A new artificial intelligence-powered chatbot has been created to fight back against pesky email spammers who fill up your inbox with dodgy links and the promise of riches.
Dubbed Re:scam, the project has been created by New Zealand-based not-for-profit Netsafe as a cutting-edge way of occupying the time and resources of cybercriminals.
The AI can take on multiple personas, engage with "infinite scammers at once" and will continue conversations until the culprit stops replying.
"With multiple personalities, and an ever growing vocabulary, there's no way for scammers to know that they are taking to a computer," a video outlining the new project states.
The team says spam emails can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org and the chatbot will automatically get to work by launching into its automatic responses.
The firm will even send back snippets of the conversations, as the scammers become increasingly agitated. "They can be quite funny," Netsafe said.
In an example shown in the YouTube video, the chatbot was seen responding to a scammer posing as 'The Illuminati' and offering $5m. It responds by sending random numbers – one at a time.
"That is not necessary," the fraudster complains. The AI bot continues regardless.
The aim, the firm explained, is to waste the time of the digital fraudsters and help to raise awareness of phishing attacks – typically used to spread malware and steal personal details.
Chatbots, of course, are not new. In recent years the technology, which simply reacts to keywords and learns over time as more data is inputted into the system, has been used to help people claim asylum, make end-of-life decisions and even sue hacked companies.
With this case, however, you get the satisfaction of knowing that email scammers who make their money peddling fake promises to unwitting victims, are getting a taste of their own medicine.