Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

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How to determine who is a Scammer or Scammer alt
By ForteSP
The intention of this guide is to teach users strong methods which will allow them to avoid contact with Scammer Alternate Accounts. We provide questions that one might ask when checking the status of an account to help determine legitimacy.

Additionally, we set out to teach users what could happen if they trade with a scammer, why the trading community frowns upon such such actions.

Obviously, if you determine the account is most likely or is a confirmed scammer, don't commit the trade.
 
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What Could Happen if I Trade With A Scammer
Most of the community doesn't take well to helping scammers. It's really bad. We discipline, outcast and in some cases ridicule those who participate in trading with scammer and alternate accounts of scammers.

The discipline generally comes down to how many times a user has traded with a marked scammer or how high the value of the trade is.

Communities such as www.Backpack.tf will enforce a community ban as a "warning" to avoid trading with scammers for a first offense. Should you trade with a scammer a second time you could be permanently banned from a variety of communities, including www.Backpack.tf. Additionally, they reserve the right to give you a permanent ban if your first trade with a scammer is of significantly high value
Why Does the Community Take Action Against those Who Trade With Scammers
There are a few reasons why we don't encourage, and discourage this behavior

It is very difficult to determine if a user is trying to help a scammer in order to bring themselves profit or just made a mistake. It is also quite hard to tell the difference between scammer alts and users who are brokering for scammers. Continually brokering for and trading with a scammer tends to lead everyone to believe that you are perhaps working with that scammer and supporting their scamming actions.

At the heart of this discussion, the goal is that you as a trader want to avoid being seen as someone who continually trades with scammers or appears to be working with scammers. The more you trade with scammers, the worse your reputation becomes.

Additionaly, it's not that we want to punish users for trading with scammers because trading with scammers is bad. We ban users because if we did not, scammers would be able to sell their items and/or give them to friends to sell, thus being able to move their scammed goods and make money off their dirtied goods with ease.
What Are Some Signs I might Be Trading with a Scammer or Scammer Alt
The following are steps in order of importance, in my opinion, about whether or not a user is a scammer or a scammer alt. If the only sign is one of the ones lower on the list, maybe the user is fine to trade with, but if multiple of those more obscure ways of determining scammer alt are consistent... Perhaps avoiding a trade with this user is best. (It's also important to note that most of these are what SteamREP and it's Partners use to check if a user is a scammer alt!)

1) Do they have a BANNED/SCAMMER tag on www.steamrep.com? For example,

2) Is the user banned from sites such as www.TF2Outpost.com or www.backpack.tf for laundering scammed items or being a scammer/scammer alt?

3) Does the potential scammer/scammer alt have any pending reports marked as "READY FOR REVIEW" for Scamming or related activity on www.SteamREP.com?

4) Does the potential scammer/scammer alt have a private profile and/or a private inventory?


5a) Has the potential scammer/scammer alt ever used Tf2Outpost for trading?
5b) If so, do they offer unusuals very early on in their outpost history or have they been on site for a long time as they built up to unusual trading?
5c) Given the lack of trade site use, does this user pricing their hats as if they know their items inside an out? In other words, given their lack of experience on a trade site, such knowledge could possibly suggest an alt.

6a) Does the potential scammer/scammer alt have a new steam account and/or a low game count?
6b) Do they have a lot of hours logged on steam games? If they have pretty much no hours on their games, you should pretty much be able to confirm they are an alt of something (be it a scammer or not)
6c) Does this user seem understand the economy far more than an account with their experience on steam suggests?

7) Does the potential scammer have any Scam Related bans on any of the communities listed on http://www.rep.tf?

8a) Has their account boosted their steam level to be very high. PLEASE KNOW THAT STEAM LEVEL =/= legitimate!
8b) Does the account you want to trade with have a very low steam level (note: most users don't care about steam level so this isn't the best way to determine)?
8c) Does the account have games that aren't actually in their library? In other words do they build up a profile by using steam game share from an alt.
8d) Was their level boosted to a high level all over the span of a day or two? To check this, view their badges and look at dates acquired.

9a) Does the user have any "historical data" on steamrep? On backpack.tf? If not, and they show high knowledge of the community it would suggest they are an alt, as they have not traded on this account.
9b Does their name history show any suspicious names that would suggest the user is or has impersonated a well-known trader or admin?

10) Does the account's profile have a stock profile photo? EG. Generic "?" photo or any of the default TF2 avatars?

11) Does the potential scammer/scammer alt have a low number of legitimate, non low level/phishing bot friends. In other words, are their friends legitimate, active users?

Helpful Resources and Links.
www.SteamREP.com Use to check scammer status and reputation status of any steam user

{LINK REMOVED} Biggest CSGO trading site


http://www.Backpack.tf A popular TF2 multi-purpose community site


http://www.rep.tf A site to check a users universal reputation status across multiple trading outlets

Example analysis[forums.backpack.tf] of a scammer alt and how I was able to personally determine his illegitmacy.
Special Thanks
I would like to thank all users who continually spend time helping the community through anti-fraud work.

Would also like to thank Mattie and Shadow for their help in editing and suggesting content to be added to this guide.
Final Notes
After numerous requests I have added a few slight additions to this guide as of 8/20/2017. As previously, I don't plan to update this guide again, unless there is more that I feel I can/should say and there is significant demand for it.

With the dissolution of www.tf2outpost.com, this guide has been updated on 3/31/2019 to remove most references of this community.

With the dissolution of FoG, this guide has been updated on 5/10/2019 to reflect the community's closure.

Thank you to everyone who has read, used or referred others to this guide over the past few years

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2 Comments
ForteSP  [author] Feb 23, 2015 @ 5:59pm 
That's exactly right, KnuckleJoe! Which is why I specified, that perhaps if one of the signs is there but the others, maybe you aren't trading with a scammer or scammer alt. Each of us trades with our own preferences.

However, if you end up seeing multiple signs from this list, they tend to, in partnership with each other, suggest an alt. No one has a reason to hide everything on top of these other things.

It's better to stay away from such users.
Joeker Feb 23, 2015 @ 5:56pm 
A private profile and/or backpack doesn't automatically make someone a scammer. It does make them someone you need to watch a little closer.

A little common sense goes a long way. If someone is trying to rush you into a trade, something should feel wrong. Especially if money is involved.

Pretty good so far, hope you keep this up and add a few more tips.