Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

Coping with the Reality of Crime VictimizationVictimization Victimization (or victimization) is the process of being victimized or becoming a victim. The field that studies the process, rates, incidence, effects, and prevalence of victimization is called victimology.

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. 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

Anyone Can Become A Victim Of A Crime!

Being A Victim Of A Crime Can Be A Very Difficult And Stressful Experience!

If It Happens To You Or Someone You Love, Here Are Some Important Points To Remember:

While most people are naturally resilient and over time will find ways to cope and adjust, there can be a wide range of after-effects to a 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.. One person may experience many of the effects, a few, or none at all. Not everyone has the same reaction. In some people, the reaction may be delayed days, weeks, or even months. Some victims may think they are “going crazy,” when they are having a normal reaction to an abnormal event.

Getting back to normal can be a difficult process after a personal experience of this kind, especially for victims 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?. Learning to understand and feel more at ease with the intense feelings can help victims better cope with what happened.

Victims may need to seek help from friends, family, a member of the clergy, a counselor, or a victims’ assistance professional provider such as SCARS.

Potential Effects of Trauma

Some people who have been victims of crime may experience some of these symptoms. Seek medical advice if the symptoms persist.

Physical

Emotional

Mental

  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Chills or sweating
  • Lack of coordination
  • Heart palpitations or chest pains
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Stomach upset
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Startled responses
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Grief
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • 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.
  • Irritability
  • Numbness
  • Feeling lost, abandoned, and isolated
  • Wanting to withdraw or hide
  • Slowed thinking
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Memory problems
  • Intrusive memories or flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Difficulty in making decisions

Tips for Coping

These are some ideas that may help you cope with the trauma or loss:

  • Find someone to talk with about how you feel and what you are going through. Keep the phone number of a good friend nearby to call when you feel overwhelmed or feel panicked.
  • Join a qualified scam victims’ support group here.
  • Allow yourself to feel the pain. It will not last forever.
  • Keep a journal – you can use a journal of your choice or SCARS publishes a journal specifically designed for scam victims here.
  • Spend time with others, but make time to spend time alone.
  • Take care of your mind and body. Rest, sleep, and eat regular, healthy meals.
  • Re-establish a normal routine as soon as possible, but don’t over-do.
  • Make daily decisions, which will help to bring back a feeling of control over your life.
  • Exercise, though not excessively, and alternate with periods of relaxation.
  • Undertake daily tasks with care. Accidents are more likely to happen after severe stress.
  • Recall the things that helped you cope during trying times and loss in the past and think about the
    things that give you hope. Turn to them on bad days.

These are things to avoid:

  • Be careful about using alcohol or drugs to relieve emotional pain. Substance abuse not only postpones healing but also creates new problems.
  • Make daily decisions, but avoid making life-changing decisions in the immediate aftermath, since judgment may be temporarily impaired.
  • Don’t blameBlame Blame or Blaming is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong, their action is blameworthy. By contrast, when someone is morally responsible for doing something right, we may say that his or her action is praiseworthy. Blame imparts responsibility for an action or act, as in that they made a choice to perform that act or action. yourself—it wasn’t your fault.
  • Your emotions need to be expressed. Try not to bottle them up.

For some victims and families of victims, life is forever changed. Life may feel empty and hollow. Life doesn’t “mean” what it used to. Part of coping and adjusting is redefining the future. What seemed important before may not be important now. Many victims find new meaning in their lives as a result of their experience. It is important to remember that emotional pain is not endless and that it will eventually ease. It is impossible to undo what has happened but life can be good again in time.

For Family and Friends of a Victim of Crime

  • Listen carefully.
  • Spend time with the victim.
  • Offer your assistance, even if they haven’t asked for help.
  • Help with everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking, caring for the family, minding the children.
  • Give them private time.
  • Don’t take their anger or other feelings personally.
  • Don’t tell them they are “lucky it wasn’t worse”—traumatized people are not consoled by such statements.
  • Tell them that you are sorry such an event has occurred to them and you want to understand and help them.

Additional Resources:

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