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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.ScammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. Urban Legends: Chapter 8 – Who Is Responsible?

Who Is Responsible For Scamming?

We constantly hear from victims that say that someone (pick a person) is responsible for global scamming!

Unfortunately, yes, there are many who are responsible and some who are not.

Let’s Look At The Genesis Of Global Online FraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim.

It all starts (basically) with the Advance Fee FraudAdvance Fee Fraud An advance fee scam or fraud is a form of fraud and is one of the most common types of online confidence tricks. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster claims will be used to obtain the large sum. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim or simply disappears. known as 419419 An advance fee scam or fraud (419 scam) is a form of fraud and is one of the most common types of online confidence tricks. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster claims will be used to obtain the large sum. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim or simply disappears. The 419 comes from the Nigerian law against this type of scam. – “419” refers to the section of the Nigerian 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. Code dealing with fraud, the charges, and penalties for offenders.

An advance-fee scamScam 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. is a form of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence tricks (“cons”). The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudsterFraudster A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. requires in order to obtain the large sum. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim or simply disappears. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (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.), “An advance fee scheme occurs when the victim pays money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value—such as a loan, contract, investment, or gift—and then receives little or nothing in return.”

There are many variations of this type of scam, including the typical Nigerian 419 scam, the Spanish Prisoner scam, the black money scam, Fifo’s Fraud and the Detroit-Buffalo scam. The scam started with fax machines and traditional mail and is now all online.

While Nigeria is the #1 source for this and most often the nation referred to in these 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., they have spread around the globe – either by people trained in Nigeria during the oil boom or from Nigerian migrating to other countries and sharing that knowledge.

In 2006, 61% of internet criminals were traced to locations in the United States, while 16% were traced to the United Kingdom, and 6% to locations in Nigeria (according to the FBI) – but the devil is in the details. The FBI views Internet Crime as any act with criminal intent, such as online stalking, cyberbullyingCyberbullying Cyberbullying or cyberharassment is a form of bullying or harassment using electronic means. Cyberbullying and cyber harassment are also known as online bullying. It has become increasingly common, especially among teenagers, as the digital universe has expanded and technology has advanced. Cyberbullying is when someone bullies or harasses others on the internet and other digital spaces, particularly on social media sites. Harmful bullying behavior can include posting rumors, threats, sexual remarks, a victims' personal information (Doxing), or pejorative labels (i.e. hate speech). Bullying or harassment can be identified by repeated behavior and an intent to emotional harm. Victims of cyberbullying may experience lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and various negative emotional responses, including being scared, frustrated, angry, depressed, or PTSD., low-grade hacks, and the like. However, Nigerians are the global plague when it comes to online scams, but it is true that it has spread.

Other nations known to have a high incidence of advance-fee fraud include Ivory Coast, Togo (really, all of Western Africa), South Africa, the Netherlands, and Spain.  One of the little-known facts of these scams is that Middle Easterners and Turks are also actively involved, and prior to 9/11 Al Qaeda made a significant amount of their money from scams (and they still fund terrorism and human trafficking to this day).

Starting Online

It began with the major online services of the late 1980s.

There were scams on “Bulletin Boards” from 1985. There were scams on Compuserve. There were scams on Prodigy, and PC-Link, and AppleLink (yes by Apple), and on MSN. But they really started to get going on Americal Online. However, let us not forget the Brittish Teletext services that were in widespread use in the UK in the early 1980s as well – where a small number of scams were being tested by fraudsters living in the UK.

By 1991 we started to see the first chat room on AOL talking about Romance Scams (this is where our own Chairman first started to notice them, and address the issue). Scams of various types were swarming through Americal Online in chat rooms, product offerings, messages, and emails. This is where we start to see an expansion and where significant income streams are arriving for individual scammers in Nigeria via Western Union.

Next The Web!

With the emergence of the World Wide Web (a layer sitting on top of the Internet that we still rely on today), we see a huge expansion of email scams as more of the world obtain email addresses. Fortunately, the U.S Government had tight regulation of domain names, so we did not see fake websites until the 2000s. However, email scamming was everywhere. The Nigerian Prince needed everything and had more money than Fort Knox!

Law Of Unforeseen Consequences

In the 1990’s we see a vast expansion in telemarketing moving to call (contact) centers around the world – from India to Latin America to Eastern Europe to (drum roll please!) AFRICA. As telecommunication spread and became dirt-cheap, companies around the world began outsourcing in a big way.

Now think about what outsourced telemarketing really is? It is putting together a physical building with the latest in communication hardware and software to enable rooms full of people to sell, support, and talk to people around the world. Business trained these people to be as close to perfect as they could, training them in the psychology of their buyers. Even teaching them how to overcome their accents and sound like their targets. In most of these countries, telemarketing was a good job, they were mid-level professionals, hiring college graduates. They were smart, efficient, and quick learners. These centers built up extensive training and professional development departments.

Then comes the mid-2000’s when the contact center/telemarketing industry starts to decline. Consumers have had it with weird callers day and night offering things they are not interested in. Consumers stop responding to cold-calls! But vast amounts of money have been invested in these centers, training their people, what will they do?

Many closed their doors and laid off their people. However, most of the centers were locally owned, so they looked for other opportunities. By 2010 about 2/3 of the former contact center business was gone. Those that remained had adapted to other kinds of service outsourcing. Some continued to provide telemarketing since there was still some need for it – especially tech support and customer service, but others looked at different opportunities.

Contact Centers Become Scam Centers

In places like Jamaica, telemarketers turned to Lotto Scamming. India turned to Tech Support and Tax Fraud scamming. Viet Nam, Thailand, Latin America, all have their call centers turned to scamming. We see that in country after country these failing call centers turn to other streams of income. Of course, the United States and Europe are not immune to this either – there are countless centers shut down for running fake programs and offers – it just happens faster and more efficiently. In the rest of the world, as long as they are not scamming locals, their local governments are only too happy to take a small piece of the continuing revenue stream.

Of course, this is not to say that all scamming started this way. There are large numbers of scammer gangsGangs A gang is normally a group or society of associated criminals with a defined leadership and internal organization that identifies with or claims control over a territory or business practice in a community and engages, either individually or collectively, in illegal, and possibly violent, behavior. Online gangs are not limited by territory and may operate side by side with other gangs while engaging in crime online. Some members of criminal gangs are initiated (by going through a process of initiation), or have to prove their loyalty and right to belong by committing certain acts, usually theft or violence, or rituals. Gangs are usually rougher and more visible than scammer cartels, and more often arrested. that started sitting on floors or in some obscure cyber cafe. However, it is this conversion from telemarketing to large-scale scamming that is responsible for the huge expansion in scamming from 2008 to 2016. It is this period of expansion that saw romance scams, email scams, and business scams explode. These centers had a necessary ingredient that the small gangs lacked – organization!

Contact centers were founded on business processes. Hiring, training, and quality control. They audit the performance of their people to help them perfect their pitches – no difference from today’s scammer organizations. They train their people for continuing improvement, increasing close rates and revenue streams. They hire outside consultants to write scripts and offer psychological profiling of their targets.

Why is it that so few scammers are ever arrested? Simply because these organizations stay focused on the exterior, and to the outside world they appear to be legitimate businesses. Only the fringe gangGang A gang is normally a group or society of associated criminals with a defined leadership and internal organization that identifies with or claims control over a territory or business practice in a community and engages, either individually or collectively, in illegal, and possibly violent, behavior. Online gangs are not limited by territory and may operate side by side with other gangs while engaging in crime online. Some members of criminal gangs are initiated (by going through a process of initiation), or have to prove their loyalty and right to belong by committing certain acts, usually theft or violence, or rituals. Gangs are usually rougher and more visible than scammer cartels, and more often arrested. bangers (Yahoo Boys or Sakawa) are really noticed, and that is just fine for business. In fact, these cartels deliberately expose individual scammers to keep the public around the world happy. Have you ever noticed how stupid the scammers seem that get arrested? They are the rejects.

Remember this the next time that you beat yourself up over the scam that impacted you. Most of the 100,000 plus scammers are professionals, and they are well trained to deliver results.

We hope you agree.

Please let us know what you think?

SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

 
SCARS™ Team

A SCARS Division
Miami Florida U.S.A.

 

 


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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:

  1. Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
  2. Your National Police or FBI (www.IC3.gov)
  3. The SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network – 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.


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Visit our NEW Main SCARS 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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