When scammers call victims over the phone in the hope of tricking them into parting with their hard-earned cash, naturally they want to prey on both vulnerable and less technically inclined folk.
However, the downside for scammers when calling random victims (which is what these scammers often do) is that anyone can pick up the phone. Even very technically-inclined computer programmers who are well aware of how these scams work. Sometimes even computer programmers capable of exacting some very satisfying and humorous revenge.
This is what happened recently when scammers executing the popular “IRS scam” inadvertently called a popular software developer slash YouTuber called Project Mayhem.
For those that don’t know, the IRS scam works when crooks call victims over the phone pretending to be from the IRS reporting a “tax miscalculation” and go on to threaten the victim with being arrested unless they call a number and pay a fine. (Of course this “fine” is just a way of tricking victims into handing over money to the scammers.) We discuss the UK equivalent of this scam in more detail here.
When the scammers called Project Mayhem, the software developer immediately knew it was a scam and decided to exact some deserved revenge. And to the delight of many, he recorded every minute of it.
What Project Mayhem did was code a small program that would call the phone number provided by the crooks 28 times every single second using a technology called VoiP (VoiP allows users to make phone calls to a phone number from the Internet instead of from another phone.) When the scammers answered the phone, Project Mayhem’s program would leave an automated message…
Hello, it has been detected that you are a scammer. Because of this, we are now flooding your phone lines to prevent you from scamming additional people. This will not stop until you stop
The video below records the scammer’s responses every time they picked up the phone to hear that automated message. Needless to say, the responses get more frustrated as the video continues and we must warn you that the second half of the video is very NSFW (persistent and explicit cursing.)
In fact, as the video nears the half way point you can hear other scammers in the background picking up their phones to get the same recording, suggesting these scammers are operating out of some type of call center, which is often the case as these criminals are working with very large networks of other crooks.
According to Project Mayhem’s video, the program was running for three days, preventing the crooks from getting calls from what could be real victims.
So here is the video. Enjoy.