A savvy young Irishman has turned the tables on an internet scammer, tricking the fraudster into depositing money into his own bank account.
Like many unsuspecting people, Limerick student Ross Walsh has previously been targeted by poorly-worded emails appealing for money.
After gaining inspiration from a British comedian who films himself wasting scammers’ time, Mr Walsh decided to go one step further and try to swindle money back.
Australians are set to lose a record amount of money to scams in 2019, with projections expected to exceed $532 million by the end of the year.
But Mr Walsh claims to have double-crossed internet fraudsters three times, with the latest victim being the unsuspecting ‘Solomon Gundi’ who had pleaded for £1000 ($A1820) to kickstart a stock-trading business.
The email appeal from ‘Solomon Gundi’ said: “I want you to invest £1000 in my company for exchange for half business.”
But while most of us would simply delete the email and move on, Mr Walsh offered to give significantly more money than was being requested.
“I told him this was very interesting, but that I thought £1000 was an insult and that I wanted to give £50,000,” Mr Walsh told media.
His reply email to the scammer opened with “My dear Mr Solomon” before explaining: “As you know I am an enthusiastic businessman and think £1000 is an insult.
“I have attached proof of payment of £50,000 to get the ball running.
“One thing you need to understand about doing things in Europe is we do things BIG.”
Having cast his bait, Mr Walsh, waited for a response – which duly arrived.
Solomon Gundi said he had not received the money, to which Mr Walsh replied that the bank must have intervened, thinking the payment was going to scammer.
“I said they don’t want to release the funds unless they see a small sum of money going from his account to my account just to prove this isn’t a scam,” Mr Walsh said.
“He fell for it then.”
Mr Walsh asked for just £25 – which the online scammer duly transferred into his account. Then the Irishman asked the scammer to speak in code to avoid the taxman’s supposedly prying eyes.
Money was replaced with “high ball”, transaction became “short puck out”, business coded as “county final” and PayPal “the square” – all phrases plucked from the obscure Irish sport of hurling.
The Irish DJ donated the money to the Irish Cancer Society and sent proof of donation to the Solomon Gundi.
“Solomon, I want to give you some advice,” he wrote.
“One thing you need to understand about county final is never trust a short puck out.”
Mr Walsh said his motivation had been to have a bit of fun and waste an internet predator’s time.
“Like the last two times, I wanted to waste their time so they don’t waste anyone else’s or before they prey on a vulnerable person,” he said.
“This is my largest haul to date – a whopping £25.”