What Does Closure Even Mean To A Scam Victim?
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.
DEFINITION OF CLOSURE
an act of closing : the condition of being closed
an often comforting or satisfying sense of finality
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 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. to arrest (most of the time), no recovery of your money (most of the time).
You are left with just thin air, a blank screen, and all of the after-effects of addiction and grief and trauma 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. all rolled into one.
If you are seeking closure after a romance scam then there are some strategies that you can use to get something that may serve as closure.
First, Let Us Say That Recovering From Romance Scams 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 history and you can get through this too.
If you need help you have several options available to you. It is important for all scam victims to see a local trauma counselor or therapist. SCARS also offers real safe scam victim support and recovery program groups. But do not let yourself be drawn into an Anti-Scam Hate group that just obsesses over scammer 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 waste their time in the delusion that they are going to stop scammers by wasting the scammer’s time with silly games. Get the professional 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 and try to figure out what closure really means for you. But it has to be realistic for the situation. If you allow your emotions (usually anger 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.) to drive what you want closure to be, then you will never achieve it.
WHAT IS REALISTIC?
This is where you will have to confront some very hard truths. Nothing about this 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 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?:
- You lost your heart to someone that was not real – it was probably a stolen face that doesn’t even know you exist
- Your emotions were hijacked without your consent
- Everything you were told was a lie – the name, the history, the relationship
- You lost money – maybe everything you had – to a group of scammers/an organized group of criminals
- Maybe you don’t even know the real identity of the scammer(s) – you probably do not
- Law enforcement has their hands tied because the criminal is overseas and untouchable – but reporting still matters
- Even if the scammer(s) 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 millions of victims, the path begins with the first step. That first step is to acknowledge that it happened and that 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.
Scam Victim Recovery Support Options
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 and find answers, many victims turn to denial 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 anger. Some develop strong “Messiah Complexes” that lead 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 their 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. You are the victim of a crime – nothing in the relationship was real!
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 learn how to prevent it from ever happening again.
A. REPORT IT
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.
Before you report read our Checklist to prepare you to speak with the police: Interacting With The Police
You will need to report it three or more times:
- If you lost money: the way to report this is first with your local police – they are your first responders
- Then always report all scams to the FTC 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 to SCARS at www.Anyscam.com
- Optionally, you can also report to the FBI 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. at www.IC3.gov or 1-800-CALL-FBI or other national police agencies
You can find more places to report here: https://romancescamsnow.com/reporting-entity-directory/
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.
B. 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
SCARS also publishes both journals and crime organizers in book form on the SCARS Book Shop at shop.AgainstScams.org
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 somehow will 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. From 2018 and 2019 we saw a huge reduction, but with the pandemic in 2020 scamming exploded again. 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 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..
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 crime has on you. As time goes by you will be able to talk about it and realize you no longer feel pain or shame 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., 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 and recovery 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 (organized professional criminals) – 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 what the scammers (criminals) told you. That was all illusion, projection, manipulation, and lies. Accepting that is a big step in letting go.
5] The Money Is Gone
Once the fraudsters receive your money they immediately move it, spend it, invest it, etc. 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.
These criminals 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 (most of the time) 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 governments keep the money. Giving up on that hope is how you move forward.
6] The Criminal Is Arrested
So many victims say that “NO ONE DOES ANYTHING”
Except it is not true, it is an urban legend Urban Legend
An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend is a genre of modern folklore comprising stories circulated as true, especially on social media. These legends can be entertaining but often concern serious topics. They may also be confirmation of moral standards, or reflect prejudices, or be a way to make sense of societal anxieties.
Urban legends are most often circulated orally but can be spread by any media, including newspapers, mobile news apps, e-mail, and social media. Some urban legends have passed through the years with only minor changes and seem impervious to exposure as untrue. repeated over and over by amateurs and haters to make you believe only 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. In 2021 over 540,000 of these criminals were arrested!
SCARS built the world’s first “chain of custody” cybercriminal reporting network SCARS|CDN that spreads scammer data around the world. SCARS is also partnered with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission as a Sentinel Reporting Partner. The FBI and Europol The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known under the name Europol, formerly the European Police Office and Europol Drugs Unit, is the law enforcement agency of the European Union (EU) formed in 1998 to handle criminal intelligence and combat serious international organized crime and terrorism through cooperation between competent authorities of EU member states. The Agency has no executive powers, and its officials are not entitled to arrest suspects or act without prior approval from authorities in the member states. Based in The Hague, it comprised 1,065 staff as of 2016.
WEBSITE LINK are constantly working on 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.
A. NOTIFYING VICTIMS
However, in 2021 more than 540,000 scammers were arrested around the world, and the Nigerian EFCC Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is a Nigerian law enforcement agency that investigates financial crimes such as advance fee fraud (419 fraud), scams, and money laundering. The EFCC was established in 2003, partially in response to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), which named Nigeria as one of 23 countries non-cooperative in the international community's efforts to fight money laundering. The agency has its head office in Abuja, Nigeria. is arresting scammers daily now.
There is only one major problem, almost 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, then they hold their trial, and that is the end of it. They never go through the effort to notify the millions of victims. This is true throughout most of the world.
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.
B. 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 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. 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 major cartels in China, and over 60,000 arrests in India. More still needs to be done though.
In the end, there is almost nothing you can do to get scammers arrested other than report these crimes. If it happens then great, but you have to turn away after your report and focus on your own recovery.
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.
A. THOSE THAT EASILY FORGIVE What Is Forgiveness?
Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. 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.
B. 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 grooming Grooming is a form of setting up a victim for a scam or other crime by befriending and establishing an emotional connection with the victim, and sometimes the family, to lower the victim's inhibitions with the objective of the scam or criminal activity. Grooming includes the development of a trust relationship between the criminal and the victim, getting the victims to the point where they can be more completely manipulated.
and 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
C. 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 to deception and fraud 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. 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. The 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 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 trap yourself in anger and hate? Or are you going to learn the new skills and behaviors you need to keep yourself, your family and friends, and your community safe?
Forgiving yourself is as much of a commitment as it is a realization. Because you can forgive ignorance but you cannot forgive enlightened indifference. Learn and forgive yourself!
When you realize how much you did not know and how expertly you were groomed, manipulated, and controlled 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 letting go of guilt, shame, self-blame Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befell them. SCARS seeks to mitigate the prejudice against victims and the perception that victims are in any way responsible for the actions of offenders or scammers. There is historical and current prejudice against the victims of domestic violence and sex crimes, such as the greater tendency to blame victims of rape than victims of robbery. Scam victims are often blamed by family & friends for the crime. Scam victims also engage in self-blame even though they are not to 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 think 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, more than 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, as instant experts and saviors, in scam haters and scam baiters groups, 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 than they are.
We sincerely hope that you choose the right path toward recovery and your future because the wrong one is full of despair and lost hope. After 31 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 Can Survive This!
We Wish You A Healthy And Happy Future!
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