I’d like to examine what are the scam victim consequences for you. In this article I will highlight some of the devastating things than can and do happen to victims.
What’s the worst that can happen?
The impact of advance fee fraud on its victims cannot be underestimated. A victim who has been so thoroughly deceived, robbed, betrayed, and humiliated may never fully recover, either psychologically or financially. Some even resort to suicide.
In order to understand the terrible effect of fraud upon its victims it is necessary to understand how a scammer works his victim.
Isolation and alienation
After the scammer has established trust with you, he will set about abusing this trust and destroying your trust in others. He will isolate you from your usual support networks – the police, your family and friends – by telling you not to trust them and to maintain confidentiality throughout the arrangement.
If anyone tries to tell you that you are being scammed, the scammer will often accuse them of wanting to steal the money for themselves. This further polarises you against those who should be your best chance of escape.
Escalation and reinforcement
As you make payments to the scammer, he will contact you more frequently, bombarding you with calls and emails and allowing you to think of little else. Simply the act of paying multiple times will reinforce your belief in the scam and make it easier to pay in the future, and to take ever greater risks to make payments to the scammers. You may remortgage your property, sell family heirlooms, borrow money, steal money from your family or embezzle money from your employers. You may steal relatives’ identities in order to take out loans or credit cards.
You will do all this in the firm belief that you are about to be paid a huge amount of money, and that you will soon be able to pay it all back.
Aftermath and consequences
When you finally run out of all available lines of credit, or you realise that you have been scammed, the impact is unimaginable. You find yourself facing the derision and anger of family members who have been harmed by your actions, and whose advice you ignored. You find yourself destitute, liable for vast debts, often with no means to pay even the interest. You realise that you have irreparably damaged family, personal and professional relationships, and that it will be a long time before you will be trusted by anyone you know, if ever. If you are the victim of a romance scam you will fare particularly badly in this respect, since your ability to engage in future relationships will be seriously damaged.
Money mules may face prosecution and imprisonment.
Being scammed is a life-changing event with very severe, long-lasting consequences.
The enormous fall from a future of wealth and happiness to a reality of destitution and shame is too much for many victims to bear, and a disturbing number of suicides can be attributed to the aftermath of advance fee fraud.
The process of reinforcement sets in alarmingly fast once a victim starts paying, so if you suspect that you, or someone you know, is talking to a scammer, then you should investigate thoroughly. See our article on “how to spot a 419 scam”.
Scammers do not care about ruining your life. They will keep going as long as the money keeps coming in.
Don’t give them the chance.