Psychology of Scams: When Panic Sets In

Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

Find Real 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. & Fake Stolen Photos On ScamsONLINE.org
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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.: When Panic Sets In

You just found out about your 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., what happens next can lead to panic!

After a Scam Stability Can Be a Rubberband!

After the scam, a typical victim is in shock, but 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. quickly sets in. But if it is not brought under control then panic can be the result!

Everyone understands grief, but scam victims are frequently in shock after a scam ends and focusing on the wrong things. Denial, 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., keep them from addressing their real urgent needs. The longer they avoid acceptance, the more pronounced the eventual panic can be.

Of course, different people react differently. Some jump right through to 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., and others to depression, but many pretend they are in control until the rubber band snaps.

During the time following the scam there are numerous crisis points or moments that victims need to be aware of:

  • Early shock & paralysis – it is important to report to the police as quickly as possible to have any chance of getting the money back
  • Denial – victims do not want to face the truth
  • Anger – rageRage 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. takes over control and prevents being helped or taking real actions to mitigate the damage – they hate the world
  • Panic – someone has to save them and get their money back, but they are unable or unwilling to do the thing necessary to really help themselves

Many victims will move forward through the grief cycle and are able to seek help and support. They will be able to get the hard things done and begin working on their recovery. But many victims will not, they collapse in on themselves in total panic.

Panic Is Destructive

During panic all a victim cares about is having someone save them just like a drowning swimmer. Far too often they cannot hear what care providers are trying to tell them, to guide them through this process. Instead, they stay fixed in the self-reinforcing state of panic that keeps them locked in place.

The worst part of panic is that when others, who are trying to help them, do not do what they think needs to be done they turn on them and express their panic-fueled rage against them or anyone else.

The result is caring people back away and has to leave the victim on their own. Most of the time, instead of recognizing their own behaviorBehavior   Behavior / Behavioral Actions Otherwise known as habits, behavior or behavioral actions are strategies to help prevent online exploitation that target behavior, such as social engineering of victims. Changing your behavior is the ONLY effective means to reduce or prevent scams., the panicked victims escalate the panic and the verbal abuse that comes with it. This only serves to isolate the victim and drive them into depression or potentially mental illnessMental Illness Mental illness, also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors..

Understand The Panic

The panic attacks or crises can be sudden and overpowering.

They can be triggered by almost anything that their 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. reacts to. Knowing what to do when they arise can reduce their severity or help stop them so the help can be provided.

Panic attacks are relatively common, even with non-victims, some statistics show that around 13% of people will experience one in their lifetime. Scam victims tend to experience them after their first month up to about 8 months after the scam is discovered.

The panic is related to the severity of the trauma the victim experiences and also the degree to which they have tried to deny it or keep it secret. Shame plays a large role in this.

Victims that do not find people they can fully talk to about it will keep it boiling up until it explodes. This is especially true if they do not confide in family or friends.

It becomes imperative to find an empathetic victims’ assistance provider who can hear and advise the victim of directions to take for recovery.

It also has a lot to do with the financial problems that a victim faces, especially if they borrowed money to give to the scammer. The pressure of the secrets and the looming debt can cause them to spiral in on themselves until full-blown panic is the result.

At the root of the Panic (most of the time) is Fear!

Victims feel fear for a variety of reasons:

  • Fear from threats by the scammers – ignore them they are just more lies / more manipulation.
  • Fear of discovery – afraid they will be condemned by family and friends when the truth is known.
  • Fear of reporting to the police – afraid they will not be helped or listened to – this becomes self-fulfilling.
  • Fear of the financial consequences – many victims lose huge amounts of money, and many times borrow money from others.
  • Fear for their family – many married victims fear that divorce might result after being lured into a romance scam while married, or insolvency might cost them their family.
  • Fear of reputation – that they will never be able to move past the stigma they are sure will result.
  • Fear of uncertainty – what they had come to know as a stable relationship was ripped apart in an instant, they are afraid of the unknown future that will come.

These fears can easily turn to panic, dread, and an overpowering sense of doom.

Overcome The Panic

The single most important thing any victim can do is recognize their instability and panic when it arises. Being able to control the panic is essential to being able to work the problem – work through the required tasks after a scam.

If you can see it – you can work with it, and get help to control it. But make sure that you do not take it out on others.

Panic attacks can create various Physical and Emotional Symptoms.

Recognizing the Physical Symptoms of Panic:

  • sweating
  • rapid breathing
  • a racing heartbeat

Emotional Symptoms may include:

  • feelings of fear and anxiety
  • intense, repetitive worrying
  • a feeling of impending doom

Immediate Steps to Overcome Panic

When you sense the anxious feeling coming on acknowledge it – recognize it for what it is. If you deny it or feed it, it will only get worse.

START BY CALMING YOURSELF!

It may or may not be a full-blown panic attack, but in either case, there are some simple things a victim can do to reduce the panic and work towards calm.

1. Remember that it will pass

  • During a panic, it can help to remember that these feelings will pass and cause no physical harm, however scary it feels at the time.
  • It is important that you make no decisions during a panic – give yourself time to calm down before trying to solve things.
  • Try acknowledging that this is a brief period of concentrated anxiety and that it will be over soon.
  • Panic attacks tend to reach their most intense point within 10 minutes of their triggerTRIGGERS A trigger is a stimulus that sets off a memory of a trauma or a specific portion of a traumatic experience., and then the symptoms will begin to subside.
  • Do not escalate the situation, regardless of what the trigger was – back away, remain silent – until the moment passes

2. Take Deep Breaths

  • Deep breathing can help bring panic & fear under control.
  • Panic can cause rapid breathing, and chest tightness can make the breaths shallow. This type of breathing can make feelings of anxiety and tension worse.
  • Deliberately slow your breathing into long deep breaths.
  • Try to breathe slowly and deeply, concentrating on each breath. Breathe deeply from the abdomen, filling the lungs slowly and steadily while counting to 4 on both the inhale and the exhale.
  • Sit up straight and close your eyes. Slowly inhale through your nose and envision the air you are breathing in as crystal clear and cool. As you slowly exhale, imagine the air going out as dark and hot.
  • Slowly repeat the process until all of the dark air has left your body and you are filled with only cool, crystal clear air.
  • Open your eyes and make a fresh start on the task at hand.

It is worth noting that for some people, deep breathing can make panic attacks worse. In these cases, the person can try focusing on doing something they enjoy instead.

People cannot always predict when a panic attack is going to arise, but making a plan of what to do for when it does occur can help a person feel more in control and make panic attacks easier to manage.

3. Listen to Your Thoughts:

  • Panic & fear can easily cause racing thoughts that seem to act like a ball in a pinball machine, just bouncing off of everything.
  • Pay attention to what you’re saying to yourself.
  • Self-talk like “I’ll never get all this done”, “Nobody appreciates how hard I work” or “This day will never end” only serves to increase stress and anxiety, and most importantly, they are rarely true and serve no useful purpose.
  • Change your self-talk to “I don’t know how I’ll get all this done, but I always do”, “My hard work pays off and my contributions matter” or “I’m looking forward to getting home and relaxing tonight”.
  • Respond to your thoughts out loud – by using your voice you can find new control that will not only slow your racing thoughts but help to calm you.
  • Often, many of our thoughts are invisible to us, but have a tremendous effect on our stress level, for good or bad. Make your thoughts work for you, not against you.

When You Absolutely Need To Talk To Someone!

Never be ashamed to talk to someone, many times having another voice will help control the ones in your head. But it can be more serious, and a good way to derail those thoughts is by talking to someone that understands these crises.

Do not be ashamed that you need help, be ashamed if you do not accept help. No one is a superhero, everyone needs help from time to time.

When You Need To Talk To Someone You Need To Do It Now!
Write This Number Down For The National Crisis Hotline:
1-800-273-8255 – U.S. & Canada

Click Here For More Countries

After The Panic

Once you have more control of yourself and are ready to let others help you, please join one of our 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. – we are here to help you – all we ask is that you control your panic and rage and do not turn against those trying to help.

We Are Here To Help

We will always do our best to help everyone, but fear, anger, and panic make it almost impossible for us to help. In these cases, we have no choice but to refer these victims to a mental healthcare provider.

So please be aware of your moods so we can help!

TAGS: SCARS, Information About Scams, Cybercrime, Crybercriminals, Romance Scams, Scam Victims, Online 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., Online Crime Is Real Crime, Scam Fear, Panic, Anger & Rage, Panic Attacks, Psychology of Scams, Victim Recovery,

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By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS 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. Inc.

A Worldwide Crime Victims Assistance & Crime Prevention Nonprofit Organization Headquartered In Miami Florida USA & Monterrey NL Mexico, with Partners In More Than 60 Countries
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SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

A Worldwide Crime Victims Assistance & Crime Prevention Nonprofit Organization Headquartered In Miami Florida USA & Monterrey NL Mexico, with Partners In More Than 60 Countries
To Learn More, Volunteer, or Donate Visit: www.AgainstScams.org
Contact Us: Contact@AgainstScams.org

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