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.™ Advocacy Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

On March 27th 2019, an event was held by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabi. This was to kick off their 2030 National Transformation Plan » for modernization. This was attended by our Chairman and one of our Board Members.

Ministry of Culture Website »

The first event was met with major fanfare (here is one of their press releases » the event that Dr. McGuinness attended.) Here is more press about the event (click here »)

We do thank the Royal Government for their invitation and the all-expenses-paid visit to their kingdom, but that is where we have to stop the propaganda and get down to the reality of the situation on the ground for 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. victims in Saudia Arabia – at the risk of alienating ourselves from future conversations with their government.

Meeting With Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate for Public Security

The next day our Chairman met with the Saudi Ministry of the Interior’s General Directorate for Public Security »

The objective for the conversation was to be about 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. that originate in Saudi Arabia and how they care for the victims of scams. Our goal was to coordinate with them on identified scammers, and how to better support victims there.

Medieval Times In Saudi Arabia

 

To Say We Were Shocked Is An Understatement!

Our overtures were not well received. In fact, it was viewed as an attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of their country and with some hostility. Something we have never seen in our meetings with other country’s police forces.

We must be cautious in the representations we make and how we report on these matters since the power of the Saudi Kingdom is well known, both financially and diplomatically. As a nonprofit, we always must be concerned about our donors and our ability to work with governments around the world. Plus our team frequently passes through this region on their way to China, so care must be exercised in what we report.

However, there were certain revelations that emerged that must be shared.

Is It Really Any Surprise?

Is it really any surprise that in the land where Islamic law allows for the stoning of people that we should expect a modern approach to the recognition and care of victims?

In our first exposure to their current culture during the 2030 Cultural Event, all was modern, gracious and civil. But the following day we were given the opportunity to visit their national police directorate and meet with officials and officers that actually deal with online crimes and their victims. Our reception was professional and polite but frigid.

The Saudi View Of Scammers

In General, The View Of The Saudi Police On Scammers Varies Depending On The Type Of Scam And The Gender Of The Victim

For example, business 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. is treated very seriously with harsh prison sentences, even allowing the death penalty in very severe cases. Thus we hear of very little in the way of true business scams originating from the Kingdom. The same views hold for malwareMalware Short for "malicious software," this term means computer viruses and other types of programs that cybercriminals use to disrupt or access your computer, typically with the aim of gathering sensitive files and accounts. distribution, such as ransomwareRansomware Ransomware is a type of malware from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim's personal data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system so that it is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion. It encrypts the victim's files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. In a properly implemented cryptoviral extortion attack, recovering the files without the decryption key is an intractable problem – and difficult to trace digital currencies such as paysafecard or Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are used for the ransoms, making tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators difficult. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan virus disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading or opening when it arrives as an email attachment. However, one high-profile example, the WannaCry worm, traveled automatically between computers without user interaction. and other forms of online extortion. There is an active hackerHacker A computer hacker is a computer expert who uses their technical knowledge to achieve a goal or overcome an obstacle, within a computerized system by non-standard means. Though the term hacker has become associated in popular culture with a security hacker – someone who utilizes their technical know-how of bugs or exploits to break into computer systems and access data which would otherwise be unavailable to them – hacking can also be utilized by legitimate figures in legal situations. For example, law enforcement agencies sometimes use hacking techniques in order to collect evidence on criminals and other malicious actors. This could include using anonymity tools (such as a VPN, or the dark web) to mask their identities online, posing as criminals themselves. Likewise, covert world agencies can employ hacking techniques in the legal conduct of their work. Oppositely, hacking and cyber-attacks are used extra- and illegally by law enforcement and security agencies (conducting warrantless activities), and employed by State actors as a weapon of both legal and illegal warfare. community, but only those that work for the government are tolerated.

The local police enforce the law vigorously in the cases of business scams. They even treat “fake newsFake news Fake news is false or misleading information presented as news. It often has the aim of damaging the reputation of a person or entity, or making money through advertising revenue. However, the term does not have a fixed definition and has been applied more broadly to include any type of false information, including unintentional and unconscious mechanisms, and also by high-profile individuals to apply to any news unfavourable to his/her personal perspectives.” as another form of business scam and it can be punished severely.

The result is generally a serious intent to enforce international norms when it applies to business fraud.

“Soft Scams”

The Saudi view on Soft Scams – those affecting individuals was radically different and intolerant.

In Essence, In The Case Of These: It Is All The Victim’S Fault!

Victim blamingVictim Blaming Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befell them. SCARS seeks to mitigate the prejudice against victims and the perception that victims are in any way responsible for the actions of offenders or scammers. There is historical and current prejudice against the victims of domestic violence and sex crimes, such as the greater tendency to blame victims of rape than victims of robbery. Scam victims are often blamed by family & friends for the crime. Scam victims also engage in self-blame even though they are not to blame. – it is based on the victim’s greed or lust or other immoral 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. – in their view – is at the root of all non-business socially engineered scams.

THEIR VIEW IS THAT THE VICTIMS GOT WHAT THEY DESERVED!

They do not even view these scams as being a crime since their formal view is that the victim made a gift of their money to the 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.. Fraud without a financial loss is also not viewed as a crime at all, just foolish behavior (as long as it does not break other laws or moral behavior.)

Romance Scams

Now we get into the truly MEDIEVAL side of their view and policies.

And It Is Highly Skewed Based Upon The Gender Of The Victim:

A Male Victim of a romance scam can be excused for being “stupid” (as they say.) They are simply following lust and other immoral behavior and their punishment is typically the function of their religious law – meaning a penance of some kind.

Women, on the other hand, can face true horror for being the victim of a romance scam. Now we understand why so few victims ever come forward from this region of the world. Depending on the circumstances, a woman romance scam victim can face significant physical abuse up to an including death, all sanctioned under the law.

Depending On Status:

If A Woman Is Single (unmarried) and is involved in a romance scam it brings shameShame Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self; withdrawal motivations; and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness. onto the family and the victim’s father has the right to physically punish the victim. This can include “caning,” whipping, or beatings by the father or her brothers, or other male family members. If it involved sending money to a scammer – since the money is not considered hers but belonging to the family – she can be remanded to the police for theft. We were told about these incidents but not shown any statistics of how many victims there were.

If A Woman Is Married and engages in a romance scam then the situation is far worse. Indeed, being involved with a romance scam while married is technically a form of infidelity but in their culture infidelity is punishable in the most severe ways. This includes the death sentence.

The Death Penalty

Here Are Examples Of Crimes In Saudia Arabia That Carry The Death Sentence!

Capital Offences:

  • Apostasy
  • Treason
  • Homosexuality
  • Espionage
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Terrorism
  • Drug Smuggling
  • Armed Robbery
  • Blasphemy
  • Burglary If Aggravated Circumstances, Including Recidivism
  • Adultery (Unmarried Adulterers Can Be Sentenced To 100 Lashes, Married Ones Can Be Sentenced To Stoning.)
  • Sorcery Or Witchcraft
  • Waging War On God

Punishment By Death Is A Common Occurrence In Saudi Arabia

In fact, Deera Square, in central Riyadh. is known locally as “Chop-chop square,” it is the location of public beheadings. Saudi law » theoretically allows the death penalty for many crimes.

Death For Romance Scams

First, let it be said that the government seems to feel no sympathy for the victims of romance scams, male or female. However, a married female victim will truly run the risk of not only financial loss but total separation from her family forever (in the case of a more enlightened husband) or beatings and death if she is married to a more traditional man.

The police would not provide any information on the numbers of these killings or beatings except to say it happens and it is not their business to interfere in the business of married families. Unless the woman is turned over to the police as an adulterer, and in those cases, the punishment is 100 lashes of a whip.

In the meeting we had with them, it was quickly obvious that this is not a society or culture that can be motivated to change rapidly, unlike the Government of Ghana for example, who is now in discussions with SCARS over changes and reductions in scamming.

Saudi Arabia is clearly looking at these crimes differently than the entire rest of the world which recognizes them for what they are (except now for the newly fundamentalist kingdom of Brunei in South East Asia and a few other countries).

Clearly, Saudia Arabia (and others in the region) operate from the assumption that the victim of a scam is at fault and in many cases is committing a severe crime themselves. The killing of women is not only allowed but a recognized right under their culture – such as Honor Killings and in cases of Adultery. It can be done in private or in public by beheadings, stonings, or other means.

We are very sympathetic to the plight of scam victims there but we also recognized that activism comes with dangers, and it was made clear to us that our opinions were not invited or we risked being subjected to personal risk. This was an amazing contrast after experiencing the overtly modern gala the night before, then entering the ultra-modern Ministry of the Interior building only to find mindsets from ancient times.

An even stranger twist on this is that we were told that some women engage in witchcraft against men online and that that too is punishable by death. The police firmly believe in witches!

No Solution

Sadly there is no solution to the plight of romance scam victims where Islamic law prevails.

But it is important to recognize the problem and work as much as possible to address it from the outside. We must also always be on guard that this cultural approach to victims does not expand into our own countries – from Great Briton to the U.S., Europe, or Asia. With the application of Islamic law in Brunei, Mindanao, Bangladesh, Pakistan and elsewhere in the Middle East – victims face extraordinary risk if they come forward to local police.

We are quite proud of our SCARS Member Groups in Indonesia and Malaysia and the success they have had working with the police there to change the attitudes there!

If You Are A Victim Always Consider Your Own Safety First Before Reporting The Scam!

Reporting matters, but your safety matters more!

Of course, victims in the Western or Asian world are acknowledged for what they are – the victim of a 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. – but this is not the case everywhere.

For More Information:

Author’s Note:

This was written only after our plane lifted off from the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh tonight on our way back to the U.S. since we were advised that WiFi was controlled and monitored.

Dr. McGuinness
Chairman

SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

 

 

 

 

TAGS: Saudi Arabian Victims, Saudi Arabian Scams, Saudi Arabian Scammers, Death Sentence, Treatment of Victims, Victim Blaming, SCARS, Global Advocacy,


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More Information From RomanceScamsNow.com


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Tell us about your experiences with Romance Scammers in our Scams Discussion Forum on Facebook »


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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 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 »)
  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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