About The Society Of Citizens Against Romance Scams [SCARS]

More About The Society:

The Society was conceived from the evolution of the business activities of our founder Dr. Tim McGuinness a technologist and personal computer industry pioneer. In 1991 on America Online he observed the growing problem of fake identities permeating the online world. These were manifesting in several different kinds of online fraud: Nigerian Prince scams, Romance Scams, and more. From his position as co-founder and executive of TigerDirect (originally called BLOC Development), he was able to begin alerting the public about these cyber-enabled crimes and catalog offenders.

In 1996 a coalition or consortium was founded to aid ecommerce and internet publishers to address the liability issues with user comments and reviews, this resulted in the passing of the Communications Decency Act Section 230 in 1996. But the unforeseen consequence of this was that while it allowed for the creation of social media it also forced them to turn a blind eye to what was happening. The result of the CDA was chaos with none of the big-tech companies being willing to do more than the minimum. This created the world we have today – vast organized criminal enterprises rule the internet.

As we started more formal cataloging of the fake profiles on dating websites that we found, we realized slowly that education was not enough. We started to hear about victims taking their own lives over scams, and people becoming homeless because they sent every last dollar to a scammer. We saw huge numbers of amateur untrained anti-scam groups running over victims to satisfy their own motivations. In the process, large numbers of seriously traumatized people were being left to sort it out for themselves. This where the Society came from.

In 2014 it was becoming obvious that there was a significant gap in the quality of care for cyber-enabled crime victims. There was no professionalization that focused on them, and what service was available was saturated with urban legends, vigilantism, and a lack of compassion. Law enforcement was not trained to understand or help these scam victims, and too often police would not even want to take a report of these crimes.

Victims themselves were left to deal with their trauma on their own. This resulted in most victims never return to the emotional stability that they had before the experience. To this day many victims are unable to recover due to their denial or anger. But the commitment was made that we would find the answers necessary to develop comprehensive education, recovery, and deterrence programs. That we would find the way to change the cybercrime dynamic.

That was the foundation that demanded that SCARS would be created in 2015.

From that beginning and through constant evolution our leadership has developed effective methods to help traumatized scam victims worldwide. We developed real peer to peer groups, self-help recovery programs, and have educated millions of scam victims about the dangers. We have opened offices in Mexico and China that have been instrumental in helping Hispanic and Chinese victims. We have developed an effective partnership program around the world to help victims in nearly 70 countries in numerous languages. We publish nearly 100 social media pages and accounts, and websites covering all aspects of this global scourge.

We also developed a truly global cybercrime reporting network to collect scam and cybercrime reports and automatically distribute them to agencies around the world that received the system feed – www.Anyscam.com is one of the entry points for this network. We provided this at no cost to victims and to the entities receiving the reports. It was also designed to maintain a chain of custody so that the information was usable in prosecutions. We worked with specific governmental agencies and law enforcement around the world to help them become more aware of the magnitude of these crimes and how to better respond to the traumatized victims.

As we go forward we are fortunate to have formed relationships and partnerships with governments around the world, including the United States Department of Homeland Security and others. We regularly speak and present at government functions in the U.S. and elsewhere. This has helped us instill in them a deeper understanding of the issue and the need for enforcement, such as the over 111,000 scammers arrested in 2019.

This is who SCARS is. It is not one person, SCARS is managed by its Board of Directors with the guidance of its Advisory Board of exceptional, talented, and experienced individuals. It is also our amazing volunteers who spend their time helping other scam victims – many of them are victims themselves (though now they are survivors).

If you would like to know more about SCARS browse the rest of our websites and social media or send us an email to contact@AgainstScams.org – you are welcome to direct it to our Directors if you want to reach one of them.

Thank you for your support!

Debby Montgomery Johnson

SCARS Code of Conduct

The Society requires that all members follow a Code of Conduct that establishes professional ethical behavior and conduct in their activities relating to the publication of anti-scam information, and in their interactions with victims of online crimes.

Please view our Code of Conduct and FAQs for more information.