(Last Updated On: March 24, 2022)

After A 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. Is Discovered Comes The Debt!

Many Victims Then Have To Face The Truth About New Debt!

As a 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. victim, you have to face many hard truths after your scam!

One of them is debt!

You became involved in a scam …

  • You did not want to be scammed, but it happened – you were lured in, groomed, and manipulated expertly.
  • You did what the scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. asked – in most cases, this meant that you sent them money.
  • In many cases you did not have the money you sent to the scammer – you borrowed it:
    • You got advances or cash from your credit cards
    • You took out new loans
    • You re-mortgaged your home
    • You borrowed it from friends and family
    • You leveraged other assets to get money
  • Now you have to deal with this reality – you owe money, potentially a large amount!

Now That The Scam Is Over

You now have to deal with your real financial situation at the same time as you are going through grief and the 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. that was left behind.

We know that the financial aftermath from your scam can be as devastating as the emotional side – both contribute to your trauma and will make it hard to recover. A successful recovery program must guide you through both sides. 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. understands this!

There are ONLY Three Options for you at this point:

  1. Ignore it – stay in denialDenial Denial is a refusal or unwillingness to accept something or to accept reality. Refusal to admit the truth or reality of something, refusal to acknowledge something unpleasant; And as a term of Psychology: denial is a defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality. and pretend it will all just go away
  2. Procrastinate – you know you have to deal with it, but just not today
  3. Confront it – take control of the situation and work through each point of pain until they are all under control and you have a clear financial path forward

Obviously, Each Victim’s Situation Is Different

Each scam victim did different things to satisfy their scammer. From credit card debt, to loanshark loans, to home mortgages. Regardless of the details, they cannot be ignored forever. Besides, trying to live in denial will always make things worse – potentially much worse – much depends on the country where you live and the kinds of debts.

International Issues

SCARS supports scam victims worldwide. Because of this, not all information applies in every country. Make sure that you understand what is appropriate, possible, and safe for your country.

You Are Going To Face It!

Dealing with your debt will come after you have the rest of the scam under control, but it will not wait for long. Payments will have to be made, legal decisions need to be considered.

In our experience, that average victim will delay from one month to a year before really taking firm control of their finances and debt. We can’t tell you what is right for you, because we are not financial professions, and because each person’s situation is somewhat different. But it is important to talk with professionals that can help you sort through this.

The SCARS FOUR STEPS

As a victim, there will be FOUR major steps to your financial control and recovery:

  1. Regain Control

  2. Control The Damage

  3. Confront The Debt

  4. Debt Management

In each one, you are going to be facing many difficult processes and emotional challenges, but it becomes easier the more you plan. Having a step-by-step plan helps reduce stress and further trauma. The single biggest value in all this is a sense of regained control and certainty – when you have a plan, you have a sense of what the future will bring, even if it is not great – at least you know and can deal with facts. Uncertainty can make it much harder to both recover control and work through your emotional pain.


STEP 1: Regain Control

The first step in regaining control is to know what your real dept is – how much, what is due and when. This is basic debt management & planning.

Start by listing every debt that you have, along with expenses and obligations on a piece of paper (or spreadsheet). You have to learn what is really out there. Include everything, even how much you plan to spend of food, utilities, and more – all of it must be accounted for – or you will set yourself up for surprises.

Catalog Your Debts

First, create a list of all your debts. You should have done this already in STEP 1 above – this can include money owed on:

  • credit cards
  • student loans
  • auto loans
  • medical bills
  • personal loans
  • all other financings
  • Other obligations that must be paid on a monthly or regular basis

The list of your debts should include:

  • the name of the lender
  • type of loan or obligation (category)
  • total amount owed
  • interest rate
  • minimum payment due each month

You can also include the contact info of each lender, and any other pertinent details (i.e., terms, fees).

Make sure your info is up-to-date and accurate.


STEP 2: Control The Damage

After you really learn what you have to face, begin the painful process to talking with every person or business or government that you owe money to. Yes, you have to do this.

This will serve many purposes, from buying you time to sort through it, to stopping or delaying debt collection activities. You will ned time to recover emotionally too, and adding the financial issues will be hard. Do what you can to give yourself space and time to recover, but don’t hide from it – what you hide from will come back to haunt you.

Make sure you prioritize your debts carefully – talk to all of them, but give the most attention to those that are going to be the worst for you.

Make a list of your creditor and go through them one by one and inform them that you are the victim of financial fraud (they don’t need the details) – but they will require the police report number – make sure you have it.

Ask them about:

  • In what ways can you delay payments
  • Can you change payment amounts or extend the loan repayment
  • Do they have programs for partial or complete debt forgivenessForgiveness What Is Forgiveness? Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.
  • Can they help you in debt planning and creditor management
  • Did you have any type of insurance on their debt

STEP 3: Confront The Debt

This is where you have to face the music – as the saying goes. You have to face your reality and make choices about the direction you take.

3.a – Debt Management

After you have done the above and you have the answers to those questions, you are ready to lay out a realistic debt management plan.

There are two basic ways to work a debt management plan:

  1. Do it yourself – you plan and then work the plan
  2. You hire a service provider (third-party) to do it for you

You can do all the work yourself and maintain personal control over it all. This has many advantages, but may also be difficult if you are still dealing with the emotional grief and trauma of the scam. It may make more sense to work with a debt relief or management provided to help keep it all strain, and potentially even handle the payments for you – this makes it much easier for you to avoid the additional trauma of having to speak with debt collectors – they do it all for you.

In the sections below we will explore Do It Yourself Debt Management.

You may wish to start by talking to a credit 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. service. Here is what you can expect when talking to one – click here.

3.b – Debt Elimination (Bankruptcy)

Depending on the types of debts and what you learned in STEP 2 – you may be able to obtain forgiveness or write-off of some or your debts, but probably not all. You may have to consider bankruptcy.

We cannot advise you about this choice or the details that will be specific to you. For this, you will need to find a licensed bankruptcy attorney or solicitor to explore these options.

Here is a directory service to help you locate them: Best Bankruptcy Lawyers Near Me – Attorney Ratings | FindLaw

However, before you go there, make sure you have fully explored all of your other financial options first. Once you jump into bankruptcy all other options become unavailable.


STEP 4: Debt Management

If you are going to try to manage your own debt, you will need a plan.

4.a – What is a Debt Management Plan?

A debt management plan (or DMP) is a way to get yourself out of debt and rebuild your credit and control your life, all while making monthly payments that fit your budget. They can be extremely beneficial for someone who is in over their head with debt and needs help getting a handle on it.

While participating in a debt management plan, you’ll also learn how to manage your money better so that you can avoid falling into debt again in the future.

How It Works

A debt management plan is a system that allows you to pay one monthly payment that covers all of your included debt. Essentially, once your creditors agree to the plan, you make a single payment each month to the facilitator of your debt management plan. It is not a loan, however, and your monthly payment is divided and dispersed to your creditors every month.

When you request a debt management plan and your creditors agree to it, they will often lower your interest rate and waive any late fees that you currently have. They will also agree to a set monthly payment that has your account paid in full in no more than five years. If you cannot do this in 5 years, then bankruptcy may be the right option.

While you’re in a debt management plan, your credit accounts will be closed and you will not be able to use those accounts for any new charges. You will also not be strongly discouraged from opening any new lines of credit, as creditors offer you perks (reduced interest, waived fees) with the idea that you’ll focus on paying off your debt and not creating new debts.

The Cost

Yes, there can be a cost, but it is not much and it will vary depending on the amount of debt you’re repaying and the state/country where you live, and the specific service provider. If you work with a nonprofit credit counseling agency, there will likely be two fees: an ongoing monthly fee and a one-time set-up fee. Monthly fees may be a percentage of your monthly DMP payment, or a flat fee (again depending on where you have residence).

With many of the better providers, the average monthly fee is around US$24, with a maximum of $50 (depending on regulation, country, and type of entity.) The average set-up fee is $33, with a maximum of $75. Fee waivers and fee reductions are available for consumers with hardships – just ask your credit counselor if you qualify.

How You Sign Up For One

Your best, and easiest possible approach may be to work with an accredited nonprofit credit counseling agency. They’re not all the same though. Do your homework and search their Better Business Bureau or other national rantings to find a reputable company.

Contact the one you’re most interested in working with and schedule an appointment for a complimentary counseling session. This will allow you the opportunity to discuss your financial situation with a credit counselor, review your options, and see if a debt management plan is right for you.

Remember, they are not YOUR financial planners – they have a mission that may be different than yours – we encourage you to talk with a real financial professional about all your possible options.

If you’re not opposed to putting in some long hours on the phone, you can set up your own debt management plan. If you’re having trouble keeping up with your payments, creditors may be willing to work with you. But there’s no guarantee that you’ll receive the same interest rate reductions and other benefits if you go it alone. It is a question of trust and how much effort your creditors have to put in to work with your directly.

Making the decision to create a debt management plan can be a responsible way out of debt, but it is not right for everyone. If you’re considering one, talk to a credit counselor about your options.

SCARS cannot recommend any specific credit counseling company. However, in the United States, we recommend that you consider NCFF Members in good standing with solid Better Business Bureau ratings (A+).

4.b – Will A Debt Management Plan Work For You?

Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to use a debt management plan:

You Must Have A Source Of Income

No repayment option will work for you if you don’t have some form of income. When a nonprofit credit counseling agency administers a DMP, they are obligated to ensure that the plan is affordable and works as part of a balanced budget.

If you barely have the income needed to manage your basic essentials (food, shelter, etc.), then debt repayment should not be your top priority and a DMP is unlikely to be a good idea until you can increase your income. This is where bankruptcy comes into this again.

However, if you have a steady income, but are just struggling to make your debt payments balance against the rest of your budget, then a DMP may be a great choice for you.

High-Interest Rates

A DMP is likely to reduce most or all of your high-interest credit card rates, allowing more of your monthly payments to go towards the principal. This will allow you to pay down your debts quicker. In fact, most DMPs are repaid within 3-5 years.

Missed Payments

Missed payments don’t disqualify you from a potential DMP. In fact, there are usually no credit requirements for a DMP, so unlike many consolidation loans, if your credit has suffered from missed payments you can still qualify for a DMP. Creditors will also often bring your account current after you have made a certain number of consecutive payments through your DMP.

Luxuries & New Debt

You probably will not be able to do that.

Accounts included on a DMP are usually closed or frozen by the creditor. Because the age of your accounts is a factor in most credit scoring models (and older accounts are better for your score), this means that your credit score may fall immediately after starting a DMP. If you need your credit in premium shape for a major purchase (home, car, etc.), then you may want to wait before starting a DMP or look into another option, like a low-interest consolidation loan. We do not suggest this for scam victims – we suggest that you forget normal life as it was for a while, and stay laser-focused on financial survival.

Your Credit Score / Credit Quality

If your score is already low because of missed payments, then a DMP may be a good option. The truth, however, is that any option (besides potentially debt settlement) can be a good way to help rebuild your credit, providing that you:

  • Make payments consistently each month, as agreed upon, and
  • Pay off your debts in full.

The DMP’s single, consolidated payment and reduced interest costs can certainly help you rebuild your credit over time, but that only works if you’re able keep making your payments straight through to the end.

Help Staying Accountable

Scam victims frequently avoid dealing with challenges. The DMP actually is a good way to reduce your stress because it reduces the number of people you have to deal with. It simplifies your life by giving you a financial advocate that you can really work with – assuming that you qualify.

One unique benefit of using a DMP through a nonprofit credit counseling agency is that it comes with continual support and assistance from a team of trained financial educators and counselors. If you’re self-directed and only need the boost of a lower interest rate and consolidated payment, then a low-interest consolidation loan may be what you need. But if you feel you might need a little extra support to give yourself time to heal and to set and stick to your new goals, then a DMP may be the way to go.

Ultimately, anyone with more credit card debt than they can comfortably handle can potentially benefit from a DMP. It is simply a matter of deciding whether or not the benefits of a DMP meet your unique needs.

4.c – Creating Your Own Debt Management Plan

There are plenty of organizations that can help, but if you want to do it yourself and you like handling things on your own?

You may be able to do it – but you may also be foolish to try. We cannot tell you the answer here. But you must be realistic.

Doing It Yourself

You should consider doing it yourself ONLY if:

  • You are able to handle the additional emotional load of managing your finances and dealing with creditors – this is not easy! But can help you maintain control. Or,
  • You live in a country where debt management services are not available.

Those are the only two reasons to do it yourself. Do not let pride or shameShame Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self; withdrawal motivations; and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness. enter into this. If you are in trouble over your debt, do what is best for you.

Beginning

By being organized, diligent, and having determination and commitment, you can become debt-managed by yourself through your own debt management plan.

4.d – Step by Step

The following is a step-by-step approach to creating a debt repayment program and implementing it on your own.

4.d.1 – Create Your Plan

When it comes to figuring out the best tactic, two popular debt repayment methods are the:

    • “Avalanche” debt payoff method, or
    • “Snowball” debt payoff method

No matter which strategy you choose, you’ll want to make the minimum payments on all your debts. You want to create a plan you can manage and maintain based upon your income and otherwise, your credit will suffer.

AVALANCHE DEBT PAYOFF METHOD

With the avalanche debt payoff method, you focus on paying the debt with the highest interest rate first or as a priority. Once that “mother of debts” is paid off, you take the money you have been putting toward it toward the debt with the second-highest interest rate, and so forth.

In other words, triage – stop the worst bleeding first!

A major benefit of this method is that you’ll save money on the interest. The downside is that because it can take a while to pay off that first debt, you may find yourself struggling to stay motivated. Also, it depends on the patience of other creditors.

SNOWBALL DEBT PAYOFF METHOD

There are two major differences with the snowball debt payoff method.

With the avalanche method, you pay based on the interest rate, with the snowball method you pay based on the balance.

The other major difference is that you start with the smallest amount, then work your way up. Canceling one debt at a time – smallest to largest, but again, this depends on the willingness of your creditors.

A big advantage of the snowball debt method is that you’ll enjoy success earlier. It is quite a satisfying feeling to pay off your first debt, and if you do it earlier in your plan, chances are you’re more likely to keep the momentum going and this also becomes therapeutic. A downside is that you may be paying more in interest on your loans over the long term.

4.d.2. – Prioritize Your Debts

Rearrange your debts in order of which one you’d like to tackle first. After doing some analysis, figure out how much money you’ll be paying on each date, and the target date to pay it off. That’ll help you stay organized and on track.

FOCUS ON A SINGLE DEBT

No matter which repayment method you decide on, focus on reducing one debt at a time. it will help you make greater progress, and it will make it easier to track and manage your debts.

Plus, because you are managing one debt instead of spreading your efforts among several, you can pay more of the principal. In turn, you’ll save more on interest. But remember, it depends on what your creditors will access – but you start with your plan and then work on getting the agreement of your creditors – keep the horse in front of the cart!

4.d.3. – Stop Accumulating More Debt

Try to close or freezeFreeze Trauma Freeze Response: While fight-or-flight is the better-known way humans respond to certain stressful stimuli, the additional less known third response "FREEZE", was not as widely studied until this last decade. Freezing as a response to a threat might seem effective, a sort of “playing dead” in the face of danger; however, in humans freezing manifests as an inability to communicate, react, make decisions, or take any action of self-preservation or defense. your credit card accounts while you are in debt payoff mode.

While you’re paying off debt, you definitely want to avoid accumulating more debt. Otherwise, you may find yourself feeling like you’re taking a step backward, ending up at the beginning. Your motivation and stress matter!

Note: Closing a credit card could negatively impact your credit. That’s because your balance-to-limit ratio, or credit utilization ratio, is affected when you close a card. Your credit utilization ratio is the outstanding balance on all your cards against the maximum limit on all your cards combined.

Generally, if the spending limit on all your cards is $30,000, and you have a balance of $9,000, your credit utilization ratio is 30 percent. (The lower your credit utilization ratio the better. A general rule of thumb is to keep it under 30 percent.) When you close a credit card, depending on the limit on that particular card and your total outstanding balance, your credit card score could get dinged.

If you’re not quite ready to close out your credit cards with debt, many credit cards now have a “freeze card” option where you can momentarily hit the “pause” button on your card.

4.d.4 – Cut Expenses

When paying off debt, see where you can cut back on your expenses. Lowering living expenses means more money can go toward your debt.

A few pointers on slashing expenses:

DEFINE ALL OF YOUR EXPENSES

If you don’t already have a budget, figure out what your expenses are. This includes everything from rent, bills, monthly subscriptions, gas, insurance, food, entertainment, and shopping.

GO FOR THE BIG EXPENSES

Your three major spending categories are housing, transportation, and food. If you can save on any one of these three spending areas, you can save larger amounts of money each month.

GO FOR THE EASY EXPENSES

Easy wins on slashing expenses include recurring expenses. This includes car insurance, bills, and monthly subscriptions. Contact the company and see if there are any discounts, or negotiate for a lower rate. You may be able to save by enrolling in autopay or making a yearly payment instead of a monthly one.

Another way to gain easy wins is to nix stuff you aren’t using. For instance, if it is been a while since you last stepped foot in a gym, cancel your gym membership.

Be sure to check out all our budget guides for thorough advice on slashing common expenses.

4.d.5 – Can You Add Income?

See if there are any growth opportunities at your current job or other income to earn more, this can include starting or increasing the payout of your retirement or investment accounts (if you have any.) If you have been a valuable employer, either by helping the company save money, make more money, make things more efficient, or reducing stress on your team, use that as leverage for a raise or a bonus.

Outside of your job, look for ways to earn more money by way of a side job. There are plenty of ways to make extra money, such as tutoring, pet sitting, ride-sharing, freelance writing, consulting, on services like www.FIVRR.com, and so forth.

Commit to any extra cash you receive toward your debt. This includes not only money from a raise, bonus, or side job, but cash gifts and small windfalls that come your way.

4.d.6 – Understand Your Credit Rating Or Status

This does not apply in all countries. But if it does, try to find out what your rating is now. Even though you may be in survival mode, it is important to do your best to come out of this with as good a credit rating as you can.

ORDER A CREDIT REPORT

In the U.S. paying off your debt affects your credit, it is important to keep tabs on your credit when paying off your debts. You’ll also want to check your credit report to see if there are any inaccuracies in your personal information, payment history, and debts listed. Debts that are unpaid and have been sent to a collection agency also usually show up on your credit report. You’ll be able to see which agency the debts have gone to.

If you need to file a dispute, you’ll need to contact the credit bureau agency directly. The credit bureau typically has 30 days to to investigate your dispute.

You can order a credit report for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. You’re able to order one from each of the three major credit bureaus—TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax—during a 12-month period. While your credit report is free of charge, there’s typically an additional fee to see your credit score.

THE OTHER NIGHTMARE

Another reason to look at your credit report is to see if your scammers stole your identity and created more debt for you! Click here to learn more about Protecting Your Financial Identity as a scam victim.

MONITOR YOUR CREDIT

This depends on the country where you live, but while paying off your debt, monitoring your credit will help you see how your debt payoff efforts are boosting your credit. As you pay off debts and lower your balances, your score typically goes up.

There are a handful of free credit monitoring services that allows you to monitor your credit and check your credit score for free (see what may be appropriate for you.) Many popular money management appsApps Applications or Apps An application (software), commonly referred to as an ‘app’ is a program on a computer, tablet, mobile phone or device. Apps are designed for specific tasks, including checking the weather, accessing the internet, looking at photos, playing media, mobile banking, etc. Many apps can access the internet if needed and can be downloaded (used) either for a price or for free. Apps are a major point of vulnerability on all devices. Some are designed to be malicious, such as logging keystrokes or activity, and others can even transport malware. Always be careful about any app you are thinking about installing. and credit card companies also allow you to check your credit score.

You’ll also want to get a credit report to make sure your payment history, balances, and so forth are reflected accurately and are what you think they are. As you can get a free report every year from each of the three credit bureaus, you can stagger receiving them throughout the year. (The pandemic has made this more flexible, but check to be sure.)

4.d.7 – Contact Your Creditors & Negotiate With The Collection Agencies

While this may feel intimidating, remember: It is in both party’s best interest to get your debts paid off. When talking to a rep from the lender, you can work with them on a repayment schedule, and possibly negotiate for a lower interest rate or pay a lower amount than what you originally owe.

Before giving a call, have as much information on hand as possible. Know that it usually requires more than a single call and could take a series of calls before you come to an agreement. Patience is key.

Talking to creditors and collection agencies is hard, but essential. For any debts that have gone to collection agencies or processes, you’ll need to contact the agency or entity directly to create an agreement on a payment plan. You’ll also want to be prepared to make an offer. At the end of the day, lenders want to have the debt cleared, so they may be open to accepting less than the original amount owed.

MAKE IT EASY TO PAY OFF YOUR DEBTS

While paying off debt requires a lot of effort, there are ways to make it “easier,” so to speak. Besides negotiating on the outstanding balance, a few things that could help you make payments on time:

SET UP AUTO-PAY

The fewer steps you have to take when paying off your debt, the easier it will be. Set up auto-pay on all your debts. That’ll ensure on-time payments. But be careful – auto-payments will happen automatically once they are set up – if you think you may have some momentary challenges, it may be better to keep manual control of this.

MAKE EXTRA PAYMENTS

Besides making more than the minimum payment each month, aim to make an extra payment each month. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, aim to make weekly payments. However, keep the long view in mind. Do not over-pay if you may need money for something else. It is better to stick to the plan even it you are impatient – success is more important than speed.

SEE IF YOU CAN MOVE THE PAYMENT DUE DATES

If you’re having problems paying on time, contact your lenders immediately to see if you can move the dates payments.

4.d.8 – Consider Debt Consolidation

There are several ways to consolidate your debts:

    • TRANSFER YOUR DEBTS TO A ZERO PERCENT TRANSFER CREDIT CARD – If you have strong credit, you might qualify for a credit card with a zero percent introductory interest rate. If that’s the case, it could help simplify payments and save you money on interest.
    • CONSOLIDATE DEBT BY TAKING OUT A NEW LOAN – Once again, if you have strong credit, it could potentially save you money on interest or make it easier for you to manage your debt. However, if you have poor credit, be prepared for high-interest rates. In that case, it may not be worth it.
    • CONSIDER REFINANCING – If you have strong credit and high-interest debts, refinancing your debt could help you lower your interest rate, have smaller monthly payments, and help you save money overall. Conversely, if you have poor credit you may not be able to get the best terms and rates. Before deciding, shop around and ask questions to make sure it is the right choice for you.

Know It Is An Emotional Journey

A lot of strong emotions come with having debt, especially for the victims of financial fraud.

For example, grief, denialDenial Denial is a refusal or unwillingness to accept something or to accept reality. Refusal to admit the truth or reality of something, refusal to acknowledge something unpleasant; And as a term of Psychology: denial is a defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality., shame, fear, stress, anxiety, and 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.. Some days your debt may feel like it is eclipsing joy and happiness in your life. And guess what? That’s perfectly normal.

It is helpful to know that when it comes to carrying debt, you’re certainly not alone.

By understanding that it is a process, a part of your scam recovery, and accepting the emotions that come with debt, you’ll be able to manage your payments, but your emotional and mental well-being as well.

Stay Motivated

Because paying off debt can be a long and arduous journey, you’ll need to tap into your arsenal of motivational tactics to stay on top of your plan.

That is what we are here to help you with – join one of our 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 our victims’ forum at www.ScamVictimSupport.org

However, you are going to be doing the heavy lifting. Do not expect anyone to save you, you have to make the effort and do the work.

Track Your Progress

Get creative and go beyond templates and spreadsheets. You can track your progress by way of a debt thermometer, or create a grid of squares, with each square representing $100. Each time you pay off $100, color in each square.

We also recommend that you add your debt management to your scam victims’ journal – log important milestones and temporary setbacks!

Celebrate Your Wins

It is important to celebrate minor victories along the way, no matter how small.

Treat yourself to something simple each time you have passed a checkpoint. And once you have made your last payment on an individual debt, do something special to commemorate the occasion (within reason, of course). After all the hard work and perseverance you have put into debt repayment, you certainly deserve it.

Bride 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. • A SCARS Guide

Men Are Frequently Lured Into Scams Where They Seek A Bride But End Up Losing Large Amounts Of Money!

This also affects the LGBTQ community too

Bride Scams

A bride scam is a form of romance scam or relationship scamRelationship 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? – a confidence trickConfidence trick 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. that aims to defraud potential grooms (partners) with the offer of a foreign bride.

The basis of the scam is to seek men (or a partner) from the western world (typically) who would like to marry a foreign woman (partner) and pretend to be willing to marry them. The women can be from almost anywhere, from Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, or Africa.

Throughout this article, we will refer to a man (the victim) and a woman (the scammer) – though they can be any gender.

The woman (scammer) asks the man (victim) to send money, for example, for the purposes of purchasing an airline ticket or a visa they have no intention of buying. The relationship ends after requested money has been sent and received, sometimes after multiple transfers have been made.

Some scammers actually live off of their victims for months or years.

This phenomenon increased in number with the rise of the internet with its online dating sites and online chats.

Etiology or Manifestation Of Bride Scams

In general, there are two basic types of Bride Scams:

  1. The Russian/Ukrainian style bride scams
  2. The Real Person bride scams

Russian Style Bride Scams

In the Russian (or Eastern European) style Bride Scams they are typically part of larger organized crime activities.

They involve the man (usually, though now can be gay women or any gender) search for a wife in Eastern Europe (or Asia or Latin America).

These can be found on marriage facilitation or dating websites. The women use their real photos and many times their real names in the creation of profiles that serve to initiate contact and lure the victim in.

Communications will start up fairly normally and the relationship will progress quickly. The goal is to get the man to come and visit the country where the woman lives or provide them with money until this can happen.

In order to do this, the woman will guide the man to various businesses that he “must” use because he does not know what works in that country. These include gift retailers, travel services, etc. Once the travel has been purchased through 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. GangGang A gang is normally a group or society of associated criminals with a defined leadership and internal organization that identifies with or claims control over a territory or business practice in a community and engages, either individually or collectively, in illegal, and possibly violent, behavior. Online gangs are not limited by territory and may operate side by side with other gangs while engaging in crime online. Some members of criminal gangs are initiated (by going through a process of initiation), or have to prove their loyalty and right to belong by committing certain acts, usually theft or violence, or rituals. Gangs are usually rougher and more visible than scammer cartels, and more often arrested. owned businesses, the victim will come to the country.

Upon arrival, the man stays in a designated hotel, eats at designated restaurants (all owned or controlled by the criminals). The time spent with the woman may include local travel as well (arranged by the criminals, such as a car rental.) Equally important is that it will probably include intimate contact with the woman in the hotel – where there maybe surveillance and recording.

The intimacy serves several purposes, and it depends on the wealth of the man (in many cases).

Here are examples of how these scams work:

  • Wealthy men may be tricked into a one-time sexual assault scam: where they are recorded and then accused of raping or assaulting the woman. The woman may threaten to call “family” or the “police” unless he pays – usually large amounts – from thousands to tens of thousands. The threat remains even after the man leaves the country, so these are rarely reported to legitimate police.
  • Men who do not have as much can be tricked into multiple visits – these may not include intimate encounters, but rather the constantly postponed promise of them, so they make many trips in the hope of progressing the relationship. Each time, spending all they have on the trip and local expenses. They can also convert into Maintenance Scams.
  • Financial support can also be a goal, where the victim supports the woman over an extended period of time while waiting on a Visa or documents that never seem to come or get done.

Real Person Bride Scams

There are two types of “REAL PERSON” bride scams:

  1. An actual person, who communicates with the scam victim – using their real name and details (photos, life details, etc.) – but simply omits that they are scamming.
  2. Stolen photo/identity 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. scam, where the scammers are pretending to be someone else to lure in the victim.

Actual Person Scams

The actual person scams are very common throughout Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia especially. Most notably the Philippines where women use this model to support themselves.

This is almost a form of prostitution, but understandable in high poverty regions.

They will introduce themselves, their lives, and even children – using them as a pawn in their scam. Most often, these women are actually married or have boyfriends that “pimp” them out to victims. If the victim comes to their country, almost any activity is possible, including sex, for the right amount of money. The victim will then return to their country and continue to support the scammer until the truth is discovered or the scammer “breaks up” with the victim when they think they are about to be discovered or the money runs out.

Stolen Photo/Identity Scams

The stolen photo/identity scams are very similar to the Nigerian-Style scams, except that there is an up-front focus on a potential marriage. Nigerian-Style scams develop over time into this, but these scams offer the promise of a marriage upfront through their various websites or matchmaking services.

Why They Work?

These scams work for a simple reason – distance and manipulation!

The scammers are always in a different country from the victim. In order to call out, or complain about a scammer it usually requires returning to the country to file a police report. Few victims are willing to do that, regardless of how hurt or angry they are.

Additionally, the scammers use various manipulative approaches to prevent the victims from following through with reporting. These include:

  • threats of violence if the victim ever returns
  • threats of arrest for being accused of a crime, such as sexual assault
  • threats of kidnapping
  • threats of the release of compromising photos or videos to friends or family

The threat of violence in these cases can be quite real.

In the Nigerian-style scams, the scammer is in Africa or wherever, but even though their organization may be large they do not go after victims. But with certain bride scams, they are run by very serious criminal organizations that do have “henchmen” around the world – the Russian, Chinese, Japanese, or Latin American mafias for example. With them, there is a real risk, and victims usually share everything about themselves during the “relationship” and make themselves highly vulnerable.

Law enforcement

The U.S. State Department often refers to bride scams as “Boris and Natasha” scams, when a lonely American believes he has found a beautiful woman to marry except Natasha ends up being a Boris.

Bride scams are a part of the rapidly growing criminal activity known as CybercrimeCybercrime Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks., which in 2007 and 2008 cost approximately US$8 billion worldwide. Today it is over USD$3 trillion per year and growing rapidly.

Currently, laws are unable to properly deal with the various forms of Cybercrime that are facing contemporary law enforcement agencies.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as Interpol, are currently working to establish working relationships with other global organizations to help combat this recent trend.

Most of the current legislation in the United States surrounding international marriage brokers (IMBs) or Mail-order brides began in 1990 and was superseded multiple times, most recently in the 2005 International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA). This legislation was focused on protecting the women involved – who are made vulnerable due to the multitude of circumstances surrounding their move to the United States.

Furthermore, some parts of the current legislation in the U.S. may hurt the ability of men to protect themselves against fraud. IMBRA stipulates that:

“IMBs may not disclose a recruit’s personal information to a U.S. client until the recruit has reviewed any records retrieved and has returned a signed document in her primary language (no exceptions) consenting to the release of her information.”

The premise of this law may be to protect the women from domestic violence and exploitation and it probably does, the law does not provide inquiring men with enough protection. Currently, the only laws available to protect the rights of the men being targeted by bride scams are those concerning Cybercrime.

The IMBRA did require the U.S. Attorney General to conduct a study on international marriage brokers, which sheds light on the women who use fraud to manipulate men with the promise of marriage before disappearing upon entry to the United States.

There are laws concerning computer fraud and they can be “separated into two categories: 1) crimes facilitated by a computer and 2) crimes where a computer or network is the target.”

Bride scam refers to the first category, “crimes facilitated by a computer,” and is punishable according to U.S. law. U.S code number 18 U.S.C. § 1030. refers to Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Computers, and explicitly states, “Whoever with intent to extort from any person any money or other thing of value…” is punishable by law.

Nations and Organizations of Interest

Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Central & Southeast Asia, Philippines, & Latin America is where many of the contemporary fraud experts claim the prospective brides come from, and many of the anti-scam sites look to combat this particular form of bride scam (though the reader should be cautious and rely on real organization sites only).

Many IMBs offer opportunities to marry women from impoverished regions all over the world including Russians, Asians, and Latinas.

With the lack of governmental involvement concerning bride scams, many unaffiliated (amateur) websites have started to provide people with the “How to” when it comes to avoiding being scammed. Most of these sites include a list of “known Russian scammers by name (photo, email, etc)” as well as any photos which are known to have been used by scammers in the past. Some people have even turned to private investigators to help them determine whether or not the woman they are courting actually exists.

Hiring an investigator is usually a waste of money. Trust your gut, if you feel something is not right then it is a scam. End it, blockBlock Blocking is a technical action usually on social media or messaging platforms that restricts or bans another profile from seeing or communicating with your profile. To block someone on social media, you can usually go to their profile and select it from a list of options - often labeled or identified with three dots ••• them, and move away!

The problem with all “documentation” or “exposure” efforts is that the sheer number of scammers makes the task almost impossible. If a search is done for a specific person that you believe is a scammer, and you do not find them – it DOES NOT mean they are real or are not a scammer. It only means the catalog is incomplete. The best estimate is that there are approximately 50 MILLION identities or profiles in use with these “real identity” scams and many billions with fake identity scams – no one has them cataloged.

How To Report These Crimes

Reporting is always important and it is your duty as a citizen or resident to report crimes, regardless of where you live.

The first thing to know is that you have to report locally first and always. This means that you file a criminal report for FRAUD (not a scam) – fraud is the word the police respond to.

Report this in this order:

  1. Local police – fraud report – insist that they take the report and give you a report number. That number is your proof, this can be important because you may have been involved in activities, such as money launderingMoney laundering Money laundering is the illegal process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally by passing it through a complex sequence of banking transfers or commercial transactions. Money laundering can be done through various mediums, leveraging a variety of payment vehicles, people and institutions. or breaking other laws in your country. By reporting voluntarily, you will typically be free from any concern. We always recommend that you speak with a criminal defense attorney first if you have any concerns.
  2. National Police (FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. & 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). Once you have the local police report number, file a report with your national police – this is usually done online now. See below for more information about this.
  3. If this was a cybercrime, contact your Cybercrime Police Unit. There are separate cybercrime police units almost everywhere now. Once you have done the local and national reporting, the cybercrime unit can assist, but they are not first responders and usually require prior reporting. They will guide you through their process.
  4. SCARS|CDN™ Cybercrime Data Network – we collect reports and distribute them to entities around the world. You can report on www.Anyscam.com

In almost all of these cases you will not get much – if any – justice.

You have done what needed to be done, and what comes next depends on the level of risk you are willing to incur. In most cases, we recommend accepting the reality of these crimes and move forward with your life. Continuing to focus on the crime will increase the trauma and either delay or prevent possible recovery.

But once you report, this information is stored and shared appropriately. Over time, people can migrate, and having that information on file (if a real person) could eventually lead to an arrest when crossing borders.

Additionally, you could take the risk and return to their country to file a criminal complaint. It is advisable to discuss this thoroughly and coordinate with your embassy in that country. They can advise you of the real risks and complexities of that process, and help you if you run into trouble there.

Summary

This is going to sound like capitulation, but the reality is that the scammer is not likely to be arrested immediately and your money is not likely to be recovered. This is the reality for almost all scam victims.

Scammers and cybercriminals are arrested in large numbers, but this is usually through the accumulation of large numbers of reports or through related criminal activities. In 2019 over 111,000 scammers were arrested worldwide – many were involved in marriage scams; in 2020, even with the pandemic, it was over 67,000 – so progress is being made, but we are a long way from universal law enforcement.

You will probably never hear back from law enforcement after you report and that is tragic, but it just is what it is. No one has the resources to follow up on the number of crimes reported, but your reports are vital in increasing resources to fight these crimes. Sadly, only about 3% of these crimes are reported, and police resources are allocated based upon that – who’s fault is that?

If a scammer is arrested, very few countries care about the victims, so you will probably never be notified even if the police there have your name as a victim. This is simply the reality today.

The goal is always to minimize the damage – your damage as a victim.

End the scam as early as possible and mitigate further damage by having no further contact AT ALL with the scammers. If they learn that you know, the scam will convert into something else – sometimes worse. Do not be a vigilante – they are professionals, you are not.

Read our Three Steps Guide for New Victims now!

This leaves you traumatized with no satisfaction in the end. This is a fact that you will have to accept if you want your life back.

We recommend that you join a real scam victims’ support groupSupport Group 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. – local trauma support groups exist everywhere – use them, or you can take advantage of the free SCARS support services, such as groups on Facebook or our support website at www.ScamVictimSupport.org

NEVER look to amateur anti-scam groups for support. You are traumatized and amateurs have no clue what they are doing, and this can lead to greater trauma and full PTSD.

We also recommend local counseling or therapy for your trauma. Many countries will offer trauma healthcare services at no cost to the victim. If you are looking for local trauma counselors please visit https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/trauma-and-ptsd or visit your country’s own mental healthcare website to find local help.

Do not let anger, denial, or pride get in your way from restoring your life! You can be your own worst enemy after a scam!

We hope you find this useful. Please let us know what you think in a comment below.

Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

U.S. FTC at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS and SCARS at www.Anyscams.com

TAGS: SCARS, Information About Scams, Anti-Scam, Scams, Scammers, Fraudsters, Cybercrime, Crybercriminals, Romance Scams, Scam Victims, Online Fraud, Online Crime Is Real Crime, Scam Avoidance, Trauma, Support, Bride Scams, Marriage Scams, Russian Scams, Ukrainian Scams, Eastern European Scams, Philippines Scams, Filipina Scam,

PLEASE SHARE OUR ARTICLES WITH YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY

HELP OTHERS STAY SAFE ONLINE – YOUR KNOWLEDGE CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE!
THE NEXT VICTIM MIGHT BE YOUR OWN FAMILY MEMBER OR BEST FRIEND!

SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
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
Contact Us: Contact@AgainstScams.org

The Issue Of Race In Scam Reporting
Click Here To Learn More!