The Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams (SCARS) (the Society) Code of Conduct is intended to provide SCARS Members, Volunteers, and Participants with a set of rules, best practices, and guidelines with which SCARS Members, Volunteers, and Participants agree to adhere to when
- Joining and maintaining their membership in the Society
- Volunteering in activities sanctioned by the Society
- Participating or Receiving Services provided by the Society, including Crime Victims’ Assistance Services
In order to qualify as a SCARS Member, a SCARS Volunteer, or as a recipient or participant in SCARS provided Services, each person will be required to comply with the Code of Conduct and also agree to be subject to the various standards, procedures, practices, policies, rules, and processes adopted by the SCARS as appropriate for the Member, Volunteer, or Participant.
The Society’s Board of Directors and Sanctioned Committees, under the oversight and guidance of the SCARS Advisory Board, are authorized not only to develop and maintain this Code of Conduct and other requirements, but to also establish and implement standards, procedures, rules & policies, and guidelines for the purpose of determining when violations or when failures occur and for allowing the participation of Members, Volunteers, and other Participants in a resolution and remediation process that is both reasonable and fair to those involved and the industry in which they exist. The Code of Conduct represents a commitment by the Society and its Members, Volunteers, and Participants 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 Members, Volunteers, and Participants and the anti-scam ecosystem are dynamic and evolving.
All SCARS Members, Volunteers, and Participants are required to be compliant with the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams’ Code of Conduct and other appropriate standards, policies, rules, procedures, and practices, or their Membership, Volunteership, or Participation and access May Be Revoked and all use, access, participation, including display of their Membership or other SCARS trademarks and/or copyright materials will be prohibited, and their name added to our debarment or prohibition list preventing future membership, volunteering, or any participation.
The Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams
Code of Conduct
An Official SCARS Policy
The Society believes that all people are best-served when strong and flexible self-regulatory measures are in place and that Members, Volunteers, and Participants engage in ethical digital behavior at all times. The Society participated in the development and the endorsement, with other industry groups and organizations, 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.
As a condition of Membership, Volunteerism, or Participation in any and all SCARS Membership, Services, Publications, Group Activities, and other provisions of the Society, its subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, chapters, and related institutions or organizations, all applicable parts of this SCARS Code of Conduct must be followed and complied with.
Members, Volunteers, and Participants 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, Volunteers, and Participants 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, Volunteers, and Participants 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, Volunteers, and Participants should give clear, meaningful, and prominent notice of their own websites, social media pages, and other media, and if they have 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.
4. Volunteers – all approved and active volunteers should indicate that they are a Volunteer of the Society in their activities and interactions associated with other victims, victims’ families or friends, or in capacities where they represent the Society.
No one may claim membership in the Society without having first been informed by the Society that their membership application was approved,
As a Member or Volunteer of the Society, all Members or Volunteers agree to represent the Society in a positive factual light and to notify the Society immediately of any contrary statements or representations.
Members or Volunteers must factually state their Membership or Volunteer type and are given a limited authorization to display the Membership or Volunteer Badge (graphic) without alteration of any kind.
Members, Volunteers, and Participants may not represent any other affiliation with the Society without the expressed written permission of an authorized Officer of the Society.
Members or Volunteers will only represent the authorized policies, established positions and the decisions of the Society that are authorized to make such disclosures and decisions. Members, Volunteers, and Participants will represent and seek to serve the best interests of the entire Society organization.
Members, Volunteers, and Participants will be respectful of the Society, and other Members, Volunteers, and Participants 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, Volunteers, and Participants will refrain from any hostility or defamatory remarks about any other Members, Volunteers, and Participants. In the event of a dispute between Members, Volunteers, and Participants, the affected Members, Volunteers, and Participants 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 or Volunteers will always be professional and courteous, even to those who may not share your personal views or those of the Society.
Members, Volunteers, and Participants will not use language that would be regarded by reasonable people as offensive or defamatory. Members, Volunteers, and Participants will give others the opportunity to respectfully express their thoughts and opinions.
Members, Volunteers, and Participants will regularly visit and review the Society’s website and publications for necessary information and updates.
If Members, Volunteers, and Participants have access to any prerelease or confidential information the Members, Volunteers, and Participants 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, Volunteers, and Participants to engage in responsible care for victims of scams, cybercrime, 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, Volunteers, and Participants may lack training and professional abilities to provide this in all cases.
- 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 Members, Volunteers, and Participants in a publicly visible post on a public social media page, news feed, or website, except where it may be necessary to promote the care for that victim, such as in fund-raising or other assistance & support communications.
- Victims support or assistance groups or forums on a website or social media may not have their members and content 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 post 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, Volunteers, and Participants 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 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, Volunteers, and Participants 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.
- Members, Volunteers, and Participants must never participate, or offer support in any way to individuals or groups that engage in defamation or deceit about the Society. That includes membership in other groups, clubs, associations, or organizations that have or continue to engage in defamatory or misleading statements about the Society, its officers, employees, Boards, Committees, Members, Volunteers, affiliates, partners, and associated bodies or individuals.
- In the event that any Society Member, Volunteer, and Participant detect 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. This includes providing the contact information for that organization. In cases where the Member, Volunteer, and Participant 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.
- The Society reserves to the right to determine if care can be provided, and in the event that the Society is unable to provide assistance or care, it will direct the victim to another entity where care may be provided or determine if the victim is already in contact with another entity that they prefer.
V. SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES FOR INDIVIDUALS
It is the obligation of all Members, Volunteers, and Participants to exercise the following additional responsibilities.
Additional Individual Responsibilities to the Society:
- Notify the Society of any hateful, harassing, or defamatory statements made online on websites, social media, or other locations about SCARS, its Board, Officers, Employees, Members, or Volunteers immediately upon viewing.
- Notify the Society of any unauthorized access by any third-party to your accounts, profiles, computers or devices, or other items that the Member, Volunteer, or Participant has that might allow access to the Society’s websites, social media pages or groups, or other Society individuals that may compromise the mission, integrity, security, safety, services, or provisions of the Society.
- Notify the Society by email to firstname.lastname@example.org of any events or changes in your status that the Society should know about that might affect your Membership, Volunteer status, or Participation with the Society.
VI. SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES FOR MEMBER GROUPS OR ENTITIES
It is the obligation of all Society Member Groups, Corporations, Partners, or Other Related Entities to exercise the following additional responsibilities.
Additional Responsibilities to the Society:
- Notify the Society of any changes of address or contact information.
- Notify the Society of all of your publications, websites, and or social media for review by the Society.
- Notify the Society of any actions taken by a third-party against you that impacts the availability of your access or visibility of your publications.
- Notify us of changes to the administration of your groups, websites, social media or other publications, and to confirm that they are or have applied for Membership in the Society.
VII. SPECIAL PROHIBITIONS
The Society explicitly prohibits the following activities or actions by all Members of all types, Volunteers, and Participates, as well as its own Officers, Boards, Employees, and Affiliates.
- The sale or transfer of any website, social media profile, social media page, social media group, blog, domain name, or other online assets without the expressed permission of the Society.
- The renaming or repurposing of any website, social media profile, social media page, social media group, blog, domain name, or other online assets without the expressed permission of the Society.
- The Society prohibits racism or sexism.
- The Society prohibits unlawful activities of any kind, including deception, stalking, abuse or bullying, expressions of hate, intimidation, blackmail, or other conduct proscribed in Law.
- The Society prohibits actions the violate the security or privacy of others.
- Violations of the Society’s Copyrights or Trademarks.
- Disclosure, dissemination, transmission, or publication or display of confidential, proprietary, or trade secret information pertaining to the Society.
- Participation in, or encouragement, or endorsing of – any act of defamation or degradation or ridicule of the Society by third-parties.
Updated: June 13, 2019
Any Members, Volunteers, and Participants who do 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.