Welcome To Hell
Scam Victims & The Circles Of Hell
Many Scam Victims Compare Their Time After The Scam Ends To Being In the Circles of Hell!
The comparison is not without merit. Since the process of recognizing 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. and processing grief is a lot like the early descriptions of the circles of hell.
Dante Alighieri wrote a book called “INFERNO” hundreds of years ago (in the early 1300s), where he describes the 9 Circles of Hell and his struggle for redemption and the achievement of his goals. Interestingly the 9 rings relate a lot to scam victims and their struggle to make it out of hell following the end of their 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?.
SCARS NOTE: Dante’s Book is highly religious, specifically Roman Catholic, and we portray some of that here. Our intent is not to promote a religion, nor to offend its followers, but just to use the Inferno as an allegory for the experience scam victims face during recovery. But understanding and acknowledging the deepness of the path before all scam victims, it allows for strength in that knowledge – just as Dante’s hero had no illusions or biases about where he was, scam victims should also try to accept that at the beginning their journey is long and oh so hard, but going forward with the firm knowledge that there is a way through!
Here are each of the 9 circles of hell and how it relates to being a scam victim in recovery
Our thanks to Penguin Random House for their insights and simplification of the 9 Rings of Hell.
The Circles Of Hell – First Circle: Limbo
In the INFERNO: The first circle of hell is home to the unbaptized and virtuous pagans. It’s not Heaven, but as far as Hell goes, it isn’t too bad: It’s the retirement community of the afterlife. Hippocrates and Aristotle will be your neighbors, so any attempt at small talk will probably turn into Big Talk in a hurry. You’ll have television, but all of the channels will be set to CSPAN.
With scam victims: This is the place scam victims arrive at right after the scam ends. This is the place of shock, confusion, and desperation. “Where am I?” “How did I get here?”
The Circles Of Hell – Second Circle: Lust/Desire
In the INFERNO: The wind-buffeted second circle of Hell is the final destination of the lustful and adulterous — basically anyone controlled by their hormones. Cleopatra and Helen of Troy were among its most famous residents during Dante’s day, but you can expect this place to be full of angsty teenagers and reality television stars by the time you arrive.
With scam victims: This is the place where victims begin to experience their new needs. The need to gain control of themselves and others, where they instantly believe they are now experts in cybercrimeCybercrime Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks., 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., and how to help other victims, as only they can.
The Circles Of Hell – Third Circle: Gluttony
In the INFERNO: In this circle of hell, today’s forecast calls for plenty of icy rain and slush — a “wintery mix” for all eternity. You know those people whose Instagram feeds are full of carefully lit photos of artfully arranged entrees? You’ll probably find them here, plus anyone whose response is “I’m kind of a foodie” when asked where they’d like to go eat.
With scam victims: we often see early on, a desperation for answers. Not so much for knowledge but certainty! This is a burning desire to find things out and make someone pay for what happened. In its way, this is a kind of gluttony (with a lowercase “g”). Because they have not yet learned to tell what is true from the urban legends and false information spread by so many others, they just desperately need to consume! This is where those in 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. just need to have someone prove to them that it was a scam and force-feed them information 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..
The Circles Of Hell – Fourth Circle: Greed
In the INFERNO: This section of Hell is reserved for the money-grubbers and overly materialistic among us. According to Dante, those condemned to the fourth circle spend eternity fighting over money and valuables, so be prepared to meet all of your distant cousins who show up out of nowhere with empty U-Haul trucks the moment after a well-to-do great aunt or uncle dies.
With scam victims: This is a place for those trapped in denial over the money they sent to the criminals. This is the part of the after-scam experience where victims have the hardest time accepting the loss of their money! This is what is called “chasing the money.” The dream that you can get your money back is seductive and at times overpowering. Your need (greed – but not a bad greed) drives victims to chase after the money, no matter what the cost to their recovery and increasing trauma. When victims are unable to accept that the money is gone, they are stuck and unable to move forward.
The Circles Of Hell – Fifth Circle: 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.
In the INFERNO: Dante tells us that the wrathful and angry souls of this circle spend eternity waging battle on the River of Styx. If playing pirates forever sounds like your idea of a good time, then the fifth circle can’t be too bad. Be prepared to hoist the Jolly Roger and go to war against that one guy in line who yelled at your favorite barista, and the road rageRage 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.-possessed driver who very nearly rear-ended you last week.
With scam victims: Of course, Anger is a normal part of the processing of grief, but it is also very seductive. It can easily trap and flip scam victims into rage and hate, not only for criminals but for anyone that does not do what they want, or follow what they believe. This is where scam victims become vigilantes and seek only revenge!
The Circles Of Hell – Sixth Circle: Heresy
In the INFERNO: Dante wrote that heretics spent eternity entombed in flaming crypts in the sixth circle, but heresy is kind of an obscure sin in modern times. There are probably plenty of vacancies now, so let’s fill this one with anyone who goes bananas whenever “their” movie franchise or comic book changes in a way they don’t like. The air in the sixth circle is probably choked with ashes and anguished cries of “[X] ruined my childhood!”
With scam victims: Heresy for scam victims means anyone that does not comply or agree with their beliefs, expectations, and needs, wants, and desires. But it also is the place for victims that have given in to their cognitive biases and refuse to accept anything close to reality. These are the victims that believe that no one does anything, the police are useless, organizations (like SCARS) do not understand or help victims and that we are as bad as the scammers! So often they go out and proclaim themselves experts and lure in other like-minded victims. Sadly, most will never fully recover from this. It is also closely related to anger.
The Circles Of Hell – Seventh Circle: Violence
In the INFERNO: I’ll be honest with you, Dante was being sadistic when it came to designing this level. It is composed of three rings. The outer ring is filled with blood and fire and reserved for murderers and thugs. That’s fine, but it gets sketchier from here. The middle ring is where, according to Dante, suicide victims go. They’re transformed into trees and fed upon by harpies (which I guess are somehow related to termites?). The inner ring, a place of burning sand, is reserved for “blasphemers.”
With scam victims: The obvious correlation for this ring of hell is for those that lose all hope and may even take their own life. Suicide among scam victims is a fact. Almost 20 victims take their own life a day in the United States, and easily a similar number in the rest of the world – perhaps more. The loss of hope is devastating for scam victims regardless of their final actions, that is truly a ring of hell.
The Circles Of Hell – Eighth Circle: 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.
In the INFERNO: The eighth circle is subdivided into ten trenches. We won’t get into the specifics of who goes where (Too bad, Dante. That’s what you get for making me write about the seventh circle) but here you’ll find con artists of all sorts. Dante described ditches, but I prefer to think of the eighth circle as being a giant cubicle farm full of phone and internet fraudsters. Welcome, supposed “IRSIRS The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the revenue & tax service of the United States federal government responsible for collecting taxes and administering the Internal Revenue Code (the main body of federal statutory tax law.) It is part of the Department of the Treasury and led by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who is appointed to a five-year term by the President of the United States. The duties of the IRS include providing tax assistance to taxpayers; pursuing and resolving instances of erroneous or fraudulent tax filings; and overseeing various benefits programs. Visit www.IRS.gov to learn more. agents” who insist on being paid in iTunes cards.
With scam victims: Well, so scammers have their own ring in hell! Victims seem to populate it as well. Consider those victims that are so deep into 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 even after family and friends have done everything they possibly can, the victim refuses to see the truth. It is possible to defraud yourself by denying the truth?! Some scam victims regularly lie to themselves about what happened, why it happened, and what follows. The only escape is the truth!
The Circles Of Hell – Ninth Circle: Treachery
In the INFERNO: The final circle is a frozen wasteland occupied by history’s greatest traitors. So … Washington, DC in February?
With scam victims: The final ring of hell is also where the devil resides. For scam victims this is the treachery of your own expectations and biases that lie and cheat and lead victims back into new scams, believing that this time it will be different. This roughly equates to the Negotiation part of the grief cycle – instead of allowing yourself to come to full acceptance, victims often either resign themselves to stay where they are (betraying their recovery in sight of the finish line), or worse convincing them that it is safe to back into the water!
Escape From Hell
In Dante’s Inferno, he climbed out of hell and into heaven.
For scam victims, this is all about accepting the truth of the situation as early as possible and sticking with the recovery path until the end. It also means allowing grief to follow its course and getting the help needed to learn to manage trauma as well. These are the marker stones that lead out of hell and into the light.
Every scam victim can follow the path that leads out of hell, but few actually do.
This is not 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. them, not at all. The journey through hell is long and difficult and not all will try. But for those that make the commitment to the path they can make it all the way through and out of hell!
We sincerely hope that you are one of those that follow the path and make it through your hell! We will be here every step of the way to guide you, if you let us.
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SCARS provides the leading Support & Recovery program for relationship scam victims – completely FREE!
Our managed peer supportPeer support Peer support occurs when people provide knowledge, experience, emotional, social or practical help to each other. It commonly refers to an initiative consisting of trained supporters and can take a number of forms such as peer mentoring, reflective listening (reflecting content and/or feelings), or in a support group. Peer support is also used to refer to initiatives where colleagues, members of self-help organizations and others meet, in person or online, to give each other connection and support on a reciprocal basis. Peer support is distinct from other forms of social support in that the source of support is a peer, a person who is similar in fundamental ways to the recipient of the support; their relationship is one of equality. A peer is in a position to offer support by virtue of relevant experience: he or she has "been there, done that" and can relate to others who are now in a similar situation. Trained peer support workers such as SCARS Volunteers receive special training and may be required to obtain Continuing Education Units, similar to clinical staff. Some other trained peer support workers may also be law-enforcement personnel and firefighters as well as emergency medical responders. groups allow victims to talk to other 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 and recover in the most experienced environment possible, for as long as they need. Recovery takes as long as it takes – we put no limits on our support!
SCARS is the most trusted support & education provider in the world. Our team is certified in trauma-informedTrauma-Informed Trauma-informed care shifts the focus from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” A trauma-informed approach to care acknowledges that health care needs to have a complete picture of a patient’s life situation — past and present — in order to provide effective care services with a healing orientation. Adopting trauma-informed practices can potentially improve patient engagement, treatment adherence, and health outcomes. care, grief 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., and so much more!
To apply to join our groups visit support.AgainstScams.org
We also offer separate 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. for family & friends too.
SCARS STAR™ Member
SCARS offers memberships in our STAR program, which includes many benefits for a very low annual membership fee!
SCARS STAR Membership benefits include:
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To learn more about the SCARS STAR Membership visit membership.AgainstScams.org
To become a SCARS STAR Member right now visit join.AgainstScams.org
To Learn More Also Look At Our Article Catalogs
SCARS Printed Books For Every Scam SurvivorSurvivor 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 From SCARS Publishing
Each is based on our SCARS Team’s 32 plus years of experience.
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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 counseling or therapy, qualified support groups, 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!
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.
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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