SCARS™ Subject Focus: The Psychology Of Romance Scams

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.™ Subject Focus: The Psychology Of Romance 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.

Romance Scams Are Infinitely Complex And Leave Victims With Significant 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.

Attention is like a spotlight, which means when it’s pointing in one direction it pretty much ignores everything else. This is how a Romance 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. starts!

Except people don’t realize how little information coming in from the outside world we actually process. Naturally, you don’t notice what you don’t notice, plus the mind is designed to fill in the gaps for us. But fraudsters do know and almost every con uses some kind of distraction – a kind of social engineeringSocial Engineering Social engineering is the psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. It is used as a type of confidence trick for the purpose of information gathering, fraud, or system access, it differs from a traditional "con" in that it is often one of many steps in a more complex fraud scheme. It has also been defined as "any act that influences a person to take any action that may or may not be in their best interests." to get you to do what the 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. wants you to do.

Scammers know all about social compliance and happily exploit our automatic deference to authority figures such as soldiers. People will hand over credit cards to people they think are waiters, car keys to people they think are car park attendants and give access to their house to people they think are from the water board. The best known online example is a ‘phishing attack’ where people give fraudsters their bank details in response to an email that purports to be from their bank.

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social engineering scams. To truly learn how victims are manipulated and all of the mechanisms involved, we invite you to read our SCARS Library (below) on the subject of the Psychology of Romance Scams!

SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

 
SCARS™ Team

A SCARS Division
Miami Florida U.S.A.

Victim Expectations And Recovery Failure

Victim Expectations And Recovery Failure How Victims Can Sabotage Their Recoveries With Unrealistic Expectations A SCARS Scam Victim Recovery Insight Setting Your Expectations To Fail? Many Victims Do Just That! Expectations guide your progress in recovery from your scam, but having unrealistic expectations during the [...]

The Sad Tale Of Glenda Seim

The Sad Tale Of Glenda Seim The Story of a Romance Scam Victim who became a Money MuleMoney Mule A money mule sometimes called a "smurfer," is a person who transfers money acquired illegally (e.g., stolen) in person, through a courier service, or electronically, on behalf of others (usually criminals that they are knowingly or unknowingly affiliated). Typically, the mule is paid for services with a small part of the money transferred - but not always. Mules may or may not be aware that they are performing these actions. Money mules are often dupes recruited online for what they think is legitimate employment, not aware that the money they are transferring is the product of crime. The money is transferred from the mule's account to the scam operator, typically in another country. Similar techniques are used to transfer illegal merchandise. Mules can be prosecuted for numerous crimes. then a Federal Convict at age 81 A SCARS Victim Story Glenda Seim, Convicted Money Mule! An 81-Year-Old Kirkwood Woman Pleaded Guilty To [...]

Why People Blame Victims?

Why People BlameBlame Blame or Blaming is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong, their action is blameworthy. By contrast, when someone is morally responsible for doing something right, we may say that his or her action is praiseworthy. Blame imparts responsibility for an action or act, as in that they made a choice to perform that act or action. Crime Victims? The Just-World Phenomena A SCARS Insight This Is Called The Just-World Phenonema  Why We Blame Victims In Order To Rationalize Why Bad Things Happen? According to VeryWellMind.com: The just-world phenomenon is the tendency to believe that the world is just and [...]

Psychological & Emotional Abuse During A Romance Scam

Psychological & Emotional Abuse During A Romance Scam Manipulation & Control Often Include Abuse! SCARS Advocacy A Romance Scam Is A Form Of Violence There Is Also True Psychological & Emotional Abuse! As any scam victim can tell you, their scam left them profoundly changed. [...]

Scam Victim Social Isolation Risks

Scam Victim Social Isolation Risks The Psychology of ScamsPsychology Of Scams Psychology Of Scams is the study of the psychological or emotional effects of scams or financial fraud on victims of these crimes. It helps victims to better understand the impact of scams on them personally or on others. To find the SCARS articles on the Psychology of Scams, use the search option to enter the term and find them. A SCARS Insight The Risks Of Social Isolation Caused By Romance Scams Understanding the Effects of Social Isolation on Scam Victim Mental HealthMental health Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". According to WHO, mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others". From the perspectives of positive psychology or of holism, mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how one defines "mental health". People around the world have taken unprecedented safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. [...]

Hindsight Bias! You Knew It All The Time!

Hindsight BiasHindsight Bias The hindsight bias is often referred to as the "I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon." It involves the tendency people have to assume that they knew the outcome of an event after the outcome has already been determined.! You Knew It All The Time! The Psychology of Scams A SCARS Insight You Knew It Was A Scam All The Time Right? Have you ever noticed that events seem more predictable after they have already happened? The results of an election, for [...]

Shame – Secrets & Lies

ShameShame 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. - Secrets & Lies The Psychology of Scams A SCARS Insight A Common Response To Shame Is To Hide This Can Happen Both During The Scam And After It One of the ways the scam victims hide from the reality of their situation is [...]

Trauma-Induced Fear May Cause Paranoia

Trauma-Induced Fear May Cause Paranoia Psychology of Scams A SCARS Insight How Trauma Can Cause Paranoia Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even milder forms of trauma has a variety of symptoms that present differently in each individual who has experienced a traumatic and life-altering event, [...]

After A Scam, No One Can Tell You How You Will React

After A Scam, No One Can Tell You How You Will React Trauma and the Psychology of Scams A SCARS Insight Victim Trauma Response After The End Of A Relationship ScamRelationship Scam A Relationship Scam is a one-to-one criminal act that involves a trust relationship and uses deception & manipulation to get a victim to give to the criminal something of value, such as money! Click here to learn more: What Is A Relationship Scam? Is Complex It is always important to remember that trauma does not always manifest [...]

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Scam Victim?

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Scam Victim? The Needs Of Every Victim After The Scam A SCARS Insight What Responsibilities Does A Person Have After They Become A Victim Of A Scam? Everyone has a duty to their fellow citizens but also to themselves! [...]

Using Rituals To Help Scam Victims To Recover!

Using Rituals To Help Scam Victims To Recover! The Psychology of Recovery A SCARS Insight Provided for educational purposes only and as a topic to be discussed with your professional mental healthcare provider. The Importance of Ritual to Mental Health After Your Scam In a [...]

Living under Manipulation for Too Long Leaves Victims …

Living under Manipulation for Too Long Leaves Victims ... An Exploration of the Short-Term & Long-Term Effects of Long-Term Relationship ScamsRelationship Scam A Relationship Scam is a one-to-one criminal act that involves a trust relationship and uses deception & manipulation to get a victim to give to the criminal something of value, such as money! Click here to learn more: What Is A Relationship Scam? A SCARS Insight into the Psychology of Scams What Does Extending Exposure To Romance Scams Manipulation Do To Victims? Long-Term Scams Can Have Very [...]

Resilience, Recovery And Romance Scam Victims

ResilienceResilience Is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Psychological resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly. Resilience exists when the person uses "mental processes and behaviors in promoting personal assets and protecting self from the potential negative effects of stressors". In simpler terms, psychological resilience exists in people who develop psychological and behavioral capabilities that allow them to remain calm during crises/chaos and to move on from the incident without long-term negative consequences. In popular accounts, psychological resilience is sometimes likened to a "psychological immune system"., Recovery, And Romance Scam Victims Psychology of Scams A SCARS Insight "Resilience" Is The Capacity To Recover Quickly From Difficulties; A Mental Toughness Psychological Resilience Is The Ability To Mentally Or Emotionally Cope With A Crisis Or To Return To Pre-Crisis Status Quickly [...]

Diversions – A Scammer’s Manipulative Technique

Diversions - A Scammer's Manipulative Technique Psychology of Scams A SCARS Insight Scammer Diversions - Dodging The Bullet! A Diversion is a technique that telemarketers use to control the potential customer on the phone, steering them toward the desired outcome In the case [...]

How To Know If You Are In Scam or Recovery Denial?

How To Know If You Are In Scam or Recovery 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.? Psychology of Scams A SCARS Insight How to Know if I’m 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. About Your Scam? Waking up day in and day out afraid or angry or refusing to deal with the [...]

Scam Victim Recovery Is Not A Mystery

Scam Victim Recovery Is Not A Mystery Follow The Process, Avoid Amateurs, Make A Commitment About Scam Victim Recovery A SCARS Insight Recovery Is Not Mystical - It Is Mechanical Scam Victim Recovery is about following the recovery process. May scam victims talk [...]

The Fear of Missing Out and Romance Scams

The Fear of Missing Out and Romance Scams The Psychology of Scams A SCARS Insight The Grass Is Always Greener - Except When It's Fake! Did FOMOFOMO FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is really nothing more than viewing the distant grass as greener than the lawn you’re standing on. It is anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a social anxiety stemming from the belief that others might be having fun while the person experiencing the anxiety is not present. It is characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing. FOMO is also defined as a fear of regret, which may lead to concerns that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, a memorable event, or a profitable investment.[5] It is the fear that deciding not to participate is the wrong choice. Get You Too? FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is really nothing more than viewing the distant [...]

The Strange Case Of Scam Victim Information Avoidance

The Strange Case Of Scam Victim Information Avoidance Scam VictimologyVictimology Victimology is the study of victimization, including the psychological effects on victims, relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system—that is, the police and courts, and corrections officials—and the connections between victims and other social groups and institutions, such as the media, businesses, and social movements. & Victim Recovery A SCARS Insight The Biggest Mistake Scam Victims Make Is Believing They Are Done With Scams! Scams are Always There Waiting for that Next Mistake! One of the strangest, yet [...]