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SCARS|RSN™ Special Report: Online Vigilantes Can Actually Hurt Criminal Cases
Experts Warn Online Vigilantes Not To Share Photos Of People Accused Of Crimes
A few months ago in Australia, the country was rocked by three shocking crimes in one week, and the public wanted justice.
Naturally, the modern version of the gossip coffee klatch sprang to life on social media. Instead of just talking about the crimes, everyone wanted a piece of these criminals and proceeded to post anything and everything about them.
Posting in this way satisfies an inner urge for vengeance, not justice. Justice is a slow precise process of determining guilt. Vigilantes want revenge, not justice. Remember the part about innocent until proven guilty?
But Social Media Posts Like These Do The Exact Opposite. And This Becomes A Lesson For Us That Fight Scammers As Well!
AUSTRALIANS were furious. As a country, they were reeling from three horrific crimes occurring within days of each other — crimes which have left two young women dead and a young child’s life altered forever.
A 22-year-old budding comedian Eurydice Dixon’s promising life was cut short when she was stalked, raped and murdered as she walked home from a gig in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
On the same day Ms. Dixon was killed, an 11-year-old girl was snatched on her way to primary school in Newcastle before being sexually assaulted for hours on end.
And the following day, a 19-year-old man was charged with the murder of his flatmate, 28-year-old Sydney woman Qi Yu, who had been missing for many days.
When We Hear Stories Like These, It Makes Us Feel Angry, And It Makes Us Feel Helpless.
This is exactly what happens to scam victims!
It’s tempting, then, to feel like we can fight back against the gross injustice in some small way, by sharing photos of the people accused of these heinous crimes online, in an effort to “name and shame” them.
After all, the media is blurring their faces! Journalists aren’t reporting their names — and something has to be done, right?
With the click of a button, photos of the accused accompanied by accusations and speculation can be spread around the world — but while it can be satisfying to feel you are seeking justice, you could actually be doing the complete opposite.
As senior criminology lecturers (Professors), Alyce McGovern and Sanja Milivojevic explained in the piece, sharing photos and speculation online could impact the accused’s right to a fair trial — which could ultimately lead to a lighter sentence or even a mistrial, which could see an offender walk free.
In places like West Africa this is not an issue, but in the developed countries it absolutely can be a major issue. Not only can it taint juries, but in the case of scammers, nothing published online can be used as evidence. The ONLY true “Chain of Custody” online reporting systems are those operated by governments (such as the FBI’s IC3.gov ») and the SCARS|CDN™ which accepts reports on www.Anyscam.com », RomanceScamsNow.com », and over 100 other SCARS|CDN™ reporting locations. For online evidence to be accepted for use in law enforcement and trial it must come directly from the victim and have permanent traceability back to that victim with each step along the way providing certification of authentication. No online crime hater group does or is capable of that, so most of it is a waste of time in apprehending actual criminals unless reported through the SCARS Network »
Additionally, few people online consider that the “Name and Shame” game actually places them at risk of both violating law and becoming personally liable. Shaming is a form of defamation, and unless it is based upon established (legally established) fact the author is liable. If a criminal is ultimately arrested and is found not guilty, even if by a technicality, then everyone who posted about them is liable.
More Important Is The Damage It Can Do To Trying An Arrested Suspect!
“Activity on Facebook and Twitter can pose a threat to prosecutions and the right to a fair trial through practices such as sharing photos of the accused before an indictment, creation of hate groups, or jurors sharing their thoughts about a case online,” Alyce McGovern and Sanja Milivojevic wrote.
“In the Meagher case, Victoria Police used its Facebook page to educate the public about the consequences of such breaches. In addition, a web gag on social media was imposed by a magistrate who suppressed the information that might compromise the trial.”
Keep This In Mind If You Belong To One Of The Thousands Anti-Scam Hate Groups
Posting fake photos could make you liable to the impersonation victim too! Not to mention any criminal extradited to the U.S., Canada, Australia or New Zealand, the U.K. or Europe!
Playing vigilante is not a game, and while there is freedom of speech, there is not freedom to defame. These are not games and must be done in compliance with the law or else you become the criminal. Great care must be taken if you pretend to be a journalist and want to report on crime. Incompetence and ignorance are no excuse under the law.
Exposing scammers has some value to help people learn if they are being scammed. Beyond that almost no value except to feed the rage of victims trapped by their own hate.
Social Media And Crime:
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
Like many other advancements in communication technology, social media has a good, a bad and an ugly side when it comes to its relationship with crime, criminal justice and the law.
SCARS, its divisions, affiliates, and members are the ONLY private entity that both follows the law, its Code of Conduct », the NOVA Standard », and the Ethical Standard for Reporting of Scammers!
Please feel free to share your opinions on this topic in the comments below!
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:
- Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- Your National Police or FBI (www.IC3.gov)
- 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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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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