The Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams (SCARS) (the Society) Code of Conduct is intended to provide SCARS Members with a set of best practices and guidelines with which SCARS Members agree to adhere to when joining and maintaining their membership in the Society. In order to qualify as an SCARS Member or renew SCARS membership, each Member will be required to comply with the Code of Conduct and also agree to be subject to the various standards, procedures, practices, and processes adopted by the SCARS as appropriate for the Member’s type of Membership.
The Society’s Board of Directors and Sanctioned Committees are authorized not only to develop and maintain this Code of Conduct and other requirements, but to also establish and implement standards, procedures, and guidelines for the purpose of determining when violations or failures occur and for allowing the Members to participate in a resolution and remediation process that is both reasonable and fair to the Members and the industry in which the Members exist. The Code of Conduct represents a commitment by the Society and its Members to follow the ethical standards and best practices evidenced by the Code of Conduct at all times.
The Society fully expects this Code of Conduct to be a dynamic and evolving set of principles and procedures, because our Membership and the anti-scam ecosystem are dynamic and evolving.
All SCARS members are required to be compliant with the Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams’s Code of Conduct and other appropriate standards, polices, procedures, and practices, or their Membership May Be Revoked and all use or display of their Membership will be prohibited, and their name added to our debarment list preventing future membership.
The Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams Code of Conduct Policy
The Society believes that all people are best-served when strong and flexible self-regulatory measures are in place and that Members engage in ethical digital behavior at all times. The Society participated in the development and the endorsement, with other industry groups and organization, of the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavior in this Code of Conduct. In this regard, the Society’s Code of Conduct will facilitate and encourage industry adoption not merely by encouraging participation, but by making compliance with the Principles a prerequisite and a hallmark of SCARS Members.
Members should participate in efforts to educate themselves, as well as individuals and groups about proper Anti-Scam Online Behavior. This includes adherence to Standards that are and may be developed by the SCARS Sanctioned Committees.
All Members are required to respect the safety of other victims. This includes advising them on any unsafe behavior, and making sure that communications between the Member and other victims are private wherever there would be an expectation of privacy.
All Members agree to maintain Transparency in their communications and Online Behavior, meaning that they will identify themselves appropriately at all times in communications with lawful real individuals and groups. This includes the following minimum requirements:
1. Affiliations – all members should give clear, meaningful, and prominent notice of their own websites, social media pages, and other media, and that has any affiliation with other third-parties, groups, or organizations.
2. Privacy – that describes their data collection and use practices. Such notice should include clear descriptions of the types of data collected online. The uses of such data, including whether the data will be transferred to a non-Affiliate for any purposes.
3. Membership – all Members should indicate that they are Members of the Society in their activities associated with their Anti-Scam Activities.
As a Member of the Society, all Members agree to represent the Society in a positive factual light and to notify to the Society immediately of any contrary statements or representations.
Members must factually state their Membership type and are given a limited authorization to display the Membership Badge (graphic) without alteration of any kind. Members may not represent any other affiliation with the Society without the expressed written permission of an authorized Officer of the Society.
Members will only represent the authorized policies, established positions and the decisions of the Society that are authorized to make such disclosures and decisions. Members will represent and seek to serve the best interests of the entire Society organization.
Members will be respectful of the Society, and other Members within SCARS, including victims, concerned citizens, officers, volunteers, affiliates, members, and employees. Members will speak positively about SCARS and its mission and work. Members will strive to avoid either by action or by communication anything that will tend to embarrass or disparage the Society.
Members will refrain from any hostility or defamatory remarks about any other Member. In the event of a dispute between Members, the affected Members agree to binding arbitration by the Society over the issues involved for the benefit of all to resolve the dispute in such as way as to promote a professional environment where victims can feel comfort in all parties ethical behavior.
While representing SCARS in all Society and Society-related functions, whether internally or externally, Members will always be professional and courteous, even to those who may not share your personal views or those of the Society. Members will not use language that would be regarded by reasonable people as offensive or defamatory. Members will give others the opportunity to respectfully express their thoughts and opinions.
Members will regularly visit and review the Society’s website and publications for necessary information and updates.
If a Member has access to any pre-release or confidential information the Member will be respectful of and abide by the confidentiality of the Society’s information, and will not release confidential information to the media or other persons.
IV. CARE FOR VICTIMS
It is the obligation of the Society, its staff, officers, Boards & Committees, and all Members to engage in responsible care for victims of scams and other crimes.
Such care covers many forms:
- Exercise the maximum consideration and compassion for scam victims consistent with the circumstances, predispositions, and general demeanor of the victim. Though it is recognized that the Society’s Members may lack training and professional abilities to provide this.
- Act to preserve the confidentiality of the victim’s identity from the outside world, and especially from cybercriminals; using best practices established by the Society. These include, but are not limited to:
- Hiding the identity of victims from outside observation in private forums on websites and social media. This is especially important so that scammers and cybercriminals cannot gain access to these victims for continuing criminal activity.
- Not to publicly display or disclose a victim’s identity as an act by a Member in a publicly visible post on a public social media page, news feed, or website.
- Victims support, awareness or educational groups or forums on a website or social media may not be normally visible to non-group or forum members, specifically to scammers, fraudsters, or other cybercriminals by normal means.
- This does not include comments that the victim him or herself posts on public websites or social media where they have explicitly used their own name as the author of the comment. It also does not impose a limitation on a member to use the victim’s name in response to that comment once it has already been exposed by the victim themselves.
- Members who engage in the operation of support, awareness or educational groups or forums on websites or social media shall be responsible for the active screening of their applicants and members to detect and remove any potential cybercriminals or scammers. In the event that screening did not detect a suspicious person, the operator must immediately act to remove or otherwise both such a person as soon as detected, identified, or reported.
- Members who are operators, administrators, and/or moderators of support, awareness or educational groups or forums on websites or social media shall publish their methods and best practices, at least in overview form for access by all of their group or forum members or participants.
- In the event that a Society Member detects a risk of self-harm by the victim, by whatever means, they will search out and identify the nearest crisis management or support organization and encourage the victim to contact them, including providing the contact information for that organization. In cases where the member reasonably believes that there is a risk of death, the Society Member is directed to contact local law enforcement for their intervention.
- The Society recognizes that victims must never be treated as objects. That they are unique individuals deserving of dignity.
Any Member who does not abide by this section and knowing exposes the identity of a victim to cybercriminals through lack of proper care, due diligence, negligence, or the seeking of personal benefit shall be immediately debarred from the Society’s Membership roster, or if not yet a Member will be black-listed from future membership for a minimum period of one (1) year subject to the decision of the Society’s Membership Committee.