Online Streamers Work to Combat Internet Scams

( – Fans of the Twitch streamer “Kitboga” called him the most unique streamer last year in recognition of his unusual influencer gig—Kitboga takes down online scammers who target the elderly.

Twitch is a popular livestreaming video platform.

A profile by National Public Radio calls Kitboga a “millennial with a knack for improvisation.” Kitboga is a “scam baiter,” which is someone who uses a fake identity to string along financial scammers to disrupt their confidence game.

Online scammers cost Americans $12.5 billion in 2023, the highest amount yet recorded. The FBI says that’s an increase of 22 percent over 2022’s figures, and the total is likely much higher as not all scam crimes are reported. Many victims feel ashamed of having been fooled out of their money by an online stranger, which discourages them from seeking help or reporting the crime.

NPR described how Kitboga operates. Using an assumed identity and digitally altering his voice, he pretends to be an elderly lady (in one instance, named “Edna”) talking to a scammer over the phone. The scammer was pretending to be romantically interested in the elderly fictional Edna, but what he’s really aiming for is what he believes is her multi-million-dollar fortune.

After months of back-and-forth phone calls—with Edna suggesting they get Taylor Swift concert tickets—the scammer demands that Edna get married to him in Nigeria. The trouble is, the scammer has already claimed he’s never been to Nigeria. At this point, Kitboga drops his digital disguise. He says he thinks that the longer he can keep such con artists talking and wasting their time, the fewer people will be victimized. Of course, Kitboga is making a tidy living from his passion on Twitch.

An incident in his own family prompted Kitboga to become a scammer buster. He said he discovered online scammers trying to get money out of his own grandmother. Prior to 2017, he said, Kitboga had no idea how prevalent and lucrative the market in online cons really was.

Teaching people how to recognize a scam and avoid taking the bait makes the work satisfying, he said. People send him emails saying they avoided getting taken advantage of “because of your video.”

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