ReportScam.com is a Website where anonymous users are able to post about companies and publicly expose scams, and other deceptive business practices.
There are few descriptions more damaging to a business’s reputation than being called a “scam” or “ripoff”. While consumer protection agencies like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Consumer Reports apply a rigorous review process when evaluating products, services, and other companies, ANYONE can post a review on ReportScam.com.
The content posted to ReportScam.com may be truthful and expose fraudulent content for the benefit of consumers, or the content posted to ReportScam.com can be a complete fabrication, invented by an angry former employee, frustrated business partner, or a jealous competitor.
Unfortunately, even well-known, highly-respected companies have been victims of fake scam reports.
If your company is mentioned on ReportScam, it is critically important that you get the post removed as quickly as possible.
What is ReportScam.com?
ReportScam.com is a consumer protection Website that offers a forum for reporting scams and provides information for other consumers, sharing details on how a person or company took advantage of a customer or client. In theory, posting information on ReportScam.com can help other people from falling for the same deceptive business practices.
Scams, frauds, ripoffs, and other deceptive business practices can reveal themselves in many different ways. Some of the most common scams include:
- Attempts to Obtain your Personal or Financial Information
- Buying or Selling Fake or Defective Products or Services Online
- Dating or Romance Scams
- Fake Charities
- Get Rich Quick / Investment Scams
- MLM Scams
- Jobs and Employment Scams
- Online Threats or Extortion
- Unexpected Winnings or Money
The problem with a website like ReportScam.com is that anyone can post and say anything they want.
What is Online Defamation / Cyber Libel?
Misleading or fake scam reports and other false negative reviews on ReportScam, may meet the definition of online defamation. Cyber libel or online defamation is the issuance of a false statement about another person, which causes that person to suffer measurable harm.
A successful claim of online defamation or cyber libel will include:
- The unprivileged publication of the statement to a third party — in other words, a note in a diary is not actionable
- If the defamatory matter is of public concern, fault amounts at least to negligence on the part of the publisher
- Measurable damage to the plaintiff
One bad review may not bring down an entire company. When an individual targets a business with multiple fake scam reports that make claims of illegal or fraudulent practices, it can have serious consequences.
You can prove online defamation with the help of a lawyer or contact a reputation management company to learn about your options.
Why is it Difficult to Remove Content from ReportScam.com?
If you know the individual who posted the review, ReportScam will allow the original poster to delete his or her complaint 60 days after the complaint has been published.
However, because users on Report Scam are able to remain anonymous, in order to identify the individual(s) who posted a negative review about you or your business on ReportScam.com you may have to first file a legal action to “unmask” the individual(s). Courts are sometimes reluctant to compel the disclosure of an anonymous poster – trying to delicately balance the right to free and anonymous speech and the right to use the legal process to discover the identity of someone who allegedly committed the offense of libel. The process can be long and expensive, and even if successful, and you have identified the individual, you next have to take steps to have the content removed from ReportScam.com.
To remove a report from ReportScam.com, there are two formidable legal obstacles that stand in your way – section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and Fair Use.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
ReportScam.com is able to include reviews and scam reports about companies because of protections afforded by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), a law which provides broad immunity from liability for content posted by third parties.
ReportScam.com is able to avoid legal responsibility for the reviews posted by others on its website, even if the reviews are false or defamatory. In order to enjoy immunity from liability, the following elements must be satisfied:
- The party must be a “provider or user” of an “interactive computer service.”
- The cause of action asserted by the plaintiff must “treat” the defendant “as the publisher or speaker” of the harmful content.
- The content must be “provided by another information content provider,” — the party must not be the “information content provider” of the harmful information at issue.
Common examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, and scholarship. Reviews are often characterized as commentary or criticism, which is why it is difficult to claim a copyright violation and remove a post from ReportScam.com. A review site may also be able to use a company logo or website screenshot and claim fair use.
How to Use DMCA to Remove Copyright Content from ReportScam.com
An effective DMCA takedown notification would require ReportScam.com to remove a post that has copyright infringement in its content or selectively remove the infringing content.
Copyright infringement is a serious offense, and the DMCA is a very effective tool for content removal.
A DMCA notice would require you to include your contact information, details on the copyrighted material, and details about the content infringing on that protected material, an electronic or written signature, and a statement that you have “good faith belief” that the offender did not have the authorization to use your copyrighted content and a statement that the information in the DMCA is accurate.
Make sure to include all the required points in the DMCA takedown notification, then find out who is the designated DMCA agent for ReportScam.com. To find out the information for submitting a DMCA to ReportScam.com, use the contact information on their Contact Us page.
A DMCA takedown notice, once received by the website, should usually result in the automatic removal of the content on ReportScam.com. If you are claiming a DMCA on just an image, they may decide to leave the remainder of the post live, without the picture.
If you want to remove the entirety of a defamatory post, you will have to try other methods of removal.
How to Remove a Post on ReportScam.com
The broad immunity afforded by the Communications Decency Act and the doctrine of Fair Use makes it very difficult to remove a post from ReportScam.com, but there are other options available.
To ensure fast and effective removal of posts on ReportScam.com, contact an online reputation management service company.
If you are a victim of online defamation or cyber libel you understand how a hateful comment or review 0n a website like Report Scam can damage your personal life or business.