In addition to its story on scams aimed at lawyers, yesterday's Wall Street Journal carried an piece by two psychologists, "Why We Should Scam the Scammers -- How can we stop those ubiquitous Nigerian ploys and other flimflams? Look at it from the perps' perspective." They suggest that the best way to defeat Internet scammers is to bait them by engaging them in pointless responses:
Increasing the number of responses to their emails, he shows, can reduce profits, as long as those responses come from people who never send money. Such "scam baiters" already exist (the community website "419 Eater," named after the Nigerian law that governs fraud, offers tips and support). The more scam baiters, the lower the average return to the scammers on each attack and the less incentive they have to continue the scam.