Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Artistic anti-fraud activism against online advance fee fraud
Andreas Zingerle
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
University of Art and Design Linz, Austria
Thesis Supervisor
Prof Gitti Vasicek
Supervisor e-mail
gitti.vasicek AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Department of Media
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
419 scam, vigilante communities, artivism, computer mediated communication, scambaiting
Abstract: 200-500 words
This dissertation investigates the role of vigilante online communities of scambaiters in their endeavors against Internet fraud. By analysing online forums I identified different types of scambaiters, and I tested their strategies and tools in artistic case studies and workshops. This research is motivated by two main research questions: (1) Based on the scambaiters’ actions and motives, should they be considered Internet activists or digital vigilantes?; and (2) How can their strategies be translated into a practice of creative activism? In order to work on these questions, my research investigated how storytelling, social engineering, data security and communication technologies are used by these groups. The workshops served as an opportunity to experiment with new tools and discuss their moral implications, while in the artistic case studies I tested the strategies for their activist potential. Previous research on the scambainting communities have focused on the virally shared photos that portray scammers in humiliating postures. The findings of my research show that the scambaiting communities are far more diverse than previously assumed. Therefore the most important contribution of this thesis was to show that scambaiters also use various activist tactics. Hence certain scambaiter communities can be defined as anti-fraud activists who serve the Internet community. In the scope of this dissertation I further discuss the results of the artistic case studies, implications for the perception of scambaiting communities, and I also bring forth areas of future research.