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This Guy Scams the Scammers for a Living

This Guy Scams the Scammers for a Living

When you think of a scammer, you probably think of someone looking to take advantage of someone for their own gain. While this isn’t wholly inaccurate, another variety exists to acknowledge… those who aim to scam the scammers. Let’s consider one such white-hat scammer, or “scam baiter,” a content creator who uses the alias “Kitboga,” Kit for short.

Kitboga’s story is an interesting one:

After Realizing the Severity of Cyberthreats, Kitboga Thought of His Grandparents

In 2017, Kitboga learned about a chatbot designed to waste telemarketers’ time, the general existence of online scams, and how vulnerable some people can be to such scams. With two grandparents with conditions that only made them more susceptible to these scams, Kit—a former computer software engineer—started using his expertise to work against these kinds of crimes.

Initially doing it independently, Kit turned his talents to the Twitch live streaming platform at the insistence of his friends. There, Kit creates “scam baiting” content—posing as various fictitious characters to keep scammers on the line for as long as possible, manipulating the manipulators into traps of his own.

Kitboga’s primary strategy is simple: the longer a scammer deals with “Edna” or “Daniel,” the less time they spend on scam attempts that will be successful. 

It also doesn’t hurt that there are times when Kit can collect enough details to provide to various authorities, including banks, law enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation—although the FBI and Secret Service both have declined to confirm any cooperation between their ranks and Kitboga.

Kitboga Has Managed to Foil Scams While Educating His Audience

Throughout his streams, Kitboga has revealed how some of today’s most prevalent and expensive cyberthreats operate. He commonly encounters tech support fraudsters who try to convince his characters to install malware and spyware or other scammers seeking a target for gift card fraud. Kit has also caught some attempted pig butchering scams, where a scammer gradually builds a target's trust until the hammer drops. His efforts have led him to build a small team to assist him.

As a result of his efforts, Kitboga reports that he receives feedback from his audience that his videos have helped them spot scams in their own lives.

Kit has also created an AI-powered “honeypot” to lure in scammers, catching them in a loop of verification requests to access stolen (and made-up) Bitcoin accounts, wasting even more of their time. He has also released his scam protection software service to protect those targeted by scammers whose time he can’t waste.

For more context on these kinds of scams and what scam baiters are fighting against, WBUR—Boston’s NPR station—sat down for a fascinating and terrifying conversation involving Kit and another scam baiter named Jim Browning, talking about what they do and their feelings about it. The piece is fascinating and detailed; I highly recommend you listen… but be warned, there’s some explicit language involved.

Entertaining and Educational as It May Be, Don’t Emulate Kitboga or Other Scam Baiters

Somewhat ironically, some scam baiters can take it too far, incurring fines and other issues as they themselves cross the line. It can also be dangerous, depending on the skill level of the total stranger attempting to scam you.

Instead, we want to help you avoid these scams for yourself.

Four Tips to Help You Avoid Scams

1. Keep a Cool Head

Scammers love to scare their targets, using tactics that push them toward fear to keep them from thinking through the situation in their panic. If you receive a message that makes a terrifying claim—that you owe massive amounts of money in unpaid taxes or that someone has images of you in compromising positions—take a moment and think it through.

2. Leave Cryptocurrency Alone

Use a credit card whenever you make a payment or transfer funds online. This is for one specific reason: the transactions can be canceled in the case of fraud.

3. Don’t Send Money to Unknowns

If someone you don’t know asks you for money, personal information, or anything of that ilk, refuse.

4. Don’t Call Back

Many scams now prompt the victim to contact the attacker, often posing as a trustworthy contact, like a bank or retailer’s customer support. Instead of using the provided number or email address, use the official channels on the website to ensure you reach the legitimate entity.

Turn to Us for Help

We mentioned that Kitboga had released software—Seraph Secure—to help stop these threats. While we applaud his efforts, it is meant for the private user’s purposes, not the business’, so we cannot recommend its use in that sense.

However, we do have an assortment of trusted tools and defenses that we can recommend you use, as well as put them in place and ensure they are working as they need to. Call us at 724-473-3950 to learn more about how we can help protect your business.

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Friday, July 19 2024

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