Scam Victim Isolation

(Last Updated On: September 2, 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 Isolation

Understanding and Overcoming

Victim Recovery – 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

The Impact of Crime: Isolation on Victims

First, It Is Necessary To Accept That Scam Victims Are Victims Of Crimes!

Scam victims are as affected by these terrible crimes as many other types of victims – even though 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. is not physical.

Crime victims often suffer a broad range of psychological and social injuries that persist long after the crime itself.

They can feel intense feelings of 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., fear, isolation, low self-esteem, helplessness, and depression – these are common reactions.

Like combat veterans, crime victims may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, including recurrent memories of the incident, sleep disturbances, feelings of alienation, emotional numbingNUMBING Numbing is a biological process whereby emotions are detached from thoughts, behaviors, and memories. In many cases, a victim's numbing is evidenced by her or his limited range of emotions associated with interpersonal interactions and their inability to associate any emotion with their recent experience. Because numbing symptoms hide what is going on inside emotionally, there can be a tendency for the victim,  family members, counselors, and other behavioral health staff to assess levels of traumatic stress symptoms and the impact of trauma as less severe than they actually are., and other anxiety-related symptoms.

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. can shatter basic assumptions about the self and the world in which individuals need in order to function normally in their daily lives:

  • that they are safe from harm, that the world is meaningful and just
  • and that they are good, decent people.

This happens not only to victims of violent assaults but also to victims of robbery and burglary, and even 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. or 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., and to their friends and family as well.

It has been suggested that “survivorsSurvivor A Scam Survivor is a victim who has been able to fully accept the reality of their situation. That they were the victim of a crime and are not to blame. They are working on their emotional recovery and reduction of any trauma either on their own, through a qualified support organization, or through counseling or therapy. And has done their duty and reported the crime to their local police, national police, and on Anyscam.com of prolonged, repeated trauma,” such as battered women and abused children, and scam victims often suffer what is called “complex post-traumatic stress disorder,” which can manifest as severe “personality changes, including deformations of relatedness and identity which make them particularly vulnerable to repeated harm, both self-inflicted and at the hands of others.”

The emotional damage and social isolation caused by victimization also may be compounded by a lack of support, and even stigmatization, from friends, family and social institutions, or even other victims that compare their experiences.  This can become a “second wound” for the victim. Those closest to the victim may be traumatized by the crime in ways that make them unsupportive of the victim’s needs. Researchers found that close friends and family members, particularly of a victim of online financial fraud, sometimes withdraw from and 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. the victim.

Crime victims must also contend with society’s tendency to blame them for the crime, which compounds the trauma of the event. To protect their belief in a just world where people get what they deserve, and to distance themselves from the possibility of random or uncontrollable injury, many prefer to see victims as somehow responsible for their fate.

The lack of support for victims trying to recover from a crime can exacerbate the psychological harm caused by victimization and make recovery even more difficult. Fortunately SCARS is here to help with this.

However, when victims do seek help, especially from amateurs they may be treated with insensitivity. They may feel ignored or even revictimized by the criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. justice process as well, such as when reporting to the police, who are not always concerned with the needs of the victim. Scam victims in particular may feel left out of the justice process. When a scam victim asks to be informed as the case progresses, they are often told, “There is nothing we can do.” This tends to make the victim feel isolated, and that isolation can continue for a significant amount of time.

Isolation As An Extension Of The Scam

Isolation is a powerful tactic used by scammers on their victims to manipulate and control them!

Isolation is a pivotal tactic that controlling criminals use in order to weaken their victims, prevent them from hearing others’ perspectives, and to bring them into line with their own requirements.

Often scammers will express possessiveness and jealousy to help keep victims from social contact with friends and family. Some tactics aimed at isolating the victim include telling them that they (others) will not understand, that there is a need for secrecy, etc. Ironically, friends and family DO NOT understand and this reinforces the criminals gaslightingGaslighting Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group creates the seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment. It may evoke changes in them such as cognitive dissonance or low self-esteem, rendering the victim additionally dependent on the gaslighter for emotional support and validation. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and disinformation, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's beliefs. Once in this state the criminal can then more easily control the victim for their own purposes. Instances can range from the denial by a scammer that a scam has occurred, to belittling the victim's emotions and feelings, to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The goal of gaslighting is to gradually undermine the victim's confidence in their own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from delusion, thereby rendering the individual or group pathologically dependent on the gaslighter for their thinking and feelings. and manipulation. These fraudsters often spend considerable time questioning the victims and controlling incoming information including what she reads, calling her names if she spends time with friends and family, and more. There are a whole range of isolation tactics that victims have described being used on them by the criminals to isolate them.

Isolation is a debilitating consequence of abuse and control

Anyone who has lived through a relationship scamRelationship 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? has likely had an ongoing experience of being abused by the scammers leading them to become isolated as a result.  For instance, the victim may withdraw from friends and family to save face or because they feel misunderstood, judged, stigmatized, or not supported when they tried to explain the relationship. Particular tactics used by scammers are aimed at isolating the victim which can lead the victim to become extremely dependent on their controlling “partner” (the scammers.)

Isolation facilitates the crime

Isolation (physical, social or emotional) is often used to facilitate power and control over victim to further the crime.

Isolation reduces the opportunity for the abused victim to be rescued or escape from the scam. It also helps disorient the victim and makes the victim more dependent on 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.. The degree of power and control over the victim is contingent upon the degree of their psychological or emotional isolation.

Isolation of the victim from the outside world is an important element of psychological control. Isolation includes controlling a person’s social activity: whom they see, whom they talk to, where they go and any other method to limit their access to others. It may also include limiting what material is read, even the music they listen to. One way that these remote scammers do this is through two techniques: 1, the supply what they want to victim to read or listen to, or 2) they occupy so much of the victim’s time that they do not have time for much else. It can also include insisting on knowing where they are and and what they are doing – to the victim this may sound like caring and attention, but it is manipulation designed to further isolate the victim.

Scammers often exhibit hypersensitive and reactive jealousy.

What Is Social Withdrawal Or Social Isolation?

After the scam ends, victims tend to increasingly isolate themselves.

This is done for many reasons. In part guilt and 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. plays a role – especially immediately after the scam ends (though this can return later). It can also be a form of 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. – that victims just cannot or do not want to hear or talk about it, so they isolate themselves from others that may know about it.

But the fact is that isolation affects more than 50% of financial fraud victims to one extent or another.

Ask yourself these questions?

  • Are you spending increasingly more time alone because you think no one understands what you’ve experienced or what you’re going through?
  • Are you avoiding social situations because you might be reminded of things you hope to forget?
  • Do you avoid others because you feel you should be able to deal with challenges on your own?

These can be signs of social withdrawal or social isolation.

Social withdrawal

Social withdrawal is avoiding people and activities you would usually enjoy. It can also be withdrawing from your own recovery!

For some people, this can progress to a point of social isolation, where you may even want to avoid contact with family and close friends and just be by yourself most of the time. You may want to be alone because you feel it’s tiring or upsetting to be with other people. Sometimes a vicious cycle can develop where the more time you spend alone, the less you feel like people understand you. And the less you feel like people understand you, the more time you want to spend alone.

Most scam victims show signs of social withdrawal or social isolation after the scam ends, and later on during other major life changes.

Scam victims may have been avoiding other people and activities for a long time and have become uncomfortable being around other people more generally. People who have experienced traumatic events — whether or not as part of scam — also sometimes withdraw or isolate themselves. This is somewhat normal but it does need support to overcome.

Social withdrawal and social isolation can make it difficult to recover from these crimes and even to do the things you normally would enjoy or to get through the day.

Some of the effects of this isolation can include:

  • loneliness
  • relationship problems
  • sleeping problems
  • alcohol or drug problems

If left unchecked, social withdrawal or isolation can lead to or be associated with depression and other mental disorders. Such 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. can also negatively affect those you care about.

See A Local Trauma Counselor or Therapist

SCARS recommends that all scam victims find and see a local trauma counselor or therapist, at least to be evaluated after the scam ends, For most victims, this will be an essential part of your recovery.

Here are directories or resources to help you fund a local trauma counselor or therapist:

If your country has a national health system, then contact them to set up an appointment with a trauma professional.

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Essential Tools For Every Scam Victim From SCARS Publishing

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

SCARS GREEN BOOK
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!

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

SCARS SLATE BOOK – Let Us Explain What Happened!

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.

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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.

Get it here

SCARS BLUE BOOK - Survivor's Recovery Journal
SCARS LIME BOOK - Wisdom & Motivation for Scam Victims
SCARS CHERRY BOOK - A Guide To Understanding Your Fear
SCARS WORKBOOK - 8 Steps To Improvement
SCARS WORKBOOK - Understanding Self-Blame, Guilt, and Shame
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Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

U.S. FTCFTC 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 SCARS at www.Anyscams.com

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By the 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.

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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. The How & Why of Scam [...]

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Scammer ThreatsScammer threats Very often when a scammer is not getting cooperation from a victim or the victim refuses to send money, the scammer will then resort to threats. These treats can be of physical violence or retaliation in one of several forms, such as doing or sextortion. African and Indian scammers routinely make treats at the end of a scam. They will threaten to expose intimate photos or chats. They may even threaten to kill or harm family members. It is important to remember that African and Indians scammers are professional liars - they tell stories to achieve a result - and do not waste time if it does not get them more money. Almost all such threats are just more lies meant to intimidate victims. Most victims are safe to ignore them. However, any victim that actually feels fear should contact their local police for advice. Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself! A [...]

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