Woop-woop! That’s not the sound of da police.

At the time of writing this, it’s just a few short weeks until the 14th anniversary of my falling down this rabbit hole. People have made a lot of assumptions, one that we work hand in hand with the police. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m not denying the fact we do on occasion work with law enforcement, not that law enforcement has in fact contacted us asking for help/advice/an explanation into how we managed to track down the real person behind a particular scam. On occasion we’ve even been asked to be put in touch with other victims of a particular scammer. Here’s where it gets difficult though.

Sometimes we’re contacted by law enforcement asking us to plug a particular service they provide, to put a link on our site or to share a hashtag. In almost every case we politley refuse. Why? Well, there’s several reasons.

Firstly, why should we? This may sound selfish, but let me jump you back several years when we found the National Crime Agency had taken our work (and by “our” work, I mean words I’d likely rewritten a dozen or so times until I was completely happy with them) on sextortion and included it in their press release, a year after meeting with me to seek out my experiences on the scam. All well and good you may think, but this was done without our knowledge, permission or even acknowledgement. Imagine seeing the words you’d written, rewritten, deleted, written once again and ultimately rearranged many times used by someone else, who then told people who were dealing with that particular problem to go to sites who had NOTHING to do with the scam, but were under the same umbrella as them. Yes, that left a bad taste in our mouths that remains to this day.

Secondly, why bother? As I said earlier, I’ve been around for a long time. I’ve seen hashtags come and go, I’ve seen campaigns start in a blaze of publicity, to practically disappear within weeks. If we supported a particular movement, what’s to say it’ll still be around in a year’s time? Better to stand clear of them all and not get snared into putting your name against the LE equivelent of Betamax or HD DVD.

Thirdly, what have they done for us? Think about this one, something that has happened to me on more than one occasion. I get a call out of the blue from a policeman I’ve never spoken to before asking for me to put a link on our site to a campaign that’s never once so much as looked our way before, who the only dealings I’ve had with were due to one of them being in the same conference as me, and who pretty much looked down his nose at the work we do becasue we’re not Government funded. I’m happy enough to help out where I can, but I firmly believe in “quid pro quo”. Help among various agencies should never be a one way street. If we can help, we’re happy to help, but we’re not a charity and we’re not being paid for this. We do this purely because we want to help people. Common decency says there has to be reciprocation. If not, then I see no reason to help.

Fourthly, “screw those guys”. I’ll keep this one short, as I could rant for hours over it. If you’re going to try and belittle the around 40 years’ combined knowledge our volunteers have because you’ve never personally experienced one of the scams we have, why the hell should we give you the time of day? You’ve never seen it, so it must not exist? Screw you!

And fifthly, the “Action Fraud” effect. ScamSurvivors is independant, receives no government funding and has fought tooth and nail to be in the position where we’re at right now, where some people see us as “experts” and trust the information we share with them. the last thing we want is to be tarred with the same brush as organisations that have been outed in the public as not caring about the people who contact them. We care. We care enough to give up all our free time to help people. We care enough to do this for free, to have put our own money into it, and we care enough to have been doing this for a number of years.

There are instances where we’ve worked with law enforcement or government agencies, but they’re few and far between. It takes a lot to get us to trust you, and a single moment to blow that trust. We are always going to walk on the side of caution, and if that means we have a smaller profile then so be it. We are proud to be ScamSurvivors, and we wil never compromise our principles for anyone.

Financial domination.

We’ve spoken in earlier blog posts about what we will and won’t post on our forums. There’s another one that we haven’t mentioned yet, and this one is related to sextortion scams. There are people out there that make a living as dominatrixes. It’s a sub culture I personally have no interest in, nor any judgment about, similar to cam girls. I’ve actually had conversations with former Pinay scammers I dealt with, who switched to becoming cam girls and contacted me to let me know. This is how I see it. You agree to a contract with the person, and so long as both sides give/get what they agreed, then we can’t call it a scam. If, hypothetically, I paid a female $50 to strip naked on webcam for me and she strips naked on webcam for me, then both parties have followed through with their side of the deal. I’m not a lawyer, nor am I law enforcement. In the same vein, if someone agrees to be a financial domme and the other a financial sub, if both parties do what they agreed to, who am I to judge? I have enough to deal with as it is with the scams we receive every day. Again, this is just my opinion. If someone writes to us and says “Mistress Melania” (a name I made up purely for the alliteration value) has taken money from them, there’s nothing we can do. They both agreed to play their parts at the beginning, and they both did. If it’s a fake findomme, then yes that’s another story. However, if there was no hiding the fact that’s the agreement the person was entering into, we won’t post the details up on our forum. It’s a variation of “ignorance of the law is no excuse” would be the best way to describe our stance on it. More power (or “domme”) to those who make a living that way.

The path of least resistance.

Way back in the 1980s, I did my electronics O’level exam among others. It’s a subject I’ve always loved for most of my approaching 50 years on this planet, and the reason I would rather tear down a server than install a website on it. One of the basics we were taught way back then is that electrons will always follow the path of least resistance. Simply put, electricity will always flow in the easiest route from A to B. Imagine it like water trying to flow from high to low round. Of course, we have to make a comparison with scammers to justify this post. Simply put, a scammer will always use the simplest method to make money. Despite the scams being 14+ years old, the same methods are used. Why? Because they work and they’re easy. Want to get money from a young male? Sex is the answer. A female who isn’t into the “lovey dovey” stuff? Hit them with a fictional child. Greed? Offer them millions. Pure and trusting? Throw them a sob story as part of a charity scam. Very, very rarely are there new scams. 99 out of 100 times it’s simply the same old scam we’ve seen before, polished and presented as something new. Scammers are lazy and complacent in most instances. If they think a script from 10 years ago will work, then they’ll use that script. It’s all about, to quote John Wetton from way back in 1973, “Easy Money”.