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SCARS|RSN™ Scam Basics: From Victim To Criminal
How Can A Scam Victim Be Transformed Into A Criminal?
IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME!
There are millions of romance scam victims around the world.
More than a million in Europe, perhaps as many as 6 million in the United States alone. This is happening and it is very real. Victims know this and live it.
But there are ways that this can go from bad to worse and even turn the victim into a criminal facing jail or even the death penalty.
A Money Mule is someone who receives money for a scammer from other victims – most of the time they do not know they are part of a criminal enterprise, they are so completely under the spell of the scammer that they believe the stories the scammer sells. But engaging in the participation of a crime and money laundering (which is what this is) is also a crime.
More and more the FBI is going after money mules that do not come forward. In some cases, when mules carry money across national borders making it an even greater crime. Money laundering can put a victim in prison for a decade. This is serious and needs to be reported immediately or the victim becomes guilty of hiding the truth which crosses the line also.
In addition, there is also something called a Parcel Mule » who is someone that receives packages for reshipping to the scammer or just keeps them for themselves. This can be merchandise and is almost always purchased with stolen credit cards – making it stolen property. This can also bring numerous criminal charges against the victim if not immediately reported.
Worse still, is how many romance scam victims are tricked into becoming Drug Mules » and there are many that are in prisons around the world. Some have even be sentenced to death in Southeast Asia. Becoming a mule of any kind is a serious offense and the best strategy is to come forward before the police find you by information provided by another victim. Secrets do not remain secret, and if the police find you it will be much worse. An example here »
A Mole is someone that spies – knowingly or unknowingly – for a scammer on others. This can also be a crime called “Accessory” or possibly even being part of a criminal conspiracy. Either way, once the scam is discovered the best thing is to report to your police and lay out everything you did – making it clear you did it without knowing you were doing any harm. Learn more about a Mole here »
CYBERSTALKING & FATAL ATTRACTION
Another way a romance scam victim can get in trouble is by hunting down the Face in the photo they fell in love with.
Almost all scammers (about 85%) use stolen photos and fake identities. Yet when victims discover this they frequently believe that have to hunt down the person who’s face was used. They have many justifications for this: wanting to help the impersonation victim, making sure they know how their face is being used, but it is almost always a delusion – they just somehow know the real person will want them. This is brutal, but this is a delusion and criminal in nature because it falls under cyberstalking, unless they show up in real life and then it can be real Stalking.
The person in the photo is a real victim also and they do not want to hear from thousands of people (men or women) that want to reach them (for whatever) reason.
Yet some scam victims carry this to an extreme. Some have been rejected by the Impersonation Victim and gone on a rampage – defaming the real person, interfering with their jobs, their businesses, their families, making threats, or even worse. Children have been harassed online and in real life. This has caused real hardship for the Impersonation Victims, and in some cases led to the breakup of families.
Tracking down a real person you do not know can be a crime. No scam victim has the right to stalk an impersonation victim and by doing it spread their own misery. In fact, right now there is a case of a German romance scam victim who started her own any-scam group that is facing criminal investigation and possible prosecution for doing exactly that. And her friends around the globe will also face potential charges for assisting her. But this happens frequently all around the world – the only reason it does not happen more often is that victims are left with little or no money.