Scam Victim Apathy – Scams Are Somebody Else’s Problem

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Scam Victim Apathy – Scams Are Somebody Else’s Problem

(Last Updated On: September 30, 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. Victim Apathy – 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. Are Somebody Else’s Problem

A Look At Why Most Scam Victims Will Not Act Effectively

The 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. – 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

Crime Victim Apathy – Somebody Else’s Problem

Does the experience of crime lead to individual disenchantment from life, friends and family, willingness to learn, willingness to help, and politics, or can it even stir activism (good or bad?)

Research on non-electoral political 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. reveals that crime victims become politically more engaged, yet may become more apathetic about themselves and their own lives. In contrast, findings from psychological research suggest that victimizationVictimization Victimization (or victimization) is the process of being victimized or becoming a victim. The field that studies the process, rates, incidence, effects, and prevalence of victimization is called victimology. increases apathy due to loss of self-esteem and social cohesion.

Building a cognitive foundation of informed activism, we propose that it is the level of distress that increases—in the case of non-violent crime—or decreases—in the case of violent crime experience (which we include financial 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. as a violent crime) — the likelihood of effective action, informed activism, and voting. The results of research support this hypothesis on victims.

In other words, for most scam victims it is Somebody Else’s Problem to solve the crisis of scams and to help victims.

“Somebody Else’s Problem Field”

Douglas Adams, in his book “Life, The Universe and Everything” describes a kind of mythical field that makes “things” other people’s problems. This would include scams before, during, and afterward.

Of course, this is a sarcastic allegorical view but it does describe the effect of ignoring the obvious because someone does not want to see it. In other words, this is referring to Cognitive Bias:

A “Somebody Else’s Problem Field,” or “S.E.P.,” is a useful way of safely protecting something from unwanted eyes. In other words, making it invisible.

According to his story, an S.E.P. can run almost indefinitely on a torch or a 9 volt battery, and is able to do so because it utilises a person’s natural tendency to ignore things they don’t easily accept, like, for example, aliens at a cricket match, or the possiblity of a romance scam. Any object or person around which an S.E.P. is applied will cease to be noticed, because any problems one may have understanding it (and therefore accepting its existence) become Somebody Else’s Problem. An object becomes not so much invisible as perposefully unnoticed.

In the story the perfect example of this would be a ship covered in an SEP field at a cricket match. A starship taking the appearance of a large pink elephant is ideal because you can see it, yet it is so inconceivable, your mind can’t accept it. Therefore it can’t exist, thus ignoring it comes naturally.

Meeting someone online that is an obvious fake is another great example. The desire to have a relationship is so great, the the victim turns on the S.E.P. and continues into the relationship even though it will have a horrible outcome.

An S.E.P. can work in much the same way in any environment where the person does not want to see the monster in the closet. Any problem which may present itself to a person inside an S.E.P. will become Somebody Else’s Problem.

But of course, this is just a sarcastic representation of the various cognitive biases that we all have. No victim is to blameBlame 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. during the scam, even though there are significant consequences. However, after the scam responsibility falls squarely on the victim to drop their S.E.P. mentality and step up and accept responsibility for their actions and consequences. It is their problem, not Somebody Else’s Problem!

STATEMENT ABOUT VICTIM BLAMINGVictim Blaming 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.

Some of our articles discuss various aspects of victims. This is both about better understanding victims (the science of victimologyVictimology Victimology is the study of victimization, including the psychological effects on victims, relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system—that is, the police and courts, and corrections officials—and the connections between victims and other social groups and institutions, such as the media, businesses, and social movements.) and their behaviors and psychology. This helps us to better develop recovery programs and to help victims avoid scams in the future. At times this may sound like blamingBlaming 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. the victim, but it does not blame scam victims. Far from it. This article is about the Psychology of Scams – meaning that all humans have psychological or cognitive characteristics in common that can either be exploited or works against us. These become some of the vulnerabilities the scammers exploit. Victims rarely have control or are even aware of them, until something like a scam happens and then they have the ability to learn how their mind works and how to overcome these mechanisms. Articles like these help victims and others understand these processes and how to help prevent them from being exploited again, or to help them recover more easily by understanding their post-scam behaviors. Learn more about the Psychology of Scams & Victim Trauma

Victim Apathy Is One Of The Greatest Challenges Victims Face

The Bystander Effect

The bystander effect, which is another way to look at this apathy,  occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation, against a bully, or during an assault or other crime. It can prevent them from even helping themself! The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is for any one of them to provide help to a person in distress. People are more likely to take action in a crisis when there are few or no other witnesses present. Of course, on the internet, there is an almost infinite number of people – so we see this phenomenon constantly, including with scam victims.

This effect is also a component in scam victims sitting back and not participating in their own recovery.

Understanding the Bystander Effect

Social psychologists Bibb Latané and John Darley popularized the concept of the bystander effect following the infamous murder of Kitty Genovese in New York City in 1964. The 28-year-old woman was stabbed to death outside her apartment; at the time, it was reported that dozens of neighbors failed to step in to assist or call the police.

Latané and Darley attributed the bystander effect to two factors:

  • diffusion of responsibility and
  • social influence

The perceived diffusion of responsibility means that the more onlookers there are, the less personal responsibility individuals will feel to take action. Social influence means that individuals monitor the behavior of those around them to determine how to act.

We see this constantly in 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. where the scam victims simply sit back and let others participate.

Why do people fail to help in an emergency or take action that could help?

It’s natural for people to freezeFreeze Trauma Freeze Response: While fight-or-flight is the better-known way humans respond to certain stressful stimuli, the additional less known third response "FREEZE", was not as widely studied until this last decade. Freezing as a response to a threat might seem effective, a sort of “playing dead” in the face of danger; however, in humans freezing manifests as an inability to communicate, react, make decisions, or take any action of self-preservation or defense. or go into shock when seeing someone having an emergency or being attacked. This is usually a response to fear—the fear that you are too weak to help, that you might be misunderstanding the context and seeing a threat where there is none, or even that intervening will put your own life in danger.

What situational factors contribute to the bystander effect?

It can be hard to tease out the many reasons people fail to take action, but when it comes to sexual assault against women, research has shown that witnesses who are male, hold sexist attitudes, the same tends to be true when the victim is of a different race, or the bystanders are under the influence of drugs or alcohol they are less likely to actively help a woman who seems too incapacitated to consent to sexual activity.

People who have been traumatized in the past often will fall back into the freeze response and this prevents them from taking action. But also people, in general, have a fear of standing out in many contexts – this is called the “Tall Poppy SyndromeSyndrome It is a group of symptoms that can consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms.” – see below.

Can the bystander effect ever be positive?

The same factors that lead to the bystander effect can be used to increase helping behaviors. Individuals are more likely to behave well when they feel themselves being watched by “the crowd,” and when their actions align with their social identities. For example, someone who identifies as pro-environment will take more effort to recycle when they believe they are being observed.

What makes bystanders more likely to intervene against bullying?

Good people can be complicit in bad behavior (hence the common “just following orders” excuse). Someone who speaks up against bullying is called an “upstander.” Upstanders have confidence in their judgment and values and believe their actions will make a difference. They are more likely to do the right thing because they take the time to stop and think before acting.

How to Be an Active Bystander

The intervention of bystanders is often the only reason why bullying and other crimes cease. The social and behavioral paralysis described by the bystander effect can be reduced with awareness and, in some cases, explicit training. Secondary schools and college campuses encourage students to speak up when witnessing an act of bullying or a potential assault.

One technique is to behave as if one is the first or only person witnessing a problem. Often, when one person takes action, if only to shout, “Hey, what’s going on?” or “The police are coming,” others may be emboldened to take action as well. That said, an active bystander is most effective when they assume that they themselves are the sole person taking charge; giving direction to other bystanders to assist can, therefore, be critically important.

How can you avoid being a passive bystander?

Don’t expect others to be the first to act in a crisis—just saying “Stop” or “Help is on the way” can prevent further harm. Speak up using a calm, firm tone. Give others directions to get them involved in helping too. Do your best to ensure the safety of the victim, and don’t be afraid to seek assistance when you need it.

Is it wrong not to help in an emergency?

If a bystander can help someone without risking their own life and chooses not to, they are usually considered morally guilty. But the average person is typically under no legal obligation to help in an emergency – however, this varies depending on the place, some US states have laws that make a bystander liable for their inaction. Also, some places have adopted duty-to-rescue laws, making it a crime not to help a person in need.

“Tall Poppy Syndrome”

The tall poppy syndrome is a cultural phenomenon in which people hold back, criticize or sabotage those who have or are believed to have achieved notable success in one or more aspects of life, particularly intellectual or cultural wealth; “cutting down the tall poppy”.

We see the tall poppy syndrome playing a role in scam victim recovery too, where victims in a group often sit silently out of fear they will be noticed and become the focal point of the group.

Tall Poppy Syndrome: When You Get Cut Down for Standing Out

Getting recognized for your accomplishments should be a cause for celebration. So why does it sometimes feel like your successes have made you the target of criticism, gossip, or downright sabotage? You may be experiencing the social phenomenon known as “Tall Poppy Syndrome.”

Young adults are particularly vulnerable to Tall Poppy Syndrome. Competition for grades and awards in college, or for promotions early in their career, can catalyze Tall Poppy Syndrome behaviors. And because young adults are still building their confidence and competence, they’re more likely to struggle with feelings of insecurity or envy. Understanding the emotions motivating people who put others down can help you take steps to protect your mental healthMental health Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". According to WHO, mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others". From the perspectives of positive psychology or of holism, mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how one defines "mental health". from people who criticize others. But we also see the same thing in recovering scam victims.

What is Tall Poppy Syndrome?

Tall Poppy Syndrome occurs when a person’s success causes them to be attacked, resented, or criticized. Cutting people down devalues someone else’s achievement by suggesting that they did not deserve the attention. And it can discourage them from striving for future achievements that would attract further attention to themselves.

A 2018 report investigating the extent of Tall Poppy Syndrome in Canadian workplaces found that nearly 9 out of 10 of those surveyed (mostly women) felt that their achievements were undermined in the workplace. Nearly as many reported being left out, ignored, or silenced after a success. Women and men were equally likely to engage in the behavior, both as co-workers and supervisors. About half of the respondents said that even their friends had participated in cutting them down. One in 10 acknowledged they had done it to others.

The Effects of Tall Poppy Syndrome?

Victims of Tall Poppy Syndrome feel the effects of the behavior far beyond the context in which it occurs. Survey respondents noted the following far-ranging effects:

  • A general loss of confidence
  • Uncontrollable tics
  • Substance abuse
  • Insomnia
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches or digestion problems
  • Symptoms of PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems.

In addition, many people report holding back their true potential to avoid being cut down by others—for example, by not applying for a promotion or staying silent when others take credit for their ideas.

Tall Poppy’s Meaning and Origins

Tall Poppy Syndrome gets its name from a story told about King Tarquin the Proud, the ancient Roman tyrant, by the historian Livy. Tarquin’s son Sextus was infiltrating the leadership in a neighboring city and asked his father what he should do next. Tarquin did not say anything, but went into his garden and cut the heads off all the tallest poppies with his sword. Sextus took that to mean he should destroy the leading aristocrats of the city, which he did. Rome then easily overtook the city.

Not only does Tall Poppy Syndrome behavior go back to ancient times, but it also appears in cultures around the world. The Japanese expression, “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down,” refers to something similar. The phenomenon is also sometimes described as “crab bucket mentality,” referring to the behavior of crabs in a bucket: A lid is not needed because if one gets close to escaping, the other crabs will pull it back down into the bucket.

This behavior is incredibly pervasive in scam victim communities, such as the “anti-scam hate groups” that exist by the thousands on Facebook and Instagram. These same tall poppy behaviors are seen to function without limits in most of these groups. However, by understanding the psychology of this and other destructive aspects individuals can help themselves correct this for a more complete recovery.

The Apathy of Scam Victims

Let’s look a little deeper into this

The Bystander Effect, or bystander apathy, as well as the Tall Poppy Syndrome, are social psychological theories that help explain why individuals are less likely to offer help to themselves or to another victim.

Apathy in Crime Reporting

Most victims seem to believe that it is too much trouble to report these crimes – it is Somebody Else’s Problem to do it. When it comes to participating to truly help others, most victims profess that they want to help others when given the opportunity, but few actually do – most remain silent. When opportunities to work together on advocacy activities, such as contacting congress or parliament or playing an activist role under the guidance of an organization such as SCARS or others, most victims do nothing. Most victims also do not support real nonprofit organizations that can help them or other victims. In short, most victims do nothing to really improve the situation.

The underlying issues with this are known, but the problem is communicating it to the victims both in general and to specific individuals. In most cases, these critiques are positive and constructive, but because of grief reactions, victims often react with withdrawal or hostility. Only through education, support, and 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. 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. can victims truly understand how often they work against themselves and the overall goals of helping all victims and reducing scams.

Ambiguity and Consequences

Ambiguity is one factor that affects whether or not a person assists another in need or even themself in specific cases, or in more general situations.

In some cases of high ambiguity, it can take a person or group up to five times longer before taking action than in cases of low ambiguity. In these cases, people determine their own interests before proceeding. This seems to mean that the majority will only act if it is easy, requires no effort, has immediate and tangible results, and makes them feel good. Questions of duty or responsibility are disregarded. Even their duty to their own future is rarely considered. People are more likely to intervene in low ambiguity situations/insignificant consequence situations rather than in high ambiguity significant consequence situations.

Research suggested that in ambiguous situations, people may look to one another for guidance, and misinterpret others’ lack of initial response as a lack of concern. This causes each person to decide that the situation is not serious.

In scam victims, we see this deflected action in the amateur anti-scam groups that were founded by angry victims out for some form of revenge – other victims see this as a low-impact activity believing it will have an immediate result, and ignore the real solutions that are effective but do not feel as consequential. As more victims flock to the amateurs it creates a climate of gradual frustration that results in even further apathy.

Even in real scam victim support groups, most victims sit in the background and fail to participate in what clearly can help restore their lives. It is all just too much effort – they have other things to do – other priorities instead of their own recovery. Only in groups where the majority is very active, do we see this momentum carried over to those sitting in the background. But if the majority is mostly silent, we see this dominance.

Summary

As has been described above, people are complicated, especially scam victims suffering from trauma and going through grief.

Support providers, such as SCARS, do everything within our power and resources to educate victims about the consequences of their actions and behaviors after their scam ended, but in many cases, it is just not enough. When that is the case, victims must find local trauma counseling or therapy to help them both understand what their behaviors and psychology mean, and how to stay on course to recover from these experiences. Without this, scam victims become their own worst enemies – this is the reason that over 75% of scam victims do not successfully recover.

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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.

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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.

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SCARS, SCARS|INTERNATIONAL, SCARS, SCARS|SUPPORT, SCARS, RSN, Romance Scams Now, SCARS|INTERNATION, 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|LATINOAMERICA, SCARS|MEMBER, SCARS|VOLUNTEER, SCARS Cybercriminal Data Network, Cobalt Alert, 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., SCARS ANGELS, SCARS RANGERS, SCARS MARSHALLS, SCARS PARTNERS, are all trademarks of Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc., All Rights Reserved Worldwide

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