Keeping Your Scam Secret Will Only Increase Your Trauma
Why Scam Victims Don’t Disclose Being A Victim
Being a scam victim is often not disclosed to anyone for many years. Some people may never disclose.
When it happens, disclosure is often a process, not a single event.
For example, an individual may first provide hints about a scam; if the response is supportive, then more information is shared. Over time, they may fully disclose the details of the event(s).
Common reasons for not disclosing the scam include not wanting family or other people to know, being unable to explain the incident is part of the problem, fear that police will not take it seriously, or fear of police hostility.
According to many crime victims’ assistance organization, SCARS|ANALYTICS™ and the Department of Justice data, other reasons that scam victims do not disclose include:
- Emotional Pain: Trying to avoid thinking about, remembering, or talking about the romance scam because it is emotionally painful.
- Shame Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self; withdrawal motivations; and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness.: Romance scam trauma is associated with a high degree of stigma in our society. Most victims are embarrassed for others to know that they experienced a romance scam. Not having been able to protect themselves during the scam makes many victims to feel weak, ashamed, or even that they deserved what happened. They may also fear being “slut-shamed” or criticized for real or alleged relationship behavior
Behavior / Behavioral Actions
Otherwise known as habits, behavior or behavioral actions are strategies to help prevent online exploitation that target behavior, such as social engineering of victims. Changing your behavior is the ONLY effective means to reduce or prevent scams..
- Fear Of Not Being Believed: Even though romance scams 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. are a serious crime, it is often mischaracterized as a consensual relationship. Scam victims may fear not being believed about the scam or worry that others will simply condemn them.
- Fear Of Being Blamed: It is common for victims of romance scams to face scrutiny regarding what they did to “cause” the incident, instead of focusing on their lack of consent and manipulation over an extended period of time.
- Fear Of Punishment Or Reprisal: victims may avoid disclosing because they fear familial punishment for rule-breaking (e.g., for meeting people online) after they were warned about the dangers. victims may also fear reprisals from potentially violent perpetrators that threaten them (though these threats are almost universally without real substance), or social ostracism by friends and family.
- Feeling Partly Responsible: When the perpetrator is an unknown face online, victims are more likely to feel responsible for the scam and delay disclosing. Some victims may believe that they did something to contribute to the scam (e.g., if they had not been so needy or lonely, were not so flirting with the scammer during the scam, or used better judgment).
Such confusion and fear may diminish victims’ ability to recognize that the perpetrator is responsible and not them.
Other traumatic reactions: Feeling shocked, dazed, confused, and/or not remembering some details of the event can be traumatic responses to the romance scam. However, victims may fear that no one will believe them if they do not remember all the details, or they may not want to think or talk about the painful event.
- Limits To Confidentiality: Victims are more aware that if they tell someone the authorities may be notified and become involved if they did anything to help the scammer. This, combined with the above concerns, may keep many scam victims from disclosing a romance scam.
- Fear That Nothing Will Be Done: Data indicate that fewer than 5% of reported incidents of romance scams are ever reported, and much fewer lead to successful prosecutions of the perpetrator. However, the real value of reporting is to alert potential victims.
- Cultural Or Religious Reasons: Cultural or religious beliefs may contribute to a scam victim&