SCARS Position Statement Against Scambaiting

Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

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. Position Statement Against ScambaitingScam Baiting A foolish activity where a victim or nonvictim engages in deception and fraud to lead on a scammer into revealing information or for the sport of it. Deliberate deception online, regardless of the reason, is both unethical and in many places may also be illegal. While not prosecuted, Scambaiting has no legitimate benefit and should never be performed by victims since it is an act of revenge and only amplifies trauma. It is a reprehensible practice that is popularized by amateur anti-scam groups driven by their hate for fraudsters. Learn more: SCARS Position Statement Against Scambaiting

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April 2021

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Regarding Recent Studies Of Scambaiting By Noted Academics

Recently, two studies attempted to understand the phenomena of Scambaiting by vigilante anti-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. hater groups on Facebook and elsewhere.

While the research did not exactly promote the practice it gave it a voice and notoriety.

Regrettably, we have to strongly oppose the positions taken in these papers. While it is always valuable to study and understand phenomena, such as online crime, we find this research and articles to be unethical.

Why would we say something like that and condemn obvious research with the purpose of understanding a serious problem of criminality?

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. and cybercrimeCybercrime Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks. are massive problems worldwide!

They generate multiple trillions of dollars in losses across the globe. Individuals lose their life savings and frequently take their lives. Businesses have been known to shutdown after major cyberattacks.

Victims are angry – because they have been traumatized and are going through grief. But vigilantism is not the answer!

Instant experts and charlatans promote scambaiting to validate themselves and feed off of victim pain. They have substantial arguments in favor of what they do. How it slows down scammers, interferes with their offenses against others, and more. These are all proven to be false narratives.

Ignoring the self-corrupting aspects of it – namely engaging in the very same deceptions as the criminals. Not only does it cause significant harm to the real victims that participate by protracting their anger and delaying their recovery, but it has been turned into a sport by many, leading victims astray and away from legitimate victims’ assistance providers and recovery programs – such as those offered by SCARS www.AgainstScams.org

Proponents of scambaiting believe that their “savior” actions are saving victims by slowing scammers down. In fact, in our experience, it is the opposite. They are increasing the institutional knowledge that scammers acquire and share.

Certainly, scambaiters can waste the time of a small number of individual fraudsters, but the organizations are so large that it has no significance.

There is a small argument that scambaiters can acquire information that “might” help police in identifying individual scammers, but with hundreds of thousands of scammers operating it is insignificant. Almost all arrests result from reporting by other means that lead to the identification of scammers for other offenses, such as tax avoidance and other 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..

The very nature of vigilantism can have profoundly negative effects on those that engage in it – both for the zealots that steadfastly adhere to its doctrine, but more importantly the serious compounding of traumaTrauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS. that can result.

Our organization reaches approximately 1.1 million scam victims a year. In all of our history, we are not aware of more than a handful of law enforcement actions that have come from scambaiting.

How can engagement in deception by those who have been profoundly deceived be validated? It is a crime being perpetrated by victims of crime – nothing more. Yes, scambaiting is a crime – it uses deception and fraud. All fraud must be condemned!

As a real victims’ assistance provider we have established ethical standards to both define our work and the lines for all that should not be crossed, and scam baitingScam Baiting A foolish activity where a victim or nonvictim engages in deception and fraud to lead on a scammer into revealing information or for the sport of it. Deliberate deception online, regardless of the reason, is both unethical and in many places may also be illegal. While not prosecuted, Scambaiting has no legitimate benefit and should never be performed by victims since it is an act of revenge and only amplifies trauma. It is a reprehensible practice that is popularized by amateur anti-scam groups driven by their hate for fraudsters. Learn more: SCARS Position Statement Against Scambaiting is one of those lines.

We are profoundly troubled by the popular tendency to accept unethical 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. because it fits a narrative or maybe fun.

We believe that to study it as has been done in these documents serves both to validate the practice in the minds of its followers, and to misdirect real victims from valid recovery and law enforcement services.

Scambaiting creates a narrative that law enforcement does not work and that victims must take the law into their own hands. This is completely false. In 2019 over 111,000 scammers were arrested, and even in the pandemic of 2020 over 67,000 were arrested by law enforcement. This is very far from ineffective. Even the Nigerian EFCCEFCC Economic and Financial Crimes Commission The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is a Nigerian law enforcement agency that investigates financial crimes such as advance fee fraud (419 fraud), scams, and money laundering. The EFCC was established in 2003, partially in response to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), which named Nigeria as one of 23 countries non-cooperative in the international community's efforts to fight money laundering. The agency has its head office in Abuja, Nigeria. will reach record numbers of arrests inside of Nigeria. Almost every country (except for Ghana) has recognized the impact that cybercrime is having, with the U.K. declaring it a national emergency in the press.

We have observed that when traumatized victims engage in vigilantism they are many times more likely to increase trauma and develop PTSD – the same is true here with scambaiting. They are also likely to turn away from law enforcement and real support that such anti-scam hate groups provide.

Scam baiting must be condemned in the fullest because of its ethical corruption and the harm that it promotes in victim communities.

These studies – in our opinion – fail to do that, and serves to validate it as a method for anti-scam defense – which it is not.

Sadly, the researchers never talked with real cybercrime victims’ advocates or those that truly support them, such as SCARS, prior to conducting or publishing their articles.

Normally, we are a strong promoter of research into our subject area, but not in this case.

For these reasons, we are substantially against the statements made in their research.

We felt that making this statement was vital in establishing balance and promoting the real welfare of victims worldwide.

We sincerely hope that the authors will consider looking at scambaiting from the other side of the coin and the real harm it does overall.

If you are a scam victim we encourage you to stay away from vigilantes and instant-expert saviors. Stay away from saviors and anti-scam hate groups. You are placing your own mental healthMental health Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". According to WHO, mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others". From the perspectives of positive psychology or of holism, mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how one defines "mental health". in the hands of people that are in it for the sport!

If you need help we are here or talk to a real trauma counselor or therapist. Your future is what is at stake!

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By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS 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. Inc.

A Worldwide Crime Victims Assistance & Crime Prevention Nonprofit Organization Headquartered In Miami Florida USA & Monterrey NL Mexico, with Partners In More Than 60 Countries
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SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

A Worldwide Crime Victims Assistance & Crime Prevention Nonprofit Organization Headquartered In Miami Florida USA & Monterrey NL Mexico, with Partners In More Than 60 Countries
To Learn More, Volunteer, or Donate Visit: www.AgainstScams.org
Contact Us: Contact@AgainstScams.org

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