You can now fight email spam with an unlikely solution: a chatbot. New Zealand-based cyber safety organization Netsafe has introduced Re:scam, a chatbot that will reply to unsolicited email messages on your behalf.
For the uninitiated, a chatbot is a program that simulates conversations with human users online. Who knew it could be used to deal with spam?
It’s like fighting fire with fire – you combat automated spam messages with automated spam responses. Re:scam aims to take up so much of the spammer’s time that they’ll eventually stop bothering you.
Here’s a quick overview:
How Re:scam works
So how do you use Re:scam? Simply forward your spam to firstname.lastname@example.org and it’ll take over for you. Re:scam will reply to the spammer with an automated response from a proxy address, then keep replying to further emails. This continues until the spammer tires and stops altogether.
Re:scam will even send you a transcript of the conversation. Make sure you have popcorn on hand when you read through it.
Here’s the thing: if more and more people start using Re:scam, spammers will be too busy keeping up with the spam responses. Sure, they could use a chatbot to counter your chatbot, but by then, why should spammers bother when actual people aren’t replying to them anymore and it’s all done by proxy?