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SCARS™ Insight: Romance Scammer As A Consort
Here Is A Head Scratcher Of A Dilemma
Over the years we have seen everything, every type of scam, and every type of victim. However, there is one type of victim that has left us not knowing how best to help them.
We know or know off women and men who are not exactly in denial, but they refuse to end their scams. They know or at least mostly know that it is a scam yet they choose to let it continue.
We have treated them as being in pure denial but they may actually be involved in something else. A willing consensual relationship with their scammers.
The Boyfriend or Girlfriend Experience
These victims may be “renting” a relationship instead of really being scammed. Meaning they are not really victims but willing participants.
There is another phrase for this that is in vogue today: “the boyfriend experience” or “the girlfriend experience.”
A girlfriend experience (GFE) is a commercial experience that blurs the boundaries between a financial transaction and a romantic relationship. It typically ranges from a transactional sex relationship with a client paying a prostitute to pretend to be his or her girlfriend (or boyfriend) during the session. Within the sex industry, GFE is a common term for a sexual encounter in which both the sex worker and the client are willing to engage in reciprocal sexual pleasure and some degree of emotional intimacy. However, it does not have to involve sex, it can just be companionship on demand.
A “girlfriend experience” generally involves more personal interaction than a traditional call girl or escort offers. There is a focus on having more of a comprehensive emotional experience.
It is really just another variation on webcam girls or boys – but without the sex. They are paying for the time and attention of the person on the other end.
Basically, these are still just variations on prostitution.
On Hiring A Consort
Obviously, there are a great many things at work here. There are the issues of the victim willingly giving money to a scammer while deluding themselves that there is a relationship.
In some cases this may be an antidote to the pain of discovery, giving into the misplaced emotion that developed and allowing them to continue under the new modus operandi. In other cases, it appears to be a simple solution of loneliness.
The one thing that is clear is that there are differences between men and women, but in the end, it all comes down to the purchase of a fantasy while deluding themselves that there is something of value there.
We think we need to rethink this a bit and recognize that some of the victims who will not stop talking to scammers are not actually victims in the truest sense. Maybe they started that way, but have since accepted the reality of the relationship.
Approaching The Problem
As an organization, we try to provide assistance and support to all victims (up to the limits of our Code of Conduct and Standards). Sadly, there are victims that we cannot help and must turn away due to their behavior or need for more serious mental health care.
In this case, we see other problems. These are people willingly consorting with scammers, and we have found many voluntarily act as Moles for their scammer, if not actual Mules as well. We have had many ask to participate in support groups only to be found to be sharing with their scammer.
For these reasons we have a blanket ban on letting victims into our support groups if they are still in contact with their scammer. It would be a bit like letting continuing drug users into a drug addict support group – they have to stop before they can even think about recovery. The same here.
What Other Victims Think:
“I will say that I know woman that cannot stop talking even they know it is a scammer because they do not want to be alone. They also except other scammers in the hope that one will be real. They said that they still are in love with the photo and do not want to let go. Their heart is broken and that is the only way they know they will not feel the sadness so much. Yes you have to help them to see that this is wrong please. No they cannot join the group as they will place the group members in danger to be invited and worst to be scammed again. Not saying it will happen but we all are human. Please rather help them to get away from scammersI know for some it is not easy but the best.”
The Ethical Quandary
This is an extremely challenging question for us as a victims assistance and support organization, and especially one that follows the NOVA Standard for Victims’ Assistance.
However, the real question here is: Are they victims or suffering from a mental illness?
We are not medical professionals so we cannot diagnose mental illness, we can only use our own methodologies and policies to guide our decisions.
Our fundamental policy across the board is simple – to receive support a victim must:
- Acknowledge that they are being scammed – we can help them with that realization one on one
- To join a peer support group they must have broken off contact with the scammer – period
If someone refuses to accept either of these then we really cannot help them. It is not about refusing to help them, but they will not be able to accept or use the help we can provide.
Please Share Your Thoughts On This Topic In Comments Below?
A SCARS Division
Miami Florida U.S.A.
TAGS: Scam Consort, Scammer, girlfriend experience, boyfriend experience, Ethical Quandary, victim, participant, victims’ assistance, support groups,
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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:
- Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- Your National Police or FBI (www.IC3.gov)
- 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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