Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

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.: 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 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 different matter entirely.

With a Romance Scam, there is no body to bury, there is no real person, no 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. 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 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. 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 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 you can seek 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 locally. But do not let yourself be drawn into an Anti-Scam Hate group that just obsesses over 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. 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.


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?

At this point, we recommend that you read our 3 Steps for New Victims

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:

Help can come from many different places. Almost all of it will help you in some ways.


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 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 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.. 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:

  1. Report to your local police if you lost money
  2. Report it to your national police, such as 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. always (via » unless it was a large amount, in that case, you should report it in person)
  3. Report it into the 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 to learn more about SCARS.|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network (click here or on 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.


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 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. 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