Cognitions and Trauma – The Psychology of Scams

Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

Cognitions and 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. – The Psychology of ScamsPsychology Of Scams Psychology Of Scams is the study of the psychological or emotional effects of scams or financial fraud on victims of these crimes. It helps victims to better understand the impact of scams on them personally or on others. To find the SCARS articles on the Psychology of Scams, use the search option to enter the term and find them.

Traumatic experiences can affect and alter cognition for 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.

From the outset, trauma challenges the just-world or core life assumptions that help individuals navigate daily life. For example, it would be difficult to leave the house in the morning if you believed that the world was not safe, that all people are dangerous, or that life holds no promise. The belief that one’s efforts and intentions can protect oneself from bad things makes it less likely for an individual to perceive personal vulnerability. However, traumatic events—particularly if they are unexpected—can challenge such beliefs.

The following examples reflect some of the types of cognitive or thought-process changes that can occur in response to traumatic stress – such as from a romance scam.

COGNITIVE ERRORS:

Misinterpreting a current situation as dangerous because it resembles, even remotely, a previous trauma (e.g., overreacting to an overturned canoe in 8 inches of water, as if she and her paddle companion would drown, due to her previous experience of nearly drowning in a rip current 5 years earlier).

In the case of 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?, this can be overreacting to another’s concern because 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. was also very attentive. Or jumping to a conclusion and calling other scammers because of an emotional reaction.

EXCESSIVE OR INAPPROPRIATE GUILT:

Attempting to make sense cognitively and gain control over a traumatic experience by assuming responsibility or possessing survivorSurvivor A Scam Survivor is a victim who has been able to fully accept the reality of their situation. That they were the victim of a crime and are not to blame. They are working on their emotional recovery and reduction of any trauma either on their own, through a qualified support organization, or through counseling or therapy. And has done their duty and reported the crime to their local police, national police, and on Anyscam.com’s guilt, because others who experienced the same trauma did not survive it.

Guilt can also come from not being as badly harmed in a lasting 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? – meaning not as financially damaged as others. Or the case where the victim feels that they have been much more traumatized than others.

IDEALIZATIONIdealization Demonstrating inaccurate rationalizations, idealizations, or justifications of the perpetrator’s behavior, particularly if the perpetrator is or was a caregiver. Other similar reactions mirror idealization; traumatic bonding is an emotional attachment that develops (in part to secure survival) between perpetrators who engage in interpersonal trauma and their victims, and Stockholm syndrome involves compassion and loyalty toward hostage-takers.:

Demonstrating inaccurate rationalizations, idealizations, or justifications of the perpetrator’s 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., particularly if the perpetrator is or was a caregiver. Other similar reactions mirror idealization; traumatic bonding is an emotional attachment that develops (in part to secure survival) between perpetrators who engage in interpersonal trauma and their victims, and Stockholm syndromeSyndrome It is a group of symptoms that can consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms. involves compassion and loyalty toward hostage-takers.

This manifests in scam victims because they developed an emotional relationship with the scammer. Many victims express 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. and hate towards the scammer in conversation with others but still have a lingering affection for the scammer long after the scam ends.

TRAUMA-INDUCED HALLUCINATIONS OR DELUSIONS:

Experiencing hallucinations and delusions that, although they are biological in origin, contain cognitions that are congruent with trauma content (e.g., a woman believes that a person stepping onto her bus is her father, who had sexually abused her repeatedly as a child because he wore shoes similar to those her father once wore).

This actually happens to scam victims too, where they see a person that looks similar to the stolen face impersonated by the scammer. This can resolve in feelings of longing or the opposite of fear or terror. Some victims report “hearing” words said by the scammer after the scam ends.

It is very common for traumatized scam victims to feel a manic need to act against 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.. It becomes a compulsion. They create amateur anti-scam groups and focus themselves and others on the hate for scammers. All the while increasing their own trauma without being aware.

INTRUSIVE THOUGHTSIntrusive thoughts Intrusive thoughts can, without warning or desire, thoughts and memories associated with the trauma. These intrusive thoughts and memories can easily trigger strong emotional and behavioral reactions as if the trauma was recurring in the present. The intrusive thoughts and memories can come rapidly, referred to as flooding, and can be disruptive at the time of their occurrence. AND MEMORIES:

Experiencing, without warning or desire, thoughts, and memories associated with the trauma.

These intrusive thoughts and memories can easily triggerTRIGGERS A trigger is a stimulus that sets off a memory of a trauma or a specific portion of a traumatic experience. strong emotional and behavioral reactions as if the trauma was recurring in the present. The intrusive thoughts and memories can come rapidly, referred to as flooding, and can be disruptive at the time of their occurrence. If an individual experiences a trigger, he or she may have an increase in intrusive thoughts and memories for a while.

For instance, individuals who inadvertently are retraumatized due to participation in anti-scam activities may have a surge of intrusive thoughts of the past trauma, thus making it difficult for them to discern what is happening now versus what happened then.

Whenever 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 support focuses on trauma, it is likely that the client will experience some intrusive thoughts and memories too. It is important to develop coping strategies before, as much as possible, and during the delivery of trauma-informedTrauma-Informed Trauma-informed care shifts the focus from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” A trauma-informed approach to care acknowledges that health care needs to have a complete picture of a patient’s life situation — past and present — in order to provide effective care services with a healing orientation. Adopting trauma-informed practices can potentially improve patient engagement, treatment adherence, and health outcomes. support and trauma-specific treatment.

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. RECOMMENDS LOCAL TRAUMA COUNSELING FRO ALL RELATIONSHIP SCAM VICTIMS:

Regardless of your self-awareness, or perceived state, trauma is a ticking timebomb. A scam victim may think they are just fine, but months or years later it will have a significant impact on your emotional health and future relationship.

The failure of a scam victim to get counseling is not a sign of strength but of 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.. Trauma counseling is not hard to find, though most counselors are not fully aware of this type of crime.

However, if they are a certified trauma counselor then they can focus on the impact and ignore the scam details – since those are not as important as the damage it caused. In fact, a victim that insists on talking about the details of a scam, such as the scammer’s dialog, the promises, or negligence is exhibiting typical signs of trauma that should be addressed through counseling. Inappropriate focus is a clear sign of trauma and the need for real care.

DISCLAIMER

Remember that SCARS is a professional crime victims’ assistance organization relying on our team’s 30 years of experience, and our experience with over 5 million scam victims. To learn more about what SCARS is and who are its leadership visit www.AgainstScams.org

We are not a mental healthMental health Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". According to WHO, mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others". From the perspectives of positive psychology or of holism, mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how one defines "mental health". care provider. We do not provide counseling or therapy. We refer you to certified trauma counselors or therapists for that.
We are not responsible for your failure to seek appropriate care.

The information that we present about the psychology of scams, trauma, and all factors associated with your emotional health are for “entertainment” purposes only (the lawyers say we have to say that).

We cannot fix you, only you can do that. We are just here as a guide to a path for recovery.

 

TAGS: SCARS, Trauma, Cognition & Trauma, Psychology of Scams, Understanding Scam Trauma, Recovery from Scams, Information About Scams, Anti-Scam, Scams, Scammers, Fraudsters, Cybercrime, Crybercriminals, Romance Scams, Scam Victims,

SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

SCARS™ 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.
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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:

  1. Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
  2. U.S. State Police (if you live in the U.S.) – they will take the matter more seriously and provide you with more help than local police
  3. Your National Police or 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. « www.IC3.gov »
  4. The SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network – Worldwide Reporting Network 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
on « www.Anyscam.com »

 

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