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.™ Guide: Threats And Your Local Risk

Are You Worried That Scammers Will Come After You?

We have heard from countless victims who truly feared for their lives! Almost always without real reason, but for every rule there are exceptions.

Let’s Break Down What Your Real Risks Are:

First, it is important to understand that not all scammers or online criminals are African. Frankly, this makes a major difference in the type and magnitude of risk to you and your family. Remember, we are not talking about online reach – we are talking about the physical/real world reach here!

  • African Scammers – are primarily just online thugs – even if they work for a major African Scamming CartelCartel A scamming cartel is any criminal organization with the intention of engaging in larger-scale financial fraud operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various scammer gangs to formalized commercial enterprises. The term was applied when the largest scammer gangs organizations reached a size and scope of a major enterprise, including control of corrupt politicians and local officials. In truth, most scammer cartels do not exactly meet the definition of a cartel, but the term stuck and it is now popularly used to refer to any large criminal fraud organization. – they are local in Africa (generally) –  more about them later
  • Russian and Eastern European Online Criminals – these guys have a network of criminals all over the world. They are in your town or at least nearby
  • Chinese Online Criminals – they also have major networks throughout the world
  • Caribbean Online Scammers And Thugs – are mostly just in the Caribbean but they have friends throughout the Americas and Europe – almost no one in Asia
  • Iranian Online Criminals – are very limited – they hide from within Iran
  • North Korean Scammers And Cybercriminals – they are also very limited to their own country almost exclusively
  • Philippines Scammers – while they have lots of friends everywhere, they are just local in the Philippines (same with other South and Southeast Asians)
  • Homegrown Con-Artists – are local and a real potential threat
  • Other Kinds Of Criminals Online – such as pedophiles, stalkers, human traffickers, rapists, and more are also local and potentially real threats

Second, now that we have defined the most obvious types of online criminals let’s break them down into a few risk categories:

  1. HIGHEST RISK – local threats. Anyone that is in your country is a potential threat – a real potential threat. Always be cautious about ANYONE that is after more than just money, or makes threats against you and your family. These should always be reported to your LOCAL POLICE IMMEDIATELY.
  2. MEDIUM RISK – maybe local threats. Yes, cybercriminals from different parts of the world may have local operatives, but in general, they want money from their activities and do not want to involve local attention. For example, Nigerian Scammers are more of a risk to the English than they are Canadians or Americans, just because there are more Nigerians in the U.K. and they are more criminally organized. Same for Russian bride 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. in the U.K. and Europe. But always involve your local police when there are any threats made that you feel may be a real risk.
  3. LOW RISK – we never say ZERO RISK but most romance and online scams out of Africa are very low risk. This is because scammers do not need or especially want a network of 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. 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