For 2016, we plan to remove the policy that calls for bans or cautions in "Trades with Scammer" situations. More details are below. What is happening as part of this change? Not taggable anymore. No new bans or cautions will be tracked on SteamRep for cases where a normal trader (i.e. not green tagged) trades with, sells to, or purchases items from a banned user. Retroactive. This is retroactive. Those banned or cautioned for this offense should appeal and, if there are no other offenses or issues, the appeal will be granted. If you had no other offenses, you should appeal even if your previous appeal was denied. (Use this reason during your appeal.) Partners included. This applies to SteamRep partner bans and cautions as well. Those appeals should be granted by partners if trading with a scammer is the trader's only offense. (Obviously communities can still ban whoever they want on their own sites for any reason they want-- this only applies to their marks on SR.) Brokering still bannable. It is absolutely still the case that SteamRep and communities should ban for knowingly brokering or partnering with a scammer or hijacker. Such a ban should include evidence of active brokering for or partnering with a banned user. Evidence for these bans cannot solely focus on purchasing an item or two from a banned profile. What was the original purpose of the "Trades with Scammers" policy? The rule's intention was to combat scammer alts and scammer-partners that worked together to fence hijacked or stolen items. A scammer would commit fraud on their alts and then dump stolen goods to a mule account with no conclusive connections other than trade history. Or a different scammer would search TF2 Outpost for quickbuyers to dump/liquidate items before their imminent trade ban at heavily discounted prices. These people knowingly worked with scammers on a routine basis, directly supporting fraud, and then claimed to trade communities that they themselves committed no fraud. Without Valve's knowledge of item transactions and alternate accounts, the trade community has only limited ability to tell when this is happening. As such, this rule placed responsibility on traders to mind their own reputation and to do due diligence before trading for valuable items-- if they were careful, there'd be no mistaking them for scammer accomplices. Why end this policy? Doesn't focus on fraud. SteamRep's database is used to alert the community of profiles that were reported for fraud. While trading with scammers can sometimes be a smoking gun to find a scammer's partners, multiple cases have come up where the only offense was buying from a scammer without firm evidence of direct fraud by the user. Unintended consequences. The knock-on effect of this policy made honest traders fear being banned for everyday trading and mistakes. While we do want people to check SteamRep before trades, the reason should be to protect themselves from being defrauded and not to protect themselves from being banned by a trade community. Distracts from core mission. Progress is difficult to make in other areas due to responding to the frustration of the community and the regular witchhunts that arise. Game inconsistencies. This policy is very difficult to investigate and enforce fairly across Dota2 and CSGO, due to lesser awareness and fewer available tools to help. As a result, enforcement / investigations were inconsistent across different games, making policy decisions more complex. Won't scammers be able to profit now? This wasn't the core purpose of the policy, even though reducing profits for scammers was a nice side effect. For a good while, it did make life harder for scammers to turn their new items into real cash. That being said-- our focus going forward is to reduce fraud through awareness and education rather than through indirect/inefficient economic pressure. So should I buy from scammers? Obviously not! If you know an item is scammed-- clearly you wouldn't purposely want to get mixed-up with a scammer. Even if SteamRep is not banning for everyday trades like this, it's still putting your items or money into a criminal's pocket-- and making you look shadier and shadier. If you end up doing it repeatedly and intentionally, then it makes you look like a broker, partner, or alt of a scammer-- that's still something markable on SteamRep. If you have questions or comments, please share them. Ultimately, this is something we felt was necessary as a means of making progress in other areas. Some partners have already started granting appeals and rejecting reports in this area. This policy reversal should be in full effect everywhere as of this week.