Once again, I have just received a slew of emails notifying me that I have won a contest, inherited a large sum of money, been chosen as a trustee for a wealthy gentleman, or that I am needed to assist someone in moving large sums of money out of a foreign country. Welcome to the era of the internet scam artists, who ruthlessly cheat elderly, disabled, and just plain gullible people out of their life savings.
Thankfully, there is a large contingent of people who have lots of time on their hands; people who amuse themselves by screwing with scammers - the scam baiters. The scam baiters respond to these emails posing as easy marks. Then slowly, they start to mess with the scammers to keep them occupied, partly to waste their time so they aren't ripping off other people, partly for a little instant karma, and partly for the sheer fun of it. Sometimes they ask the scammer to prove their identity, sometimes by taking a picture with oh, say a cake, or a fish on their head. They occasionally turn the tables and lure the scammers in with the promise of money by way of grants. It has become something of an internet sport.
Sometimes it seems cruel when you look at photographs of the scammers being humiliated, but you have to remember that these guys make their livings ruining people's lives. Some people may think that if you are stupid enough to fall for a scam you deserve what you get, but the scammers intentionally seek out and prey on the disabled and elderly. People who have traveled to Nigeria either to investigate or at the request of the scammers have been beaten or murdered. The Nigerian consul to the Czech Republic was murdered when a victim sought revenge.