(Last Updated On: April 11, 2022)

Scam Victim Mindsets

SCARS Research

SCARS Scam Analytics

Scam Victim Mindsets

What Do Victims Believe?

What Are Their Mindsets?

As the result of a year-long victimization study by the Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams Inc. [SCARS] – SCARS has been able to identify the primary Scam Victim Mindset Profiles and how they relate to the victim’s response after the scam.

A total of 16,000 victims were sampled in this analysis over 2017 and 2018 by the SCARS Analytics Department.



  • African Apologists
  • Minimizers
  • Vigilantes
  • Denialists
  • Realists


African Apologists tend to be those that politically believe that the Africans (the Scammers) are just yet another set of victims of “White Privilege” and “Colonialization.” These victims refuse to blame criminal behavior for the scammer’s actions or that this was a choice made by individuals to scam. Instead, it is fundamentally Western Society’s fault for how we treated Africans in the historic past and present. You will find them being very liberal in their political orientation which colors their view that victims live in countries which are really at fault and the underlying cause of African criminality is not the political and social corruption of the African Nations. In other words, it is the victim’s country at fault, and no one should be surprised or shocked by Africa poor people finding a living in whatever way they can. While their numbers are few they are highly vocal in their blame against all governmental and support institutions as being a part of the problem.


Minimizers are those that were minimally affected financially or not at all and tend to believe that scams and their impact on victims is overblown. These tend to be the ones that act and comment negatively against other victims, and have little ability to empathize with scam victims. These tend to be negative judgmentally, and while small as a group tend to project shame onto victims – especially those in the Denialist category. However, there is a difference between their condemnation and the provocation used by supporters of victims. Supporters may ask “What Were You Thinking” as a means of getting the discussion started, but Minimizers ask that as a way of pointing out how “stupid” the victim is – questioning the victim’s self-worth vs. questioning the act.


Vigilantes are those victims that are profoundly and adversely affected by the aftermath of the scam. It affects them in a way that forces their fear and anger to dominate. Their initial lack of control and sense of powerlessness triggers the need for retaliation and vengeance, frequently directly towards other victims and victims’ assistance providers (such as police and victims assistance organizations), not just the criminals that harmed them. Their actions tend to be performed online without any real commitment, acting to be disruptive and counter-productive to real solutions. It is all “Their Way or No Way,” and everyone is with them or against them. Vigilantism is also a significant cause of delay in these victims recovering, as it perpetuates the anger or rage and frequently turning it into a destructive hate. It is nearly impossible to assist these victims as they are suspicious of anyone offering help, and tend to aggregate into like-minded groups online. There is no evidence that any vigilante has resulted in a single arrest or reduction in online crimes. In fact, there is substantial evidence that Vigilantes work against their best interest by alienating those entities that are best equipped to help them and society as a whole. Most Vigilantes refuse to report the crimes since (in their view) “no one does anything anyway” – only they can save the world. They tend to view themselves as the only true “Anti-scammers” and their approach is the only correct one.


Denialists are those victims that have great difficulty accepting that they were scammed. They lock away the experience and attempt to go forward without ever fully recognizing or recovering from it. In every event in life, it is important to recognize the reality of what occurred and what could or could not have been done to mitigate it – this is how we learn from our experiences. In the case of scams, victims are heavily manipulated but were not completely powerless. It is important to recognize their role in what occurred – not to blame them but in preventing future occurrence. It does not mean the victim was totally at fault, just that the victim failed to recognize critical red-flags and was manipulated against their own best interests. Denialists cannot accept that they were scammed (manipulated), and refuse to acknowledge it to themselves, their circle of connections, as well as refuse assistance. This prevents them from learning from the experience and frequently results in additional scams. To accept assistance would force them to recognize what occurred and deal with it. They also refuse to report these crimes as this forces the recognition of what occurred. The result is a very significant extension of the traumatic experience and far less likelihood of full recovery.


Realists tend to be far better balanced politically and intellectually. They have a better ability to analyze what occurred to them, understand their role and the role of the criminal, and place the proper blame for the criminal actions on the scammer. They understand that scams are performed by criminals, not idiots. They view the scammers as dedicated thieves with far less mythologizing and as a result recover far more easily. These are also the individuals that recognize opportunities for real actions that will result in change and positive advocacy, instead of simple vigilantism. They tend to seek out viable support and assistance for themselves and others. They are also the ones best equipped to help mentor and guide other victims to positive outcomes as volunteers. While not all of them report scams to proper authorities, they do report them in vastly higher numbers than any other group.


  • 4% – African Apologists
  • 6% – Minimizers
  • 42% – Vigilantes
  • 35% – Denialists
  • 23% – Realists


Just Like The General Population, Victims Fall Into Different Mindsets. Some Are Survival Oriented And Some Are Not.
It Shows That Anyone Can Be Scammed But Your Mindset Is Most Important After The Scam. It Determines What You Do And How You Will Recover.

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