The Scam Is Over But You Are Still Being Manipulated

The 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. Is Over But You Are Still Being Manipulated

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 www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. 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. Insight

Find Real 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. & Fake Stolen Photos On ScamsONLINE.org
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You Were Romance Scammed

You discovered the scam and ended it, but you are still being manipulated by the scammer!

For some victims, this can go on for months or even years after the scam ends!

Scammer’s Goals

Think for a moment about the scammer’s goals during your scam? They had five primary goals:

  1. Groom and set up a victim to be manipulated – to be made ready to be scammed.
  2. Obtain the maximum amount of money possible.
  3. Optionally, if possible, set up the victim to become a muleMule 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. to facilitate victimizationVictimization Victimization (or victimization) is the process of being victimized or becoming a victim. The field that studies the process, rates, incidence, effects, and prevalence of victimization is called victimology. of others.
  4. Set up the victim for follow-on scamsFollow-on scams A follow-on scam is an attempt by scammers or fraudsters to approach a previous scam victim again. They typically take the form of money recovery services, private investigators - offering services to desperate scam victims. They can also be government impersonation scams leveraging a victim's need for law enforcement support. Additionally, blackmail scams such as sextortion can be a follow-on scam since they typically take place after the main scam attempt. – money recovery scamsRecovery Scams If you've already fallen for a scam, another scammer may call you and offer to get you your money back for a fee. Their goal is to double-dip and steal more of your money. Unfortunately, in most cases, only real law enforcement or your government can get your money back. There are exceptions, but you are safer to avoid all recovery options., investigation 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., etc.
  5. Be able to continue scamming other victims

During the scam, the scammers would do the groomingGrooming Grooming is a form of setting up a victim for a scam or other crime by befriending and establishing an emotional connection with the victim, and sometimes the family, to lower the victim's inhibitions with the objective of the scam or criminal activity.  Grooming includes the development of a trust relationship between the criminal and the victim, getting the victims to the point where they can be more completely manipulated.   and setup, then extract whatever they can from the victim. Additionally, at least one in 100 will be convinced to act as mules.

But what about their goal of being able to continue their business of scamming others?

Final Phase Manipulation

During the final phase of your scam, when the scammer was trying to get every last cent from the victim, they were also engaged in various forms of manipulation that included gaslightingGaslighting Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group creates the seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment. It may evoke changes in them such as cognitive dissonance or low self-esteem, rendering the victim additionally dependent on the gaslighter for emotional support and validation. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and disinformation, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's beliefs. Once in this state the criminal can then more easily control the victim for their own purposes. Instances can range from the denial by a scammer that a scam has occurred, to belittling the victim's emotions and feelings, to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The goal of gaslighting is to gradually undermine the victim's confidence in their own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from delusion, thereby rendering the individual or group pathologically dependent on the gaslighter for their thinking and feelings.. (learn more about Gaslighting here)

Gaslighting plays an important role in managing victims throughout the course of the scam in progress, but it also prepares the victim for what follows.

Most victims are not aware of this but the scammer is setting up the victim for the 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. and self-blameSelf-Blame Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befell them. SCARS seeks to mitigate the prejudice against victims and the perception that victims are in any way responsible for the actions of offenders or scammers. There is historical and current prejudice against the victims of domestic violence and sex crimes, such as the greater tendency to blame victims of rape than victims of robbery. Scam victims are often blamed by family & friends for the crime. Scam victims also engage in self-blame even though they are not to blame. that follows the scam. Most victims feel a profound sense of shame and 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. themselves for allowing the scam. This is based upon the false notion that they could have stopped it or should have recognized the red flags.

Sadly, the fact is that virtually anyone can be scammed – the victim enables this by ignorance about scams and the mistaken belief in their intelligence. This is not blamingBlaming 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., just a statement of fact. Accepting the truth is both a requirement for recovery after a scam and to lay the foundation to relieve their blame and self-doubt going forward.

Most victims believe they should have been able to detect the scam – in hindsight, all the red flags were clearly visible. Yet, they were powerless (in most cases) to stop it until the very end. Why?

Because the manipulation that was being done by the scammers was holding the victim in place. Victims were set up to:

  • Doubt their own judgment about the relationship – it just had to be real!
  • Doubt the advice of friends and family – they just don’t understand!
  • Create a need or dependency on the relationship – who are they without it?
  • Total focus on the mythical future outcome – living happily ever after!
  • Even as it is discovered, they doubt that it could have happened!
  • When they believe it was a scam – how could they have been so foolish?

These are the implants that the scammers manipulate each victim to believe at different stages of the scam. So that in the end, the doubts and confusion that the scammer leaves behind cripples the victim.

Post-Scam Belief System

After the scam has been discovered, the scammers leave behind several lingering beliefs that hold victims back and tend to derail their recovery. Victims believe:

  • They were blind to not have seen the red flags!
  • They were stupid to have ever allowed it to begin!
  • They were foolish to have allowed it to continue as long as it did!
  • They are to blame for the scam!
  • No one can help them!
  • No one will understand why it happened!
  • Everyone will blame them for being scammed!

Every one of these was implanted or reinforced by the scammer during the course of the scam. Some very overtly, some much more subtly.

Of course, some self-blame is human nature – it is how parents raised their children to accept blame for wrong things they did. But in this case, this is mostly the scammer’s manipulation to hold on as long as possible and then to leave the victim paralyzed after the fact.

Post-Scam Paralysis

Because one of the scammer’s goals is to be able to continue scamming after each scam ends, they both create an opportunity for follow-on scams and to paralyze the victim after the fact.

Victims that come away from the scam 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. conveniently go away and hide. They tell no one and pretend it never happened. Some will be in a panic to recover their money and this makes them an easy prey for money recovery & investigation scams.

Victims that come away from the scam in 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 rageRage 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. can’t think effectively or strategically, so they represent no threat to the scammer. They will be focused on the wrong things and run around in rage and fury, without doing anything effective.

Victims that are left in fear because of scammer threatsScammer threats Very often when a scammer is not getting cooperation from a victim or the victim refuses to send money, the scammer will then resort to threats. These treats can be of physical violence or retaliation in one of several forms, such as doing or sextortion. African and Indian scammers routinely make treats at the end of a scam. They will threaten to expose intimate photos or chats. They may even threaten to kill or harm family members. It is important to remember that African and Indians scammers are professional liars - they tell stories to achieve a result - and do not waste time if it does not get them more money. Almost all such threats are just more lies meant to intimidate victims. Most victims are safe to ignore them. However, any victim that actually feels fear should contact their local police for advice. generally do not even report these crimes, so the scammers get away free and clear.

While individual scammers may not be well enough educated to create these processes themselves, they buy their road maps and scripts – so they begin with the complete plan, dialogs, and scripts to pull all of this off. If they work for one of the larger cartels, they will be mentored and trained by experts.

Ironically, one of the implanted beliefs that scammers leave behind is that some victims instantly believe they are experts in scams and decide to become saviors – this is just another kind of vigilantism. Mostly they communicate the wrong information and urban legends, all the while keeping other victims in confusion and misdirected.

The Result

The result of all of this is that the victim will deeply feel ashamed. Ashamed of themselves for allowing the scam to happen. Ashamed of their going along with it. Ashamed for the money they lost. Ashamed for their confused feelings and self-doubt.

In addition, they directly blame themselves for the scam. If they were smarter, more knowledgeable, had listened to their gut, they should have known better, they should have listened to others, they were the one to blame for it. Would have, should have, could have!

This holds the victims back from seeking real help. From talking to a 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. counselor. From joining a real support groupSupport Group In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers.. In fact, many will even deny they are traumatized.

The manipulation continues to keep its fingers deep into their emotions and personality.

Overcoming

The first step in truly overcoming this residual manipulation is to recognize that it is there!

This means that not only does the victim have to fully accept the scam, but also recognize that they have been expertly manipulated. It is surprising how few actually accept this.

This is where the SCARS 3 Steps for New Victims comes into this picture.

Every victim needs to:

  • Accept that it really happened and that they were not to blame!
  • There is nothing to be ashamed of – they were the victim of a 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..
  • They can change to prevent it from ever happening again.
  • They can help others never be victims as well!

This is ironically very simple. All it takes is being able to accept the truth of the situation and not allow themselves to collapse in one themselves.

Many times it is just looking at a problem from another angle, that is what this article is for. To help every victim understand the simple truth and disconnect from the scammers lingering manipulations.

Can You Accept This?

WE HOPE YOU CAN!

Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

U.S. FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS and SCARS at www.Anyscams.com

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TAGS: SCARS, Romance Scams, Scam Victims, Online FraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim., Online Crime Is Real Crime, Scam Avoidance, Recovering from Scams, Scammer Manipulation, Psychology of Scams, Ongoing Manipulation

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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 www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Inc.

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By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
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A Worldwide Crime Victims Assistance & Crime Prevention Nonprofit Organization Headquartered In Miami Florida USA & Monterrey NL Mexico, with Partners In More Than 60 Countries
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