The Challenges In Supporting Impersonation Scam Victims

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The Challenges In Supporting Impersonation Scam Victims

(Last Updated On: August 8, 2022)

The Challenges In Supporting ImpersonationImpersonation An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone, such as: part of a criminal act such as identity theft, online impersonation scam, or other fraud. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors. 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. Victims

Updated August 2022

The Responsibility To Help Victims Understand The Mechanics Of 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.

Many Times This Will Conflict With Their Beliefs

A 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 to learn more about SCARS. Insight

Our Responsibility Is Sometimes To Deliver Hard Truths

A Discussion About Impersonation Scams And Accepting The Reality Of How They Work

One of the great challenges of helping scam victims is that while we do accept what they tell us, but it is not always based upon actual fact. We have an obligation to help them understand the reality of such situations.

What we mean specifically, is that when a scam victim identifies 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. this is not always going to be as the victim believes. We mean that scammers do impersonate other real people constantly. In fact, there are billions of fake profiles in use on every imaginable platform.

We also have a duty to alert others. But to do so in a way that does not defame the person being impersonated even if this conflicts with what individual victims believe. We frequently post collections of stolen photos labeled that they are being used by scammers as a means of alerting anyone that sees them that there are scams where they are being used. We allow law enforcement to make the final determination about any specific individual’s innocence or not.

Unfortunately, not all victims can accept this. This can be too hard a truth to accept, and instead, they will turn on the assistance provider, even going so far as to enlist others in campaigns against those trying to help (such as SCARS). This happens more frequently than we would like, and in such cases, we turn the matter over to our attorneys and to our partners in law enforcement – since this is also a crime under United States Code Title 18 U.S. Code § 2261A

It is hard to tell people who firmly believe in the guilt of an individual that they should not 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. the person that appears in the photo, that it is most probably an impersonation. It is much more satisfying for them to believe in that guilt, and just like with the scam itself – their cognitive biases make it very hard to accept anything else.

We are here to help them see the reality of scams and how they work, but we are not a 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". organization and are not able to address the psychological issues that might present themselves. This is often offensive to a small set of victims, and in those cases, we refer them to 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. counselors or therapists to help them work through those issues.

We are here to help those that can accept how scams function. We are here to help them understand that if law enforcement does not believe the person is the scammer, then they should let that go and focus on their own emotional recovery. We are not here to defame real people or participate in others’ actions to do this. We are not here to sustain mistaken beliefs when all indicators show that the person they want revenge against may be or is a victim themself. In those cases we try to help the victim see how impersonation scams work, and even how almost-perfect they appear. This is a hard thing to deliver to someone when they need to be listed to.

Unfortunately, we are in the business of delivering hard truths and there are many who will hate us for it. That is ok. We help those that we can.

More often than not, such victims will gravitate to hate groups or pull in other victims who are of like mind, and the result is obviously that they will not get the help they need. This will prevent their recovery and recapturing the lost selves the left behind, instead, they will remain fixated on their need for vengeance.

There is a very fine line between support and delivering truth that can allow a victim to free themselves from the scam and the past and look to the future, and supporting mistaken beliefs that keep a victim trapped into their post-scam belief system is on the other side of that line.

After the scam has been reported to law enforcement, and the police do not initiate an investigation of a known person or celebrity, the odds are quite great that it was an impersonation. And it is important to remember that we also have a responsibility to the impersonation victims too. When it comes to a conflict between the scam victim and the impersonation victims, we do what we can to help the scam victim understand that their belief may not be fact.

This is the seemingly impossible paradox of scam victim support. We automatically believe all victims, until the information directs itself into a nonfactual direction. Then we do our best to help the victim understand the reality of these horrible crimes. Unfortunately, about 60% of victims will be unable to accept this situation.

It is not that the scam did not happen, they do. It is not that they were not scammed by fake identities attached to a face, that also happened. But it is that final conclusion that if A equals B then B equals X – the leap that if a scam happened using the photo of a real person, it must be the real person that committed the scam. If we cannot make it clear to them that it was an impersonation scam, then we refer them to trauma counselingCounseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes. A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. They may also work with "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists". SCARS does not provide mental health counseling. for additional support.

This is the process we follow. We understand the trauma of the experience and the process of scams and have created a support & recovery program for these victims. We understand that good people are scammed out of everything they have, but resolute belief is not always correct. We do our best to guide victims along the path of truth. They are free to disagree, and frequently their response is that we are the scammers. Something that does not support their grasp of the situation.

We are the largest such victims support organization, supporting victims worldwide. But the sad truth is that we cannot help everyone directly due to 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. or aggression. We help those that are realistic enough that they can see how scams work and are able to actively participate in their own recovery. The rest we will have to help indirectly through our publications and media.

We do believe every victim’s story is their story, and we will work to help them understand the truth from mistaken beliefs so they can move forward. When we reach a point where our services are not appropriate we refer them to competent professional help. This is our model and conformant with our ethical standards.

Impersonation scams are very hard because of these issues. You see a face and you are sure it must be the real criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. but law enforcement refuses to take action. It is all just one big corrupt system. Then we come along and we try to tell you that it was not the person in the photo, and you cannot accept that. You just KNOW it is the person – they are the scammer – why won’t anyone listen to you? We must be scammers too.

Our’s is a re-entry process of helping victims recover from their experience and return to their former lives as best that they can. When we encounter defamation, angerAnger Anger, also known as wrath or rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, trigger, hurt or threat. About one-third of scam victims become trapped in anger for extended periods of time following a scam. A person experiencing anger will often experience physical effects, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view anger as an emotion that triggers a part of the fight or flight response. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively, and physiologically. Anger can have many physical and mental consequences. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of "what has happened to them", psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability. and hate, and self-harming beliefs we do our best to correct these with as much fact and compassion as may be available, but at times it will fail. Anger and hate and the desire for vengeance have a 100% failure rate, we do not. There are plenty of groups that will feed their anger and hate and demands for vengeance – we will not. Victims should keep this in mind when looking for help.

If you are reading this now, please understand this is how our services work, and that we will do our best, but it will not always be perfect, and in some cases, it will not be enough. But if you can accept hard truths and commit to your recovery then you can make it.

If you cannot accept these arguments, then we wish you the best and suggest that you should talk with a professional trauma counselor to better address your needs. Here is a link to a directory of trauma counselors

We hope that you can set your hate aside and get the help you need.

Just understand it may not agree with your perceptions.

The face in the photo is a victim too - please leave them alone!




SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

By the Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS 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 to learn more about SCARS. Inc.

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