You might have encountered or atleast heard of an incident where a scammer calls you on your mobile phone and tries to mint money from you by gathering your bank details. Now these calls can be disguised as tech support, lottery wins, fake government calls, banking scams or IRS (Internal Revenue Service) scams. And by feeding upon the fear of individuals who are either elderly, or lack English-language proficiency, these scammers get away with a lump sum.
In an IRS scam, individuals pose as IRS agents and demand payment of pending taxes. The call starts with a voice mail threatening a lawsuit or arrest. The scammers aim to convince individuals that inorder to avoid hefty fines, jail time, and even deportation, a prompt payment is necessary.
But what happens when the trick backfires and the scammers get the wrong fish?
A security developer, who runs an anti-scam campaign called Project Mayhem under the name of YesItWasDataMined, recently landed on the end of one such scam and he decided it was ‘payback time’. He received a voicemail from a supposed IRS agent, and returned the call. The fake agents charged him of tax evasion (with their corrupted English), and then informed him that he’d be arrested and his assets confiscated if he failed to pay back his taxes, amounting to about $8,200.
He let the scam progress for a while, but little did the agents know that they were calling for trouble. The developer then wrote a script that called the scammers’ multiple phone numbers 28 times a second, which played an automated message when picked up, flooding their phone lines and making it impossible for them to make any more calls. We are assuming the scammers are Indians as they speak in Hindi when frustrated with these continuous phone calls.
The hilarious video below reveals the ‘game of revenge’ against the scammers:
But this was not the end. A day later, the auto-dialer script had to be used again on scammers who now offered tech support, pretending to be computer technicians hoping to sell victims unnecessary or harmful services. Below is his second video:
Motherboard claims to have conducted an interview with the programmer via Reddit direct message, in which YesItWasDataMined claimed to be the sole person behind Project Mayhem. His sole aim is to bust scammers by flooding their lines, reporting the numbers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and shaming the people responsible. He is trying to meet his operational costs through Patreon donations, and seems to be garnering a lot of support and appreciation from his fans.
Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service issued a warning this week to taxpayers across the US about several emerging scams for the summertime season. They have asked the IRS said taxpayers to be alert even though the tax filing season has ended.