“Meta-Brouteur”, the account fun scammers
Who hasn’t received a scam message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? We are not reading too much to say that this has happened to almost everyone who will read these lines. But who among you has had the pleasure of answering to catch the scammer in his own trap? Some days David spends several hours doing this. It even became one of the favorite pastimes of the 44-year-old man, head of the account @Meta-Browserfollowed by more than 47,000 people.
For the past decade, he has been making fun of “grazers”, those online crooks who mostly operate from internet cafes in West Africa. “It’s a term that comes from Côte d’Ivoire, referring to a sheep that feeds idly. In other words, it’s easy to make money,” said David. In most cases, the modus operandi is the same, these scammers create fake profiles on social networks to extract money from their victims. “There is a whole panoply, which goes from romance scams, to sexual photo or video scams, to work or even escort,” explains David. The word “brouteur” is also one of the newcomers in the 2023 edition of Le Petit Robert dictionary.
“The manipulated manipulator”
Every day, David shares on his Twitter account an anthology of his best traps. He does not hesitate to drive the “grazers” crazy by giving them false locations – “Brussels in Savoie” -, false professions – “genicologist, I study antique lamps” -, in by making them copy false captchas – identity verification models – or by impersonating bots – automated robots. “I am happy to think that I am counter-swindling them. It’s the manipulated manipulator,” he exults.
If the 44-year-old man created his Twitter account more than two years ago, he has been playing this “game” for almost ten years: “These scams have been around for a very long time. In first, i did that by letter or by fax, that’s to tell you. then i started going to scammer forums, where people like me who trolled scammers gave advice with each other, shared their best jokes. And then, during the detention, I had a lot of free time, so I launched this Twitter account,” he explained.
With each new “grazer”, David tries to be “inventive”. “One day, I play the victim who doesn’t understand anything, the ignorant, the other, I play the more experienced grazer who gives advice. I love the concept of role-playing games, I play a character”, explains Méta-Brouteur. Moreover, as soon as the “grazers” do not play a character, David stops. “This is for a moment I’m not laughing anymore”.
“I’m not a vigilante”
But the Meta-Brouteur insisted, he wasn’t there to do justice. “My main goal is fun, I do it for fun. If someone is deceived, there is nothing I can do. I am not a vigilante. “On the other hand, he admitted, if his tweets can help people, it is a plus:” I don’t do it for that, but it can allow people to better understand the mechanisms of these scams. There is a preventive and educational side. »
And for good reason, if David chooses “the best exchange”, some “grazers” are not mistaken. “Some people are good at writing. We shouldn’t say that we need to see them. It’s not about intelligence, we all have moments of weakness, you have to be suspicious. »
Because these scams can affect everyone. Like this journalist David knows has 70,000 euros taken from him by a “grazer” he met in a Scrabble application. “They often act on social networks, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, but also on Le Bon Coin. And sometimes on less expected platforms, like this scrabble application,” he warned. Moreover, he is almost certain, himself “will have one day or another”. So, if you have a few minutes, don’t hesitate to check out his Twitter account, we promise you some giggles.