Netsafe has unleashed a new weapon aimed at beating scammers at their own game.
The chat bot, called Re:scam, has been made to reply to scam emails with a never-ending series of questions that will waste the time scammers could be using to pursue potential victims.
Re:scam can take on multiple personas, imitating real human behaviour complete with humour and grammatical errors. It can also engage with infinite scammers at once.
Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker said he was excited to be launching another tool in the arsenal to take the fight to scammers.
"We are really concerned about the growth of predatory email phishing, while victims remain essentially powerless. We feel the scale of the problem far outweighs the attention it receives, and we want to empower people to take action. Re:scam provides them with the opportunity to do so."
Cybercrime has cost Kiwis $257 million in the past year according to global industry, law enforcement and government coalition the Anti-Phishing Working Group.
Cocker said scammers were becoming increasingly sophisticated.
"Re:scam will adapt as the scammers adapt their techniques, collecting data that will help us to keep up and protect more and more people across New Zealand."
Instead of deleting or putting dodgy emails in their junk folder, Kiwis can now forward them to email@example.com, which will continue the conversation until the scammer stops replying.
Re:scam will also send you a transcript of the conversation.