Civitas receives hundreds of mail per week from individuals seeking to check the authenticity of claims, promises and engagements relating to Cameroon. Over 80% of the time, we end up re
alizing that these mails or their content is inaccurate, fake and mostly geared at luring innocent victims to a scam.
Civitas reflected over this for a while and decided to take a bold step to combat scamming. The right to access information is included in the right to freedom of expression and protected by international law. Freedom to “seek, receive and impart” information is laid down in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 19 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Many victims of scams receive emails from scammers containing fraudulent schemes and proposals. Sometimes scam emails contain documents purportedly from state institutions or purportedly signed by government officials. In many cases the authenticity of such documents cannot be easily verified by the victims because basic information such as contact details of government institutions is not readily available or accessible. It is in this vein that Civitas is launching a pilot project called Verify.
WHAT IS THE CAMPAIGN?
The Verify campaign is designed to raise awareness and combat scamming and fraudulent schemes that thrive on limited
access to information. The campaign enables potential victims of scams and all individuals concerned by scamming to verify information or fraudulent schemes soliciting money. Taking some time to verify, for instance, a “business” proposal or an offer of employment could go a long way to combat scamming.
We intend to build a network of reliable and concerned cyber-citizens around the world who are ready to take some minutes of their schedule to read an email and help some potential scam victim make an informed decision.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CAMPAIGN
The campaign invites potential victims of scams to verify before making a payment or completing a financial transaction. Anyone who receives a suspicious email or phone call from Cameroon soliciting money should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The idea of the campaign is to help potential scam victims and mitigate the explosive growth of scams that benefit from limited access to information.
When you receive a mail relating to any form of business contract or engagement that involves transfer of funds, property or identification information (Passports, ID Cards, Driver’s License, Work permit, Bank Account information etc), please send us a copy of the mail to email@example.com. Civitas will advise you based on a point system (0 – 9) whether the mail is a SCAM or not.
Bloggers and site authors of websites and online magazines concerned by scams and limited access to information are invited to support the Verify campaign. Download the logo of the campaign and display it on your blog or website. Please, provide a link to this campaign page when you display the logo on your website or blog. Linking to this page will help others understand the campaign, join it and help reduce scams. Notify us once you display the logo on your blog or website. In return, the name of your organization, magazine, blog or website will be added to the list of supporters of the Verify campaign.