What Responsibilities Does A Scam Victim Have After They Become A Victim Of A Scam?
Scam Victims Have A Duty To Their Fellow Citizens But Also To Themselves!
Every member of a culture has a duty to help make life better for themselves and for others, especially a scam victim. When we turn away from this duty we contribute to its decline. But also, far too many people only help to satisfy their own needs and desires. They help because it fulfills their needs, not those of others or their society.
Each member of society, including scam victims, has an obligation to recover and do what they can to improve the world. The management of SCARS all volunteer their time to help others. You can too!
Scam Victim: From The Beginning
From the very beginning, scam victims have certain things that they should and must do, both for themselves and for those around them. This is complicated by the emotional state of the victim and their trauma. Some victims automatically justify their aggression and the desire for revenge, others believe that nothing really happened to them but that they are the “one” that will save everyone else. Neither of these is valid or healthy.
The problem is that all victims of serious crimes experience some trauma, and relationship scam victims can be profoundly traumatized. So much so that they may believe they are not, that the scam did not really affect them, and as a result feed the negative aspects of anger or denial or freeze increasing their trauma in the process over time. As we have said before, trauma doesn’t just go away!
The purpose of this short article is to help a scam victim keep everything in perspective. This is a kind of “to-do list” of the duty and responsibility that every scam victim has, even if they choose to ignore it!
A Scam Victim’s Responsibilities
An important point. Recovery is not just something to want, it is a moral imperative! If you do not recover from this experience or if you chose to ignore your responsibilities, then the criminals win. This really is a question of right versus wrong, good versus evil.
The choices and mistakes you make no longer matter. What matters are the decisions you make after the scam ends.
These are what we view as the basic responsibilities of every scam victim:
- Acknowledge and accept that you are the victim of a crime. That it happened. That you were the victim of a criminal act.
- Begin to change your vocabulary and terminology about what happened. Using the right terms will make it easier for you to accept the situation and help begin the mental adjustments that will come. This was a crime, and the scammer was a criminal. Use these terms as much as possible, instead of scam and scammer.
- You must properly report the crime to law enforcement. This is the first step in your re-taking control of your life following the scam. You are breaking free and are acting outside of the manipulation and the wishes of the criminal (the scammer).
- Focus on yourself first – at least initially until you are far more recovered. No victim can help others if they are not yet able to moderate and control themself. Saving others or getting revenge is just another fantasy, at least until you are fully recovered.
- Recognize, whether you feel it or not, you are traumatized. How much or how deeply depends on many factors such as resiliency, but it is still there. Denying this is simply greater proof of that trauma.
- Try hard to moderate your emotions so that you can be helped. You may be angry or not want to talk, but if you turn your aggression or denial on the people trying to help you then you will cut off the help you need.
- You have a duty to share your story. It is only embarrassing because you are allowing it to be. Once you start talking to other victims about the crime it will become easier. It is also beneficial in helping to moderate and manage your trauma. But it also serves to help others understand that they are not alone – others have or will do that so you can feel that, and in turn, owe it to other victims to do the same.
- Find professional help both with your recovery from your experience but also for the deeper traumatic effects. You may not fully understand how much you have been affected, but it is there nonetheless. We recommend that all scam victims get local help from a trauma counselor or therapist. And that when they are ready, they join a qualified, professionally managed support group. But also understand that you may not be ready for a support group, in these cases start with counseling to prepare you to be more stable and ready for a group.
- You must actively participate in your own recovery. No one can save you – this is not a fairy tale. This dragon can only be vanquished by your own actions.
- You must learn the truth about how these crimes function, both to aid in your own understanding and what that will allow you to do during your recovery, but also to help stamp out urban legends and misinformation spread by so many others. Scam victims look for easy answers that satisfy their fight or flight responses (anger or denial), but ironically the real answers are far more satisfying because they make it clear that you were not to blame.
- Recognize that shame, guilt, and blame are just your own beliefs, they are not objective truths. You are not to blame. There is no reason for shame. You are the victim of a crime!
- Remember that you are worthy and a valuable person in your own right. This crime is something that happened, it is not who you are.
- Learn to recognize your trauma (emotional) triggers so that you can control yourself around others. This will allow you to re-establish relationships with family and friends who may have suffered or been harmed during the crime.
- Don’t let yourself judge other victims or compare their situation to your own. Each person has their own hell to escape from.
- Prioritize your recovery, at least half as much as you prioritized your fake relationship.
- Accept that you harmed others during your scam. It may have just been that you pushed them away, or it may have been more serious, but either way, you must admit this and begin to make up for it.
- Once you are well on your way to recovery, make a real effort to help the next victims. You were helped by strangers who did not know you, and now you have a duty to help those who came after you. You can do this in many ways:
- Provide support and compassion to other victims that you encounter – they need it just as you did. Clicking LIKE is NOT providing support, use real words – they matter.
- Help them learn the lessons of the criminal experience, and point them in the direction of authentic information about how and why this happened. They will also be confused and may have listened to the wrong people.
- Steer them toward the right professional help. Trauma counselors, therapists, attorneys, financial professionals, law enforcement, and crime victims’ assistance providers such as SCARS.
- However, do not try to help others more than you are able to. If you start to get frustrated it means you are not yet ready or it means you are taking on someone else’s trauma. Remember that trauma is contagious Remember that you are struggling too!
- Tell your family and friends about what happened (look at our guide to help you with this). You do not need to tell them very much, but you become someone who can help spread the word! If you don’t do it, you may be dooming someone else to follow the same path when you might have changed their future. You can do this!
- When you feel ready, volunteer to more actively help victims – either by working with an organization such as SCARS, or contacting your local police and making yourself available as a Victim’s Advocate to help them through the process that you had to do alone.
- Remember that elections have consequences. Certain political points of view tolerate criminals, others do not. Learn the difference and why this is so. Become an advocate! You can work with SCARS and independently. Every voice matters!
Of course, there may be more, but you should be aware that recovery begins selfishly by necessity, but as time progresses there is an obligation to contribute back what you received from others. Each person “pays it forward” as the saying goes. And every one that breaks the chain endangers others who will not be able to hear the words that could have prevented it or the words that might help them see their path forward.
Remember This Was Done For You
When you are ready, do it for the next, and the next, and the next!
We know that you can! And just imagine how proud of yourself you will be when you help the next person find their way! You will be a hero! You will be a survivor and no longer a victim!