2024

Boredom: A Potential Principal Cause In Online Scams & Scam Victims Vulnerability – 2024

Boredom: A Potential Principal Cause In Online Scams & Scam Victims Vulnerability

Understanding a Principal Vulnerability to Online Relationship Scams

Primary Category: Psychology of Scams

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Boredom plays a significant role in driving individuals towards risky online behaviors, often leading to scams and financial fraud. The study “Sounds boring: the causal effect of boredom on self-administration of aversive stimuli in the presence of a positive alternative” by Yusoufzai et al. (2024) highlights that boredom, more than loneliness, compels people to engage in adverse online interactions.

Despite being aware of potential risks, the overwhelming desire to escape boredom prompts individuals to seek stimulation in unsafe ways. Scammers exploit this vulnerability, making boredom a key factor in online fraud.

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Are Corporate Employees That Fall For Scams – Victims Or Negligent? – 2024

Are Corporate Employees That Fall For Scams – Victims Or Negligent?

An Analysis of the Consequences of Being Scammed in the Corporate Context

Primary Category: Editorial/Commentary

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

A conversation with a leading cybersecurity training company highlighted the prevalent belief that employees responsible for cybersecurity breaches are reckless and negligent. However, this perspective can harm organizational security by creating fear and inhibiting employees from actively participating in remediation efforts.

Recognizing employees as victims of sophisticated social engineering tactics rather than as culprits can foster a more supportive environment, leading to better prevention and recovery from cyberattacks.

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Amazon & Global Cyber Alliance Launches CyberFlex to Help Young Adults Avoid Scams and Cybercrime – 2024

Amazon & Global Cyber Alliance Launches CyberFlex to Help Young Adults Avoid Scams and Cybercrime

Creating Better Tools to Help Teens & Young Adults to Stay Safe Online

Primary Category: Scam Victim Advocacy

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) and Amazon announced the launch of CyberFlex.org, an innovative website designed to help 18- to 25-year-olds avoid scams and cybercrimes.

CyberFlex.org offers targeted information, free tools, interactive guides, and text alerts to prevent, mitigate, report, and recover from scams and other cyber risks.

By raising awareness and shifting attitudes about online threats, CyberFlex.org provides young adults with practical steps to protect themselves and share their experiences.

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Existential Specialness And Scam Victims – 2024

Existential Specialness And Scam Victims

Helping Us All Understand the Biases and Mentalities that Make Us Vulnerable and challenge our Recovery

Primary Category: Psychology of Scams

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Existential specialness, the belief that one’s existence is uniquely significant, can profoundly complicate recovery for scam victims. When individuals with this mentality fall prey to scams, they often experience intense cognitive dissonance. This clash between their self-perception of being invulnerable and the reality of being deceived generates feelings of shame and embarrassment, making it difficult for them to openly acknowledge their victimization and seek support.

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Thought Patterns That Sustain Depression – An Overview for Scam Victims – 2024

Thought Patterns That Sustain Depression – An Overview for Scam Victims

Helping Scam Victims Understand Depression and the Need For Help!

Primary Category: Recovery Psychology

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Victims of relationship scams often experience profound emotional and psychological impacts, including depression, due to feelings of betrayal and diminished self-worth. Addressing the cognitive patterns that sustain depression is crucial for their recovery.

Almost all scam victims suffer from trauma, and while resilience varies, every victim should be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional to prevent worsening symptoms. There is no shame in seeking help; it is a courageous step towards healing. Mental health professionals provide a safe, non-judgmental space for victims to process their experiences, rebuild self-esteem, and develop coping strategies. Early intervention can mitigate long-term effects, helping victims regain control over their lives and well-being.

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Neurodivergent/Neuroatypical/Autistic Scam Victims And Manipulation In Relationship Scams – 2024

Neurodivergent/Neuroatypical/Autistic Scam Victims and Manipulation in Relationship Scams

Neurodivergent Individuals face special challenges in both Avoiding Scams and Recovering from the Trauma they produce

Protecting Neurodivergent Individuals with Strategies to Avoid Scams and Fraud and How to Recover from Them

Primary Category: Recovery Psychology

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Neurodivergent individuals, including those with autism, are particularly vulnerable to scams due to unique cognitive and social challenges. Scammers exploit difficulties in social communication, trust, and decision-making, often targeting these individuals’ need for routine and connection.

Protecting neurodivergent adults requires tailored education about common scams, support networks to aid in decision-making, and practical safeguards like secure digital practices.

Recovery from scams should focus on specialized therapy to address trauma, rebuilding trust, enhancing executive functioning skills, and providing financial counseling.

By understanding these vulnerabilities and implementing comprehensive support, we can help neurodivergent individuals avoid scams and recover effectively if targeted.

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The Common Cognitive Distortions Of Scam Victims – 2024

The Common Cognitive Distortions Of Scam Victims

Helping Scam Victims Understand Cognitive Distortions and Irrational Thinking

Primary Category: Recovery Psychology

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Cognitive distortions, prevalent in scam victims, are faulty thinking patterns that amplify negative perceptions and hinder recovery. These distortions, including ‘what if’ thinking, overgeneralization, and black-and-white reasoning, perpetuate anxiety and helplessness, leading to emotional turmoil.

Scam victims often engage in catastrophic hypotheticals, imagining worst-case scenarios that fuel distress and immobilize them. To manage these distortions, victims must recognize and challenge their validity, shifting focus from imagined threats to practical solutions.

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Philosophy of Scams: Harry Frankfurt’s Hierarchical Compatibilism – A Different Perspective on Scam Victimization – 2024

Harry Frankfurt’s Hierarchical Compatibilism

– A Different Perspective on Scam Victimization – Why People Become Scam Victims

Primary Category: Philosophy of Scams

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Understanding how victimization occurs and its impact on people is essential for several reasons. First, it allows for the development of effective prevention strategies, informing potential victims about warning signs and defensive measures. Second, it helps provide appropriate support to victims, addressing emotional wounds and aiding in the recovery process.

Furthermore, understanding victimization empowers empathy, reduces stigma, and informs policy-making and legal frameworks. Harry Frankfurt’s hierarchical compatibilism offers a nuanced perspective on free will and moral responsibility by emphasizing the alignment of actions with higher-order desires and volitions.

Applying this theory to scam victimization illustrates how victims lose their agency under manipulation, absolving them of moral responsibility for their actions in instances of fraudulent exploitation.

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Perception Expectation And Perspective In Scam Victims’ Recovery – 2024

Perception Expectation And Perspective In Scam Victims’ Recovery

Helping Scam Victims to understand the impact that Perception Expectation And Perspective has on their present and future!

Primary Category: Recovery Psychology

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Perception, expectation, and perspective intertwine intricately in the recovery journey of scam victims, profoundly influencing their emotional healing and resilience.

Perception shapes how victims interpret their experiences, directly impacting the expectations they hold for recovery and future interactions. A balanced perspective integrates both perception and expectation, fostering a constructive outlook that acknowledges the complexity of the healing process.

Victims who adopt a positive perspective view their ordeal as a learning opportunity, aligning their expectations with the reality of gradual healing and growth.

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The Paradox Of Relationship Scams – Another Perspective – 2024

The Paradox Of Relationship Scams – Another Perspective

Another Way of Thinking About Relationship Scams from a Paradoxical Viewpoint!

Primary Category: Recovery Psychology

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Relationship scams are full of paradoxes that highlight the complex and contradictory nature of fraud. Victims are ensnared through a blend of trust and deception, where they build deep emotional connections with scammers who appear benevolent but are driven by financial greed.

This trust, intended to provide security, is paradoxically the tool of their exploitation. Similarly, scammers create a sense of empowerment and safety in their victims, encouraging bold decisions and enabling growth, only to disempower and manipulate them, leading to financial and emotional ruin.

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Predurance of Scammers And Their Scam Victim – A Waiting Game – 2024

Predurance of Scammers and their Scam Victim – A Waiting Game

Examining the Unique Role of Patience (Predurance) in Predator (Scammer) Prey (Scam Victim) Interactions

Primary Category: Psychology of Scams

Authors:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

“Predurance” refers to the patience and calculation scammers exhibit while grooming and manipulating their victims, akin to a predator in the wild. This concept captures the deliberate and sustained process through which scammers prepare their victims for financial exploitation.

Scammers begin by identifying vulnerable individuals, establishing initial contact through various channels, and building trust by posing as empathetic and trustworthy figures. They create dependency by offering emotional support and advice, often isolating victims from others to reduce outside intervention.

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5 Bulgarian Fraudsters Convicted In The UK – 2024

5 Bulgarian Fraudsters Convicted In The UK

Fraud on a Massive Factory Scale

Primary Category: Criminal Justice

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Portions by Daily Mail

About This Article

Five Bulgarian fraudsters who defrauded the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of £54 million have been jailed for over 25 years. The gang hijacked 6,000 identities to claim Universal Credit, using children’s names from Bulgaria.

They operated three ‘benefit factories’ in London, producing fake tenancy agreements, payslips, and letters to trick the DWP. The group flaunted their wealth on social media, with photos showing them at Antonia’s Foods supermarket in Wood Green. Ringleader Galina Nikolova, 38, was sentenced to eight years for her key role in the scam, which Judge David Aaronberg described as being conducted on an ‘industrial scale’. Stoyan Stoyanov, 27, received four years, while Gyunesh Ali, 33, was jailed for seven years and three months. Tsvetka Todorova, 52, and Patritsia Paneva, 26, received three years each.

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Sadako Toyoda: Another Innocent Scam Victim Money Mule Has Been Arrested In Japan – 2024

Sadako Toyoda 豊田禎: Another Innocent Scam Victim Money Mule Has Been Arrested In Japan

Another Innocent Money Mule Will Go to Prison

Primary Category: Scam Victim’s Story

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  日テレNEWS NNN

About This Article

Sadako Toyoda, a 54-year-old Japanese woman, was manipulated into becoming a money mule by a scammer she met online, leading to her arrest. The scammer, posing as a doctor in a war zone, convinced Toyoda to impersonate a diplomat and collect money from another victim.

On May 29, Toyoda attempted to defraud a woman in Sagamihara City of 1 million yen. Despite being a victim of psychological manipulation, Toyoda faces prison. This case underscores the extreme lengths to which scam victims can be coerced, highlighting the severe impact of such manipulative tactics.

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Major European Money Laundering/Money Mule Services Operation Shut Down By Europol – 2024

Major European Money Laundering/Money Mule Services Operation Shut Down By Europol

Primary Category: Criminal Justice

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Europol

About This Article

Europol, alongside Italian and Portuguese authorities, spearheaded a major crackdown on money mule service providers laundering over EUR 10 million for a criminal organization behind cryptocurrency scams.

Supported by law enforcement from Austria, France, Germany, Romania, Spain, and Switzerland, the operation involved raids in France, Italy, and Romania, resulting in 11 detentions, including the scheme’s mastermind, and the seizure of electronic devices, jewelry, and cryptocurrencies.

The scam targeted millionaires through sophisticated rip-deal scams, utilizing cryptocurrencies. Europol and Eurojust provided critical support, facilitating information exchange and forensic assistance, while Europol’s #DontBeaMule campaign aims to prevent money mule activities across the EU.

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For Scam Victims – Healing And Moving On When There Are Still Residual Feelings – 2024

For Scam Victims – Healing And Moving On When There Are Still Residual Feelings

Healing After a Fake Relationship Ends: Acknowledge and Honor Your Residual Feelings

Primary Category: Recovery Psychology

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

In the aftermath of a relationship, particularly one based on deceit like a romance scam, it is important to recognize and honor your residual feelings.

Although the relationship may have been built on falsehoods and lies, the emotions you experienced were genuine. Your emotions were hijacked, producing valid feelings despite the manipulation. Accepting these feelings is a vital step in your healing process. Residual feelings are the lingering emotions that remain after a relationship ends, reflecting the emotional investment you made.

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U.S. Government Bans Woman Money Mule From Helping Scammers Anymore – 2024

U.S. Government Bans Woman Money Mule From Helping Scammers Anymore

In a First of Its Kind Decision, the U.S. Court Orders Money Mule to Stop Helping Scammers! This was Required Because She Would Not Stop!

Primary Category: Scam Victim’s Story

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  United States Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice

About This Article

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Federal Government has barred Holly Freidamarie Locke, a 70-year-old Michigan woman, from participating in any further online romance scams. Locke, initially a victim herself, was deceived into acting as a “money mule,” transmitting funds for scammers. Despite police warnings and a signed cease and desist order, she continued facilitating scams.

U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman approved a consent decree preventing Locke from aiding scammers. This decision, the first of its kind in Michigan, is part of a broader DOJ effort to combat international fraud rings exploiting U.S. citizens.

Locke’s case highlights the manipulation tactics used by scammers and the crucial role of money mules in these schemes. By cutting off this flow of money, the decree aims to protect potential victims and disrupt the operations of fraud networks. Locke did not admit liability in the decree.

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Limerence/Obsessive Love Disorder – When Your Hormones & Neurotransmitters Rule – 2024

Limerence/Obsessive Love Disorder – When Your Hormones & Neurotransmitters Rule

For Scam Victims, it was NOT LOVE – it was Limerence. But watch out that it does not turn into Obsession!

Primary Category: Recovery Psychology

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Limerence, an intense and involuntary emotional state of romantic infatuation, can be manipulated by scammers to control their victims. This emotional hijacking involves the release of key neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which creates feelings of pleasure, arousal, and obsessive thoughts about the scammer.

Characteristics of limerence include intrusive thoughts, emotional dependency, idealization, fear of rejection, and physiological responses like increased heart rate and sweating.

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Pokémon Card Scammers Arrested By FBI – 2024

Pokémon Card Scammers Arrested By FBI

The FBI has arrested Anthony Curcio and Iosif Bondarchuk for operating a nationwide scam involving sports and Pokémon trading cards.

Primary Category: Criminal Justice

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Federal Bureau of Investigation

About This Article

The FBI has arrested Anthony Curcio and Iosif Bondarchuk for operating a nationwide scam involving sports and Pokémon trading cards. Charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud, the duo allegedly manipulated the market by misrepresenting low-to-mid grade cards as high-grade, authenticated by a reputable grading company, causing victims to overpay and resulting in over $2 million in fraudulent sales.

The scheme, which spanned from 2022 to May 2024, involved selling cards with falsified grades through online marketplaces and in-person venues. Curcio and Bondarchuk used fake identities to conceal their involvement, even after victims confronted them.

The case highlights the FBI’s commitment to combating fraud and protecting consumers in the collectibles market.

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The Dangers Of Teen Sextortion Scams – 2024

The Dangers Of Teen Sextortion Scams

An Introduction to Teen Sextortion Scams and the Damage it does!

Primary Category: Scam Basics

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Teen sextortion scams are a significant threat in today’s world, exploiting teens’ vulnerabilities by luring them into fake relationships and extorting money.

These scams cause devastating emotional and psychological impacts, such as psychological trauma, intense fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, depression, and suicidal thoughts, often leading to isolation.

Socially, they damage reputations, disrupt education, and erode trust in relationships.

Financially, victims face monetary losses and jeopardized future financial security.

Legally, these scams expose teens to criminal networks and potential involvement in illegal activities, risking their safety.

To combat this, education, open communication, strong privacy practices, and prompt reporting are crucial for protecting teens from sextortion.

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MasterCard opens European Cyber Resilience Centre in Belgium – 2024

Mastercard opens European Cyber Resilience Centre in Belgium

This new Centre will better prepare Europe to Face the Challenges of Cybercrimes and Cyberwarfare

Primary Category: Cybersecurity

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Portions by MasterCard

About This Article

Mastercard has opened its European Cyber Resilience Centre (ECRC) at its European Headquarters in Belgium, highlighting its commitment to combating cyber threats and enhancing resilience in the region. The state-of-the-art centre will improve defenses against cyber threats, expedite response times, and foster collaboration between the public and private sectors.

The ECRC brings together partners from across Europe, including national cyber intelligence centres, law enforcement, and industry bodies. The facility features a Fusion Centre and a Digital Forensics Lab, essential for effective incident response. This initiative reinforces Mastercard’s role in securing the digital ecosystem and protecting consumer and business transactions.

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Desperation – One of Many Normal Scam Victims’ Responses To Fear – 2024

Desperation – One of Many Normal Scam Victims’ Responses To Fear

After a Scam Ends Fear Becomes a Dominant Emotion that can drive Desperation or Despair

Primary Category: Recovery Psychology

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Desperation is a profound sense of urgency and anxiety that arises when individuals feel trapped in a hopeless situation, such as a scam victim’s experience. It is driven by fear, hopelessness, urgency, and isolation, leading to intense emotional turmoil, impaired judgment, and risky behaviors.

While desperation can motivate and inspire creativity, it more often results in impulsive decisions and increased vulnerability to further scams.

Recognizing desperation involves monitoring intense emotions, obsessive thoughts, behavioral changes, and physical symptoms like fatigue and sleep disturbances. Taking action includes seeking support, practicing self-care, breaking down problems, avoiding impulsive decisions, and considering professional help.

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Mariko Takeuchi – Romance Scam Victim Became An Unwitting Drug Mule – 2024

Mariko Takeuchi – Romance Scam Victim Became An Unwitting Drug Mule

An Example of how Online Relationships can get someone arrested!

Primary Category: Victim’s Story

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
• Yahoo Japan and other sources

About This Article

Mariko Takeuchi, the first Japanese national sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Malaysia, had her death sentence commuted to 30 years in prison on May 29, 2024, following judicial reforms that abolished mandatory capital punishment for certain offenses.

Arrested in 2009 for carrying 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine from Dubai, she claimed she was unknowingly used as a drug mule by an acquaintance. Despite her defense, Malaysian courts consistently found her testimony not credible, leading to her death sentence in 2011.

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Europol’s Operation ENDGAME Strikes At Heart Of Cybercrime’s Botnet Universe – 2024

Europol’s Operation ENDGAME Strikes At Heart Of Cybercrime’s Botnet Universe

Europol and Partners Take Down Another Major Botnet Cybercrime Organization

Primary Category: Cybercrime

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Europol

About This Article

Europol’s largest-ever operation against botnets, dubbed Operation Endgame, targeted malware droppers like IcedID, SystemBC, Pikabot, Smokeloader, and Bumblebee. Coordinated from Europol’s headquarters between May 27 and 29, 2024, the operation aimed to disrupt criminal services by arresting high-value targets, taking down criminal infrastructures, and freezing illegal proceeds.

The multinational effort, involving countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States, led to four arrests, 16 location searches, and the takedown of over 100 servers. This operation, supported by Eurojust and various private partners, addressed the complex challenge of international cybercrime, highlighting the critical role of botnets in deploying ransomware.

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People Often Cannot Recognize That They Have Depression – 2024

People Often Cannot Recognize That They Have Depression

Helping Scam Victims Understand What Depression Is and Why So Many Survivors Cannot Recognize that they Have It!

Primary Category: Recovery Psychology

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  National Institute of Mental Health, and other sources

About This Article

Recognizing depression, especially at its onset, can be challenging as symptoms often develop gradually. Depression, or major depressive disorder, can affect anyone, including scam victims, presenting with persistent sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, guilt, loss of interest, fatigue, cognitive issues, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, and physical discomfort.

There are two main types: major depression, which severely impacts daily activities for at least two weeks, and persistent depressive disorder, with milder symptoms lasting at least two years. The difficulty in recognizing depression is compounded by factors like self-blame, a bleak perspective, internalized stigma, and cognitive impairment.

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911 S5 Botnet Dismantled – Another Major Botnet Taken Down By Law Enforcement – 2024

911 S5 Botnet Dismantled – Another Major Botnet Taken Down

Law Enforcement Takes Down Another Major Cybercrime Operation

Primary Category: Law Enforcement

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation

About This Article

In a significant international law enforcement operation led by the U.S. Justice Department, the notorious 911 S5 botnet, responsible for infecting over 19 million IP addresses and facilitating large-scale fraud and other crimes, has been dismantled.

The operation resulted in the arrest of YunHe Wang, a Chinese national, who allegedly created and operated the botnet from 2014 to 2022. Wang’s malware compromised millions of residential computers, allowing cybercriminals to commit various offenses, including financial fraud and child exploitation.

Read More …

Psychological Pain And Scam Victims Recovery – 2024

Psychological Pain And Scam Victims Recovery

Helping Scam Victims to Understand Psychological & Emotional Pain – Its Causes and Ways to Recover

Primary Category: Recovery Psychology

Visit ScamPsychology.org for more

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Psychological or emotional pain is a form of mental suffering that can feel as real and intense as physical pain. It often manifests as a heavy weight on the chest, a deep ache, or a sense of emptiness, with emotional experiences ranging from intense sadness and hopelessness to anxiety and anger.

This pain can also lead to physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, fatigue, and muscle tension, disrupting sleep, appetite, and overall well-being. Psychological pain arises from various sources, including loss, trauma, mental health disorders, chronic stress, social rejection, and existential struggles.

Brain regions such as the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula, which are involved in processing physical pain, also become active during emotional pain. Neurotransmitter imbalances, stress responses, and changes in neural pathways further contribute to the experience of psychological pain.

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The Relationship Between Pain and Pleasure In Scam Victims – 2024

The Relationship Between Pain and Pleasure

How the Brain can Confuse them and what this means for Scam Victims

Primary Category: Recovery Psychology

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Humans have a complex relationship with pain and pleasure, with the brain often linking the two in unexpected ways. Activities like eating hot peppers or intense exercise can be pleasurable due to the release of endorphins and dopamine, which act as natural painkillers and “feel-good” neurotransmitters.

This extends beyond physical pain to psychological experiences, such as those endured by scam victims. During a scam, victims experience emotional highs and lows, manipulated by scammers to create a cycle of hope and despair, engaging the brain’s reward system. After the scam, the realization of being deceived leads to psychological trauma and chronic stress, mirroring the dynamics of physical pain.

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Are You A Serial Scam Victim? Do You Know One? – 2024

Are You One? Recognizing If You Are A Serial Victim

Some People Jump from One Online Relationship Scam to Another – Each One Another Scam! Technically, we refer to these as Serial Victims. they need Professional Psychological Support to Break Free from their Chains

A Scam Cycle of Abuse that Many Victims Fall Into for the Same Reasons that Domestic Abuse Victims Do!

Primary Category: Scam Psychology

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

Previously published in 2022 on RomanceScamsNOW.com

About This Article

Serial victims of relationship scams often fall into a cycle of deception due to a combination of psychological and physiological factors. These individuals are particularly vulnerable to repeated scams because of attachment disorders, low self-esteem, fear of abandonment, and trauma.

Rebounding into new relationships quickly after one ends is a common behavior among these victims, driven by a need for emotional support, personal validation, and fear of loneliness.

Hormonal and neurotransmitter dependencies, such as those involving dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, serotonin, and endorphins, further entrench this vulnerability.

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Hedonic Adaptation And Scam Victims Finding Happiness – 2024

Hedonic Adaptation And Scam Victims Finding Happiness

Hedonic Adaptation: Understanding the Stability of Happiness and the Path to Lasting Contentment

Primary Category: Scam Victim Recovery

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Hedonic adaptation, often called the hedonic treadmill, is the psychological phenomenon where people return to a baseline level of happiness despite significant positive or negative changes in their lives. This concept suggests that while new circumstances can initially alter one’s emotional state, people quickly become accustomed to these changes, leading their overall happiness to stabilize over time.

Both positive events, like promotions or new relationships, and negative events, like job losses or breakups, see initial emotional spikes or dips, but eventually, individuals return to their baseline happiness level. Of course, trauma changes this in many significant ways.

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The Similarity/Attraction Theory And Relationship Scams – 2024

The Similarity/Attraction Theory And Relationship Scams

Another Example of How Our Own Psychology Heavily Influences Our Susceptibility to be Deceived!

Primary Category: Psychology of Scams

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

The Similarity/Attraction Theory posits that individuals are drawn to others who share similar characteristics, such as attitudes, values, interests, and backgrounds, creating a sense of comfort and predictability. This theory is linked to cognitive biases like confirmation bias, in-group bias, homophily, stereotyping, the halo effect, and similarity bias, that reinforce our natural preference for similar others.

Scammers exploit these biases in trust-based relationship scams by fabricating similarities to establish credibility and manipulate victims. By creating a sense of familiarity and emotional connection, scammers gain the victim’s trust and deepen their dependency.

Understanding these tactics and biases is important in recognizing and preventing scams.

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Do The Fake Names Scammers Use Play A Role In Luring In Victims? 2024

Do The Fake Names Scammers Use Play A Role In Luring In Victims?

Do Names Play a Significant Role in Aiding Luring and Grooming of Scam Victims?

Primary Category: Psychology of Scams

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Common names make it easier for scammers to lure victims because they evoke familiarity and trust. Familiar names like “John,” “Michael,” “Sarah,” or “Emily” reduce initial skepticism and increase engagement since they are associated with real-life individuals the victim might know.

This sense of normalcy helps scammers blend in, making their fake personas appear legitimate and trustworthy. Additionally, common names are easier to remember and pronounce, which enhances communication and rapport building.

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Scam Victim Psychological Trauma And Weight Gain – 2024

Scam Victim Weight Gain And Psychological Trauma

The Somatic (Physical) Effects of Psychological Trauma are many and most of them are bad!

Primary Category: Psychological Trauma

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Psychological trauma, an emotional response to intensely distressing events, profoundly impacts both the mind and body. Originating from incidents such as crimes, accidents, or prolonged abuse, trauma triggers the “fight-or-flight” response, releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

While adaptive in acute scenarios, chronic activation of this response leads to significant health issues, including cardiovascular problems, metabolic disturbances, and immune system compromise.

Elevated cortisol levels result in increased fat storage, particularly visceral fat, and altered insulin production, promoting weight gain and insulin resistance.

Historically, these responses ensured survival during physical threats and food scarcity by mobilizing and storing energy efficiently. However, modern chronic stressors misalign with these ancient mechanisms, leading to obesity, metabolic syndrome, and other health complications.

Addressing psychological trauma through holistic approaches that consider both mental and physical health is crucial for promoting overall well-being and resilience.

Psychological Trauma has many effects on the Human Body – Almost All of them are Bad! One noticeable effect is Weight Gain

Introduction to Psychological Trauma and Its General Impacts on the Body

Psychological trauma is an emotional response to an intensely distressing event or series of events, that has profound and far-reaching impacts on both the mind and body. Traumatic experiences can arise from various sources, such as crimes like scams & fraud, accidents, natural disasters, or prolonged exposure to abusive environments. While the psychological ramifications of trauma—such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—are widely acknowledged, the physical consequences are equally significant and often intertwined with mental health.

When an individual experiences trauma, the body’s immediate reaction is to enter a heightened state of alertness, commonly known as the “fight-or-flight” response. This response is orchestrated by the autonomic nervous system, which releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to prepare the body to face the threat. While this mechanism is adaptive in short bursts, chronic activation due to unresolved trauma can lead to a myriad of health issues, and some of them can become chronic.

The persistent elevation of stress hormones disrupts various bodily systems, resulting in a host of physical symptoms and conditions. These can range from cardiovascular problems, such as hypertension and heart disease, to metabolic disturbances, including insulin resistance and obesity. Furthermore, the immune system can be compromised, making individuals more susceptible to infections and chronic inflammatory diseases.

Gastrointestinal issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), are also commonly reported by those with a history of trauma, highlighting the profound connection between the brain and the digestive system. Musculoskeletal problems, including chronic pain and fibromyalgia, often accompany the emotional pain of trauma, further illustrating the Read More …

Why Are We More Likely To Trust Total Strangers Now? 2024

Why Are We More Likely To Trust Total Strangers Now?

We were not always like this! Even 120 years ago, trusting did not come normally in society.

An Anthropological & Sociological Essay

Main Categories: Cognitive Biases / Anthropology / Sociology

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

The evolution of trust from cautiousness to openness towards strangers reflects a complex interplay of historical, cultural, and technological factors.

Initially spurred by post-pandemic euphoria and the Roaring Twenties’ optimism, trust eroded during World War II, rebounded briefly post-war, and waned again during the Cold War.

The Flower Generation challenged norms in the 1960s, fostering unity and trust.

The digital revolution accelerated trust normalization, facilitated by social media, e-commerce, and peer-to-peer economies.

Today, familiarity, social proof, and cognitive biases shape trust behaviors, despite vulnerabilities exploited by cybercriminals.

Balancing trust with vigilance is a survival necessity in maintaining safe interactions with anyone now! Where the allure of trust often collides with the reality of exploitation is where the criminal element hides.

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U.S. FBI’s IC3.gov Turns 24 Years Old! – 2024

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation – FBI’s IC3.gov Turns 24 Years Old!

Since the very early days of the Internet (World Wide Web) the FBI has been collecting data and complaints on criminal behavior and helping victims get help!

Law Enforcement – FBI IC3 Internet Crime Complaint Center

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Portions by ‘Inside the FBI Podcast’

About This Article

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.gov), established by the FBI in May 2000, is a crucial platform for reporting internet-related crimes such as identity theft, online fraud, phishing, and ransomware. It collects, analyzes, and disseminates cybercrime data, helping identify patterns and emerging threats.

Beyond processing complaints, IC3 enhances public awareness and provides educational resources to prevent cybercrimes. It collaborates with various law enforcement agencies and partners globally to combat cybercrime effectively, making the digital environment safer.

Over its 24 years, IC3 has adapted to evolving threats, continuously working to protect individuals and businesses from sophisticated online scams.

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Relearning Critical Thinking And To Think Skeptically – For Scam Victims After A Relationship Scam – 2024

Relearning Critical Thinking And To Think Skeptically – For Scam Victims After A Relationship Scam

Trauma is known to cause Cognitive Impairment and Brain Fog after the Scam Ends. Relearning Critical Thinking and Skepticism again are vital skills Scam Victims Need!

Scam Victim Recovery Psychology

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Rebuilding critical thinking skills after becoming a victim of a relationship scam is essential to restoring a sense of control and trust in oneself. Scam victims often experience profound emotional trauma and cognitive impairment due to the manipulation tactics used by scammers.

Recognizing the impact of trauma on cognition is the first step toward recovery. Victims can use self-assessment tools, engage in mindfulness practices, and seek professional support to identify cognitive distortions and improve decision-making abilities.

Rebuilding skepticism and learning to question assumptions are crucial for protecting against future exploitation. By practicing self-compassion, prioritizing self-care, and seeking support from trusted individuals, victims can gradually regain their confidence and move forward with resilience.

It’s important to acknowledge that healing takes time and patience, but with dedication and support, scam victims can restore their critical thinking faculties and reclaim their lives.

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Hollywood Effect – Romance Entitlement Vulnerability – Believing You Are Entitled To A Perfect Romantic Partner – 2024

Hollywood Effect – Romance Entitlement Vulnerability – Believing You Are Entitled To A Perfect Romantic Partner

Hollywood Effect/Disney Syndrome – Cognitive Biases play a giant role in all Scam Victims’ Vulnerabilities

Psychology of Scams

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Victims of romance scams often fall prey to a unique vulnerability known as the ‘Hollywood Effect’ or ‘Disney Syndrome,’ where they harbor unrealistic expectations about finding the perfect partner, particularly in the realm of online dating. This cognitive bias, fueled by idealized portrayals of romance in media and popular culture, sets the stage for scammers to exploit individuals seeking their own fairy tale romance.

Because of this, victims overlook red flags and dismiss imperfections in pursuit of an idealized image of love, leaving them susceptible to manipulation and deception. Recognizing the signs of the Hollywood Effect is crucial for avoiding romance scams and approaching relationships with authenticity and resilience.

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Scam Victims: The Need To Tell Their Stories – The Need For Acceptance – 2024

Scam Victims: The Need To Tell Their Stories – The Need For Acceptance

Being Accepted is a Basic Primal Need we all have! When Scam Victims tell their Stories they Seek Acceptance, but there is a downside too!

Psychology of Scams

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Victims of scams and other crimes often feel a primal need to tell their stories, seeking acceptance and validation from others. This act of sharing serves as a means of seeking connection, healing, and empowerment in the aftermath of trauma.

However, storytelling can also be manipulated by con artists to exploit vulnerabilities and perpetrate further deception.

Trauma survivors, in their search for understanding and meaning, may be susceptible to believing false stories and urban legends, further complicating their recovery journey.

Understanding the dual nature of storytelling is crucial in recognizing its role in both healing and victimization, empowering individuals to navigate the complexities of truth and fiction in their quest for acceptance and justice.

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Language Scam Victim Danager: Never Date Someone When You Don’t Speak The Language Fluently – 2024

Language Scam Victim Danager: Never Date Someone When You Don’t Speak The Language Fluently

Another, little talked about Scam Victim Vulnerability is their Language!

Psychology of Scams

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

One of the unique victim vulnerabilities that can contribute to scams is actually the language itself.

Navigating relationships or engaging in conversations in a non-native language presents numerous challenges, particularly regarding memory encoding, cognitive overload, and vulnerability to deception. The brain’s capacity to process and comprehend language can become overwhelmed when confronted with the complexities of understanding a second language, leading to impaired memory retrieval and increased susceptibility to manipulation.

Memories formed in a secondary language may be less accessible when thinking in the first language, hindering awareness of past experiences and potential risks. This phenomenon underscores the importance of continued language exposure, proficiency development, and cognitive flexibility in mitigating the challenges associated with cross-linguistic communication.

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Labyrinth Walking and Spiral Walking Meditation for Scam Victims – 2024

Labyrinth Walking and Spiral Walking Meditation for Scam Victims

A Much Easier Form of Meditation for Scam Victims on their Journey of Recovery

Scam Victim Recovery Psychology

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Labyrinth walking and spiral walking provide scam victims with accessible and profound methods for managing trauma, reducing stress and anxiety, and promoting recovery. Unlike complex forms of meditation, these practices offer a tangible and straightforward approach to mindfulness.

Labyrinths, with their single winding path leading to the center and back, offer a focused journey inward, while spirals provide a continuous inward journey with no dead ends. Both can be created physically or imagined, allowing flexibility in practice.

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Learning And The Challenges That A Scam Victim Faces From Trauma And Related Cognitive Effects – 2024

Learning And The Challenges That Scam Victims Face From Trauma And Related Cognitive Effects

Often Scam Victims believe that the aftermath of a scam is just that their feelings are a little out of control, but the betrayal trauma from these crimes can lead to serious mind/brain dysregulation and impairment

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Scam victims often endure profound trauma due to the betrayal they experience, leading to significant psychological impacts. Recovery requires professional support, including psychological education and therapy.

Cognitive overload is common among victims, hindering their ability to learn. Learning involves encoding, consolidation, storage, and retrieval of information in the brain, influenced by neurotransmitters and synaptic plasticity. Trauma affects learning styles, impairing concentration, memory, and executive functions.

Cognitive dissonance exacerbates this, causing resistance to new information and reinforcing biases. Victims also face cognitive impairment, hindering logical thinking and comprehension.

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