It Is Important For Scam Victims To Depersonalize How They Refer To The Scammer Verbally And In Their Own Thoughts
Depersonalization of the scammer helps victims separate the crime from the emotional experience and learn to recover from it.
We all know that the scammer is a criminal who use deception and manipulation to steal money and other valuables from their victims. They are often very good at what they do and can convince even the most intelligent and savvy people to fall for their scams.
When someone is scammed, it can be a very traumatic experience. They may feel ashamed, embarrassed, and betrayed. They may also feel angry and frustrated. It is important for scam victims to understand that they are not alone and that there are resources available to help them.
Depersonalize the Scammer
One important step in the healing process for scam victims is to depersonalize the scammers.
This means to stop thinking about them as individuals with names, faces, and personalities, and to start thinking about them as a group of criminals who are motivated by greed. This means to stop thinking of them as a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ but rather just ‘they’ – learn more about that here.
Depersonalizing scammers has several important benefits:
- It can help victims to avoid blaming themselves. Scammers are very good at making their victims feel like they are stupid or gullible for falling for the scam. However, the truth is that they are neither stupid nor gullible and that anyone can be scammed, regardless of their intelligence or education level. Depersonalizing scammers can help victims see that they were not personally responsible for the scam and that they were simply the victims of a crime.
- It can help victims to avoid emotional attachment. When we think about people in terms of their names, faces, and personalities, it can be difficult to be objective about them. This can make it difficult to see the scam for what it is: a crime of opportunity. Depersonalizing scammers can help victims to be more objective and to make better decisions about how to move forward.
In addition to these benefits, depersonalizing scammers can also help to:
- Reduce the stigma associated with being a victim of fraud. Many people feel ashamed or embarrassed about being scammed. Depersonalizing the scammer can help to reduce this stigma by making it clear that anyone can be a victim of fraud, regardless of their intelligence or education level.
- Raise awareness of scams. When people talk about scams in terms of general categories, such as “tech support scams” or “romance scams,” it can help to raise awareness of these scams and make it more difficult for scammers to succeed.
- Help law enforcement to track down scammers. When law enforcement agencies have information about the types of scams that are being perpetrated and the methods that scammers are using, it can help them track down scammers and recover the victim’s money.
Depersonalization is an Important Step
Overall, the depersonalization of scammers is an important step in helping victims to heal and in preventing others from falling victim to scams.
Here are some tips for depersonalizing scammers:
- Use general terms, such as ‘criminal.’ Avoid using their name or other identifying information. Especially avoid calling them descriptive names.
- Think of them as a group, rather than as individuals. This can help you to see that they are not targeting you specifically, but that they are targeting anyone who is vulnerable. These criminals also work in groups or gangs, and most victims interact with many different criminals over the course of the crime.
- Focus on their actions, rather than their motives. It is important to remember that scammers are criminals who are motivated by greed. They do not care about you or your feelings. Never try to figure out or understand why they do anything, just understand that they victimized you.
After the Scam
If you have been scammed, please know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you, including SCARS support groups and counseling or therapy. Please reach out for professional competent help.
Here are some additional tips for healing from being scammed:
- Allow yourself to feel your emotions. It is normal to feel a range of emotions after being scammed, such as anger, sadness, and shame. Allow yourself to feel these emotions, but do not dwell on them. Get professional help immediately.
- Talk to someone you trust about what happened. Talking to a friend, family member, support provider, therapist, or other trusted person can help you to process your emotions and start to heal. However, be careful with other victims initially as they have their own journeys to take and it may not be helpful for you.
- Learn about scams. The more you know about scams, the better equipped you will be to protect yourself from falling victim to one in the future. You are already on the number one resource available about the topic of scams and scammers.
Depersonalizing the Scammer Helps with Trauma & Grief
Depersonalizing the scammer can help scam victims to deal with trauma and grief in a number of ways.
- First, it can help them to reduce the sense of shame and guilt that they may feel. Scammers are very good at making their victims feel like they are to blame or responsible for falling for the scam. Depersonalizing the scammer can help victims to see that they were not personally responsible for the scam, and that they were simply the victim of a crime.
- Second, it can help them to process their emotions more effectively. When we think about people in terms of their names, faces, and personalities, it can be difficult to be objective about them. This can make it difficult to see the scam for what it is: a crime of opportunity. Depersonalizing the scammer can help victims to be more objective and to make better decisions about how to move forward.
- Third, it can help them to protect themselves from further harm. Scammers are often very good at building relationships with their victims. They may use flattery, sympathy, or other tactics to gain the victim’s trust. Once the victim trusts the scammer, they are more likely to fall for future scams or to give the scammer more personal information. Depersonalizing the scammer can help the victim to see the scammer for who they are: criminals who are only interested in taking advantage of others.
- Finally, it can help them to heal from the experience. When we have a name or a face to associate with a negative experience, it can make it more difficult for us to process that experience and move forward from it. Depersonalizing the scammer can help the victim to distance themselves from the experience and to begin to heal.
Here is an example of how depersonalizing the scammer can help a victim to heal from trauma:
A woman named Sarah was scammed out of $10,000 by a romance scammer. Sarah was very upset and ashamed about being scammed. She felt like she had been stupid for falling for the scam, and she was worried about what her friends and family would think.
Sarah started seeing a therapist to help her cope with the trauma of being scammed. The therapist suggested that Sarah try to depersonalize the scammer. Sarah started to think about the scammer as a criminal, rather than as a person. She also started to focus on the scammer’s actions, rather than their motives.
Over time, Sarah started to feel better. She realized that she was not alone, and that many people fall victim to scams. She also realized that she was not personally responsible for the scam. Sarah was able to start moving on with her life.