(Last Updated On: April 24, 2022)

Telling Your Story – How Can You Explain What Happened To Family And Friends?

A Guide to telling Your Family & Friends with Minimal Judgment

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. Guide

SCARS Webinar: How To Tell Your Story To Your Friends & Family

When Telling Your Story – The Simplest Explanation Is The Best Explanation

First, understand that telling your story is not going to be easy! But it is easier than hiding the secret inside!

By telling your story you will reduce your 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. and improve your chances for a solid recovery!

  • The simplest explanation is the best explanation but you do not need to say everything – but don’t lie
  • They mostly want to know if you are alright!
  • They will be concerned about your future stability!
  • Be honest – do not conceal – but you can exclude
  • Share your true emotional state!

Begin By Correcting Your Vocabulary & The Way You Phrase Things:

  • You are the victim of FRAUDFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. by a PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZED CRIMINALCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues.
  • You were Groomed, Manipulated, and left Traumatized
  • You were NOT FOOLED because you are not a FOOL – but you did not see it coming!
  • You were not NAÏVE, GULLIBLE, or STUPID – smart knowledgeable people are defrauded all the time
  • You thought there was a “HE” or “SHE” but it turns out there was a whole gangGang A gang is normally a group or society of associated criminals with a defined leadership and internal organization that identifies with or claims control over a territory or business practice in a community and engages, either individually or collectively, in illegal, and possibly violent, behavior. Online gangs are not limited by territory and may operate side by side with other gangs while engaging in crime online. Some members of criminal gangs are initiated (by going through a process of initiation), or have to prove their loyalty and right to belong by committing certain acts, usually theft or violence, or rituals. Gangs are usually rougher and more visible than scammer cartels, and more often arrested. behind the scenes – it was a “THEY”
  • You thought it was a LOAN – you thought you were going to get your money back
  • Yes, you had feelings for the FAKE PERSON (the CRIMINAL) but you see that it was really all LIES & DECEPTION

Your family and friends want to know:

  • Are you alright? You say no, you are very traumatized by the experience
  • How much did you lose? Tell them the amount.
  • How did it happen? Tell them simply that it was an investment scamInvestment Scam When a caller claims to have a promising investment opportunity that will help you get rich quick, it's likely a scam. (even 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. is an investment in your future).
  • Did you know this person? Say that you thought you did, but obviously not.
  • Didn’t you verify? You thought you did, but obviously not enough – you were totally fooled.
  • Can you get your money back? The police have the information but they do not think I can recover. However, they and the 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. (or national police) are investigating.
  • What can you do? Not much. You have to live with the situation and plan as best that you can.
  • What about your future? Everything has changed and I have to change my plans because of it.
  • Tell me the details or Tell me more? Just say that you are too upset to talk about it more. This was very traumatizing. Ask them for their understanding and support.

Things Not To Do!

  • Do not show them the evidence! it can complicate things & cause judgment!
  • Especially not the chats, conversations, and dialog!
  • Do not tell them how much time you really spent in contact with them each day. Instead talk about how you talked “daily” over weeks, months, etc.
  • If they ask if you have reported it to the police AND you have, just say so, do not show the police report.

If you do this, no one should 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. you. No one should 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. you.

Financial 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. happen and people are victimized. But your friends and family only want to hear the basics so they can form an opinion, and then they will want to help and support you.

Everyone has heard about financial and online scams – this is now a normal part of our world. Your friends & family mostly want to know how they can help!

If you tell them the basics and then you say you are too upset or traumatized they will not ask more until you are ready to tell your whole story.

Victims often make the mistake of telling TOO MUCH INFORMATION upfront – this overwhelms their friends or family, and they start looking at YOU, instead of sympathizing with you.

Our experience is that if you can stick to these basics that you will not be made to feel blamed. Additionally, you will have a huge release of not having to maintain the secret. Keeping that secret is a cancer that grows and eats you from the inside. Let it go, even just the minimal information is a relief and helps you down the path to recovery.

Remember, just the minimal facts above. AVOID TMI – Too Much Information.

Of course, this is not what you tell the police. But with them also avoid TMI – avoid all the dialog, just stick to the basic facts and let them ask what they want to know.

This is your best path to share enough so that you are not hiding the truth, but not telling more than they need to know.

Also, Remember That You Will Need Their Support!

There may be many things in front of you that you will need support to better get through:

  • Going with you to file a police report
  • Recommendations for legal or financial professionals
  • If you are not coping – having someone that can come over can distract you for a downward spiral
  • When you need to talk – this will help you distract yourself from those darker moments that all victims face
  • To help you avoid depression & deep anxiety

The Type Of Fraud Does Not Matter – What Matters Is Telling Your Story

One last note. This also applies to almost all forms of scams – from phone scams to other online scams too.

The Hardest Conversation

You might have borrowed money from someone, a family member, or a friend, and you are going to have to talk to them.

  • If you borrow money and need to tell them what happened
  • This will be the most difficult conversation – be direct, firm, and honest
  • Tell them you were defrauded and cannot pay it back yet – but you will
  • Hard as it is, do not over-commit to a repayment plan
  • They may be very angry, but you owe them the truth and that you accept responsibility for their money


  • Think about what you are going to say and not say
  • Get an idea of the timeline
  • Control what you are going to talk about – but be completely honest – because this may shake their trust in you – but that is normal
  • Listen to their advice and suggestions – they just want to help – if they think they are helping it will help to avoid judgment



  • The money you lost is a major part of your story.
  • This is what will have a big impact on you—it is what will cause you to be angry and blame yourself. But you do not need to share the amount with others!


  • If you are very negative and blame yourself, you are giving others permission to blame you too!
  • Focus on the fact that you are a victim of criminals – nothing more!
  • The criminals are to blame – even if you do not yet really accept it!


  • Your family & friends will be anxious to know what is being done!
  • Just tell them it is in the hands of the police! Period!
  • You don’t know any more than that.


  • If you are hostile with your family & friends they will respond in the same way. You will get no results and only be more upset when you leave. They may respond in kind and it makes the whole process even more traumatizing,
  • Do not try to hide any information!
  • You have nothing to be ashamed of – you are the victim of a crime.


  • People respond to another’s 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. in many different ways.
  • They may be angry that this happened to you and this may leak into how they talk to you – but most of the time they want to help – remember that!
  • Do not expect immediate support, it may take them some time to digest this. Give them time too!
  • Let them offer support, do not demand it of them.


  • Make Sure you tell them to keep this confidential
  • Tell them not to tell anyone else. Let the police do their job, and you will tell others when you are ready


  • After this is all done, know that you did a very brave thing and you told your story!
  • This was probably the first time you did this, but it will not be the last. Telling your story takes away a little more pain each time you tell it.


  • Be proud of yourself—telling your story to friends and family is hard.
  • If you do it, you will be stronger.
  • You took one giant step forward. Now focus on getting on with your recovery.
  • Just remember, you will tell this story again.

Just Remember – This Is The Way To Recovery!

Essential Tools For Every Scam Victim From SCARS Publishing

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Each is based on our SCARS Team’s 31 plus years of experience.

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SCARS GREN BOOK - The SCARS STEPS Guide to Scam Victim Recovery

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 trauma 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!

Get it here

SCARS SLATE BOOK - A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims

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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SCARS RED BOOK - Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer

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.

Get it here

SCARS BLUE BOOK - Survivor's Recovery Journal
SCARS LIME BOOK - Wisdom & Motivation for Scam Victims
SCARS CHERRY BOOK - A Guide To Understanding Your Fear
SCARS WORKBOOK - 8 Steps To Improvement
SCARS WORKBOOK - Understanding Self-Blame, Guilt, and Shame
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Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

U.S. FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS and SCARS at www.Anyscams.com