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Rules for Background Checks


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Since there continues to be a confusion about what is and isn't required for background checks, I have decided to make a defined set of guidelines outlining our expectations for background checks. A few things before getting into the details. First, this is not a universal guide. I can only tell you what will and will not get you banned on BACKPACK.TF. This does not apply to other sites. The cutoff in item values for which we expect traders to complete a background check is 15 keys value on either side of the trade (so, for example, if you buy a 30 key hat for 14 keys you still need to do a background check). For trades under 15 keys in value, we do not require that you complete a background check. Feel free to post any questions or concerns below. 
Our Expectations for Our Users: 
We expect all users to check the following on all trades 15 keys or greater in value - you must check (1) the SteamRep status, (2) the steam community profile of the user, (3) backpack.tf profiles. You should NOT trade with someone who is marked on SteamRep or banned on backpack.tf as a scammer, scammer alt (including suspected scammer alt), a fence (marked "do not trade") or someone who is an "obvious scammer alt."


We characterize an obvious alt as someone having some or all of these qualities:


(1) a steam level of 10 or less

(2) private backpack or profile

(3) minimal inventory except for high value items

(4) new account with high value items

(5) random backpack spikes - check history of items

(6) low hours in the game they are trading items for or private game history


You also need to verify where the items have come from if trading with people with private backpacks. If you cannot verify the item's history, don't complete the trade. As always, if in doubt about where your items are coming from, ask for help here in the forums before making the trade. 


Occasionally a user who is buying high volumes of items from scammers to sell on will be banned as a scammer fence, and it is not acceptable to trade with these users. This will be identified in their ban reason, so read carefully.


Please note that gambling with scammers is treated as trading with scammers, that means you gamble at your own risk on sites that allow scammers to gamble as well. Gambling is also against the steam TOS so we don't recommend it - http://www.teamfortress.com/post.php?id=27111
Our Responsibility to the Community:
While we expect certain responsibilities from our users, we understand that we have certain responsibilities ourselves. Part of these responsibilities is to be transparent with our ban reasons. If a person is banned for scamming and is unsafe to trade with, we will mark it clearly in our ban reason. There are some people banned for other reasons such as spamming or rudeness, but it is still okay to trade with them. A second part of our responsibilities is that we will discourage scamming by banning people who trade with scammers. To this end, we will employ the following set of ban durations -
If a trader unknowingly fails to meet these expectations, bans will be issued as follows:
(1) First offense - 3 days to 1 week depending on the severity of the action
(2) Second offense - 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the severity of the action
(3) Third offense - permanent ban (may be appealed after 6 months)
If a trader knowingly fails to meet these expectations and is found to intentionally trade with scammers, the ban will instantly be a permanent one. Temp bans will now "expire" after 1 year without a ban, so whether you're one your first or second offense if you go without a ban for 1+ year and then are reported again for the same thing, we will treat it as a new ban and start at first offense again. This does not apply to permanent bans.


Unless their ban reason states otherwise (i.e. Scammer Fence etc), then users who are banned for trading with scammers are fine to trade with.

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So there'll be no punishment, guaranteed, if a user has pending report(s) on SteamRep but aren't marked or banned anywhere and are not an obvious alt? I've turned down trades with people before just because of pending reports, and I'd rather not do that if it's unnecessary.

yeah I have, too. I have reports that are "pending" that are well over a month old, that's a long time. I'm pretty sure creamy got banned from outpost for nothing more than pending reports? Might be wrong on that.


These are our personal guidelines for banning. We cannot guarantee that other sites will not take a harsher stance. If you don't have personal moral qualms on the matter and only care about not getting banned from bp.tf, feel free to turn a blind eye to pending reports. I wouldn't expect it to be fully consequence free though- if outpost bans you, you end up with a valid negative trust, or you end up with your own pending steamrep report as a result, it will still make trading harder for you.


To reiterate. These are our guidelines for how we'll handle banning regarding trades with scammers due to poor background checking. It is not a guide for how to do the bare minimum and expect to be consequence free across all trading sites. My personal recommendation would be to check all you can and use your personal judgement- every high value trade should be a trade you could justify if needed, where you can safely say you gave a reasonable background check and nothing you saw gave you concern about the user or the items you're trading for. I personally always take a look at pending steamrep reports for higher value trades to see if there's anything in them that worries me about who I'm trading with and would recommend others do the same.

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Since we share a good portion of our userbase, I would like to add the criteria for trades that get you in trouble on Outpost as well:


I will only expand on trades with what we colloquially call scammers or scammer alts, other permabannable offenses like brokering for banned users, sharking, ban evasions and fake COs are (hopefully) easy to understand and known at this point.


Our rule regarding trades with scammers is rather short and concise on purpose, so it encompasses all possibilities:


"No trading with scammer alts. We do not encourage our users trading with scammers, and you should be careful to not trade with obvious alternate accounts of scammers. Please check the user's Steam profile and SteamRep status before trading with them."


A lot of people try to argue about the exact wording when they get banned, so let me clear up some common misconceptions. The rule does not exclude checking users Outpost profiles, to the contrary. This should be your first check to make, as you are submitting to Outposts rules when using it and therefore you should be aware of the Outpost status of your trading partners at all times.


We consider scammers (again, this is just a colloquial term, in lieu of a better one) to be:


  • Users that are marked on SR for any kind of offense, be it impersonation of an admin, quickswitching, fencing for scammers, etc.


  • Users that are banned on Outpost for scamming related offenses, these are mostly, but not limited to, giftwrap, Steam gift (games) and paypal scamming as well as friend impersonation and steam wallet scams (trade offers promising to pay x amount for your items). Sharking is not included in this list, as we consider it to be bad practice, but not scamming per se.


  • Users that are permabanned for trading with scammers repeatedly. Here we make a clear distinction. Usually, if the trade in question is not of very high value and includes a few items at most, then we will ban the user 2 weeks for the first offense. These users can be traded with. If they get caught again however, they will be permabanned and any trade with them can now considered to be a rule violation. This is a little bit of a grey area, since it depends on the case at hand. FOG (Fortress of Gamers) have been issuing SR tags for some users who traded with scammers repeatedly, so a person you know to be permabanned on OP for this, could be subject to a SR tag at any time.


  • Users that are banned on Outpost for having pending SR reports. When we ban users for this, we usually have seen sufficient evidence for fraudulent behaviour and ban them until the SR report is resolved in their favour, or if not, forever.


  • Users that are not banned yet on Outpost, but have pending SR reports that clearly indicate that something is wrong. That could mean they have half a dozen of reports for the same offense, or one particular one with overwhelming evidence. We can not always keep up with every user, so if you check somebody on SR that has pending reports, we urge you to take the 2 minutes it takes to evaluate the claims in said report.


  • Users whose Outpost profile says "Alt of X". In this case you need to follow the profile links until you get to the main account. If he is banned for anything that is not mentioned above, then you can trade with him. (Banned for private profile, NSFW avatar, sharking, brokering, etc.)



As for alts, we don't have a explicit set of numbers to identify an obvious scammer alt. We are trying to keep up with the profile spam of scammers, so if you check the persons Outpost profile, chances are he is already banned (that is of course only the case if he ever logged in to OP) for being an alt.


A few pointers to consider are detailed in the SR FAQ:




You should also check for the amount of paid games they own, the Steam level and overall playtime of games. Most scammer alts have less than 100 hours in TF2 and 3 to 5 games at most. Basically, if something seems fishy to you, it probably is better to avoid trading with them alltogether. It certainly helps to look up the item history on bp.tf as well, since quite a few scammers will show up just before the alt that is trying to sell it to you, which is another red flag.


Private profiles are worth mentioning on their own. We do have a rule that says:


"You are accountable for any trades you make with users that have a private profile. You should be taking as many measures as possible to prevent hijackers and scammers from profiting from their bad deeds, and private profiles are usually a red flag."


We do not allow private BPs or profiles on Outpost for this very reason and almost no legitimate trader will have a private profile. There might be a few exceptions for certain collectors or high profile users that just want to be left alone, but these people usually are not very active traders and will almost never be eager to quicksell high value items to you.


To sum it up:


The better the deal you are being offered, the more suspicious you should be.


If you have any questions, please go ahead and ask here.




I am not speaking officially on behalf of Outpost. The above statements are what I learned in my ~8 months of being a moderator there and can be subject to change at any time.

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  • 8 months later...

Making a few changes here.


In accordance with SR's change in policy mentioned here http://forums.backpack.tf/index.php?/topic/44460-ask-a-steamrep-admin/page-5?p=471411&do=findComment&comment=471411, we are changing a few rules under the category of "trading with scammers."


(1) We won't ban anyone for unknowingly trading with scammers on items under 15 keys in value.

(2) Originally we had different standards for checking low (<50 key items) and high (>50 key) value items. I have removed that distinction. The same rules apply to all items >15 keys in value.

(3) While we will continue to issue a permanent ban on ban #3, users may now appeal their ban after 6 months provided that they have had no trades with scammers in that duration. Screenshots of their complete trading history during their ban duration will need to be provided. This is particularly targeted at the high volume traders.

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  • Administrators

Small change to the rules:


Temp bans for trading with scammers will now "expire" after 1 year without a ban, so whether you're on your first or second offense if you go without a ban for 1+ year and then are reported again for the same thing, we will treat it as a new ban and start at first offense again. This does not apply to permanent bans. This will not be applied retroactively, as there are far too many cases to consider over the years the site has been running, but it will apply in all future cases going forward. If you have questions please ask them here so we don't clog up this rules thread with discussion.

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