Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team
RSN™ Special Report: Facebook & Social Media Largely Ignore Scammers
Reprinted from the Society of Citizens Against Romance ScamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. (SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS.) »
Why Does Facebook & Social Media Largely Ignore Scammers?
United States Law rules the Internet (or did until Obama gave the internet away in 2017)
One of these laws is 47 U.S.C. § 230, a Provision of the Communication Decency Act
All of us in the Internet industry in those days (which included our Chairman who was a co-founder of TigerDirect.com – the largest internet retailer at that time). We were all scared of what people were posting on our websites, chat services, and incipient social network services (such as ICQ and America Online).
The provisions of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 was designed to allow the Internet to grow and prosper.
This comes somewhat as a surprise since the original purpose of the legislation was to restrict free speech on the Internet. The Internet community as a whole objected strongly to the Communications Decency Act, and with EFF’s (Electronic Freedom Foundation) help, the anti-free speech provisions were struck down by the Supreme Court. But thankfully, CDA 230 remains and in the years since has far outshone the rest of the law. But sometimes there are unforeseen consequences.
Section 230 says that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider” (47 U.S.C. § 230). In other words, online intermediaries that host or republish speech are protected against a range of laws that might otherwise be used to hold them legally responsible for what others say and do. The protected intermediaries include not only regular Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but also a range of “interactive computer service providers,” including basically any online service that publishes third-party content. Though there are important exceptions for certain criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues., intellectual property-based claims, identity theftIdentity Theft Identity theft is when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In both the U.K. and the United States it is the theft of personally identifiable information. Identity theft deliberately uses someone else's identity as a method to gain financial advantages or obtain credit and other benefits, and perhaps to cause other person's loss. The person whose identity has been stolen may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are falsely held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Personally identifiable information generally includes a person's name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person's financial resources. & impersonationImpersonation An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone, such as: part of a criminal act such as identity theft, online impersonation scam, or other fraud. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors., and defamation, the CDA 230 creates a broad protection that has allowed innovation and free speech online to flourish.
This legal and policy framework has allowed for YouTube and Vimeo users to upload their own videos, Amazon and Yelp to offer countless user reviews, craigslist to host classified ads, and Facebook and Twitter to offer social networking to more than a billion Internet users.
Given the sheer size of user-generated websites (for example, Facebook alone has more than 1 billion users, and YouTube users upload more than 100 hours of video every minute), it would be infeasible for online intermediaries to prevent objectionable content from cropping up on their site.
Rather than face potential liability for their users’ actions, most would likely not host any user content at all or would need to protect themselves by being actively engaged in censoring what we say, what we see, and what we do online. In short, CDA 230 is perhaps the most influential law to protect the kind of innovation that has allowed the Internet to thrive since 1996.
However, it has a dark side too! (Enter the scammers, the hater, the defamer, and the terrorist!) Because these people use this loophole to exploit what and who they want.
The good news is that there are laws against that behaviorBehavior Behavior / Behavioral Actions Otherwise known as habits, behavior or behavioral actions are strategies to help prevent online exploitation that target behavior, such as social engineering of victims. Changing your behavior is the ONLY effective means to reduce or prevent scams. too.
Haters and defamers can be sued and stripped of their money and assets.
Terrorists and criminals can be discovered and in many cases arrested in the more developed countries.
But scammers have flourished!
Why? Because the flip side of the law is that websites and social media act like the three monkeys: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil. So if they don’t look, they are not liable.
They have had their lawyers establish Community Standards, and Terms, Conditions, and Policies that protect them at all costs, and sometimes even the consumer. However, it means that anything wrong has to be reported.
Just one problem in this “live happily ever after” world of legal fiction – the ability of consumers to report and be heard by these websites and social media networks.
Facebook especially is massively deficient in the training of their Standards Checking Personnel to the point that they don’t recognize scammers when they see them, and Facebook doesn’t even use basic technology to check the IP addresses of profile creators and editors to match where they say they live. It is for these reasons that the Society has created the SCARS Plan to help Facebook and others understand their weakness and what could even be called culpable negligence, and simple remedies to resolve a significant number of these problems rapidly.
Now that you know why Social Media and website behave this way, what will you do to help change their minds? We would love to hear your opinions!
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Tell us about your experiences with Romance Scammers in our Scams Discussion Forum on Facebook »
FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?
It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.
Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:
- Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- Your National Police or FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. (www.IC3.gov)
- The Scars Worldwide Reporting Network HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.
Visit our NEW Main SCARS™ News & Information Facebook page for much more information about scams and online crime: www.facebook.com/SCARS.News.And.Information
To learn more about SCARS visit www.AgainstScams.org
Please be sure to report all scammers HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
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