If contributing to the fight against the global plague of online scams is part of your job, probably you will be familiar with the Global Anti Scam Alliance and the work of Jorij Abraham and ScamAdviser. It is also very likely that you will have a calendar block to attend the 2023 Global Anti Scam Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, next October 18-19.
Since its first edition, in 2020, the Global Anti Scam Summit (GASS) has managed not only to line up some of the biggest experts in the matter and to attract thousands of participants from all over the world, but also to move the debate from an exchange of educated opinions and best practices into a public call for action.
The Turning Point
The first in-person GASS (The Hague, Netherlands, 2022) was the turning point for this.
In-person and remote participants of that conference —over 1,000 people from around the globe— were requested to offer insights on ‘how to turn the tide on online scams.’ Thanks to the good design and planning of the digital and on-site boards used to collect those thoughts, a very valuable selection of ideas was quickly available, but the best part was being saved for the end, at the event’s closing panel.
In that panel, Ayleen Charlotte, a victim of a romance scam (as shown in ‘The Tinder Swindler’ documentary on Netflix), exposed her case to a group of experts from a variety of sectors that were already playing a committed and active role in the fight against online fraud. Those sectors included Law enforcement, e-commerce, national awareness campaigns, academia, and consumers groups.
Ayleen’s sincerity and straightforwardness, her smart questions to the panel and the audience, and the brutal realization that victims of scams were, in reality, triple victims —of the scammers, of the society, and of a failed system that cannot protect them— helped crystalize the collective insights into a roadmap for action, the ‘Ten Recommendations to Turn the Tide on Online Scams.’
Ten Recommendations Put to the Test
Last April, after several months of work, the Ten Recommendations —which include initiatives to empower consumers, to create a safer Internet, and to improve international cooperation— were presented at the Cybersec Europe conference in Brussels.
Again, a varied group of experts was gathered around a panel —this time, with representatives from Law enforcement, finance, brand protection, and two agencies of the European Commission— and, again, they were asked to focus exclusively on problems for which better coordination could work as an immediate practical solution.
More comprehensive consumer awareness and education, an improvement of the incident-reporting and data-exchange mechanisms used to fight online crime, deeper cross-sector involvement, and effective institutional collaboration were the key conclusions of that session, virtually a rephrasing of the Ten Recommendations.
The framework had passed the test, and it was ready to be used as a pathway to action.
Vemo-nos em Lisboa!
Turning those recommendations into practical initiatives and improvements in the way online scams are fought globally will be the goal for the 2023 Global Anti Scam Summit.
To achieve that, the entire program of the summit will be structured around ten 2.5-h breakout sessions in which each recommendation will receive a feasibility check by a group of experts led by a moderator who will guide the conversations towards action.
The outcome is completely open —from a call for further discussion to actual commitments by the participating organizations, from problem-specific solutions to a global, all-encompassing approach—, but one thing will be clear: Lisbon will make a difference.
The Global Cyber Alliance, in collaboration with the Anti Phishing Working Group (a sister organization in the Nonprofit Cyber coalition), will have the honor to lead one of those discussions, the one focusing on the Recommendation #7 (‘Establish a Global Scam Data-Sharing Hub’).
The closeness between GCA and the APWG, our experience with the Domain Trust project, which was kicked off precisely at the first GASS, the ‘Do Something, Measure It’ nature of our work, and our reputation as a community-building organization and a natural neutral convener are all guarantees for a fruitful discussion.
But that is not all: consumer education and awareness will also be part of our conversations in Lisbon, thanks to a closed roundtable organized by Amazon in which our Capacity & Resilience Program (our Toolkits) will be present. That session is directly connected with the initiative for young adults that we have just launched with Amazon, and that was first ideated after both organizations coincided at the 2023 GASS event.
If you believe in the need to improve our coordination against online fraud, if you believe in our collective capacity to change the Internet for good, we would love to see you in Lisbon.