Email scammers are annoying, but replying to them and wasting their time is great fun. Maybe even more fun is letting the scammer talk to a bot, which has the potential to waste a scammer's time infinitely.
That's exactly the thought New Zealand-based cybersecurity firm Netsafe has had, creating Re:scam, a chatbot that will talk to email scammers for you.
Chatbots have slowly been getting more and more mainstream in the last few years, with startups such as Cleo using them as the sole provider of their business and others (Twilio, for example), making development kits and tools for them. Re:scam works by having people forward any email scams they receive to it, upon which the chatbot will reply and start talking to them, wasting their time.
It uses AI and machine learning to know what to say and how to reply, meaning that as people forward more and more emails to it, the chatbot should improve and get better and better at sounding like a real person.
It's a genius solution that shows how far we've come in researching machine learning and other "deep tech" in the past few years, so much so that the chatbot's responses are almost indistinguishable from a "real" human's answers. If you want to waste an email scammer's time, forward the emails on to firstname.lastname@example.org, and it'll take care of the rest.