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SCARS|RSN™ Psychology of Scams: Scam Victim Surrender

There Comes A Point In The Scam When the Victim Just Surrenders And Sends The Money

Renowned authors Sanford Strong (“Strong on Defense” ») and J.J. Bittenbinder (“Tough Target” ») point out that:

“when someone is told a lie they desperately want to believe, they’re going to believe it”

It’s About Emotion, Not Logic

Think about the first time you fell in love or a time when someone cut you off on the freeway and you were seething for hours. Were you thinking clearly? Probably not. You let your emotions rule!

cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.
capitulate, give in, give (oneself) up, yield, concede, submit, climb down, give way, defer, acquiesce, back down, cave in, relent, succumb, quit, crumble

Those who believe they’d never fall for a scam don’t realize it’s not about how smart you are; it’s about how well you control your emotions.

Fraud victims are people with emotional needs, just like the rest of us. But they can’t separate out those needs when they make emotion-based decisions. That’s what makes them vulnerable.

As any professional telemarketer can tell you: the first objective to get the victim “under the ether.”

Ether is that fuzzy state when your emotions are stirred up and you’re so agitated that you won’t know which way is up and which is down. But it is not anger, it is any strong emotion – greed, love, despair, or maybe desire. Once the scammer has gotten the victim into this condition, it doesn’t matter how smart or dumb they are, then scammer rules. Ether (emotion) trumps intelligence every time.

The Two Most Powerful Ways To Do This Are Through Need And Greed – Scammers Use Both

Scammers find victims based upon their emotional need.  Elderly widowers are typically in need of love, communications, and understanding. So romance scammers target these victims.

Teenage girls are driven by their need to be accepted, understood, and lust

Men are frequently driven by their need to save someone – a damsel in distress.

Then the drilling down needs to occur to find the right emotional buttons or pain points that will get the Victim to Surrender to the Scammer’s Will.

They start with pronouncements and a continuous stream of banter, but all the while they are interrogating the victim by asking personal questions. Once they have enough knowledge of the victim – and this process can happen fast, then they will throttle up the pressure by focusing on that need. “I love you and I want to come to visit you but I do not have the money” Or “I have an emergency,” etc.

Now the person isn’t thinking about whether it is a scam but instead, “Here’s a fix for my problems.” – I will send him/her money! I have money and all will be well.

The “crush,” or the “kill” — that’s what telemarketers and scammers call closing the deal — is emotionally driven. It’s not logic. If you apply logic, the answer is always “No, I am not going to send you my hard-earned money. I don’t even know who you are.” If victims had applied logic to scams, they would have walked away every time.

The Surrender Is Also The Victim’s Proof That They Trust The Scammer

Scammers are also expert in manipulating a victim through the trust stages in the false relationship. They deliberately create moments of doubt to test the victim. There will be a series of small tests leading to larger and larger ones, eventually leading to sending the first small amount, and then each one is larger and larger.

These moments of surrender are when the victim abandons distrust.

At first, everything is great, then comes the first moment of doubt or a trust test that the scammer engineers. It starts with a small one that the scammer uses to get you over the hump. If the scammer can get you through the small tests they know that your emotional investment will help get you through the larger ones. It is like momentum – it is emotionally easier to go forward than to stop and back out.

This is especially true once you have started to send money. That moment always comes up “If I stop now I will lose everything I have sent.” If you just send a little more everything will be alright. That is called Chasing The Money » and is a technique that scammers use to maintain the Victim’s Surrender.

Once A Victim Has Surrendered

Most of the time, once a victim has surrendered to the scammer, the scammer will bleed them until the bank runs dry. Once the scammer knows there is nothing more they will simply drop the victim and move on to the next. However, frequently they will also give or sell the information – sometimes the full transactional transcripts to other scammers for different kinds of scams, such as: investigative scams, money recovery scams, etc. That is because they know that the victim remains vulnerable.

Other Than Romance Scams

The other pathway to the ether is simple greed: The scammer just promises victims they can make a ton of money. This is the core of the 419 Advance fee fraud scams.

By the time things begin to look dicey, victims tend to be so invested, emotionally and often physically, that they do most of the persuasion themselves.

Victims may even choose to increase their involvement themselves, even as things turn south (meaning there are constantly new problems that require more money) so that by the time the victim is completely bankrupt they don’t quite know what hit them.


The scammer may not even need to convince the victim to stay quiet after the scam as they are more likely than not to do it themselves because of shame. People are, after all, the best deceivers of their own minds.

At each step of the scam, scammers draw from a seemingly endless toolbox of ways to manipulate their victim’s beliefs.  As the victim becomes more committed (surrenders), with every step the victim gives the scammer more psychological material to work with.


Needless to say, all scam victims have experienced this moment of surrender. The best defense is to never engage – do not accept friend requests, no not engage in conversation, and trust no one until you are sure they are real, and even then remain skeptical.

Avoiding scams is mostly behavioral because your emotions will give you away. Learn to change how you approach people. Learn to pause before you engage. Even waiting an hour can dampen the emotions to allow you to think more clearly,

SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated


A SCARS Division
Miami Florida U.S.A.


TAGS: Deception, Surrender, Scam Victims, Scammers, Romance Scams, Sending Money, Fooling Yourself, Trust, Ether, Abandon Distrust, Need, Greed,

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FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?

It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.

Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:

  1. Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
  2. Your National Police or FBI (www.IC3.gov »)
  3. The SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network – Worldwide Reporting Network HERE » or on www.Anyscam.com »

This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.

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To learn more about SCARS visit www.AgainstScams.org

Please be sure to report all scammers HERE » or on www.Anyscam.com »

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Scam Victim Surrender - SCARS|RSN™ Psychology of Scams 1


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SCARS|RSN™ RomanceScamsNow.com™ is the official knowledge and victims' support publication of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams™ Incorporated [SCARS]™ It is edited and published by the SCARS|RSN Team, a division of SCARS. SCARS is the world's leading anti-scam charitable nonprofit nongovernmental organization, based in Miami Florida U.S.A. Its founder has been involved in combating online fraud since 1991. SCARS™ - the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. is a charitable nonprofit nongovernmental organization (NGO) dedicated to advocating victim's causes and changing government and law enforcement attitudes toward online fraud for good! Please join us in becoming a member of SCARS - it's free! Add your voice so that the world will listen at last - just go to www.AgainstScams.org. The SCARS|RSN website and all of our publications (including social media) are maintained by our own staff employees and volunteers to provide you the most up to date information about scams & scammers from around the world. We show you how to avoid them or recover from them. SCARS is the only registered online crime victims' assistance & support organization in the world. Be sure to report scammers here. Also, visit our main Facebook page for more information about romance scams.