Hey, I haven't noticed this mentioned anywhere, so I thought I'd do it myself.
From time-to-time, I think these forums are haunted by scammers and predators. Identity theft, romance scamming, it's become very much a part of every-day life now (which I think is a horrible indictment against us as humanity).
Anyway, I think they're here to prey on the lonely, the isolated, the dying - which is further disgusting.
The first sign-post is flowery posts where you can see that English is a second (or third) language.
The second might be if they try to take the conversation elsewhere from the public forums.
The third could be mention of personal troubles and problems outside the normal stuff you will see here in the forums. Stuff that hints at money, "I also have a terrible life-threatening disease, but in my country there is no way a person could afford the $4000 needed for treatment"
Sorry, this isn't from outright personal experience, just something that I sense from time to time when reading certain posts here. My mother-in-law met a romance scammer, it's truly a sad and quite lame story - I think it's doubly so when the scammers specifically target a person who is already vulnerable.
Maybe you're looking toward end of life. Maybe that makes you start to think about your humanity, how to do good things. Maybe you feel a little isolated. Maybe those things combine into the potential to form (what you think is) a friendship with a fellow sufferer who is going through so many of the same things. Maybe as you look toward end of life, the material things of the world start to fade in their significance, making you vulnerable to being reckless with money. Maybe in your other troubles, you miss all the key warning signs that you're dealing with a predator.
Anyway, you see the picture I'm trying to paint. My advice is simple. Chat is free. If someone mentions money, tell them to get a job. If they tell you they can't, point them to their local community leaders and suggest they ask for help there.
My personal gripe is with scumbags who PRETEND to have cancer and defraud people of cash - but online scamming of a cancer sufferer is even lower, it takes a very worst example of human slime to even consider it.
The ACCC released a study a couple of years ago about domestic and international fraud suffered within Australian borders. Annual losses in the tens of millions of dollars.
Romance and social scamming was #2 from memory in terms of volume & profitability - behind those "your webcam was hacked" and all those phishing scams.
Forums and social media was in the top 3 delivery systems.
More than 90% of identified loss to personal fraud was to non-domestic parties. Got it ? Taking in dodgy selling a broken car over Gumtree, all kinds of domestic fraud, taking that into account, STILL more than 90% of reported loss to personal fraud was from OVERSEAS.
Forcing a viewpoint on what's OK in terms of political correctness, all it really does is puts yet another barrier in front of authentic dialogue.
So yeah, if someone says "I'm Gladys from Perth" but it's "I am being Gladys from the town of Perth in Australia", then it's a telltale sign, like it or not.
I'm not suggesting you treat people differently, but just be AWARE, and add that layer of context in case there's ever a request for "help".
I'm not trying to force a view point upon anyone, politically correct or otherwise.
My post was intended to be a gentle reminder to all not to use someones ability with the english language as the sole indicator of intent.
I'm sorry that you felt it was intended this way.
Thank you for your post @CaptainAustrali, unfortunately these people exist out there 😐
And ta for the reminder @sch, it's important to remember that this site whilst Australian in origin does actually attract a surprising number of people from the UK, USA, Canada and other places abroad - oh and New Zealand too 😘 We also have the odd person that uses Google translator to post as well, which is just amazing.
We are definitely reaching people affected by cancer globally, even in countries where there are other well established online communities dedicated to cancer, such as Macmillan in the UK, Cancer Connection in Canada (Canadian Cancer Society) and the Cancer Survivors Network in the USA (American Cancer Society).
Most of you that joined in the past few years would have gotten a welcome from myself or someone on the team. I triage everyone! If you see these posts, hit the "report inappropriate content" link which is on every post. This helps me immensely.
I also limited private messaging (it's now a privilege, not a straight up given) earlier in the year, to combat the people who like to register and spam via private message. All personal details you gave when registering are not accessible.
I am also incredibly approachable if you have any concerns or whatnots, and am happy to chat offline if needed. I am pretty passionate about this being a safe space for all of you. And even though it's the weekend and I have tiny humans running about, I do keep an eye on things as do other members of my team here at Cancer Council.
Hopefully this adds a bit of a human side to some of what I do with this site 🤗
Cancer Council Online Community Manager
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