(Last Updated On: March 25, 2022)

Victim Expectations And Recovery Failure

How Victims Can Sabotage Their Recoveries With Unrealistic Expectations

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. 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. 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 process sets you up for failure.

When you set expectations so high you couldn’t possibly attain them, or expect another fantasy, you add unneeded stress and decrease your chance of success.

Setting realistic expectations in your recovery helps you form a healthy framework to succeed.

What are common Expectation Failures – what are some of the expectations that set yourself up for failure:

  1. You will get your money back
  2. Someone will save you
  3. You will just get over this
  4. You don’t need to walk away from 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. (looking at photos)
  5. You can go back to dating again because the scam is over
  6. The 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. of the scam will pass in days or weeks – you just need to get over it
  7. You constantly ask: Are We There Yet? When will the scam trauma be over?
  8. You know you will never be scammed again – You are an Instant Expert

Each of these creates their own expectations and set the victim that buys into them up for failure.

Why? Because they are all forms of 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.!

1. You Will Get Your Money Back

We all know that the vast majority of victims will not get their money back. It just does not happen.

Unfortunately, everyone wants a fairy tale that includes getting your money back, and if you did then everything would be magically ok.

The problem is this is yet another fantasy. In effect, trading one fantasy for another. It is not realistic.

But the seductive part of this is that it is possible. Maybe only a 0.0001% chance, but that is something that can be clung to. It is possible. Except that holding onto that fantasy prevents any real recovery because no one moves past that hope.

2. Someone Will Save You

Yes, it would be amazing if someone had a magic formula or technique that will make it all better. But it does not exist.

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? create real and lasting traumatic effects. They result in behavioral and psychological changes that can be anything from depression, anxiety, to full PTSD. Additionally, they can create numerous other psychological disorders.

There is no one to save you. You have to do it yourself!

Only through a real recovery program that understands the trauma and other impacts 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. can each victim help themselves through their recovery from the scam.

It is frightening to face this on your own. However, instead of expecting there to be a savior, look for the support you need so you can save yourself.

This is why SCARS strongly recommends 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. or therapy for every scam victim!

3. You Will Just Get Over This

Yes, this will not happen either.

In the period during the first few months after the scam was discovered and ended, many victims believe that they were not really impacted. As early as just a few weeks after the scam, many victims believe they are fine, that they are magically over it.

Unfortunately, this is another fantasy, a form of denial. Some victims reach the 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. stage of grief earlier than others, and anger creates a different set of feelings. This can include a false sense of wellbeing that is not really there. It is obvious to an observer by the other aspects of their behaviorBehavior   Behavior / Behavioral Actions Otherwise known as habits, behavior or behavioral actions are strategies to help prevent online exploitation that target behavior, such as social engineering of victims. Changing your behavior is the ONLY effective means to reduce or prevent scams. during this period that they are not magically ok.

The reality is that no one who has developed a real relationship (real or false) simply gets over it instantly. It takes time for the mind and body to process the grief, overcome the chemical-hormonal addiction, and recover from the trauma.

Believing that they are fine completely derails their recovery and alienates them from the care providers that can help them because it also brings all of the other negative aspects of anger.

4. You Don’t Need To Walk Away From The Scammer

Many victims have difficulty turning away from the scammer. They continue to keep and look at the photos and relive all the fake tales the scammer told them. Some accept new emails or messages from their scammers.

This is profoundly unhealthy for a victim that wants to recover.

You are either committed to your recovery or you are not, and maintaining any connection is unhealthy.

Clinging to the face and the stories is also a form of denial. You know they are not real, yet you cling because they help keep the dream alive. This is just a new variation on the same fantasy.

Refusing to put the scam behind you keeps a victim trapped with one foot (or both feet) in the past. This stalls recovery and prevents any form of moving forward.

The only way to recover is to cut off all contact with the scammers and that includes the fake artifacts they created. You have to finally unload these lies from your head.

5. You Can Go Back To Dating Again Because The Scam Is Over

This is part of the fantastical belief that a victim is ok after the scam ended. That the scam is over and that somehow, going back into the dating pool will have different results this time.

Remember the saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result?

While you are not insane, the expectation that you can just rebound or jump back in is not really realistic.

The scam happened, in part because of a lack of knowledge, but also because of a lack of skills, and also because of high-risk behaviors.

It will take considerable time to learn what needs to be learned both for knowledge and for skills and to change the behaviors that brought you to this place to begin with. Believing differently is not realistic. This is unrealistic thinking sets any victim up to fail.

Please this is a big part of why so many victims are scammed over and over.

6. Expecting That The Trauma Of The Scam Will Pass In Days Or Weeks

Again, this typically relates to denial or the onset of anger, and the mistaken belief that you will get over this quickly. This is also partly a case of impatience and ignorance.

Everyone who is injured wants to return to their normal life immediately, but it is just not always possible or real. Recovery and recuperation take the time they take.

While each victim is different, almost no one really goes through this experience and just springs back to normal. And the failure to recognize this and get the help that is needed just prolongs and deepens the trauma.

The expectation that you were not traumatized is pure denial and can even increase the trauma and its effects, Every victim needs to accept that the recovery process is going to require the time that it takes and that typically this takes between one to two years.

7. You Constantly Ask: Are We There Yet? When Will The Scam Trauma Be Over?

This is another variation of the denial that you will get over it quickly, is the constant asking when it will be over.

This too is a form of denial, but by pushing it out to the universe you are divorcing yourself from all or at least part of your own responsibility for recovery. In effect, you are saying someone else controls your recovery and they just need to tell you what to do.

In some cases, this can be a fawn trauma reaction, but it is more similar to the passive-aggressive behavior that might have existed before the scam. Only a trauma counselor or therapist can properly diagnose this.

However, every victim should know that trauma follows no set timeline.

In our experience, we see a pattern of recovery for a typical scam victim who does all the right things. But victims in any form of denial throw off the model and delay their recovery.

Instead of asking “are we there yet” ask yourself “am I doing everything I need to do.” In the end, the answers are within you and based upon your 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". and willingness to do what is needed to recover.

8. You Know You Will Never Be Scammed Again – You Are An Instant Expert

As anger sets in there is a whole variety of distortional disorders that can also set in with a scam victim. One of them is the mistaken belief that they now know how to avoid scams in the future because they were a victim this time.

This falls into several different cognitive distortions or biases. One of them is Savior Syndrom, but it can also be considered an immunity bias where the victim believes that they are now immune from scams.

Being the victim of a crime does not mean you learned anything about scams, criminality, or avoidance techniques or strategies. Learning these things take considerable time and effort.

However, many victims fall victim to this fantastical belief and rush out – back into the world believing nothing is going to harm them, they learned their lesson.

In fact, this belief confirms that they have learned almost nothing yet. But the knowledge, skills, and behavior changes that are needed can be learned – in time, with effort.


So much of what causes victims to fail in their recovery is the result of further fantastical thinking and denial of the real need for recovery.

No one can force you to recover and neither can they give you all that you need to know in just a few days or even weeks. It just does not work that way.

Trauma just does not simply go away.

Fantastical thinking needs to be burned out and that too takes time.

The only way to recovery from a scam is to be firmly grounded in the hard truth of what happened and how hard it will be to recover from it. It requires a real commitment.

There are no shortcuts, there is just solid continuous work and learning – staying on the path without looking for shortcuts.

Leave the denial behind and stop expecting. Stop asking. Stop making excuses. Stop believing in fairy tales and happy endings.

Just do the work.

And you will get there!

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Essential Tools For Every Scam SurvivorSurvivor A Scam Survivor is a victim who has been able to fully accept the reality of their situation. That they were the victim of a crime and are not to blame. They are working on their emotional recovery and reduction of any trauma either on their own, through a qualified support organization, or through counseling or therapy. And has done their duty and reported the crime to their local police, national police, and on Anyscam.com From SCARS Publishing

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SCARS GREN BOOK - The SCARS STEPS Guide to Scam Victim Recovery

Self-Help Self-Paced Recovery Program Guide


This program is designed to help scam victims struggling to recover on their own and for those who want to understand the overall process. You can be using other resources, such as trauma counseling or therapy, qualified support groupsSupport Groups 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., or completely independent – on your own!

The SCARS Steps program is a complete program and is provided for the purpose of helping scam victims to overcome this experience. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues and challenges that a victim may have and help guide them through their recovery. But each person is different and it is important to understand your own reasons for being vulnerable to being scammed.

After the trauma of being scammed, you need to take steps to recover and move on. This may be an alternative to counseling in the short term, but we still encourage you to seek out professional help & support. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues, challenges, defects, or problems that a victim may have in a generalized way.

The SCARS GREEN BOOK will help you recover from your scam offline and it will always be there when you need it!

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SCARS SLATE BOOK - A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims

SCARS SLATE BOOK – Let Us Explain What Happened!

A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims


This SCARS Publishing book represents a complete guide to help the families and friends understand how these scams work and how to help the victim.

The SCARS Slate Book should be purchased by family and friends to better understand what happened to the victim and the traumatic impact on them. But it can also be shared by the victim so that they do not have to explain to family and friends about the scam. This publication is to help others to help Scam Victims to make it through this traumatic experience and recover.

Each person is different and it is important to understand how relationship scams work and why people are vulnerable; to being scammed, how they were lured in, then groomed and manipulated. This understanding is essential in helping them through the process of ending the scam and then on to recovery. The SCARS Slate Book will provide the information necessary to help support a victim through this process.

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SCARS RED BOOK - Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer

Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer


Helps you get and stay organized. This publication is to help Scam Victims organize their crime information. Complete this information before reporting to the police then bring this book with you

Before or after reporting to the police the RED BOOK gives you a dedicated tool to record all the essential facts of this crime. The Victim, the Scammers, the Money, and your Police interactions. Everything that really matters can be easily recorded for your immediate use and for the future!

As we have seen, money recovery/repayment programs can become available years after the scam ends and you need to keep all the details of this crime in case it is needed. We have also seen scammers being extradited to the U.S. and other countries, this will help in the event you testify or give statements, Additionally, this helps you have your information ready to qualify for victims’ benefits, compensation, or aid.

The Official SCARS RED BOOK is your way of recording all the important facts of this crime so that you do not lose essential information, Complete the RED BOOK then put it away with the confidence that you will have it if or when it is needed.

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SCARS BLUE BOOK - Survivor's Recovery Journal
SCARS LIME BOOK - Wisdom & Motivation for Scam Victims
SCARS CHERRY BOOK - A Guide To Understanding Your Fear
SCARS WORKBOOK - 8 Steps To Improvement
SCARS WORKBOOK - Understanding Self-Blame, Guilt, and Shame
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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