Baiters are a diverse lot, says Boston Boomer — “grandmothers with nine grandchildren, stay-at-home moms, retired law-enforcement officers” — but it’s a safe bet that the majority, relatively speaking, are better off than the scammers they tangle with.
And they seldom fear retribution. They communicate cloaked in pseudonyms. They use P.O. Boxes. “If a scammer was ever going to come all the way to the US, he wouldn’t know who to look for,” says The Failure. And besides, “They’re not gonna come over from Eastern Europe or West Africa to hunt me down for a lousy thousand dollars. If they have the [means] to get to the United States, they don’t have to be scamming in the first place.”
So wouldn’t that suggest that these are primarily underprivileged prisoners of Third World poverty, trying to make a living in the most efficacious way their circumstances allow?
No, says Boston Boomer. These are criminals. “One of the things that particularly fries my ass is that they take advantage of regular church people. They do these scams that involve churches, constantly quoting Scripture. It gets really bad. I’ve seen them break a lot of people.”
He tells of a woman in Arizona who worked on an Indian reservation. As the promises from Nigeria mounted and the “fees” piled up, she pawned her truck. She wired more and more money. And eventually ended up with nothing. One guy he knows of was so wiped out that he decided the only way out was suicide. It’s with cases like those in mind that baiters do what they do.
And so, as The Failure’s e-mail account continues to be inundated with “hundreds and hundreds of e-mails a day,” he’ll keep fighting back.
And in Nigeria and countries like it, the scammers will continue to type away. A few will get wealthy. Others will keep toiling for pennies. And others will pose for demeaning photographs with obscene signs, or strip naked, or submit to hideous tattoos, or jump off roofs, or set themselves on fire.
“What I think will eventually happen is, once Nigeria gets out of that turmoil, once the community starts to straighten up and they get more money put into the country legally, I think all this will stop,” says The Failure. “But that’s not going to happen any time soon.”