The Scam Is Over But You Are Still Being Manipulated

A SCARS Psychology of Scams Insight

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 mule to facilitate victimization of others.
  4. Set up the victim for follow-on scams – money recovery scams, investigation scams, etc.
  5. Be able to continue scamming other victims

During the scam, the scammers would do the grooming 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 gaslighting. (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 shame and self-blame that follows the scam. Most victims feel a profound sense of shame and blame 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 blaming, 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 denial 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 anger and rage 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 threats 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 trauma counselor. From joining a real support group. In fact, many will even deny they are traumatized.

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


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 criminal.
  • 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?


Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

Go to to learn how

U.S. FTC at and SCARS at
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TAGS: SCARS, Romance Scams, Scam Victims, Online Fraud, Online Crime Is Real Crime, Scam Avoidance, Recovering from Scams, Scammer Manipulation, Psychology of Scams, Ongoing Manipulation



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By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
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