Scam Obsession – Becoming Scam Junkie [UPDATED]

Scam Obsession – Becoming Scam Junkie [UPDATED]

(Last Updated On: August 4, 2022)

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. Obsession – Becoming Scam Junkie

Updated August 2022

Scam Victim Recovery Psychology

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. Insight

Some Victims Replace The Obsession Of The Scam With Another Obsession About 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.

Unfortunately, some scam victims simply cannot turn away from the scam once it has ended.

Those Of Us That Assist Scam Victims Cannot Turn Away From Scams

We are forced to deal with scams and scammers on a daily basis. We write about them, report scammers, and help victims. This activity has the purpose that supporting other victims in a conscientious way.

Some Victims Cannot Turn Away

It’s like that compulsion that forces people to stare at a traffic accident!

Many scam victims though, simply cannot turn away from scams. There are many reasons for this:

  • Need for justice
  • Need to spread the word
  • Need to take revenge
  • Need to save others

All of those are valuable causes, but not when a scam victim is trying to recover from their scam.

The Need To Turn Away

After a scam, a victim needs to do the reporting and then try hard to turn away from the scam so they can recover. The best approach is to join a SCARS Scam Victims’ Support GroupSupport Group 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. where we try to help victims develop a new sense of trust and community while focusing on their future.

Fixation of the scam and the 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. holds victims back from recovering and increases negative emotions.

These can lead to two potential problems:

  • 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. can turn to hate, and it can also lead to the need for revenge and vigilantism
  • It leads to a new obsession fixating on scams and  scammers

A Scam Junkie

This is not a nice term. It is intended to be that. It is intended to get your attention!

When a victim replaces one obsession with another it takes on an addictive quality that can be very destructive.

During the scam, the victim’s brain was flooded with hormones that helped to trap the victim in the scam. After the scam, especially during the withdrawal period when the victim is returning to normal, the opportunity for compulsive behaviors remains. This can turn into a compulsive 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. to stay connected to scams and scammers.

What Is A Scam Junkie?

We know that scams – during the romance phase can lead to an addiction. It modifies your behavior, your thinking, just like an addiction, because it is one – based upon your addiction to endorphins and other hormones released by your brain.

In short, victims become dependent on what they get from the scammer. Horrible idea, but true.

What Happens When The Scam Is Over?

A victim should be going through the process of grief. This helps break the bonding with the scammer and allows the victim to refocus on reality.

BUT NOT EVERYONE DOES

Some substitute one dependency for another – an obsession with a scammer or obsession with scams and scammers in general. They just can’t let go.

This can also translate into another obsession – with the face in the photo. That is another obsessive behavior discussed here »

How To Know?

Most scam victims have anger issues after their scam, this is normal.

It is ok for a scam victim to use their desire to fight back (within reason), or a desire to help others avoid the traps they fell into.

But if a victim truly looks at what you are doing, and it is one of the following, or is it an obsession with the scammers themselves, then there may be a problem.

Becoming a Scam Junkie is both a form of desperation driven by fear – the fear of losing that final connection to the relationship that was there. But it is usually more than that.

PLEASE NOTE: Someone who is not obsessed may take on the responsibility to help others, and that might includes many of these indicators. The test is the degree that you can walk away from it when you need to without concern that you are missing something of not being connected to the scammers.

Here are several indicators to help identify someone that is compulsively and obsessively connected with scams and scammers:

  • Do you spend hours looking or searching for fake profiles?
  • Do you want to look at every scammer photo posted?
  • Do you go and hunt scammers?
  • Do you insist that you have to know the name of the real scammer behind the fake act?
  • Do you want to know and contact the real person in the photo?
  • Do you think these things make a difference?
  • Do you belong to numerous anti-scam groups on social media that constantly post scammer photos?
  • When someone tries to tell you that this behavior is preventing your recovery, does it make you angry?

If you answered yes to many of these then you may have just substituted one dependency for another.

You May Now Be Obsessed With Scams And Scammers

These can be ways of avoiding the hard truth about what happened to the victim and fighting against your recovery. Admitting the full extent of the scam, the victims’ participation in manipulation, and the results can be frightening. Obsessing about the scammers in these ways can be comforting.

The fact is that every victim made a bad decision by letting the scammer in and they now need to move forward and recover,

It is important to remember that the odds are no one will save you, and no one will get your money back.

Worse, all of that emotion that you invested in the scammer was based upon the scammer’s lies/deception. It is hard to take, every victim wants justice, many want revenge, and all victims want something or someone to help them make sense of it all. Fakes amateur anti-scam groups are good at making it sound like “exposing” scammers will make it all get better.

But it doesn’t make any sense, constant exposure to scams and scammers will actually harm a victim’s recovery.

The Dark Side

There is also another Dark Side of the Psychology of Scams – Schadenfreude! This is when you start to feel better observing the misery of others. We suggest that you learn about this as well.

Vicarious 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.

Trauma is an emotional response to an intense event that threatens or causes harm. It is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope with or accept the emotions involved with that experience. Almost every scam victim experiences significant trauma, even if they will not acknowledge it.

But trauma may result from recurring events of being overwhelmed such as by binging of scammer news. It can be precipitated over weeks, years, or even decades, as the person struggles to cope with the original crime circumstances, eventually leading to more serious, long-term negative consequences.

After a scam is over, we recommend a complete absence from looking at scams and scammers. Yes, you should learn about WHY & HOW scams happen to help you fill in the gaps in your knowledge and to help you avoid scams in the future, but not about day-to-day news.

Letting Go

Every victim has to learn how to let go – it is never easy – but it is necessary to learn how to accept that.

It starts by accepting three things:

  • You only allowed the stranger in the door, what followed was not your fault
  • You did not do this to yourself, it was done to you – you were expertly manipulated and deceived
  • Now you need to walk away. You need to move forward

A victim can’t recover if they constantly surround themselves with scammers (news, photos, etc.).

Once a victim has substantially recovered, and if they want to help others, then they can come back, but in the beginning, they have to stop looking at or for scammers and scams.

If they can’t do that on their own, they can join one of the SCARS professional support and recovery groups where people can help them keep it under control, and where they have other scam victims that know exactly what they are going through to talk to.

Stop Being A Scam Junkie – Make The Change And Get Help Now

There are many ways that victims can help themselves:

Take A Time Out After Your Scam

Whatever you decide to do, we want you to understand and be able to see that scams leave people damaged and every victim needs time to heal.

You have to look at what you are doing and make a change for the better!

PLEASE SHARE SO OTHERS WILL KNOW

Essential Tools For Every Scam Victim From SCARS Publishing

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

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Self-Help Self-Paced Recovery Program Guide

LEARN HOW TO RECOVER ON YOUR OWN

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 RED BOOK - Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer

SCARS RED BOOK
Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer

ORGANIZE YOUR INFORMATION TO MAKE THE REPORTING PROCESS SIMPLE!

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.

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

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A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims

HOW TO HELP ROMANCE SCAM VICTIMS 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.

Get it here

SCARS BLUE BOOK - Survivor's Recovery Journal
SCARS LIME BOOK - Wisdom & Motivation for Scam Victims
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SCARS WORKBOOK - Understanding Self-Blame, Guilt, and Shame
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By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
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12 Comments

  1. Anonymous February 22, 2018 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    Ive read the article on 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. junkies and that describes me. I hate myself for falling for it but keep talking to them. Ive been scammed 4 times and you would think I would learn after the first. But in my mind I give them a chance, well maybe. but the biggest thing when I say out loud what was done, it sounds stupid All I have to show for it damaged credit and using my house to get myself out of the mess. And i trust no one now, and all conversation with people in general is what do they want from me. Ive become secretive dont tell any one whats happened.Tried going to a counselor but couldnt bring myself to tell all that had happen to me. What the 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. has taught me is how to lie. Try telling anyone you get that look (how did she not see what was going on) even from police and family members.

  2. Anonymous February 20, 2018 at 9:08 am - Reply

    God bless you all your team for helped us .

  3. Željka Mujic February 20, 2018 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Da,prevarena sam.I to za dosta novac.Trebali je proći dosta vremena dok sam mogla prijaviti ćinjenicu da sam žrtva svoje naivnosti I vjere u lijepe priće.Nisam znala ,a Nisam niti vjerovala da se ljudi bogate na takav naćin.Život mora teći dalje a ja se nadam da će prevarant biti uhvaćen.Sve sam prijavila,i koliko mogu pomažem drugima da ne nasjednu na laži kao ja

    • Romance Scams Now Editorial Team February 21, 2018 at 12:48 am - Reply

      If you want to help contact Internet Valkyrja on Facebook – their Romanian Group. JUST REMEMBER, because you were a victim does not mean you know how to help other victims. This is a regulated activity with strong professional standards. First focus on yourself, then take the time to learn to become a professional, then you can truly help others.

  4. Tammy Truesdale February 20, 2018 at 8:08 am - Reply

    I was definitely a 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. junkie. I was in shock and so very confuse about what happen to me. I figured out if I stop going on Facebook and other websites I’ll be better off healing from the 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.. It’s even hard to visit this website reading and researching for information. It’s good to know when you’re not alone and other intelligent people had fallen for the same 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.. In my case I had too many problems I was dealing with and too busy helping people that didn’t deserve my time of day. I guess I was trying to escape from them and looking for a happier place in life. I understand now how easier for me to become a victim. I avoid has many people possible and removed myself from stressful situations. This includes family and friends not to mention volunteering in a thankless job. I’m mad at myself about forgetting to take care me first. If I done this then I most likely would’ve never fail for these monsters scams. I’ll never be the same person that I use to be.

    • Romance Scams Now Editorial Team February 21, 2018 at 12:51 am - Reply

      Tammy, there is good news. The light at the end of the tunnel is not a train – it is just a long way away. This takes much longer to heal than people understand. It may take a year or two to recover emotionally, and even then, 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. victims suffer from a form of PTSD – but you will get better, just give it time – lots of freaking time!

      • Tammy Truesdale February 21, 2018 at 3:32 pm - Reply

        Thank you for being here for victims like myself. Much appreciated here because it’s a battle trying to heal when all I want at times is to be alone in the dark.

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