In Brief

Re:scam - the chatbot designed to waste scammers’ time

New online service has been called ‘the world’s most inefficient and unhelpful chatbot’

An online safety organisation based in New Zealand has created a new program to turn the tables on online scammers.

Independent non-profit online safety organisation Netsafe, based in Auckland, has developed an artificially intelligent email bot dubbed “Re:scam”, which tackles email scammers by simply wasting their time.

If an internet user receives an email they suspect is a scam, they are encouraged to forward the sender’s email address to Re:scam via the email address me@rescam.org, which will then start an automated conversation with the scammer with the sole purpose of wasting their time.

Netsafe has described it as “the world’s most inefficient and unhelpful chatbot”.

Re:scam went live on Wednesday, reports the Guardian, after more than a year of planning and programming. The site reports that New Zealanders lose around NZ$250m (£132m) annually to cyber crime. 

To promote Re:scam, Netsafe released a trailer for the service, with some humorous examples thrown in:

The company also launched a separate Re:scam bot Twitter page, publishing examples of the bot’s handywork.

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