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What is autobait.com?
autobait.com hosts an automated scam baiting bot known simply as "Autobait". ("Auto" is from "automatic" and "bait" is from the verb "bait," i.e. lure, entice, or tempt. It's also a play on the word "automate".)
What is "scam baiting?"
See this Wikipedia article on scam baiting.
What does the Autobait bot do?
Autobait is an automated bot that answer scammers' emails in a convincing manner to get them to believe they're conversing with a living, breathing soon-to-be scam victim. When the scammer converses with Autobait he will be using up some of his valuable time that he would otherwise have used trying to scam real live people. Not only is this a Good Thing, it also makes for some, er, amusing email dialogues.
How does Autobait work? Can I see the source code?
The Autobait script is approximately 6,000 lines of Perl code, with an additional 3,000 lines of data. Currently the source code is *not* publicly available, for two reasons: 1) This is a work-in-progress, and 2) I wouldn't want to give the scammers an advantage by being able to see the inner workings of the Autobait bot.
What types of email does Autobait generate?
At its core, Autobait has several dozen phrases that it picks from based on how it is feeling and what it is responding to. It can generate a multitude of variations of these phrases. For example, what might come out one time as:
For me to complete this transaction we will ask for your business fax number.
might come out another time as
In order for me to finish this cash withdrawal I will require your contact phone number.
Can you tell me more about Autobait's "personalities"?
Every Autobait "personality" has approximately 40 distinct attributes which cover everything from the mundane (name, address, phone number) to the sublime (tendency to make typos, type in ALL CAPS, and use exclamation points!!!). Some tend to be very neat typists while others are very sloppy. Some capitalize correctly, others type in ALL CAPS, yet others use all lowercase, and still others will thrown in a miscapitalized (or mislowercased) word -- just like a real person would do. The end result is a unique "signature" that is consistent from one conversation to another when conversing with a given personality.
How do I use the Autobait bot?
The short answer is: you can't, at least not yet. Currently scammers are introduced to Autobait via an introduction email that I send them manually. In the future this might be automated. However, I want to avoid having the Autobait bot get spammed since that will only waste its resources trying to respond to a (usually nonexistent) spammer email address.
Who are you? How can I contact you with problems/questions/suggestions?
Given the sensitive nature of scam baiting I prefer to remain anonymous for the time being. However, you may email me at admin{at}autobait.com.
Are there other web sites for baiting, say, telemarketers?
Yep. See this page for a program that baits telemarketers: http://www.pagerealm.com/tc2k/. But for good, old-fashioned scambaiting, try 419eater.com.
This is all very nice but I was looking for the web site that shows a car that the police rigged up with cameras inside it to catch car thieves in action.
It sounds like you're looking for the Bait Car web site instead (another form of "auto baiting!").