Have you watched any “scammer revenge” videos recently? They’re very satisfying. Cool people doing weird things to trick the digital swindlers. And yet, I seriously doubt those videos will deter scammers as a whole.
People desperate for a job, often thousands of miles away, aren’t going to feel guilty about lying to some strangers. But I think it would be wrong to describe them as simply greedy or shameless.
After all, they need pride and resolve to survive the trickiest of situations. In essence, it’s a lot like normal, legal customer service, isn’t it? With all the math and money, and friendliness and seal-dealing?
So, where do you get your strength from? Your sense of of purpose? The feeling that this work is special enough to really put your all into? That magic that allows a team of scammers or anyone to hold their heads up high and do their best?
Consider the following metaphor. Have you played Team Fortress 2? I haven’t gotten around to it yet. But I do know that two teams, RED and BLU, engage in a particularly quirky form of first-person warfare until somebody is decided the winner.
One the “character classes” in that game, rather than being focused on strength like The Heavy, or healing like The Medic, is an infiltrator called The Spy. And spies appear as members of the other team to……the other team. And this is all part of the goal of relaying information to the spy’s actual team and for assassinating enemies unexpectedly.
Though an actual fan of the game could tell you more about it, I imagine it makes for an incredibly engaging variety of gameplay scenarios. To hide one’s face like that, to take risks like that, to work around suspects of you like that, and to find comfort in a job well done while completely oblivious people dream of exposing everything you’re up to….all while testing your mouse and keyboard skills to the max…none of it is even remotely crazy.
You could tell a real-world scammer that they’re being evil, or inconsiderate, or trashy, or childlike, by choosing to trick people on the other side of the phone. You could really exhaust yourself thinking about how anyone gets to that point. Is it peer pressure, is it a lack of conscience, is it sadism, or is it throwing away your morality? You could ask them all those things…you could even convince someone to decry the path of the scammer….but it will never have felt weird or foolish for them to have done the deed in the first place.
Looking back, they might regret their actions, but adjusting their tone, speaking falsely, and accessing things that don’t belong to you….still will have felt like sane, normal, exciting, refreshing forms of behavior.
Asking someone to actually really hate wearing a disguise and lying out their teeth is like telling someone not to get a drop of pleasure from being a deceiver within a game.
Instead of complaining about the amount of deception and deceit going on among people, we should be finding a way to exercise our need to be so shrewd and sneaky among others.
Because you need to fake things a bit to survive social situations, don’t you? You can’t not be a bit of a liar, right? So why not do it in exactly the most appropriate context?
That’s how things always end up. So then the solution is obvious: feed the need to outwit and manipulate others that festers inside of your heart.
I’ve used Zoroark’s Illusion ability in the turn-based battles of Pokemon to trick people into using attacks that don’t affect it, or switching their Pokemon in panic when Zoroark possessed no ability to harm that enemy. I’ve felt my heart soar in those types of moments.
I’ve used Maestra of the Masquerade in Hearthstone to pretend to be a Mage while playing as a Rogue for a few turns. It is kind of a paper-thin strategy, since the point of it is to fulfill a gimmicky cost-reduction effect more than it is to trick the enemy. But knowing that someone would prepare their opening hand to fight a Druid or such instead of a Rogue also makes my heart feel very proud indeed.
And then there’s One Night Ultimate Werewolf My least favorite bar game. Where you have to act like you’re not a werewolf at an actual table with people.
Oh, and Among Us! Why wouldn’t that game be so popular?
It’s a funny thing, to wear the fragile mask of somebody you are not and may not even want to actually be.
It’s a silly thing, to watch people behave differently depending on a hidden face or disguised voice.
And the anti-scammer guy on YouTube knows this more than anyone.
He is hunting the hunter, he is wearing the mask of the prey in order to fulfill a sense of justice.
And he can make people panic and cry who never thought they’d be so blatantly and easily caught in the act.
But he’s not some kind of higher being getting a “one-up” on human behavior.
The scammer knows exactly how much the scammer-hunter’s heart flutters with anticipation, and that we longs to savor the scammer’s very trepidation.
And the scammer thinks, a heart filled with empathy, “I am here to pay the bills, not put on theatrics. While you choose to put on theatrics as a means of paying the bills because you’re so good at it!”
“You act like you’re exposing the worst of mankind when you’ve got just the same cheeky smile on your face. I get you, I fucking get you, so let’s fucking go at it!”
Like they don’t have SOME game plan for when somebody fights back? Of course they do.
On a cosmic level, it’s just spy versus spy, isn’t it?
How could you tell a spy they don’t have a heart overflowing with human greatness?
With self-control, with problem solving, with disdain for mere comfort?
I could never tear down the ego of a spy for hire.
It would be positively Karen-like to denigrate the spice within a person’s very bold heart.
I could only tell them they’re invoking their inner power to the highest degree possible,
and that is why things remain
Like a ridiculously intricate battle of clones.