While it's well-meaning and reasonable to want to identify scams and fraudulent sites, we need to be very careful about what we do here.
From the AboveTopSecret.com Terms And Conditions Of Use
i) You will not use your membership in the Websites for any type of recruitment to any causes whatsoever. You will not Post, use the chat feature, use
videos, or use the private message system to disseminate advertisements, chain letters, petitions, pyramid schemes, or any kind of solicitation for
political action, social action, letter campaigns, or related online and/or offline coordinated actions of any kind.
ii) You will not Post, use the chat feature, use videos, or use the private message system to collect or ask for the personal information (data
mining) about forum members, including email addresses and "real life" names, in any manner whatsoever, or for any reason whatsoever.
iii) You will not Post, use the chat feature, use videos, or use the private message system to solicit members of the Websites on behalf of another
message board, online community or competitor. You will not attempt to use your membership to encourage or lure other members in any way to other
websites or discussion boards in competition with TAN. Doing so will result in removal of your Post(s) and immediate termination of your account.
Inevitably when a disaster occurs, we'll see a rash of donation/solicitation posts pop up, which we are expected to promptly remove, and ban members
who persist in posting them.
Whether they are "legitimate" or not is irrelevant. The problem is that anything along these lines can be used to acquire identity information from
ATS members, and that is something we work hard to prevent.
A simple link to a website can be used to capture IP addresses, which can then be used to identify rough geographical location and attack member
computers with port scans and other schemes. "Send me an email" can be used to collect an email address that can then be used for phishing scams and
sold to spammers for profit. Sites that gain additional information, such as PayPal or credit card data through a seemingly innocuous transaction can
cause much worse trouble than that, and devastate a member financially through identity theft and fraud.
The best way to guard against such problems is to prohibit solicitation of any kind, and that's the policy under which ATS operates.
As for identifying scam sites, there are too many problems associated with that. First off, posting links to them exposes members to exactly the sort
of thing we're trying to prevent (i.e., IP address capture and the like). Secondly, identifying "scam sites" may lead to liability issues such as
trade defamation if a site believes it has been falsely accused.
Finally, identifying any
site, pro or con, can be used in nefarious ways as a loophole around the ATS prohibition against solicitation (i.e., a
scammer posts a link to his site and says "check out this malicious site!"). Scammers can and will use every trick in the book to get identity data,
what appear to be the worthiest of causes, playing on human emotional weakness. Even innocent, well-meaning people can be used as
recruiters for scammers and never know it.
In other words, there's just too many ways things like this can go wrong, so the best thing to do is avoid the issue altogether. Ultimately, that's
really not what ATS is for in the first place.
There are many places on the Internet where people can sign up for charities, worthy causes and online scams, but ATS isn't one of them. It doesn't
matter whether they are "legitimate" or not, they don't belong here.
Anyway, a bit wordy (maybe I'll refine this a bit and post it as a PSA thread), but I hope this explains why we are so adamant about keeping both
"charity" and "scam" links off ATS.