RSN EDITORIAL: GUIDANCE FOR VICTIMS LOOKING AT ANTI-SCAM PAGES
What value is there in anti-scam groups (individual people), and organizations (actual companies such as RSN & SCARS)?
The real truth of all anti-scam organizations that is rarely told by most anti-scammers (though we do our best to share the reality constantly) is that MOST are very poorly run, and do substantial harm to many.
THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF ANTI-SCAMMERS
MOST anti-scam groups DO NOTHING to stop scammers. The reasons are simple, they are run by amateurs with no law enforcement experience and no connections to government. Their constant posting of “Scammer Photos” does nothing to control the problem. The ONLY people looking at them are already victims.
MOST anti-scammers have no experience in lawful victim’s assistance or compliance with legal regulations in their own countries. Many openly use terms that are unlawful, regardless of their intent and desires. Many actually cause more harm than good in this regard.
MOST anti-scam groups are not even social media or publishing professionals and barely know how to manage their publishing or communications platforms. The result in many cases is sharing critical information with scammers. In other cases they mislead and misdirect victims down paths that are harmful for their psychological wellbeing – they talk about support and recovery but have no one trained in any form of real recovery programs, therapy, or psychology.
MANY make claims that they will get scammers arrested and the victim’s money back – either outright, or hint at it through their communications. NO anti-scammer can get someone arrested. FEW have EVER gotten someone’s money back, and when it does happen it is very rare. Government & Law Enforcement are the only ones that can affect arrests of scammers, or have any ability to seize the assets of a scammer. There are ONLY two organizations actually working with government.
MOST anti-scammers never bother to tell the simple truths about scammers (mostly because they themselves have no idea). That scamming is a multi-billion dollar industry completely professionalized – instead they continue to promote the old stories of scammers sitting on floors with laptops.
MOST anti-scammers ask that victims report scammers on their website or page and the information is so poorly organized and the means it is displayed on those websites or social media page destroys its value as actual evidence. Requirements for evidence and victim report gathering are not a game and have clear requirements. The constant stream of scammer photos they display have no context and by uploading on to most website or social media become corrupted by that process and useless as evidence since they lose all embedded meta-data.
MOST anti-scammers focus on thrusting scammers into the face of victims as both their own way of taking revenge on scammers, and they attempt at getting victims to be angrier and continue their rage against scammers. When victims express their desire to move on, then they are usually exposed to the hate and abuse that comes from many in these anti-scam groups.
These are the SEVEN DEADLY SINS of Anti-Scammers across the web and social media.
There are only a few legitimate roles for anti-scam groups and organizations, which MOST FAIL COMPLETELY. However, there are some that do try their best and do some good.
Some groups do their best to expose the consequences of scamming, and display a sampling of stolen photos to make that point – however, again, they are not reaching most of the people at risk, they are reaching those already victimized.
One good attribute of anti-scammer groups is that they do help victims understand that they are not alone. That this is a much broader and widespread problem that the public (and many in government) knows. This is actually important in the initial stages of the post-scam experience for victims – this helps them come to grips with the reality of the crime they were a victim of. However, where most fail is helping the victim move on to the next steps.
It is true that victims need support and interaction to accept their reality, and set the stage to move on. In truth, the vast majority of victims do move through the grief stages and progress through recovery. Unfortunately, many are far more fragile and face real hard by MANY groups. These are the people that are in total panic, who even contemplate taking their own lives, and where real sensitivity is need to detect this condition – then refer them to an appropriate intervention hotline. No anti-scammer has any business trying to stumble through this situation on their own without proper training and compliance.
As we have seen in recent months, anti-scammer pages are being removed – especially on Facebook, as Facebook cracks down on behavior, display methods, and compliance with their Terms and Conditions. We are likely to continue to see more and more elimination from social media because of these issues – and the fact that a scammer can claim they are being harassed by an anti-scammer and Facebook with listen to that complain since there is NO LEGAL evidence to the contrary because of the amateurish approach by these anti-scammer groups.
So, in summary, it is important to recognize that MOST anti-scammers are incompetent, but there are a few that do good in their own way – that provide a form of safety net for those in the first fall, and do their best to help the victim through the initial shock. What they should understand more clearly is their limitation and stay within their sweet spot and stay out of what they are not competent to deal with, regardless of their ambition or egos.
For the rest, we have no doubt that Facebook’s moderators will continue their attrition of the herd.
For all victims, look for groups or organizations that provide full transparency – who runs the group (by real names), what kind of entity they are, where they are, and how they can be reached online and in the real world.