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SCARS|RSN™ Psychology of Scams: How Do You Get Closure?
Closure Can Mean Different Things For Different People
CLOSURE may be what someone needs to move on after a long relationship, after the death of a loved one, after a traumatic childhood event, or to overcome feelings of guilt for hurting someone in the past.
However, closure after a romance scam is a different matter entirely.
With a Romance Scam, there is no body to bury, there is no real person, no criminal arrest, no recovery of your money. You are left with just thin air, a blank screen, and all of the after effects of addiction and grief all rolled into one.
If you are seeking closure after a romance scam then there are some strategies that you can use to get closure.
First, Let Us Say That Recovering From A Romance Scams Is Not Easy!
You are going to go through hell before you can feel safe and comfortable again. But we have helped thousands go through this over our 28-year history and you can get through this too.
If you need help you have several options available to you. We offer real safe scam victim support groups, or you can seek counseling or therapy locally. But do not let yourself be drawn into an Anti-Scam Hate group that just obsesses over scammer photos, or Scam Baiter groups that spend their time in the delusion that they are going to stop scammers by wasting the scammers time with silly games. Get the help you need – we are here to help you.
Some Experts Suggest That You Determine What Closure Means To You
Rather, plan a roadmap of the progress you hope to make, try to figure out what closure really means for you. But it has to be realistic for the situation.
WHAT IS REALISTIC?
This is where you will have to confront some very hard truths. Nothing about the truth will be easy. It has hard edges and sharp blades – it hurts.
Let’s explore the basic facts of a Romance or other Relationship Scam:
- You lost your heart to someone that was not real – it was probably a stolen face that doesn’t even know you exist
- Everything you were told was a lie – the name, the history, the relationship
- You lost money – maybe everything you had – to a scammer
- Maybe you don’t even know the real identity of the scammer
- Law enforcement has their hands tied because the criminal is overseas and untouchable
- Even if the scammer is arrested you will probably never know
As Hard as it is these are the truths that you must accept before you can begin to get closure. But closure is not a single moment, it is a process and is part of the larger path of recovery.
What Is The First Real Step?
As we have said to hundreds of thousands of victims, the path begins with the first step. That first step is to acknowledge that it happened and you need help.
It is surprising how many people try to deny they were in a romance scam. They bury it in their soul to fester instead of bringing it out into the light to fade away.
You are going to be in real emotional turmoil after you discover the scam – everything is raw – all the stages of grief. Plus, since these fake romances play heavily with your brain and hormones there are addictive qualities as well. You are going to have to deal with all of this and it is not easy, but you can do it. Especially with help.
Help can come from different directions:
- It can come from family and friends if you have them that you trust and will help you
- It can come from a SCARS Scam Victim Support Group (click here for one of ours »)
- It can come from a local Counselor or Therapist (click here to find one »)
- It can come from learning and understanding (this website is an encyclopedia of scam knowledge »)
- It can come from talking with other victims (but be careful – see below)
Help can come from many different places. Almost all of it will help you in some ways.
BE VERY CAREFUL
Help can also come from the worst places that will drive you in the wrong direction too.
In the frenzy to cope with scams, many victims turn to denial or anger. Some develop strong “Messiah Complexes” that leads them to believe they are the only ones that can save other victims. Others believe that because they were a victim they are now instant experts – nothing could be farther from the truth. They form groups that we refer to as Anti-Scam Hate groups that use your anger and hate to fuel their needs and only leave you more traumatized and disillusioned in the end. They spew out hate or wrong information that can leave you more traumatized, not less. Avoid these.
Steps To Closure
We have said that closure is a process. That process is about turning away from the event and looking to your future.
The human mind is an amazing device and if you give it half a chance it will fix itself.
The following are things that you can decide to do that will help you find the Closure that you seek!
1] Acknowledge It Happened
Before anything else tell yourself that you accept that it happened.
Why does this matter? Because it is the act of stopping the second-guessing and letting it be real. It happened. Nothing you can do about it now. Now you have to deal with what is in front of you and also learn to prevent it from ever happening again.
Like all crime victims, you will endlessly replay the event over and over. How you could have prevented it, what you could have done differently. But none of that matters because it did happen and you did not have the ability to prevent it. If you can accept that then you can move on to dealing with what you face and also to learning how to prevent it from ever happening again.
A major part of acknowledging that it happened is doing your civic duty and reporting the crime.
Reporting the crime is actually incredibly important for you on the path to recovery and to obtaining closure. It lets you vocalize your feelings about the event to someone even if they cannot help you immediately, they are helping you to acknowledge the event. This is empowering because it also means that you are taking an important step in reasserting your own control over your life again.
After you report the crime (the first time) you will likely feel shaking, maybe angry, that the police did nothing. However, most of the time they cannot do anything, but that is not only why you reported it. After a little time, you will feel some relief and the next report will be easier.
You will need to report it three times:
- Report to your local police if you lost money
- Report it to your national police, such as the FBI always (via www.IC3.gov » unless it was a large amount, in that case, you should report it in person)
- Report it into the SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network (click here or on www.Anyscam.com or other reporting points) – this will distribute it worldwide
Reporting will frustrate you but it is also cathartic for most victims. It is that moment where you can unload a little and see it from the perspective (right or wrong) of another person.
WRITE IT DOWN
We also strongly recommend that you write it all down. If you keep a journal that is a good approach, but we suggest that you sit down and write it all out in words.
This is to help you on many levels:
- It helps to record the crime since your trauma will make your memory unreliable as time goes by
- It helps you to share your story eventually if you chose
- If helps you to explore the extent of the scam and pull out details that will help you avoid them in the future
- Mostly it is simple therapy that experts agree will help desensitize you from some of the pain you are feeling
To learn more about the role that Journaling can play look here »
2] Turning Away
The next stage in the path to recovery is to turn away from the scam. You will be obsessing about what happened to you even after reporting it. It will be tempting to rush out and become a vigilante exposing scammers everywhere because you just KNOW that it end scamming. Wrong.
Romance scams have been going on for decades, growing year after year, even with all the victims that there are posting scammer photos nothing has slowed it before 2017. So obviously looking at and exposing stolen photos does very little.
Obsession in any form after a scam is not a good thing, but more importantly, you need time to heal. You have been traumatized by the violation and the destruction of your trust. These are open wounds that need time to heal.
If you truly want to return to something like your old self then you need to heal and recover, and the way to do that is with help and by minimizing exposure to scams and scammers – especially avoid as much as possible looking at endless streams of scammer’s faces.
You will also have to learn why this happened to you – meaning what was it that the scammers used inside you to manipulate you. That learning can also help you in your recovery and to fully understand how you were not to blame.
3] Share & Care
On the road to recovery is understanding that you are not alone. Recovery is a team sport, meaning it works best when you can share what happened to you and learn from others who are exactly where you are.
By voicing your pain and your experience it reduces the hold the scam has on you. As time goes by you will be able to talk about it and realize you no longer feel pain or shame, that there is no longer the hate and anger in your heart. You will become a person who can return to real life and enjoy things again. These are the benefits of a proper support group.
Just knowing that you are not the only one who has gone through this and there are others far more advanced in their recovery will give you hope!
4] Realizing It Was Not Personal
It feels like an intimate violation of the worst kind, yet for the scammers – and yes it is usually a team of them – it was just business.
In fact, that makes it even more evil but less personal.
Scammers – most of them – work for large organizations – from dozens to thousands. They do what is in their eyes, just a job. They justify it in many different ways. Some view it as a sport – you are the person to be hunted. Some view it as some twisted historical justification – you are the “Colonizer” and they are taking back what is rightfully theirs. Some just never care to justify it, they just need the money. Regardless, it is no different than a telemarketer reading a script – because that is what they are.
For the scammers, you were a statistic – how much money they could get. After you, there are many other victims to move on to. That is a terrible thing to understand, but it means you never had a “connection” with the scammer regardless of what you felt or the scammer told you. That was all illusion, projection, manipulation, and lies. Accepting that is a big step on letting go.
5] The Money Is Gone
Once the scammers receive your money they immediately move it, spend it, invest it. You have seen these huge piles of money in photos, but those are just the bottom feeders showing off their wealth to their fellow gangsters. 99% of scamming is a multi-billion dollar business and as soon as the money is in their hands they protect and hide it.
Scammers have large money laundering operations worldwide. They move billions out of Nigerian and other countries to Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Latin America to shield it. If you sent iTunes cards they are converted to cash within minutes. Scammers are quite experienced in laundering money.
When they move money via money transfer services such as Western Union and MoneyGram they have their own people to receive the money and “verify” the name of the person picking it up – but that is just as fake as everything else. Only a bank to bank wire transfer will give you a real name but even so, getting your money back is equally impossible most of the time.
In cases where scammers are arrested and money is confiscated – something that is happening daily – the local government keeps the money. Giving up on that hope is how you move forward.
6] The Scammer Is Arrested
NO ONE DOES ANYTHING
So many victims say “No One Does Anything.”
Except it is not true, it is an urban legend repeated over and over by amateurs and haters to make you believe they can save you. Of course, you are frustrated because you live in a land of law and order and it is hard to understand that the world just does not work that way. However, lots of things are being done 24 hours a day the world over.
SCARS built the world’s first “chain of custody” cybercriminal reporting network SCARS|CDN that spreads scammer data around the world. The FBI and Europol are constantly working these cases. But regardless of anything else certain laws and treaties have to change to enable more enforcement, and we are working on those too.
However, in 2018 more than 21,000 scammers were arrested around the world, and the Nigerian EFCC is arresting scammers daily now.
There is only one major problem, no one notifies the victims when scammers are arrested (most of the time). The Nigerians (for example) arrest the scammers, seize the money and the evidence, they hold their trial, and that is the end of it. They never go through the effort to notify the thousands of victims. In March 2018 the Chinese Police arrested 1,310 scammers in one sweeping raid that accounted for nearly 10 million victims inside of China, but those victims were not notified.
We are working to change this with the “SCARS Declaration Of Victim Dignity” (English » / Español ») which we are advocating to become a universal civil right around the world. It would require governments to notify victims when scammers are arrested. Until then, it is just the way it is.
ASSUMING THE SCAMMER EVER GETS ARRESTED
Of course, that is all well and good to notify victims if the scammer gets arrested, but in most cases that will not happen.
Almost all African scammers that are being arrested are low-level thugs. They are obvious Yahoo Boys or Sakawa Boys with lots of money and no sense. They buy expensive cars, houses, and jewelry. They stand out in public and eventually get caught. Sometimes it is because of reports or other partnerships that these governments have formed, sometimes not, sometimes just luck. Regardless, these are the tip of the iceberg. The majority of scammers work for professional organizations that keep their workers in line and under control.
In the case of the scammer thugs when one gang is arrested there will be another starting up. The result is a fairly constant amount of scammers working the victims worldwide. But there are exceptions, such as the elimination of two major cartels in China, and over 11,000 arrests in India. More still needs to be done though.
7] Forgiving Yourself
After you have accepted all of the above there will be one very hard task yet to accomplish – forgiving yourself.
For most victims, this is either very easy or very hard.
THOSE THAT EASILY FORGIVE THEMSELVES
For those that forgive themselves easily, it is usually because they are in some form of denial. They can’t accept that they played any role in being scammed – it was all the evil scammers’ fault. This is both a defense mechanism and a denial of the truth of how scams work.
THOSE THAT HAVE DIFFICULTY FORGIVING THEMSELVES
Every victim plays a role in their scam and up to a certain point could have stopped it. That is easy to say but in fact, it is true. Every victim could have stopped the scam at the very beginning, but after almost no time the scammer had their hooks in you and began their expert manipulation. They use psychological techniques that Soviet spies perfected – very non-trivial stuff. So after you opened the door they had you. To fully understand these techniques and how your own brain worked against you we suggest that you read our articles on the Psychology of Scams here »
DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP OVER IT
As the saying goes “You have to invite the Devil In before He can enter” – the same is true of scammers. But if you understand how the brain works and the built-in weaknesses you will understand it was not your fault. In fact, you will learn that you can change to make yourself much more resistant against deception and fraud of all kinds. These are skills and you can’t be faulted for not knowing them. If you tried to do brain surgery or build a rocket and it didn’t work you would say you just didn’t know how. Same is true of scams and scammers, but now you do know some.
At this stage, the question is: Are you going to let this paralyze you and keep you in denial or trap yourself in anger and hate? Or are you going to learn the new skills you need to keep yourself, your family and friends, and your community safe?
Forgiving yourself is as much as a commitment as it is a realization. Because you can forgive ignorance but you cannot forgive enlightened indifference. Learn and do, do not know and forget or ignore!
When you realize how much you did not know and how expertly you were manipulated then forgiving yourself takes some effort, but is something you can and will do.
After going through and accepting all of the above, what then really is Closure?
In the words of many victims, it is the ability to live comfortably again in your own skin. It is the letting go of guilt and self-blame, and understanding that it is something that happened to you – it is not who you are. You will not let it define you.
Closure is the returning of peace in your life. The point where every day you look forward to the future and not thinking about the pain of the past. Where you have learned so much more about yourself and how all of these things work that it is a natural part of your life now.
We know that this is not easy! No great loss is ever easy to overcome, but recognizing the reality and truth of what it is and what is possible makes the journey something you can do.
Sadly, almost half of victims will have great difficulty achieving this. Many never will. Some never will because they cannot accept the truth and condemn themselves to denial or a life of anger and hate. They will be all around you as you navigate your path to recovery in countless amateur and fake groups online, in instant experts and saviors, in scam haters and scam baiters, these are the lost souls that cannot move forward, and who want you to stay with them.
But just by reading this you are already more ready to recover and find your closure in the near future that they are.
We sincerely hope that you choose the right path toward recovery and your future because the left one is full of despair and lost hope. After 28 years we have learned to see the pather clearly and have helped many along it. We hope you will be one of them!
Let Us Know What You Think?
We hope this helps you to form a perspective on what happened to you and how you will find your way home, but we also want to hear what you think and your experience. Please leave your comments below!
You Will Survive This!
We Wish You A Healthy And Happy Future!
A SCARS Division
Miami Florida U.S.A.
TAGS: Closure, Psychology of Scams, Manipulation, Amygdala Hijack, Gaslighting, Recovery, Self-Recovery, Anger, Angry Victims, Victims in Denial, Amateur Anti-Scam Groups, Anti-Scam Hate Groups, Haters, Deniers, Avoiding the Truth, Forgiving Yourself, Acceptance, Self Peace, Happiness, Turning Away, Acknowledgement, Reporting Scams,
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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:
- Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- Your National Police or FBI (www.IC3.gov »)
- 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|RSN Facebook page for much more information about scams and online crime: www.facebook.com/RSN.Main.News.And.Inromation.Home.Page »
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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SCARS|RSN, RSN, Romance Scams Now, SCARS|WORLDWIDE, SCARS|GLOBAL, SCARS, Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams, Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams, SCARS|ANYSCAM, Project Anyscam, Anyscam, SCARS|GOFCH, GOFCH, SCARS|CHINA, SCARS|CDN, SCARS|UK, SCARS Cybercriminal Data Network, Cobalt Alert, Scam Victims Support Group, are all trademarks of Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated.
Contact the law firm for the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated by email at [email protected]
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