Hostility Toward Scam Victims Is A Common Manipulative Technique Of Scammers – UPDATED 2024

Hostility Toward Scam Victims Is A Common Manipulative Technique Of Scammers

Understanding Hostility as a Manipulative Technique

How Scammers Operate – A SCARS Insight

•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
Originally Published: 2016 – Article Updated: 2024

Article Abstract

The hostility displayed by online scammers towards their victims is a disturbing aspect of cybercrime that warrants attention and analysis. Scammers employ various manipulative techniques throughout the scamming process, often accompanied by a level of hostility that can be profoundly unsettling for their victims.

From the initial interactions to the aftermath of being confronted, understanding the dynamics of this hostility sheds light on the tactics scammers employ and the impact it has on their victims. Aggressive pacing, gaslighting, verbal abuse, and emotional manipulation are common tactics used by scammers to assert control and manipulate victims. These tactics exacerbate feelings of stress, anxiety, and vulnerability in victims, making it difficult for them to think critically or seek assistance.

Confronting scammers with accusations of criminal behavior is generally ill-advised due to the risks involved, including personal safety concerns, legal implications, and escalation of conflict. Victims are encouraged to prioritize their well-being, seek support from trusted sources, and report the scam to the appropriate authorities.

Ultimately, awareness and vigilance are essential in combating online scammer hostility and protecting innocent individuals from falling victim to these predatory schemes.

Hostility Toward Scam Victims Is A Common Manipulative Technique Of Scammers - UPDATED 2024

Understanding Online Scammer Hostility: Tactics and Impact on Scam Victims

With cybercrime, online scammers normally operate using various types of manipulation and control, but at times with a level of hostility that can be profoundly unsettling for their victims.

This hostility manifests in various forms throughout the scamming process, from initial interactions to the aftermath of being confronted. Understanding the dynamics of this hostility is crucial for shedding light on the tactics scammers employ and the impact it has on their victims.

1. Hostility During the Scam

Frustration and Impatience as Control Mechanisms

Online scammers often utilize frustration and impatience as control mechanisms during the scamming process. From the moment they make contact with potential victims, scammers aim to assert dominance and maintain control over the situation. This is achieved through a combination of psychological manipulation tactics, including:

  • Aggressive Pacing: Scammers may employ aggressive pacing techniques, bombarding victims with urgent messages or threats to create a sense of urgency and panic. By keeping victims on edge, scammers make it difficult for them to think rationally or question the legitimacy of the situation. See below for more …
  • Gaslighting: Gaslighting is another common tactic used by scammers to manipulate their victims. They may deny or downplay the legitimacy of the victim’s concerns, making them doubt their own judgment and instincts. This erodes the victim’s confidence and makes them more susceptible to the scammer’s influence. Learn more about this here:
  • Verbal Abuse: In some cases, scammers resort to outright verbal abuse to assert control over their victims. This can take the form of insults, threats, or derogatory language designed to intimidate and disempower the victim. See below for more …
  • Emotional Manipulation: Scammers often exploit their victims’ emotions, preying on their vulnerabilities and insecurities to elicit sympathy or compliance. They may feign affection or concern to establish trust, only to exploit it for their own gain later on. See our other SCARS articles for more about this.

Aggressive Pacing Manipulation Technique

Aggressive pacing is a manipulative technique frequently employed by online scammers to create a sense of urgency and pressure on their victims. This tactic is designed to keep victims off-balance and less likely to critically evaluate the legitimacy of the scam.

Here’s a deeper exploration of aggressive pacing and its impact on scam victims:

Characteristics of Aggressive Pacing

  • Rapid Communication: Scammers often inundate their victims with a barrage of messages, emails, or phone calls, bombarding them with information and requests at a rapid pace. This rapid communication makes it difficult for victims to pause, reflect, or seek outside assistance.
  • Urgent Tone: Messages from scammers typically convey a sense of urgency and importance, emphasizing immediate action or dire consequences if the victim fails to comply. Urgent language and threats of impending harm are commonly used to heighten anxiety and pressure victims into compliance.
  • Manipulative Timeframes: Scammers frequently impose artificial time constraints on their victims, insisting that decisions must be made quickly or opportunities will be lost. This tactic exploits the victim’s fear of missing out and impairs their ability to make rational decisions.
  • False Pretenses of Assistance: Some scammers may masquerade as helpful individuals or organizations, offering assistance or solutions to urgent problems. However, this assistance is usually contingent on the victim’s cooperation and serves to further entrap them in the scam.

Impact on Victims

  • Increased Stress and Anxiety: Aggressive pacing exacerbates feelings of stress and anxiety in victims, who may feel overwhelmed by the relentless pressure to act. The sense of urgency created by scammers can trigger the body’s stress response, leading to heightened physiological arousal and impaired decision-making.
  • Diminished Critical Thinking: The constant barrage of messages and demands can impair victims’ ability to think critically and evaluate the legitimacy of the situation. Under duress, individuals are more susceptible to cognitive biases and may overlook red flags or inconsistencies in the scammer’s narrative.
  • Impulsive Decision-Making: Faced with urgent deadlines and threats of consequences, victims may resort to impulsive decision-making to alleviate their distress. This can result in hasty actions or financial transactions that further entrench them in the scam and exacerbate their losses.
  • Isolation and Vulnerability: Aggressive pacing can isolate victims from their support networks and external resources, leaving them feeling isolated and vulnerable to further manipulation. Scammers exploit this isolation to maintain control over their victims and prevent them from seeking help.

Scammer Verbal Abuse Technique

Scammer verbal abuse is a tactic used to exert control and manipulate victims during fraudulent schemes. This form of abuse can take various forms, including insults, threats, and derogatory language, all aimed at intimidating and disempowering the victim. Here’s a closer look at the characteristics and impact of scammer verbal abuse:

Characteristics of Scammer Verbal Abuse

  • Insults and Name-Calling: Scammers may resort to demeaning language and personal attacks to undermine the victim’s self-esteem and confidence. This can include derogatory remarks about the victim’s intelligence, competence, or personal characteristics.
  • Threats and Coercion: Verbal abuse often involves threats of harm or retaliation to coerce compliance from the victim. Scammers may threaten physical violence, legal action, or public humiliation to instill fear and control over their targets.
  • Manipulative Language: Scammers use manipulative language to gaslight and confuse their victims, making them doubt their own perceptions and judgment. They may deny or downplay the legitimacy of the victim’s concerns, dismiss their objections, or shift blame onto the victim.
  • Emotional Manipulation: Verbal abuse is often accompanied by emotional manipulation tactics designed to exploit the victim’s vulnerabilities and insecurities. Scammers may feign affection or concern to establish trust, only to exploit it for their own gain later on.

Impact on Victims

  • Psychological Trauma: Verbal abuse can have a profound psychological impact on victims, causing emotional distress, trauma, and long-term psychological harm. Victims may experience feelings of shame, guilt, and worthlessness as a result of the verbal attacks.
  • Diminished Self-Esteem: Constant exposure to verbal abuse erodes the victim’s self-esteem and confidence, making them more susceptible to further manipulation and control by the scammer. Victims may internalize the negative messages and beliefs perpetuated by the abuser, further exacerbating their psychological distress.
  • Fear and Intimidation: Scammer verbal abuse instills fear and intimidation in victims, creating a climate of coercion and control that makes it difficult for them to resist or challenge the scammer’s authority. Victims may feel powerless to escape the abusive situation and may comply with the scammer’s demands out of fear of reprisal.
  • Isolation and Shame: Verbal abuse can isolate victims from their support networks and exacerbate feelings of shame and embarrassment. Victims may be reluctant to seek help or disclose their experiences to others for fear of judgment or further abuse.

2. At the End of the Scam

Hostility Towards Victims When Confronted at the End of a Scam, Along With Threats

When victims confront scammers or attempt to challenge their fraudulent activities, the hostility can escalate significantly. Scammers may respond with aggression, threats, or intimidation tactics to discourage victims from taking action or seeking restitution. This hostility serves multiple purposes for the scammer:

  • Intimidation: By responding aggressively to confrontation, scammers seek to intimidate victims into backing down or retracting their accusations. They may employ tactics such as issuing threats of legal action, physical harm, or public humiliation to keep payments flowing or to deter victims from pursuing justice.
  • Retaliation: Scammers may view confrontation as a direct challenge to their authority and seek or threaten to retaliate against victims who threaten their operation. This retaliation can take various forms, usually, they are simple verbal threats without follow-up actions, but scammers have also been known to carry out threats including launching cyberattacks, spreading misinformation, or harassing victims online or offline.
  • Control: Hostility towards victims serves to maintain the scammer’s control over the situation and prevent victims from ending the scam. By instilling fear and uncertainty in their victims, scammers can continue to manipulate and exploit their victims for as long as possible.
  • Psychological Impact: The psychological impact of facing hostility and threats from scammers can be profound for victims, exacerbating feelings of fear, helplessness, and trauma. Victims may experience anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress as a result of their ordeal, further complicating their recovery process.


Confronting scammers with accusations that they are criminals, while understandably tempting, is generally considered a bad idea due to several key reasons:

Personal Safety

Scammers often operate from locations that are difficult to trace, and their true identities may be concealed behind fake profiles or stolen identities. Confronting them directly with accusations of criminal activity can provoke unpredictable and potentially dangerous reactions. Scammers may become hostile, aggressive, or even retaliate with threats of violence or cyberattacks. Protecting personal safety should always be the top priority when dealing with online criminals.

Remember that scammers are professional criminals and are affiliated with other professional criminals including hackers. Additionally, more and more scammers are part of criminal networks in the countries where victims live. Retaliation is much more likely if the criminals are angered.

Legal Implications

Confronting scammers with accusations of criminal behavior may inadvertently escalate the situation and lead to legal complications. In some cases, scammers may attempt to turn the tables by filing false accusations or pursuing legal action against their accusers. For example in the case of money mules, the scammers are able to implicate an innocent money mule by reporting the victim to the police, such as the FBI.

Engaging in confrontational behavior could also compromise any ongoing investigations or law enforcement efforts to apprehend the scammer or recover the scam victim’s money. It’s important to allow authorities to handle matters of criminal activity through proper channels. For victims, it is best to just cut off all communications with the criminals and let the police do their job.

Escalation of Conflict

Confronting scammers directly may escalate the conflict and prolong the interaction, leading to further emotional distress and financial loss for the victim. Scammers thrive on engagement and may use confrontational tactics to prolong the scam or extract additional information from the victim that they can use to steal the scam victim’s identity or take over their financial accounts. By engaging in confrontational behavior, victims risk becoming entangled in a prolonged and emotionally draining battle with little chance of resolution.

Lack of Accountability

Scammers are adept at deflecting blame and avoiding accountability for their actions. Confronting them directly may only serve to reinforce their sense of impunity and embolden them to continue their criminal activities. Scammers often operate with a network of accomplices and are skilled at evading capture or prosecution. Confrontation may do little to deter them and could potentially worsen the situation for the scam victim.

Psychological Impact

Engaging in confrontational behavior with scammers can have a significant psychological impact on the scam victim, exacerbating feelings of frustration, anger, and helplessness. Victims may become consumed by thoughts of revenge or justice, which can further impair their ability to recover from the scam emotionally. It’s essential for victims to prioritize their well-being and focus on seeking support and assistance from trusted sources such as SCARS.


The hostility displayed by online scammers towards their victims is a disturbing aspect of cybercrime that warrants attention and analysis. By understanding the tactics employed by scammers and the impact it has on victims, we can better equip individuals to recognize and avoid falling victim to these predatory schemes. Additionally, efforts to combat online scamming must include measures to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions and provide support and resources for victims to recover from their ordeal. Only through collective awareness and action can we hope to mitigate the impact of online scammer hostility on innocent individuals and communities.

Additionally, while confronting scammers with accusations of criminal behavior may seem satisfying in the short term, it is generally ill-advised due to the risks involved. Victims should prioritize their personal safety, avoid escalating conflicts, and seek assistance from law enforcement or other relevant authorities. Ultimately, the best course of action is to report the scam to the appropriate authorities and focus on recovering from the experience with the support of trusted friends, family, and professionals.

Remember: Have Doubts = Just Walk Away

Never Confront Scammers

Important Information for New Scam Victims

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  1. Carmen Rivera February 27, 2024 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    It is my experience that these criminals want money fast. Then they get aggravated if victim doesn’t comply with their demands. They easily threads to harm themselves and put the guilt on the victims.

  2. Holly April 9, 2016 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    One place I have not seen mentioned and it may be a new way to scam: On political FB posts, in the comments section, where many people leave comments! they will pick a name or answer back and forth with you about the political canidate etc and then ask you to Freind them on FB, so you can talk further.

    Well after a few days of this, nd then talking about how Christian they are etc then is gets into the usual romance thing. and then eventually they will ask you for a small amounf of money. Or they had to take a business trip and their child in college needs something and since the scammer is overseas, his card won’t work. Oh and he sends several pictures of himself, they are all different. (Mostly likely, an innocent victim! Why would a scammer send a picture of himself. He does get you emotionaly involved first. Then very angry when you refuse the money and says it was a test to see about your trust in him. Then he apologized and doesn’t want the money. (Not that he was going to get it,) They want only moneygram or Western Union. Oh and they also it appears, set up a phony website, that is their business site, it is very elaborate. Several pages of things about the business. But none of the emails work on the pages. It even has some top associates pictured with emails. No way to contact the company. (Don’t foreget to check Better Business Bureau if in doubt);. they tell you to be sure and look at their website. They also seem to target Christian women with good beleifs. I guess they can tell that from your posts on the Politcal comments.
    So I hope this helps someone, listen to your gut!!!

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