(Last Updated On: March 24, 2022)

Diversions – A 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.’s Manipulative Technique

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.

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

Scammer Diversions – Dodging The Bullet!

A Diversion is a technique that telemarketers use to control the potential customer on the phone, steering them toward the desired outcome

In the case of scammers, it is one way to maintain control over a victim.

Scammers use simple techniques to avoid having to remember very much about a victim and also to divert them from uncomfortable or problem topics.

Diversions also help control the victims and get them to project their biases (beliefs) onto the scammer, instead of seeing what is really there!

Diversions Include:

  • Sending poetry (stolen of course)
  • Telling stories (made up of course)
  • Sending the victim music (that the victim can listen to and emote about the relationship)
  • Asking questions: about what the victim eats, what the victim did, how was the victim’s day, how the victim feels, and about the victim and their family and friends
  • Talking about future plans
  • Talking about their invested family members
  • Talking about their emergency
  • Talking about their business opportunities
  • Tanking about the victim’s businesses and wealth
  • Talking about the victim’s children and pets

While these are all things that would happen in a normal relationship to help each partner to learn about the other – in a romance 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. relationship it is all about keeping the victim talking so the scammers do not have to. The more the victim talks, the more the victim projects their emotions onto the fake relationship. The more the victim talks, the less the scammer has to talk about themselves (their fake identity) – and the less chance there is for the victim to discover inconsistencies!

Diversions keep victims focused on the fake and emotions running full-speed ahead! This also keeps victims flooded with hormones that sustain the addiction and dependency.

Diversionary Tactics or Techniques

Learning about these will also help you understand how high-pressure salespeople work too! – and how to not get derailed

Diversionary techniques are just what they sound like: techniques used to try to derail and silence an argument or conversational topic rather than address it. This can happen in all contexts but is especially common in conversations with scammers or fraudsters.

Many of these are direct forms of GaslightingGaslighting Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group creates the seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment. It may evoke changes in them such as cognitive dissonance or low self-esteem, rendering the victim additionally dependent on the gaslighter for emotional support and validation. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and disinformation, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's beliefs. Once in this state the criminal can then more easily control the victim for their own purposes. Instances can range from the denial by a scammer that a scam has occurred, to belittling the victim's emotions and feelings, to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The goal of gaslighting is to gradually undermine the victim's confidence in their own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from delusion, thereby rendering the individual or group pathologically dependent on the gaslighter for their thinking and feelings. manipulation! Learn more about Gaslighting here

Concern Faking

“Concern trolls” are well known online, but they exist offline and in the world of 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. too. This fake concern is the same, regardless of the medium of communication. Any response that begins with “Perhaps you should spend less time on _________ and more time on _________” should set off an alert bell. Scammers do this too! They try to control the victim’s actions from afar, because if they can get the victim to follow directions then everything else in the scam is easier and more predictable for them.

For example (fill in the blank), “Maybe you should spend less time worrying about _________ and more time worrying about _________.” The key here is that they do not address the victim’s points, they immediately divert to another topic. Often the scammer using this kind of diversion doesn’t really give the other issue that they claim is more important any real weight either, they just don’t want to listen to what the victim has to say, and they want to belittle the victim’s points or concerns. This is a form of Gaslighting.


Rather than focusing on the victim’s argument, and acknowledging or discussing the relevant points, the scammer will intentionally use demeaning language to gently and patronizingly suggest the victim is cute but dumb, nice but uneducated, that the victim is not knowledgeable or sophisticated in the way things are really done. This is especially common in fake soldier scams – because how could the victim know how the military works?  and so on. Attempting to demean a person instead of addressing their argument is a common scammer diversion. It often feels insulting, or like a patronizing pat on the head. Once again, Gaslighting!

Draw Attention To The Victim – Creating ShameShame Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self; withdrawal motivations; and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness.

This diversion often occurs when the victim is speaking out about a difficult or personal issue that has affected the victim and others. This scammer diverts the discussion by attempting to shame the victim, suggesting the victim deserved whatever happened to them but in a fake sympathetic way.

Let’s say the victim speaks about the victim’s experience of some past relationship problems: the scammer”s response might sound something like: “No wonder. Just look at you, you ugly/fat/skinny cow/slut/etc.” the scammer doesn’t like the victim speaking up, so they try to belittle the victim’s appearance, size, weight, alleged sexual history, and so on. In part, this will actually enhance the victim’s dependence on the scammer since their self-esteem begins to be linked to what the scammer expresses to the victim. In other words, the intent is to convince the victim that they have limited value, but the scammer loves them, so do what the scammer asks.

But What About …

Say the victim presents information on a topic about the victim’s community or country – especially if the scammer claims to be from the same place. One diversionary response is: “Yes, But … You think things are bad (or good) here? What about in this country?” This tactic is frequently used to divert discussions about issues and shift the focus on things that scammer actually knows well. This is not only a diversionary tactic but is an opportunity for the scammer to speak authoritatively on a subject – which they never can with the fake identity.

The basic argument is that nothing the victim experiences matters because things are worse (or better) elsewhere. It’s always worse (or better) somewhere else.

It aims to shut down an uncomfortable topic by pointing the spotlight elsewhere, to another country or culture, or even to a former time when things were harder or better. This does nothing to solve the issue at hand, and serves only to push away any sense of there being a real and immediate issue. It also starts the process of imposing guilt and shame in the victim that can be used to leverage the victim sending money – because it is so much worse there! One again, another Gaslighting technique.

The Classic Diversion

This is a classic diversion, in which the scammer attempts to change the subject immediately – it doesn’t really matter what the victim has to say. For example, let”s say the victim begins to talk about the scammer’s family, job, whatever – that actually the fake identity should know well and be willing to talk about. The scammer”s diversionary response is to change the subject to some other topic, such as a place that the victim is less likely to know. It’s not that this question is unreasonable, but the question could expose the scammer’s ignorance about the topic or risk the scammer forgetting something about their back story. So the scammer demands immediate discussion of a different topic, which is what makes it a classic diversion.

The Need To Do It Now

Scammers all want one thing: obedience from their victims. They want money or for the victims to do something for them. The do-it-now diversion is about creating a sense of urgency so that the victim will not think too much about what they are doing because it has to be done now!

This is a part of the whole emergency aspect of most scams, and it works very well.

If The Victim Can’t Do It

Scammers want the victim to send money, but sometimes, the victim needs to ask others for it, take out a loan, or obtain it in some other way. The are  a million ways that this can be delayed or go wrong. But when the victim tries to tell the scammer how hard it is, the diversionary response is: “If you really cared about me you would do this!” or variations of that. This argument boils down to: “If you can”t do everything, you don”t care about me.”  Again, this is about guilt and 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., techniques that often work to force a victim over hurdles and that would normally cause them to doubt.

Don’t You Trust Me

In any scam, most victims have moments of doubt. The victim may ask the scammers about the small details of something that seems fishy to them or does not make sense. Of course, the scammer cannot realistically address these concerns factually, so the usual diversionary response is usually to first quote some obscure reason, such as: “There are laws, rules, regulations, that I have to follow. But maybe you know more about this than I do?” Then the typical follow-up after something like that is “Don’t you trust me?”

If the victim “challenges” the scammer to explain something that is well known, but the scammer doesn’t have their story straight or detailed enough, they will create a diversion.

How Dare You!

Like many classic diversions, this one is intended to completely shut down debate. The victim has some concerns about something the scammer has said, such as why they are in jail or need money to get their treasure sent to the victim. The diversionary response might be something like: “You think you know better than the government?” or “Laws are laws for a reason.” The person has not addressed the victim’s points, whatever those are. Basically, the scammer is saying: “How dare you question me!”

This kind of response might also triggerTRIGGERS A trigger is a stimulus that sets off a memory of a trauma or a specific portion of a traumatic experience. accusations of “Shame on you” for bringing up a particular subject. It’s a lot of “Who do you think you are?” because apparently having opinions is for other people, not for the victim.

Diversion 10: The Old Switcheroo

This is an aggressive style of diversion that often aims to both silence and insult. Whatever point the victim has brought up regarding a particular problem, the scammer will suggest or strongly claim that the victim is an example of precisely that problem, but the thing the victim pointed out is not. Mention an instance of sexism and this person will instantly accuse the victim of being sexist. Raise the issue of racism, and they will call the victim racist. Highlight some example of bullying and the victim are “the real bully”. This is pure gaslighting! Black is white, up is down, and nowhere does this actually make sense.

Plainly, the act of pointing out, and focusing on any real issue may or will trigger the scammer to respond using diversions and gaslighting. Responding with a claim that it not only suggests a lack of logic and a deep misunderstanding of reality by the victim but also reveals the scammer’s desire to shut down any conversation about those issues.


Diversions are a part of the Gaslighting Took Kit that scammers, domestic abusers, and tyrants use to control others! These are but a few examples, there are countless more. But this will help you understand the topic and apply this to things that you were told by your sammers. Hopefully, this will also help you avoid manipulators in the future as well.

Any time you encounter such tactics used repeatedly indicates that the other person has truth issues. Do not think about it, just run away!

What diversions – now that you think about it – did your scammer use on you?

SCARS Printed Books For Every Scam 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 From SCARS Publishing

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Self-Help Self-Paced Recovery Program Guide


This program is designed to help scam victims struggling to recover on their own and for those who want to understand the overall process. You can be using other resources, such as 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. 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 therapy, qualified 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., or completely independent – on your own!

The SCARS Steps program is a complete program and is provided for the purpose of helping scam victims to overcome this experience. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues and challenges that a victim may have and help guide them through their recovery. But each person is different and it is important to understand your own reasons for being vulnerable to being scammed.

After the trauma of being scammed, you need to take steps to recover and move on. This may be an alternative to counseling in the short term, but we still encourage you to seek out professional help & support. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues, challenges, defects, or problems that a victim may have in a generalized way.

The SCARS GREEN BOOK will help you recover from your scam offline and it will always be there when you need it!

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SCARS SLATE BOOK – Let Us Explain What Happened!

A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims


This SCARS Publishing book represents a complete guide to help the families and friends understand how these scams work and how to help the victim.

The SCARS Slate Book should be purchased by family and friends to better understand what happened to the victim and the traumatic impact on them. But it can also be shared by the victim so that they do not have to explain to family and friends about the scam. This publication is to help others to help Scam Victims to make it through this traumatic experience and recover.

Each person is different and it is important to understand how 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? work and why people are vulnerable; to being scammed, how they were lured in, then groomed and manipulated. This understanding is essential in helping them through the process of ending the scam and then on to recovery. The SCARS Slate Book will provide the information necessary to help support a victim through this process.

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Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer


Helps you get and stay organized. This publication is to help Scam Victims organize their crime information. Complete this information before reporting to the police then bring this book with you

Before or after reporting to the police the RED BOOK gives you a dedicated tool to record all the essential facts of this crime. The Victim, the Scammers, the Money, and your Police interactions. Everything that really matters can be easily recorded for your immediate use and for the future!

As we have seen, money recovery/repayment programs can become available years after the scam ends and you need to keep all the details of this crime in case it is needed. We have also seen scammers being extradited to the U.S. and other countries, this will help in the event you testify or give statements, Additionally, this helps you have your information ready to qualify for victims’ benefits, compensation, or aid.

The Official SCARS RED BOOK is your way of recording all the important facts of this crime so that you do not lose essential information, Complete the RED BOOK then put it away with the confidence that you will have it if or when it is needed.

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