Turn the Tables: Netsafe’s New AI Tool Empowers You to Scam the Scammers!

  • Editor
  • June 18, 2024

Netsafe, a New Zealand-based online safety organization, has reintroduced an innovative AI tool named ReScam, aimed at countering the growing threat of online scams.

Leveraging the capabilities of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, ReScam engages scammers in endless, futile conversations, thus wasting their time and reducing their ability to deceive real victims.

The tool operates by users forwarding suspicious emails to me@rescam.org, after which ReScam creates a fake persona and initiates a never-ending dialogue with the scammer.

On different Reddit discussions, here’s what people have to say about online scams!

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This approach helps divert the scammer’s attention from real targets, ultimately disrupting their fraudulent activities.

Netsafe assures users that only their email addresses are recorded, with no other personal data being shared with scammers.

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The first iteration of ReScam, launched in 2017, facilitated simple exchanges but has since evolved into a more sophisticated model with multiple personalities and an expanding vocabulary, making it harder for scammers to recognize they are interacting with an artificial intelligence system.

Netsafe’s CEO Brent Carey emphasized that the agency has been training the new AI-based model for over a year, including trials with friends and family.


“As the rise of scam victims – and the total cost of their losses – persists in New Zealand, Netsafe continues to look for innovative ways to disrupt scammers, launching yet more products and services to prevent and support victims of scams,” he said.

The reintroduction of ReScam comes at a critical time, as online scams continue to cause significant economic and emotional harm in New Zealand.

The country’s economy reportedly loses an estimated $2 billion annually to scams, which represents 0.85 percent of New Zealand’s GDP. Despite the severe impact, there is currently no government funding for incident response and victim remediation.

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Netsafe’s research, in collaboration with the Global Anti-Scam Alliance, found that 53 percent of scam victims experienced significant emotional distress, and only 15 percent of victims who attempt to recover their money succeed.

Netsafe’s new initiatives include the launch of anti-scam tools and services, such as the Chorus-funded “Get Set Up for Safety” toolkit for seniors, and partnerships with Cybera, Dolla, and Akahu.

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These collaborations aim to provide victims with more avenues to recover their losses. Additionally, Netsafe is experiencing an increase in scam-related calls to its online safety helpline, processing around 15,000 such calls annually.

The organization also advocates a more holistic approach to combating scams involving government, banks, and telecommunications companies. This includes calls for banks to invest in technological upgrades, such as implementing a confirmation-of-payee service to prevent scams.

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Netsafe’s efforts are complemented by hosting the Oceania chapter of the Global Anti-Scam Alliance meeting and joining the international non-profit Cyber Helpline.

CyberCX executive director of strategy and risk, Dan Richardson, highlighted that educating people to recognize and forward scam emails to Netsafe is crucial for ReScam’s success.


“While ReScam could help to throw sand into the gears of scammers by using up their time, more needs to be done at a holistic level by government, banks and telcos to drive costs into the business model of scammers at the source. The implementation of ‘confirmation-of-payee’ by banks in New Zealand is one positive step in this direction,” Richardson said.

He also pointed out that scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with improved production values making them harder to detect. Richardson suggested that a centralized and coordinated response to scams, similar to Singapore’s ScamShield App, could enhance scam prevention efforts.

Netsafe’s commitment to innovation, collaboration, and proactive measures against online scams is evident in its continuous development of new tools and partnerships.

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Carey noted that while Netsafe cannot directly bring about regulatory or legislative changes, its extensive experience in harm prevention education positions it well to contribute to a safer digital environment for New Zealanders.

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Dave Andre


Digital marketing enthusiast by day, nature wanderer by dusk. Dave Andre blends two decades of AI and SaaS expertise into impactful strategies for SMEs. His weekends? Lost in books on tech trends and rejuvenating on scenic trails.

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