About 5%-10% or More Scam Victims Will Be Scammed Again
The very sad truth is that many scam victims are scammed over and over. Our analysis shows that the average is about 3.4 times.
However, it is hardest to help those that end their scam, begin recovery, and then let their emotions continue to take control of them – leading them into still more scams!
PLEASE NOTE: This is not intended for first-time victims – this is intended for those victims that relapse into new scams after beginning recovery! if you were a victim of more than one scam and were already on the path of recovery and stayed there then this is also not for you
THIS IS FOR VICTIMS WHO WERE RECOVERING FROM THEIR FIRST SCAM BUT DECIDED THEY KNEW BETTER!
What Is The Reality Of Scam Victim Relapse?
Relapse is when you do not recover – usually because you remain in shock, denial, anger, or otherwise the effect of believing you know better, and are scammed again.
Relapse is when you chose to throw away all that you have learned. Throw away the help and investment made by your family, friends, and support provider, because you know it will not happen again. Yet it did!
WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THIS TOPIC IN A VERY TRUTHFUL WAY – THIS MAY BE HARD, BUT IT IS THE TRUTH
In order to recover after a relapse, there are some very hard truths that the victim has to hear, or it will just happen again and again.
We know this because we have seen it thousands of times.
Any new victim that does not listen and believes they know best is delusional. Sorry, that is just the way it is.
This goes beyond simple cognitive biases or cognitive distortions. Delusions can cause a victim to repeat their previous steps and become a victim again and again because they are refusing to accept reality.
However, It Is Not Just About Delusions, It Is Also About Decisions
This time it is a different situation. Because the second time, after starting recovery and learning what is real and then completely disregarding it is the victim’s fault – because they decided to do it.
This is not about victim blaming, but about helping the victim to see the truth that this time they decided to be scammed!
During the first scam ignorance & vulnerability created the opportunity for the criminal to lure in the victim, and we all know what happens after that. Yes, there was a mistake made, but what followed after that was not the victim’s fault.
On the second, or the third (etc.) scam, the victim was not ignorant, and the previous vulnerabilities (while they may still have been there) did not matter. This time it was willful. It involved a set of decisions.
With Relapse A Victim Has To Willfully Decide:
In order for there to be more scams, a victim has to decide certain things:
- They know better than other people or experts
- They will not allow themselves to be scammed again – they know better
- They will ignore advice and scam avoidance information
- They want what the relationship offers – emotions, desires, what is missing from their life
- They do not care about the risks
These are five really bad decisions that a relapsing victim makes, and we have seen them a thousand times.
This Is The Baseline For The Second Recovery
In addition to everything that has to be understood and accepted the first time to recover, these new situations and decisions have to be acknowledged and accepted or recovery cannot be restarted.
If a victim allows themselves to be scammed again (or multiple times) they have to understand that they made the decision to allow it. No one else did.
Of course, the scammers were out there just waiting to pounce, but the victim knew that and ignored it because they knew better. This is no different than when an alcoholic has to admit after they relapse. In every real sense, all their previous progress is gone and they are starting over.
This time, not only do they have to admit that they are responsible for the relapse, but they decided willfully to do it, They have to admit that they ignored all sound advice and did it anyway.
This Is Much Harder To Admit Than Being Scammed The First Time
What this really means is admitting to themselves that they cannot trust themselves (at least not for a while.) This means giving up their agency after the second scam. While the recovery after the first scam was all about recovering their agency, after the second time it is about learning that their decision-making and agency are not trustworthy – at least not for a while – that they have to be given up until they prove again that they can trust themselves.
The path forward from a second scam is a hole much deeper than the first one. But on the other hand, it can be faster in some respects because some of the basics were learned the first time – even though they were ignored. Those can be applied and learned for the second (third, fourth, etc.) time around.
The greatest change is knowing that you cannot trust yourself, and by extension, others cannot trust you either. So trust has to be rebuilt but from a place quite different than the first time.
This was partly true the first time – and it was proven beyond any doubt – but trust is much hard to recover after the second time.
Successful preparation for re-recovery requires an honest analysis of a victim’s individual strengths and weaknesses. Such an evaluation establishes the framework in which all the aforementioned can be more effectively acknowledged. This can be very difficult but it can be achieved though.
First Recognize Your Delusions
The first thing to acknowledge is that you were delusional.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE DELUSIONAL?
It means that you are characterized by or holding idiosyncratic beliefs or impressions that are contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of a mental disorder. Though delusional thinking can be the result of cognitive bias or cognitive distortions too.
After the first scam ended, we make it clear that most victims are suffering from significant trauma. Some victims suffer even more severe disorders.
But in most cases, the victim’s own personality plays the role in perpetuating the delusional beliefs, usually compounded by a rejection of support and assistance.
ADDRESSING THE DELUSIONS
This is not really the role of a victims’ assistance, support, or recovery provider. This is the role of a mental healthcare provider – a trauma counselor or therapist.
There may be deeper reasons why the victim allowed themselves to believe in the additional fantasy that turned into another scam, and a therapist is better able to explore those.
This is why SCARS recommends that all victims should see a local trauma counselor and at least be evaluated. This simple step could help prevent relapse.
Here are three resources to help find a therapist or counselor:
Self-Help Steps A Relapsed Victim Can Take
The first step is adopting the position of total distrust because the previous trust went out the window. The only way to start rebuilding that is with complete honesty and transparency.
NEXT CONDUCT A PERSONAL EMOTIONAL INVENTORY:
Begin by asking the simple question why did you ignore everything and re-enter a place where you were at high risk, and then as the stranger unfolded the story. You have to be very explicit and brutally honest with yourself over this.
Think about what you were feeling as this unfolded,
- Why didn’t you immediately stop all contact?
- What was it you needed or wanted from this?
- What emotions and what expectations were driving you?
- What was your hope for the outcome?
- Why would you ignore everything to achieve it, which of course, you did.
Obviously, whatever it was that you wanted did not happen.
RELEARN EVERYTHING AGAIN
During the first pass through learning, support, and recovery, you were not really paying attention since you were disregarding much of the material. Now it is time to learn it fresh with new eyes and a real commitment.
Assume this time that you really do not know anything, because whatever knowledge you had before has been corrupted by your biases and delusional thinking.
People tried to help you the first time. They spent their time trying to educate you and lead you to the proper path – to recovery.
You actually betrayed them and broke your implicit promise that you were there to learn and recover. In other words, you not only lied but violated their trust.
How do you rebuild trust? You admit your mistakes, own them, and be 100% honest about everything going forward. People will likely give you a second chance, but just understand that you did damage to others.
FOLLOWING THE PATH
This time, what you think and believe matters very little. Because if you let your ego or pride come back into this you will fail again.
You will need to start again following the path of recovery but with the extra burden of relapse. Those who were scammed once and never relapsed will feel empathy for you but will also see you as quite different, you will need to expect this and accept it.
You will need to do what is required this time. To participate fully in your recovery and forget the “I know better” attitude, and be completely open with the support provider, other victims, and with your therapist.
Nothing can be hidden this time.
If you can do these things – hard as it is – you can prevent further relapses. As it was before, it is all up to you!
SCARS offers the factual information that anyone needs to recover. The only reason that more people do not recover is themselves.
We hope you make it through this the second time.
We wish you all the best.