Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team
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.™ 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. Urban Legends – Chapter 4 – Obsessive Scammer Exposing
Originally published chapters 3 and 4 were together, we split them for greater clarity.
The Compulsion To Expose!
When someone is recently victimized by a romance scammer they fall into one of four main categories:
- Those that simply hide
- Those that panic
- Those that are enraged & want revenge
- Those that want to understand
After some time passes they will develop distinct Mindsets, but that is not what we are exploring here.
The Four Kingdoms
ONE: Those That Hide
Those that hide are the ones that are in shock and will tend to stay 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.. Of course, most victims are in some shock after they discover the 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., but sadly this group has an incredibly hard time coming to grips with the facts so tends to just wall it all off. In time they will have to deal with it, but for the immediate future, they will simply avoid it. If you can reach this type of victim early, they can be converted before the avoidance sets in, but once it does they will neither discuss it nor report it – they live as if it never happened and suffer in silence.
This is also the group that tends to be rescammed most ofter too.
TWO: Those That Panic
Those that panic demonstrate significant fear and a mania for grasping at anyone that can help them. This group will be panicked about several issues, and many times all of them at once:
- That they get their money back – may also owe others for this money
- That they find the real person and let them know
- That find someone to save them from the treats the scammer(s) made
- That they get their scammer arrested immediately
- That no one else finds out
They will exhaust a huge amount of energy looking for someone who will promise to fix it all, but of course, no one can. This is the type of victim that cannot focus on recovery and seeks the charismatic cult-like anti-scam groups who promise the sun, the moon, and the stars. In time they may come to their senses but more often become either denialists or haters. These are victims that rarely recover from their scam cleanly or rapidly, it may take many years to recover at all.
THREE: Those That 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.
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. is a normal reaction to finding out that you have been fooled to the extent that scammers do. Anger helps break the bonding and triggers a positive response in a victims personality – up to a point. It is where anger completely drives one’s thinking that they lose it to rage and hatred. Those that rage are not only outraged at their scammer but they immediately believe they are going to save everyone and anyone in their way is the enemy. We explore this more below.
FOUR: Those That Need To Understand
The healthiest group are those that are angry and in shock but fundamentally need to understand. Understand how this happened, how another person could do this to them – not out of panic but out of a design to understand the hows and whys of it. This is the group that is applying critical problem solving to this understanding. They will explore and attempt to truly understand this new universe they have fallen into. This is also the group that is most likely to fully recover and does so in the shortest amount of time (6 months to 18 months).
Ragers & Haters
The ones that are enraged become instant vigilantes demanding justice and insisting that they are going to expose all the scammers. They are personally going to stop scammers all by themselves.
If you see this trend in yourself we advise local 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. because the path where this leads is not a happy one.
They have no experience in global crime, no experience in African Political Affairs, and no real understanding of how scamming really works. This is not to put them down, but to show that complete lack of preparation they have.
Many of these people create pages or groups on social media and trash anyone that disagrees with their limited perspective.
These are the Anti-scam Haters
They have convinced themselves and their cult-like followers that they are going to solve this problem all by themselves. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of them and they do real harm to the real cause of stopping this global crime wave. Worse, their total lack of understanding of victim 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. means that mostly they increase the harm to other victims.
Fortunately, at least there are plenty that DO have a clue!
However, What Almost All Amateur Scammer Hunters Share Is The Desire, In Fact, The Obsession, With Exposing Scammers
They will post an endless stream of scammer photos, names, and profiles online. It becomes a life mission for many, excluding any normal life they might have.
It does seem logical, that posting the scammer’s fake profiles, photos and names will make a difference. In some cases, properly performed it can make a difference, but the shotgun approach they take and the places they do it has little impact.
Unfortunately, this is just substituting one madness (the fake relationship) for another (scammer obsession)
The truth is that scammers really don’t care that much about being exposed. They are not shamed – that is your concept, not theirs. Victims never learn 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. before they are scammed so exposing does almost nothing to prevent new 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..
In the 30 years since scamming moved online, exposing scammers has done almost nothing to stop them.
HAVE YOU WONDERED WHY IT KEEPS GROWING YEAR AFTER YEAR WHEN ALL OF THESE PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE EXPOSING SCAMMERS?
Endlessly Exposing Scammers Is Not The Way To Stop Them
The scammers are professional, they have organizations that create millions of fake identities each year – there are now more than a billion fake identities out there now. Exposing them is just a cost of doing business for them. They will simply create more.
They know that new victims will come along and greedily accept their wildest stories and endlessly reused stolen photos, because the prospect victims want what the scammers offer – a fantasy “happy ever after” life that they desperately need. It is simple economics. The scammers supply the fantasy and victims are the consumer demanding it. We are sorry to put it in such harsh terms but sadly that is what it is.
Exposing scammers doesn’t help most people before they become scammer’s victims, though in fairness it does help some who are looking for confirmation that they were indeed scammed. Getting scammer profiles deleted does help disrupt their communications with current victims and gives those victims a way out.
So What Does Exposing Scammers Really Do?
- It wastes a vast resource in human capital and keeps attention focused on the minutia instead of the big picture changes that could actually make a difference.
- It keeps people endlessly hating or arguing about who is doing it better.
- It causes rifts between this group and that. Anyone that questions their approach is the enemy.
- It is completely nuts!
If it is managed properly it can be effective at disrupting scammers but still, it is only affecting less than 1% of the fake profiles out there. Properly reporting (here on this website or on www.Anyscam.com) can make a difference since the SCARS Network delivers reports to governments around the world and has helped support arrests globally.
A Better Approach
About 25 years ago, here in the United States, Drunk Driving was a major menace. A group of people, some of whom were family members of those killed by drunk drivers started to look for solutions. They too started exposing drunk drivers, and it had a small impact – but it was after the fact. Eventually, the light bulb went off and they realized they needed to create change on two levels: society – making drunk driving completely unacceptable, and to also vastly increase government pressure on the drunk drivers and their enablers through greater penalties for these crimes.
Drunk driving stopped be