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Author Topic: This forum is infested with scammers  (Read 2009 times)
Lethn
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March 15, 2013, 05:18:17 PM
 #21

...
if you're thick enough to actually buy into one of these obvious scams then I'm just going to laugh at you I'm afraid.
...
Cool. May what goes around come around to all of us! If you ever do something stupid, (which of course you never would because you are so smart and will never get old or sick) i hope the people around you just laugh at you.  Cheesy

lol Tongue I have done stupid things and people have laughed at me Wink It always happens both ways though, what I'm tired of though is trying to warn people who should really know better and do their research before going into something new like Bitcoin then they inevitably come here blaming other people for things they've done.

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March 15, 2013, 05:22:19 PM
 #22

...
What kind of deterrent would you suggest? What do you think will stop predators like this?
...
I may be slightly jaded  Wink.
I think most of the time people can stop it simply by putting their opinion into the scam threads as they come across them.

We all have verbose opinions and love to type.  Cheesy

If most people took a few seconds to identify the scam thread as they incidentally come across them by posting so in them, those threads would quickly fill with scam warnings.

Then we will have done all we can to protect our own reputations, because the scammers naturally try to mascarade as us, the non-scammers, and affect the reputation of this whole forum.

Yeah, community policing seems to be the best way to deal with it. Tomatocage does an excellent job of that.

Some people are just beyond help though. 

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March 15, 2013, 05:24:59 PM
 #23

You can fool proof anything but a better fool will come along.
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March 15, 2013, 05:29:45 PM
 #24

Buyer Beware
+1
If we say the mods are going to determine who is a scammer then we all need to pay .5BTC per month. That should be enough to hire 50 new mods with degrees in finance law.
The point of bitcoin is to have control over your money. That also means responsibility over it. All these new peers need to remember is...
1. Don't invest in anything you don't understand fully.

2. Don't lend or borrow bitcoins.

3. Practice high level security. If you don't understand PGP, VPN, cold storage, backups, two factor authentication, etc... Then learn before you buy coins.

The gospel according to Satoshi - https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
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March 15, 2013, 05:31:48 PM
 #25

Edit: Actually you know what, in the end I agree with you, we should just remove the scammer tag system. People depend on it too much and use it as justification to be dumb assholes and send money to anonymous people on the internet (who couldn't possibly be lying), then blame the forum for their dumb asshole mistakes so they don't have to admit they're a dumb asshole.   

Yeah, I've been thinking about that lately. I've been getting really sick of dealing with scammer cases. It probably takes up a third of my admin time, and despite being nearly useless, it's always controversial.

However, I don't know that I can just let truly obvious scammers go without scammer tags. They'd become 1000-post VIP members and rip naïve newbies apart. And I can't give scammer tags to some obvious scammers and not others. We probably need to replace scammer tags with a web of trust rating system.

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March 15, 2013, 06:12:50 PM
 #26

Edit: Actually you know what, in the end I agree with you, we should just remove the scammer tag system. People depend on it too much and use it as justification to be dumb assholes and send money to anonymous people on the internet (who couldn't possibly be lying), then blame the forum for their dumb asshole mistakes so they don't have to admit they're a dumb asshole.   

Yeah, I've been thinking about that lately. I've been getting really sick of dealing with scammer cases. It probably takes up a third of my admin time, and despite being nearly useless, it's always controversial.

However, I don't know that I can just let truly obvious scammers go without scammer tags. They'd become 1000-post VIP members and rip naïve newbies apart. And I can't give scammer tags to some obvious scammers and not others.
 We probably need to replace scammer tags with a web of trust rating system.


Yeah it's probably time to ditch the scammer tag system, the forum has grown too large for one, or even a few people to oversee and decide all scammer accusations, especially with how mind boggling irresponsible so many people are. There are also a lot more businesses, and people want scammer tags for something that, in the end really looks to just be bad customer service (maybe, I'm undecided). The benefit of a rating system would be that it's averaged, so one bad complaint won't tarnish your record, whereas now, it technically should get you a scammer tag. Should a business be judged on a single action? I don't think it should, should be weighted.

Downside is ratings can easily be faked or bought, I'm sure someone will mention Pirate had a perfect(?) otc score, but he also didn't have a scammer tag either (and technically wasn't one at the time). 
 



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March 15, 2013, 06:17:59 PM
 #27

How about a surety system instead of a rating system?

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March 15, 2013, 06:18:26 PM
 #28

You can't help those how can't help themselves.

I'm for a scammer committee.  Two or three trusted member or maybe more then you have an x of y votes to apply the tag.

Some guys can be VERY aggressive.    I know I jump the gun on occasion.  But I think it would work pretty well.  I would also put the community on notice that their trades are being policed.

We would also have to define SCAMMER.

My opinion it is a person who does not uphold their end of a deal after a period of time.  The scammer thread it a place to publicly debate it and if the scammer make good the tag gets removed.

I DO NOT think welshing on a bet is scamming.  So after the whole MNW debacle, even those he's an cocky arrogant asshole, I don't think he was a scammer.  But the scammer tag did seem to silence him.  So that was a good thing.

Just my 2c
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March 15, 2013, 06:21:35 PM
 #29

What kind of deterrent would you suggest? What do you think will stop predators like this?

You make an excellent point in your entire post: nothing will completely stop scammers 100%. But I think that the amount of scammers can be cut down considerably, or at least a good amount in relation to the little effort it would take.

I believe the same thing you do: a lot of our scammers can/will/do simply create new accounts and try again. Changing the newbie restrictions a bit would take very little effort and would make the process of getting a scam out there more difficult. It won't stop scams, but I think it would help prevent them. Scammers would likely have to go for bigger scams to make the reward worth the effort, and bigger scams would probably have fewer takers.

If it works? Less scams for a change that could probably be done in a handful of minutes, which means less work for theymos.
If it doesn't work? It still slows down the scams even if it doesn't reduce the total amount, which would also mean less (frequent) work for theymos.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that lately. I've been getting really sick of dealing with scammer cases. It probably takes up a third of my admin time, and despite being nearly useless, it's always controversial.

To me it's less about "more scammer tags" and more about deterring the scammers. You (understandably) don't have the time to monitor every single scam topic, so the goal should be reducing the amount or frequency of the scams that cause them.
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March 15, 2013, 06:41:41 PM
 #30

How about a surety system instead of a rating system?

Could you elaborate? Alternative to ratings would be nice to hear about.

You can't help those how can't help themselves.

I'm for a scammer committee.  Two or three trusted member or maybe more then you have an x of y votes to apply the tag.

Some guys can be VERY aggressive.    I know I jump the gun on occasion.  But I think it would work pretty well.  I would also put the community on notice that their trades are being policed.

We would also have to define SCAMMER.

My opinion it is a person who does not uphold their end of a deal after a period of time.  The scammer thread it a place to publicly debate it and if the scammer make good the tag gets removed.

I DO NOT think welshing on a bet is scamming.  So after the whole MNW debacle, even those he's an cocky arrogant asshole, I don't think he was a scammer.  But the scammer tag did seem to silence him.  So that was a good thing.

Just my 2c

Sounds good in theory, but we've tried something similar before and a few people got excited about it but it ultimately never went anywhere. That's here Do you think people would be willing to do that for free on an extended basis? Wouldn't want people rotating in all the time, it would get hard to find really trusted people who want to do that sooner or later. Could always require a small fee for scammer tag consideration I suppose, but that seems a little beyond the scope of what the forum should be.

I'm still in favor of just replacing the system, I'll be interested in seeing what the users think though. 

What kind of deterrent would you suggest? What do you think will stop predators like this?

You make an excellent point in your entire post: nothing will completely stop scammers 100%. But I think that the amount of scammers can be cut down considerably, or at least a good amount in relation to the little effort it would take.

I believe the same thing you do: a lot of our scammers can/will/do simply create new accounts and try again. Changing the newbie restrictions a bit would take very little effort and would make the process of getting a scam out there more difficult. It won't stop scams, but I think it would help prevent them. Scammers would likely have to go for bigger scams to make the reward worth the effort, and bigger scams would probably have fewer takers.

If it works? Less scams for a change that could probably be done in a handful of minutes, which means less work for theymos.
If it doesn't work? It still slows down the scams even if it doesn't reduce the total amount, which would also mean less (frequent) work for theymos.

To me it's less about "more scammer tags" and more about deterring the scammers. You (understandably) don't have the time to monitor every single scam topic, so the goal should be reducing the amount or frequency of the scams that cause them.

Honestly we'd rather remove the newbie restrictions, rather than make them tighter just to solve a problem that can't be solved. No matter what we do to make an account hard to get to the lending section, they'll just do it a dozen accounts at a time. Just look at the guy I was responding to. He sent 500 dollars to someone with 13 posts and a month on his account. What kind of restrictions can we place that wouldn't burden normal users too badly, yet cause someone to not want to make that kind of easy money?

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March 15, 2013, 06:52:07 PM
 #31

How about a surety system instead of a rating system?
Could you elaborate? Alternative to ratings would be nice to hear about.
Merchants and traders who want to be bonded create a 2 of 3 multisig address with the other two parties being a bond company and an escrow company and publicly advertise this balance.

In the event of a dispute, the customer can take their case to the bond company and escrow company who then can release damages paid from the bond balance.

Merchants who want to build up a good reputation have to start small, and should be advised to invest some percentage of their gross into the bond so that customers will be willing to trust them with increasingly larger amounts. When they are ready to cash out they can have the funds released after a pre-negotiated waiting period so that existing customers have time to move their business before the bond protection runs out.

Smart customers will never risk more in a trade than the bond is worth, or else will negotiate for better terms for high risk transactions.

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March 15, 2013, 06:58:46 PM
 #32

How about a surety system instead of a rating system?
Could you elaborate? Alternative to ratings would be nice to hear about.
Merchants and traders who want to be bonded create a 2 of 3 multisig address with the other two parties being a bond company and an escrow company and publicly advertise this balance.

In the event of a dispute, the customer can take their case to the bond company and escrow company who then can release damages paid from the bond balance.

Merchants who want to build up a good reputation have to start small, and should be advised to invest some percentage of their gross into the bond so that customers will be willing to trust them with increasingly larger amounts. When they are ready to cash out they can have the funds released after a pre-negotiated waiting period so that existing customers have time to move their business before the bond protection runs out.

Smart customers will never risk more in a trade than the bond is worth, or else will negotiate for better terms for high risk transactions.

Interesting.  Only trade with bond sellers.
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March 15, 2013, 07:01:40 PM
 #33

Trust no one. If you do then live with the consequence.

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March 15, 2013, 07:02:45 PM
 #34

Honestly we'd rather remove the newbie restrictions, rather than make them tighter just to solve a problem that can't be solved. No matter what we do to make an account hard to get to the lending section, they'll just do it a dozen accounts at a time. Just look at the guy I was responding to. He sent 500 dollars to someone with 13 posts and a month on his account. What kind of restrictions can we place that wouldn't burden normal users too badly, yet cause someone to not want to make that kind of easy money?

In the immortal words of Ron White: you can't fix stupid. You're absolutely right: some people are just going to make terrible decisions like that, and we can't help them.

But we can make it more difficult for that scammer to claim another victim, and we can make it so members have less excuses when falling for obvious scams. I think both of these things can be done without a heavy burden on the community.

I think the simplest idea (which is also in my topic) would be putting a post requirement to access the lending subforum, which is where most of our scams originate. Putting a 150 post count requirement would increase the amount of time needed for a scammer to place his trap in that section. It would also give both scammers and legitimate members a larger pool of posts for potentials lenders to review before committing to a deal. If the scammer simply fills up his count with off-topic or short, pointless messages, a smart lender will think twice before parting with his money. Members who give their money away without doing their own research will have less of an excuse when they cry foul: 13 posts are hard to judge, but 150 will give you a good idea. Since the restriction would only affect that subforum, it would place no burden on newly registered members.

Hand-in-hand with that idea, or alternatively to it, would be placing a time restriction on the lending forum: accounts that are not older than, say, three months are not allowed to post there.

Both of those ideas would increase the time it would take a scammer to place a topic and get a victim. If he has to go through that wait for every account he creates, the "reward" he gets may not be worth the time he could have spent elsewhere. The scammer could always increase his target amount, but high-dollar scams are less likely to claim victims (especially if, with the posting requirement, the scammer has mostly useless posts).

Like you said: that scam is easy money. Quick changes like those can make it hard money. Scammers usually don't want hard money.

My topic also mentions possible changes to the newbie requirements that could help, but the balance would need to be in making reasonable restrictions that help prevent scams without burdening the community.

EDIT: Another good thing, I think, about these changes is how simple it would be to implement them. I've never been the admin of a forum, but I would think it'd be something like changing a setting on the forum control panel. It would, at the least, result in less work for theymos and the mods to take care of.
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March 15, 2013, 07:03:44 PM
 #35

Interesting.  Only trade with bond sellers.
More specifically, only trade with bonded sellers.

If you've ever dealt with contractors or tradesmen this comes up from time to time. If the person you're buying from is bonded it means that a sum of money has been set aside somewhere to pay out damages in the event of a dispute.

Now with bitcoin, you don't need to rely on the word of any specific company - the bond can be a matter of public record.

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March 15, 2013, 07:37:09 PM
 #36

Downside is ratings can easily be faked or bought, I'm sure someone will mention Pirate had a perfect(?) otc score, but he also didn't have a scammer tag either (and technically wasn't one at the time).
Indeed. His score was great when everything started and I'm sure his #otc ratings were a reason for people to trust him. In the end it has turned out to be pretty useless though. I mean, someone still gave him a rating of +10 in November; long after BST was dead and the cat out of the bag.
Given a number of sockpuppets any rating system can be abused to create false ratings. Not only can a scammer upvote himself, but also downvote others. Still, scammer tags do serve a purpose, especially for those with high post numbers. A newbie can be honest, but most would consider someone with an old account and lots of posts to be better.
A tag makes that account worthless. Just look at paybtc: he's ignoring everything, acts like nothing ever happened and doesn't even attempt to be helpful. He even changed his name a few times; I assume to get rid of the negative aura his old name has. Yet, he has no tag.

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March 15, 2013, 08:59:57 PM
 #37

Buyer Beware

Otherwise Bitcointalk turns into the US Social System

Agreed. Perhaps it's also good for people to get scammed, so they learn.
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March 15, 2013, 10:30:26 PM
 #38

I think most of the time people can stop it simply by putting their opinion into the scam threads as they come across them.

We all have verbose opinions and love to type.  Cheesy

If most people took a few seconds to identify the scam thread as they incidentally come across them by posting so in them, those threads would quickly fill with scam warnings.

Then we will have done all we can to protect our own reputations, because the scammers naturally try to mascarade as us, the non-scammers, and affect the reputation of this whole forum.

People constantly try to warn others in threads where likely scams are happening and get told to "stop trolling".

The scammer forum is pretty much for after the fact warnings and having glanced at the crap it's filled with now, it's become pretty much useless.

Introducing a post/time threshold for certain types of posts would increase the effort required to start trolling for victims.  I'm hesitant to use SomethingAwful as a reference point, but the requirement that you must be a member for 7  months before you can sell something on their SAMart forum helps make scammers look elsewhere for easy pickings. 

You're not going to stop scammers looking for victims.  You can only exert some measure of control over how easy it is for them to find them here.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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March 15, 2013, 10:42:39 PM
 #39

Quote
I'm for a scammer committee.  Two or three trusted member or maybe more then you have an x of y votes to apply the tag.

I already foresee too many problems with that, special interests could easily get people in who could tip the decision making process in their favour, I think when this place stops being a simple community where people gather and starts pandering to certain groups as I've seen happen many times in the past I'm out of here. I'm not pointing out you individually but too many times people like you come up with these 'great' ideas that the admins and mods get harassed with until they comply, when it's finally put into action everyone leaves out of disgust and the community is empty.

A discussion board and a community should be just that, turn it into anything else to attract people who don't exist and you'll just end up in an oasis of topics that date back to several years ago Tongue

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March 15, 2013, 10:53:30 PM
 #40

Another good solution would be to force everyone to agree on an arbitrator with their trading partner before trading. Then whenever someone claims that they were scammed, the arbitrator would decide who gets a scammer tag. I'm not sure if I could easily force everyone to do this, though, since transactions are almost always finalized via PMs.

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