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A SCARS|RSN™ Guest Editorial By Jacie Corbett
The following is a Guest Editorial by Jackie Corbett – a leading Anti-Scam Victims Advocate, SCARS Board Member, and Scam Survivor. Jackie plays a leading role in directly helping scam victims to recover, and is both an Advisor and Board Member of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Few victims have any idea what it is like to support scam victims. It takes a terrible toll on our volunteers and staff – it is something called Vicarious Trauma. SCARS provides training for our teams in this but it still takes its toll on all of us. There is a high burn out rate for professionals that care for victims of crime. The only ones that do not suffer from it are already mentally ill. All victims’ assistance professionals find their own path to continue to help others, but it is hard and few appreciate just how hard it can be.]
Burning The Midnight Oil
The Saga Of A Scam Victims’ Assistance Professional
I wake up, roll over and look at my clock its 8.54am and I am feeling so tired.
I go into the bathroom wash my face and dare to look in the mirror and staring back at me are two puffy eyes with dark shadows underneath them – I make a mental note to try and get to bed earlier tonight.
On automatic pilot, I walk into the kitchen press the switch down on the kettle and wait for the water to come to the boil.
I am impossible to talk to in the morning until I have had my first cup of coffee.
While I am waiting for the water to boil, I am thinking about my last conversation on Facebook. It was around 3:00 am. Where is that woman with the two children now? Did she find somewhere to stay? Did she have to sleep on the street? Will she do something drastic to herself and her children? All these things are whirling around in my head, a bit like the water in the kettle.
As soon as I make my coffee, I sit at the kitchen table and go online.
I go to my messages and check to see if she contacted me again. I find no message from her and I am compelled to message her in the hope that she is able to get online to speak to me.
The usual signs of indigestion are already here today, I get this when I am a little stressed, and I know they won’t go away until I have spoken to this woman.
This lady is on the severe scale of a romance scam. She lives in an Asian country and fell in love with someone online. She sent him money every month, she borrowed money from her friends and lied about the reasons for wanting it. Her future ‘husband’ promised to repay her as soon as he came to marry her.
Now she realized she was scammed and her landlord has thrown her and her two children out on the streets because she sent her scammer her rent money for the last two months.
Message sent now – all I can do it wait. Then I remember I have a dentist appointment and make a mental note to take my mobile phone with me in case she returns my message.
On the other end of the spectrum, I get victims in my inbox that bring the negative side out in me – I am no angel either and I can get irritated with victims (I am only human after all).
- “How do you know he is a scammer?”
- “Can you send me proof?”
- “I don’t believe you?”
- “Do you know him?”
- “Are you his girlfriend?”
- “You must be a scammer too.”
- “I need you to tell me who the real person is I am in love with him.”
- “You are stupid – go to hell!”
- “I have just been speaking to another anti-scam group and they told me he was not a scammer.”
- “I am talking to someone called ‘Joe Blogg’ is he a scammer?”
- and on and on and on
I remember sitting in my hospital bed on my mobile phone telling a victim in a message that I would get back to them because I was sick, or give them a name of someone else to talk to. This victim said: “well you are online, so you can’t be that sick, and I need to ask you some questions.”
Don’t get me wrong, it has a positive side – it’s such a rewarding thing – this to do when you try to help victims. You understand they are in shock, they have all sorts of frightening emotions going around in their head, shame, guilt, fear, some want to kill themselves – all they want is for you to allay all their fears in that moment. They are so thankful that they can speak to someone without fear of being judged.
It’s not my place to judge anyone that’s not why I do this.
We all do things to get something in return – it’s human nature, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. I do it because I care about the people scammers have duped, and I know that in some small way I am able to make a difference in that moment that matters.
The return I get is when they calm down enough to at least think rationally. Or when they threaten suicide but thank God they message me a few hours later. I know that my day was not completely wasted. It makes me feel useful – life is precious and if I can make a difference it’s a good feeling. and even better, I can pass them onto a support group with like-minded people (where I am also a member) who help each other recover so I can see their recovery. It’s kinda like a journey you follow through from A to Z.
The main things I would tell someone who has been scammed are – you are not stupid or any other negative words you use as a stick to beat yourself up with. Find the courage to tell the truth about how you feel. Beating yourself up is a habit hard wired into your brain – the good news is it’s a habit and habits can be changed. Never give up – fight – claw your way out if you have to! Become a Survivor – not a victim. What people think of you is their business, not yours. When life gets hard this too shall pass.
On a lighter note about my lack of sleep as you can see I am an older gal and a friend once told me when she was not sleeping “what the hell I’ve got an eternity to sleep!” That’s my mantra.
Feel free to leave a comment for Jackie Corbet or SCARS|RSN in the comments below!
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TAGS: Jackie Corbett, Losing Sleep, Beating Yourself Up, Fear, Denial, Rage, Hate, Recovery Group, Recover, Romance Scams, Scam Victims, Victims’ Assistance, Professional, Fight, Suicide, Day In The Life, Saga,
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FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?
It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.
Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:
- Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- Your National Police or FBI (www.IC3.gov)
- The SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network – Worldwide Reporting Network HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.
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To learn more about SCARS visit www.AgainstScams.org
Please be sure to report all scammers HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
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