The internet is a powerful tool for terrorist organizations looking to spread their message, but it’s an equally powerful tool for their detractors.
John Oliver highlights one potent example in his latest episode: three young Chechnyan women who successfully conned ISIS militants out of thousands of dollars.
Members of the radical terrorist organization are known for trying to recruit foreign female teens to join them as brides in their struggle to establish an Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East. In internet speak, the Chechnyan women “catfished” the ISIS fighters, a term defined by Urban Dictionary as “someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.”
According to Oliver, the young women had created online personas to contact ISIS militants, telling them that they were interested in becoming their brides but lacked the funds to travel to Syria. After luring a handsome sum out of the first conned terrorist via electronic transfer, the women reportedly deleted their accounts and moved onto their next target.
Oliver joked that the harshness of their actions even made him feel slightly sorry for the duped militant. “They just blocked him, that is cold!” Oliver said.
The women were reportedly arrested and charged with fraud by local police, which could carry a six-year prison sentence. This, Oliver concluded, was a cruel and unjust punishment: ”Scamming ISIS is the best thing anyone did on earth this week,” he said. “It’s basically the exact opposite of shooting a lion with a bow and arrow.”