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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.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.: Desensitizing

For Most Victims After The 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 A Very Traumatic Period

NOTE: The following is not intended as a treatment or therapy guide but as a discussion of the subject matter. All decisions about 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". treatments or therapies should be made by patients in consultation with a licensed mental help professional.

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. from the scam, romance scam specifically, will be very traumatic for an extended period of time. In some cases as much as two years, and for others as little as a few months.

DESENSITIZATION

de·sen·si·tize
/dēˈsensəˌtīz/
verb

  • make less sensitive. “creams to desensitize the skin at the site of the injection”
  • make (someone) less likely to feel shock or distress at scenes of cruelty, violence, or suffering by overexposure to such images.
  • free (someone) from a phobiaPhobia Phobias are one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. The National Institute of Mental Health suggests that 8% of U.S. adults have some type of phobia. Women are more likely to experience phobias than men. Typical symptoms of phobias can include nausea, trembling, rapid heartbeat, feelings of unreality, and being preoccupied with the fear object. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) identifies three different categories of phobias: social phobias, agoraphobia, and specific phobias.1 When people talk about having a phobia of a specific object such as snakes, spiders, or needles, they are referring to a specific phobia. or neurosis by gradually exposing the person to the thing that is feared.

However, one of the most useful tools (based upon literature relating to other forms of trauma, and our own experience in helping thousands of scam victims) is a process called Desensitization.

Most romance scam victims do not fully understand the trauma that they have experienced. Few take the time to pragmatically approach the subject to give themselves a sufficient understanding that they can then use to help guide their recovery. The majority of romance scam victims remain in partial 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. or succumb to 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. or similar syndromesSyndrome It is a group of symptoms that can consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms. or disorders (such as Victims’ Disorder »). However, as many as 30% are realists and desire to recover and it for these that we prepare our information.

One possible key for many is to apply treatment and prevention options for PTSD » sufferers – such as Desensitization.

The word is usually used in a negative context, but PTSD implies a reworking of the brain’s fear networks: an inability to extinguish fear memories and an aberrant association between neutral experiences—triggersTRIGGERS A trigger is a stimulus that sets off a memory of a trauma or a specific portion of a traumatic experience.—and traumatic recall. With PTSD, desensitization is often exactly what is needed to help control and overcome the trauma.

Many of the PTSD treatments with the strongest evidence base target this process. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) », for example, pairs a patient’s recounting of a traumatic memory with steady side-to-side eye movements guided by the therapist. While it’s a bit unclear (biologically speaking) why the treatment works, the protocol can often render the traumatic memory neutral. Variants of cognitive behavioral therapy like cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure seek similar goals: By recounting traumatic experiences again and again, it seems that patients can fully process the memories, shifting them from the traumatic to the banal. If we imagine that these therapies are targeting similar neural circuits and processes as those affected by antidepressants—to be sure, a contentious claim—it’s also possible to conceptualize antidepressants as accomplishing the same goal of memory reprocessing.

For More About PTSD and Scams – Click Here »

For military veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder is a tragic realization of a threat that’s always there. For the rest of the population – experiences like sexual violence, car accidents, and romance 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. are perhaps less predictable but just as traumatic. Many mental health professionals are trying to adapt combat-focused tools like Virtual Combat to the civilian sphere. Treatment for all patients will mean bringing the military and civilian worlds a little closer together.

But what can a scam victim learn from this that can be applied every day in helping their recovery move forward?

In our own SCARS 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. we focus on several critical elements that serve to help victims desensitize their memories of their scam experience. Each of these is something that the victim themselves can do to help overcome their trauma.

Desensitization Exercise One: Reporting The Crime

While it might seem that having to face a police officer would be more traumatic, and indeed it can be very difficult, that actual act of telling an interested stranger about the experience is cathartic and is a release. Just the act of getting it out in the open can be a tremendous release. Additionally, having made the report is a significant step in asserting your own control over your life – that is one of the things that you fear is holding back and continuing to prevent recovery. Reporting to online sources is certainly easier, it has far less benefit immediately, but it should be done also.

Desensitization Exercise Two: Journaling

There are various types of journaling that you can do and is based on your personal preference.

Journaling may include a “drawing journal” for those who prefer not to write, and a picture is worth a thousand words.  After all, storytelling predates writing, with the earliest forms of storytelling being oral or combined with gestures and expressions.  Cave drawings told stories of hunting and survival.  In psychology, storytelling is an integral part of making sense of our lives (McFeature, 2009).

Journaling, or keeping a regular record of experiences and feelings, especially as they relate to your recovery, can be a helpful tool to advance your healing process and help you desensitize your painful memories. For example, a journal can be used to record your recovery-related struggles and accomplishments or to identify – and work through – difficult emotions. It also helps to hold you accountable for your decisions and actions and helps you invest in your own self-discovery.

For more about Journaling – Click Here »

Desensitization Exercise Three: Repetitive Story Telling

When participating in our Support Groups we encourage each victim to recount their experience. It can be done in writing as a story, it can be done verbally as a selfie video or just an audio recording on your phone. Our own experience is that with each retelling the pain and power of the scam experience become less. There are any number of other 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. members who can confirm this – just ask them.

Human memory has a strange quality as well, it tends to amplify the negative qualities unless you work to remove them through retelling. Why do mentally healthy soldiers retell their stories (especially among themselves)? It weakens the pain of those memories and allows them to accentuation of the more positive elements in them. Telling your story over and over may seem boring but it is your most powerful tool in destroying the power that the scam and 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. may still have over you.

What We Do Not Recommend

For most victims, we have found that constant exposure to scammer or stolen photos actually enhances the trauma. Most of the time it serves no real purpose and online increases a sense of hopelessness. There are vastly more fake identities than are being removed, and constant viewing is (in our opinion) unhealthy and slows recovery.

Practical Experience

We have found that the more you engage in desensitizing exercises the faster the pain will subside. Couple that with learning and reading all that you can on the mechanics of the process will help you develop a healthy outlook on what happened but also on where you are going. One of the hardest burdens to bare is often the financial impact, yet through desensitizing you can convert that nameless dread into a manageable process that may be difficult but far less painless than it would have been otherwise.

We care what happens to you, and remember that we are here to support you. But also remember that some people need more than what we can provide and in those cases we urge you to get professional help!

We have had so many individuals successfully recover from romance scams. If you make the effort you can get through this also!

If you are interested in joining one of our worldwide scam victims’ support groups just let us know.

We wish you all the best!

SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

 
SCARS™ Team

A SCARS Division
Miami Florida U.S.A.

 

TAGS: Desensitize, Desensitization, Mental Health, Therapy, Victims’ Support, Scam Victims, Scam Trauma, PTSD, Romance Scam, Journaling, Story Telling, Reporting,


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More Information From RomanceScamsNow.com


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Tell us about your experiences with Romance Scammers in our Scams Discussion Forum on Facebook »


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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. 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 »)
  3. 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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Visit our NEW Main SCARS Facebook page for much more information about scams and online crime: www.facebook.com/SCARS.News.And.Information »

 

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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