Ambiguous Loss and Scam Victims

Ambiguous Loss and Scam Victims

(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

Ambiguous Loss and ScamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. Victims

A Type Of TraumaTrauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS. Common To Victims Of Financial FraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim.

Scam Victim Recovery – A SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Insight

A Type Of Trauma Where Closure Is Not Possible

Ambiguous loss is a loss that occurs without a significant likelihood of reaching emotional closure or a clear understanding.

This kind of loss leaves a person searching for answers, and thus complicates and delays the process of grieving, and often results in unresolved grief.

Some examples of Ambiguous Loss are:

  • a romance scam
  • a marriage scam
  • death of a loved one or friend to a rapid disease, such as COVID
  • infertility
  • termination of pregnancy
  • the disappearance of a family member
  • death of an ex-spouse
  • a family member being physically alive but in a state of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

An ambiguous loss can be categorized into two types of loss:

  1. physical, or
  2. psychological

Physical loss and psychological loss differ in terms of what is being grieved for, the loss of the physical body, or the psychological mind.

Experiencing an ambiguous loss can lead to personal questions, such as, “Am I still married to my missing spouse?,” or “Am I still a child to a parent who no longer remembers me?”.

Since the grief process in an ambiguous loss is halted, it is harder to cope or move on to acceptance from this type of loss experienced.

There are various types of grief that can occur due to the type of ambiguity experienced and corresponding therapy techniques to address certain types of grief. The overall goal of trauma therapy in cases of ambiguous loss is to overcome the trauma associated with it and restore resilienceResilience Is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Psychological resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly. Resilience exists when the person uses "mental processes and behaviors in promoting personal assets and protecting self from the potential negative effects of stressors". In simpler terms, psychological resilience exists in people who develop psychological and behavioral capabilities that allow them to remain calm during crises/chaos and to move on from the incident without long-term negative consequences. In popular accounts, psychological resilience is sometimes likened to a "psychological immune system". – in other words, to cope with it effectively.

Ambiguous Loss

The term “ambiguous loss” was first used in the late 1970s by Pauline Boss, a researcher who studied families of soldiers who went missing in action. From 1973 to 1977, Boss used the term “boundary ambiguity”, but she later replaced that with “ambiguous loss”. SCARS began applying the term to scam victims in 2015.

Types of Ambiguous Losses

An ambiguous loss can be physical or psychological in nature.

Physical Loss

A physical ambiguous loss means that the body of a loved one is no longer around, such as a missing person or unrecovered body from war, but is still remembered psychologically due to the chance of coming back, for example in missing person cases. This also applies in cases of trafficked persons, since the person disappears from the perspective of the family and friends.

A physical ambiguous loss can occur across generations, such as in the families of victims of the holocaust, and can cause as traumatic distress as Posttraumatic stress disorder.

Psychological Loss

The second type of Ambiguous Loss is where a person is still physically there, but is psychologically absent. This happens in cases where the brain is affected, therefore affecting the behaviorBehavior   Behavior / Behavioral Actions Otherwise known as habits, behavior or behavioral actions are strategies to help prevent online exploitation that target behavior, such as social engineering of victims. Changing your behavior is the ONLY effective means to reduce or prevent scams. or well-being of the individual. Psychological ambiguous loss does not just occur to the family and friends of the person affected. Psychological loss can happen personally in terms of one losing a sense of who they are. This can stem from having a traumatic brain injury and not knowing who they are, causing a lost feeling and uncertain identity issues.

With Scam Victims

This is a strange combination of both physical and psychological Ambiguous Loss. Romance scam victims, especially, experience physical loss if they had seen and talked to a physical person, or may only experience psychological loss if they were only in emotional contact with a fake person or impersonationImpersonation An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone, such as: part of a criminal act such as identity theft, online impersonation scam, or other fraud. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors.. This can be compounded by the fact that not only did the person (real or fake) disappear at the end of the scam, but they may never have really been there.

Grieving Process

The grieving process for an ambiguous loss differs from regular mourning in that one is unable to gain closure due to unresolved grief.

In cases of a psychological ambiguous loss, the grieving process can be especially difficult. This is because someone that suffers from it is unable to accept it or even admit that there is a problem. Most cannot confront their situation in the first place in order to deal with the problem without professional support and/or therapy.

One key factor in getting over an ambiguous loss is resilience. In the normal grieving process, people obtain some form of closure after dealing with a loss. In an ambiguous loss, closure does not exist, and should not be sought after in this case. But, especially with scam or financial fraud victims, this can be almost impossible to convince them of.

Resilience

Resilience and hope are important in the case of an ambiguous loss because paired together, they are able to allow the individual to come to terms with the loss and continue moving forward in life.

One way to tell that someone is resilient in a case with ambiguous loss is that they actively seek out help when they know it is needed. This should include competent support and trauma counselingCounseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes. A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. They may also work with "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists". SCARS does not provide mental health counseling. or therapy – though sadly, most often it is a deep[erate search from amateurs or other sufferers who do not understand the issues or how to help others. When someone that has ambiguous loss seeks help from the wrong people it often results in increased trauma and potentially lasting psychological damage,

Uncontrollable factors such as culture, age, socioeconomic status, and genetics are all factors that contribute to resilience or the lack of it. Most think that trauma and ambiguous loss often co-exist together and if the trauma is not dealt with it can triggerTRIGGERS A trigger is a stimulus that sets off a memory of a trauma or a specific portion of a traumatic experience. unresolved emotions. However, ambiguous loss is itself a type of trauma.

Therapy and counseling will address a case of ambiguous loss by restoring resilience, and reconnecting with the loss and the relationship with whom the loss is associated. Competent support then helps the person maintain their resilience and continue their learning and recovery progress.

Three Types Of Grief

The difference between regular grief and grief from an ambiguous loss is the type of loss creates the type of grief experienced.

Grief in ambiguous loss can be both beneficial and difficult. Since the grief in an ambiguous loss differs than the linear stages of grief there is no internal pressure to move on or achieve closure. This internal pressure allows for people to remember the lost loved one and move on with relationships and life. But in the case of ambiguous loss, such as with scam victims there are significant distractions that prevent grieving, such as the mistaken belief in justice and revenge.

There are three specific types of grief that can develop from the type of ambiguous loss.

Anticipatory Grief

Anticipatory grief occurs before bereavement, before mourning after death occurs, and upon realizing that death may be imminent for a loved one, anticipatory grief sets in.

This type of grief is common among families who have a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease. The grief becomes anticipatory due to the knowledge that the loved one’s mental state will only become worse, so the grieving process can start very early.

In the case of scam victims, strangely this can happen upon the realization that there has been a scam or receipt, but before the relationship actually has ended. This can set in almost instantly with the realization and discovery. It can have a profound impact on the victim’s ability to end the scam cleanly and make good decisions during that process.

Disenfranchised Grief

The second type of grief that can develop from an ambiguous loss is disenfranchised grief. It is also known as unrecognized grief because it often occurs in the loss of a beloved pet and the grief is not taken as seriously as with a real loved one, family member, or friend.

This can also occur with scam victims after the scam has ended when a victim refuses to grieve since it was never a real person anyway. Partial grief processing is common in these cases and the victim becomes stuck in angerAnger Anger, also known as wrath or rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, trigger, hurt or threat. About one-third of scam victims become trapped in anger for extended periods of time following a scam. A person experiencing anger will often experience physical effects, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view anger as an emotion that triggers a part of the fight or flight response. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively, and physiologically. Anger can have many physical and mental consequences. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of "what has happened to them", psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability..

Frozen Grief

Frozen grief is the third type of grief, it is a result of the ambiguity of death because of the physical or psychological disappearance and therefore one’s grief is frozen since they do not get a chance to let grief run a normal course.

This is very common in the victims of financial fraud and scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. since the grief is partly based upon the disappearance of the criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. that cased the victim’s trauma.

How To Recognize & Recover

Trauma is not an easy thing to deal with and usually requires professional help.

SCARS recommends that all scam victims find a local trauma professional to help them. Additionally, we recommend our professional support & recovery program.

To find a local trauma counselor or therapist we suggest these worldwide resources:

Do You Need Help?

If you are a victim make sure you read our 3 Steps Guide for New Victims here: https://romancescamsnow.com/dating-scams/scars-3-steps-for-new-scam-victims/

Remember that SCARS offers free support & recovery programs. You can apply to join at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SCARS.Avoidance.Information.Public.Group (Spanish language support is also available).

In addition, SCARS publishes a complete line of low-cost Scam Victim Self-Help Books at http://shop.AgainstScams.org

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SCARS GREN BOOK - The SCARS STEPS Guide to Scam Victim Recovery

SCARS GREEN BOOK
Self-Help Self-Paced Recovery Program Guide

LEARN HOW TO RECOVER ON YOUR OWN

This program is designed to help scam victims struggling to recover on their own and for those who want to understand the overall process. You can be using other resources, such as trauma counseling or therapy, qualified support groupsSupport Groups In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers., or completely independent – on your own!

The SCARS Steps program is a complete program and is provided for the purpose of helping scam victims to overcome this experience. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues and challenges that a victim may have and help guide them through their recovery. But each person is different and it is important to understand your own reasons for being vulnerable to being scammed.

After the trauma of being scammed, you need to take steps to recover and move on. This may be an alternative to counseling in the short term, but we still encourage you to seek out professional help & support. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues, challenges, defects, or problems that a victim may have in a generalized way.

The SCARS GREEN BOOK will help you recover from your scam offline and it will always be there when you need it!

Get it here

SCARS SLATE BOOK - A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims

SCARS SLATE BOOK – Let Us Explain What Happened!

A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims

HOW TO HELP ROMANCE SCAM VICTIMS FOR FAMILIES & FRIENDS OF SCAM VICTIMS

This SCARS Publishing book represents a complete guide to help the families and friends understand how these scams work and how to help the victim.

The SCARS Slate Book should be purchased by family and friends to better understand what happened to the victim and the traumatic impact on them. But it can also be shared by the victim so that they do not have to explain to family and friends about the scam. This publication is to help others to help Scam Victims to make it through this traumatic experience and recover.

Each person is different and it is important to understand how relationship scamsRelationship Scam A Relationship Scam is a one-to-one criminal act that involves a trust relationship and uses deception & manipulation to get a victim to give to the criminal something of value, such as money! Click here to learn more: What Is A Relationship Scam? work and why people are vulnerable; to being scammed, how they were lured in, then groomed and manipulated. This understanding is essential in helping them through the process of ending the scam and then on to recovery. The SCARS Slate Book will provide the information necessary to help support a victim through this process.

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SCARS RED BOOK - Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer

SCARS RED BOOK
Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer

ORGANIZE YOUR INFORMATION TO MAKE THE REPORTING PROCESS SIMPLE!

Helps you get and stay organized. This publication is to help Scam Victims organize their crime information. Complete this information before reporting to the police then bring this book with you

Before or after reporting to the police the RED BOOK gives you a dedicated tool to record all the essential facts of this crime. The Victim, the Scammers, the Money, and your Police interactions. Everything that really matters can be easily recorded for your immediate use and for the future!

As we have seen, money recovery/repayment programs can become available years after the scam ends and you need to keep all the details of this crime in case it is needed. We have also seen scammers being extradited to the U.S. and other countries, this will help in the event you testify or give statements, Additionally, this helps you have your information ready to qualify for victims’ benefits, compensation, or aid.

The Official SCARS RED BOOK is your way of recording all the important facts of this crime so that you do not lose essential information, Complete the RED BOOK then put it away with the confidence that you will have it if or when it is needed.

Get it here

SCARS BLUE BOOK - Survivor's Recovery Journal
SCARS LIME BOOK - Wisdom & Motivation for Scam Victims
SCARS CHERRY BOOK - A Guide To Understanding Your Fear
SCARS WORKBOOK - 8 Steps To Improvement
SCARS WORKBOOK - Understanding Self-Blame, Guilt, and Shame
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Your generous purchase allows us to maintain our scam avoidance, support, and recovery services. Please help SCARS and stand proud.

Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

U.S. FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS and SCARS at www.Anyscams.com

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By the Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Inc.

A Worldwide Crime Victims Assistance & Crime Prevention Nonprofit Organization Headquartered In Miami Florida USA & Monterrey NL Mexico, with Partners In More Than 60 Countries
To Learn More, Volunteer, or Donate Visit: www.AgainstScams.org
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