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!
Think for a moment about the scammer’s goals during your scam? They had five primary goals:
- Groom and set up a victim to be manipulated – to be made ready to be scammed.
- Obtain the maximum amount of money possible.
- Optionally, if possible, set up the victim to become a 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. to facilitate victimization 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.
- Set up the victim for follow-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 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 scams 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.
- Be able to continue scamming other victims
During the scam, the scammers would do the grooming 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 gaslighting 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 shame 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-blame