grandma and wanted a 200 dollar Steam wallet gift card. Barelyonhere played along with the charlatan for a bit, had some fun, and turned the tables on him at the last minute. Scroll down to the very bottom for our interview with the man who trolled the scammer. And when you’re done with this post, have a read through Bored Panda’s previous articles about a guy who responded to an online scammer and a woman who spent 3 days trolling a scammer.
The most mind-boggling thing about this situation, at least for me, is that the scammer wanted a Steam wallet gift card. Now, I know that it’s the 21st century, but I don’t know that many pensioners who know what Steam is, let alone know anything about gift cards.
Bored Panda spoke to Barelyonhere about what happened with the scammer. According to the Reddit user, he was inspired to troll the scammer for a simple reason: “I detest people that prey on others. I wanted to take as much of his time and energy as possible.”
“To my knowledge, nobody I know has been a victim,” Barelyonhere replied when asked whether he personally knows anyone who fell foul of conmen. “When I was a kid, I gave some information to scammers, but not much came of it.”
The Reddit user also had advice for people who wish to avoid scams: “If a company calls you, don’t give them information. Period. Hang up and call the company back. Most companies have a policy that they don’t call for this exact reason.”
Barelyonhere said that charlatans scam people because they “see something that works; it’s immoral, but it works.”
“I think people fall for such obvious scams because they’re afraid. These people are convincing. They’ll say they’re from the IRS, some legal agency, something that will invoke compliance,” he added.
The internet thought that the scammer deserved what he got
Barelyonhere may have taken his inspiration to string the scammer along from James Veitch — the legendary English comedian and scam baiter who replies to spam emails and annoys charlatans. If you haven’t already, take a look at Veitch’s TED talks. They are comedy gold, and you’ll be telling every single friend of yours about him soon enough. You’re welcome.
Even though pretty much everyone is aware that scammers exist, a lot of people still get conned. Especially the elderly. This August, the United States announced charges against 80 fraudsters and money launderers, most of them from Nigeria. According to Al Jazeera, they swindled around 46 million dollars from their victims by using internet scams. US Attorney Nick Hanna had this to say: “We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in US history. We are taking a major step to disrupt these criminal networks.”
Scammers run their operations everywhere. Scamwatch, which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, states that in July alone, the country’s residents lost more than 33,000 Australian dollars in so-called Nigerian scams.
The next time you suspect somebody’s trying to scam you out of your money, why not have a little fun with them? You can always call the police after you troll the conmen for a bit. Have you ever been scammed? Maybe you’ve exacted righteous justice on charlatans who tried to swindle you out of your money? Let us know in the comments below.