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

•  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.

This interconnected dynamic underscores the importance of addressing distorted perceptions, managing expectations realistically, and fostering a resilient perspective to facilitate a healthy recovery. By understanding and navigating the interplay between perception, expectation, and perspective, scam victims can rebuild their lives with patience, self-compassion, and a hopeful outlook for the future.

SCARS Recommended Books

SCARS COBALT BOOK - A Scam Victim's Guide to Mindfulness - NEW 2024
SCARS GREEN BOOK - The SCARS Self-Help Self-Paced Scam Victim Recovery Program Guide
Perception Expectation And Perspective In Scam Victims' Recovery - 2024 - on SCARS - The Magazine of Scams Fraud and Cybercrime

A Note About Labeling!

We often use the term ‘scam victim’ in our articles, but this is a convenience to help those searching for information in search engines like Google. It is just a convenience and has no deeper meaning. If you have come through such an experience, YOU are a Survivor! It was not your fault. You are not alone! Axios!

The Role of Perception, Expectation, and Perspective in Scam Victim Recovery

Perception, expectation, and perspective of scam victims play a large role in their recovery but in what ways?

There is a significant relationship between the perception, expectation, and perspective of scam victims and their recovery process from a relationship scam. These elements shape how victims approach and navigate their healing journey. Understanding how each factor plays a role is essential to scam victims and those providing support and services to them.


Perception is the way individuals interpret and understand their experiences and reality, shaping their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

It acts as a cognitive lens through which people process information and events, influenced by their past experiences, cultural background, and psychological state. This subjective interpretation can significantly affect how individuals respond to situations, particularly in the context of trauma such as relationship scams.

For scam victims, perception determines whether they see the incident as an isolated mistake or as a significant breach of trust, influencing their emotional reactions and coping strategies. A distorted or inaccurate perception can lead to denial, minimizing the severity of the scam and delaying necessary steps for recovery.

Conversely, a clear and realistic perception can help victims recognize the full impact of the scam, encouraging them to seek help and take proactive measures. Understanding perception’s role in shaping reality highlights the importance of cognitive reframing and support in helping victims process and recover from their experiences.

Perception’s Impact on Recovery

Initial Shock and Denial:

Perception plays a crucial role in the initial shock and denial phase that scam victims often experience.  Many victims initially perceive the scam as a misunderstanding or an isolated incident rather than a deliberate act of fraud, leading to delays in seeking help.

When first confronted with the reality of being scammed, victims’ perceptions can be heavily influenced by disbelief and cognitive dissonance, leading to an immediate, protective reaction of shock and denial. This initial shock is a profound emotional and psychological response, as the mind grapples with the sudden collapse of trust and the realization of betrayal.

During this period, the victim’s perception is clouded by confusion and disbelief, making it difficult to fully comprehend the extent of the deceit.

Denial serves as a psychological defense mechanism, allowing victims to temporarily reject the painful truth in order to protect themselves from the overwhelming stress and emotional turmoil. This denial can manifest as minimizing the scam’s impact, rationalizing the scammer’s behavior, or clinging to hope that it was a misunderstanding. Such distorted perception delays critical actions, such as seeking help or reporting the scam, and can prolong the victim’s vulnerability.

Understanding the interplay between perception, initial shock, and denial underscores the importance of early intervention and support to help victims move past these barriers and begin the recovery process.


Perception significantly influences the tendency of scam victims to engage in self-blame, a common but detrimental coping response.  Victims may perceive themselves as foolish or at fault for falling for the scam, which can hinder their willingness to seek support and prolong emotional distress.

Of course, we know that scam victims are not at fault. This crime was done to them. It was an act of violence and a violation.

When individuals perceive themselves as having failed to recognize the scam, they often internalize the blame, viewing themselves as foolish or negligent. This self-critical perception can be worsened by societal stigma and the misconception that falling for a scam reflects personal incompetence rather than the sophisticated tactics of the scammer’s ability to control the victim’s mind.

Victims will replay the events repeatedly, scrutinizing their actions and decisions, and asking themselves why they didn’t see the warning signs. This relentless self-blame can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, and a profound sense of inadequacy. It undermines self-esteem and causes victims to withdraw from social interactions, fearing judgment from others.

Additionally, this perception hinders recovery by preventing victims from seeking help, as they may feel undeserving of support or too embarrassed to admit their perceived failure.

Recognizing and addressing the skewed perception that fuels self-blame is vital in helping victims reframe their experiences, understand the external factors that contributed to the scam, and create a more compassionate self-view. This shift is essential for breaking the cycle of self-blame and facilitating emotional healing and recovery.

Understanding the Scam:

Perception is central to how scam victims come to understand the scam they have endured. Initially, victims’ perceptions are often clouded by confusion and disbelief, making it difficult to grasp the full extent of the deception.  A clear and accurate perception of the scam aids in accepting the reality of what happened and recognizing the need for external support.

As the shock wears off, a clearer perception allows victims to piece together the events and recognize the sophisticated manipulation tactics employed by the scammer. This process involves critically analyzing the scammer’s methods, such as grooming. emotional manipulation, false promises, social engineering, and control techniques.

A nuanced understanding of the scam helps victims see beyond their initial feelings of gullibility or naivety, recognizing that the scam was designed to exploit human vulnerabilities in a calculated manner. This shift in perception can be empowering, as it reframes the experience from one of personal failure to one of victimization by a skilled perpetrator. However, achieving this understanding requires time, support, and often external perspectives, such as from counselors or support providers, who can provide insights into the common strategies used by scammers.

By building a more informed and accurate perception of the scam, victims begin to disentangle their self-worth from the experience, which is an important step toward emotional recovery and resilience.


Expectation involves beliefs about what should happen in the future based on past experiences or societal norms.

Expectation plays a critical role in shaping scam victims’ responses and recovery processes, as it involves beliefs about what should happen in the future based on past experiences or societal norms.

When victims’ expectations are misaligned with reality, it can lead to significant emotional distress and hinder recovery. For instance, many victims expect that once they recognize the scam, they will quickly recover and return to normalcy, and that they will be able to recover their money. This expectation can lead to frustration and disappointment when they encounter the complex and often lengthy healing process required to rebuild trust and emotional stability and find that they may not be able to recover their money.

Scam victims often expect immediate and comprehensive support from friends, family, or authorities, and when these expectations are unmet, feelings of abandonment and isolation can intensify.

Additionally, there is often an expectation for justice or restitution, with victims believing that legal or financial reparation will be straightforward and swift. However, the reality of transnation legal systems and financial recovery is often slow and fraught with challenges, worsening feelings of helplessness and despair.

Understanding and managing these expectations through education and realistic goal-setting are essential in helping victims adjust to their new reality, requiring patience and resilience as they work through their recovery journey.

Impact on Recovery

Expectations of Quick Recovery

Victims may expect a rapid recovery and feel frustrated or disappointed when the emotional healing process takes longer than anticipated.

Support Expectations

They might expect immediate and comprehensive support from friends, family, or institutions, and unmet expectations can lead to feelings of abandonment or isolation.

Justice and Closure

Some victims expect legal or financial restitution, and when this doesn’t occur, it can hinder emotional closure and prolong trauma.

Expectation significantly impacts the recovery process for scam victims, shaping their emotional and psychological responses throughout their journey. When victims harbor expectations of a swift recovery, they may become quickly disheartened when faced with the complex and often prolonged process of healing from trauma, shame, blame, and associated grief.

These expectations can lead to impatience and frustration, avoidance, resistance, and increasing feelings of anxiety and depression as victims struggle to reconcile their anticipated timeline with the reality of their emotional needs.

Similarly, victims often expect immediate and unwavering support from their social circles and institutions. When this support is not forthcoming or fails to meet their needs, victims can feel isolated and abandoned, further compounding their trauma.

Expectations for justice and restitution also play a critical role; victims frequently assume that legal or financial remedies will be straightforward and timely. However, the intricate and slow-moving nature of legal processes and the difficulties in financial recovery can lead to disillusionment and a sense of powerlessness.

Managing these expectations through education and realistic goal-setting is crucial. Providing victims with a clear understanding of what to anticipate can help them cultivate patience, resilience, and a more balanced perspective, ultimately facilitating a healthier and more effective recovery.


Perspective is the particular attitude or viewpoint through which scam victims see their situation, significantly influencing their emotional and psychological recovery.

A victim’s perspective shapes their overall outlook on the scam, the recovery process, and their future. For instance, a growth-oriented perspective enables victims to view their experience as a learning opportunity, recovering resilience and empowerment. This positive outlook helps them reframe the scam not as a personal failure but as an encounter with a sophisticated and deceitful adversary, encouraging proactive steps towards healing and prevention of future scams.

Conversely, a negative perspective, which views the scam as an irrevocable personal defeat, can perpetuate feelings of victimhood, helplessness, and mistrust in others. This detrimental viewpoint can impede recovery, making it difficult for victims to rebuild their self-esteem and engage in healthy relationships moving forward.

Perspective also affects how victims set and adjust their expectations; a balanced perspective can help manage these expectations realistically, reducing the likelihood of disappointment and frustration.

Impact on Recovery

Long-Term Perspective

Adopting a long-term perspective helps victims understand that recovery is a gradual process that involves rebuilding trust and self-esteem over time.

While living in the moment and being mindful is essential, adopting a long-term perspective is required for scam victims as they move forward along their recovery journey.

This viewpoint allows victims to recognize that healing is not a quick fix but a gradual, ongoing process. Understanding that recovery extends beyond immediate emotional reactions helps victims manage their expectations and reduce frustration when progress seems slow. A long-term perspective encourages patience and perseverance, essential qualities for rebuilding trust, self-esteem, and emotional stability.

It also provides a broader context for their experience, helping them see the scam as one chapter in their lives rather than a defining moment. This viewpoint can build a sense of resilience, as victims are more likely to focus on their overall growth and development over time rather than immediate setbacks.

Moreover, a long-term perspective helps victims set realistic goals and milestones, breaking down the recovery process into manageable steps. This approach not only makes the journey less overwhelming but also allows for the acknowledgment of incremental progress, reinforcing a positive and hopeful outlook.

Positive vs. Negative Perspective

The distinction between a positive and negative perspective is pivotal in determining the trajectory of a scam victim’s recovery. A positive perspective, focusing on learning and growth, can facilitate recovery, whereas a negative perspective, focusing on victimhood and loss, can impede it.

A positive perspective allows victims to view the scam as a learning experience and an opportunity for personal growth. This outlook builds resilience, enabling victims to rebuild their self-esteem and regain trust in their own judgment. A positive perspective encourages proactive behaviors, such as seeking support, educating oneself about the psychology of scams to prevent future victimization, and helping others by sharing their experience. It frames the scam as a temporary setback rather than a defining failure, which helps maintain a sense of hope and agency.

Conversely, a negative perspective can severely hinder recovery by framing the scam as a catastrophic personal failure. Victims with this viewpoint are consumed by feelings of shame, self-blame, and helplessness, leading to prolonged emotional distress. They tend to isolate themselves, fearing judgment or further victimization, which compounds their sense of loneliness and despair. A negative perspective can also lead to mistrust in oneself and others, making it difficult to rebuild relationships and engage in healthy social interactions. This detrimental outlook perpetuates a cycle of negativity, where victims struggle to move past the trauma and integrate the experience into a broader, more positive narrative of their lives.

Future Relationships

Perspective on future relationships can be affected; some may become overly cautious or avoid new relationships altogether, while others may use their experience to become more discerning and resilient.

A positive perspective helps victims rebuild confidence, viewing their ordeal as a learning opportunity rather than a reason to fear intimacy and trust. This outlook encourages applying lessons learned from SCARS about the scam, such as recognizing red flags and setting healthy boundaries, without becoming overly suspicious.

Conversely, a negative perspective can lead to deep-seated mistrust and fear of betrayal, causing victims to struggle with opening up and forming meaningful connections. Such mistrust can result in isolation and strained interactions, making it difficult to engage fully in new relationships.

Interrelationship of Perception, Expectation, and Perspective

The interrelationship of perception, expectation, and perspective profoundly shapes the recovery journey of scam victims.

Perception, or the way individuals interpret their experiences, directly influences their expectations about recovery and future interactions. For instance, if a victim perceives the scam as a catastrophic personal failure, this negative perception can lead to unrealistic expectations of a quick fix or complete emotional closure, setting them up for disappointment. Conversely, a balanced perception that acknowledges the scam’s complexity can create a more realistic expectations, recognizing that recovery is a gradual process requiring time and support.

Perspective, the broader attitude or viewpoint a victim adopts, integrates both perception and expectation. A positive perspective helps victims reframe their experience as a growth opportunity, aligning their expectations with the reality of a gradual healing process and allowing for incremental progress.

This interconnected dynamic means that shifting one element, such as perception, can positively impact the others, creating a more supportive and constructive framework for recovery. For example, enhancing a victim’s perception through education about common scam tactics can adjust their expectations towards a more patient and forgiving outlook, ultimately fostering a resilient and hopeful perspective. Understanding and addressing these interrelationships is crucial for providing effective support to scam victims and helping them rebuild their lives with a sense of empowerment and optimism.

These elements are interrelated and collectively influence the recovery process:

Perception Shapes Expectation

How victims perceive the scam and their role in it can shape their expectations about recovery. For example, perceiving the scam as a personal failure may lead to unrealistic expectations about self-recovery without seeking help.

Expectation Influences Perspective

Expectations about how quickly they should recover and what kind of support they will receive can color their perspective on the healing journey, affecting their overall outlook.

Perspective Affects Perception

A victim’s perspective can alter their perception of the scam and recovery process. For instance, a growth-oriented perspective may help them perceive the scam as a learning experience, while a negative perspective may perpetuate feelings of helplessness.

Enhancing Recovery

Education and Awareness

Providing victims with information about common recovery timelines and the importance of seeking help can align their expectations with reality.

Here are the SCARS set of educational websites to help victims learn what is real and how to recover:

Counseling and Support Groups

Professional support can help victims adjust their perceptions and perspectives, offering a more balanced and supportive view of their situation.

Here are resources to help scam victims find support:

Encouraging Realistic Expectations

Helping victims set realistic expectations for their recovery process can reduce frustration and promote a more positive perspective.

Here are ten realistic expectations that every scam victim should have to foster a healthy recovery:

      1. Recovery Takes Time: Understand that emotional and psychological healing is a gradual process that cannot be rushed. Patience is essential.
      2. Emotional Ups and Downs: Expect a range of emotions, including anger, sadness, and confusion. These fluctuations are normal and part of the healing process.
      3. Need for Support: Recognize the importance of seeking help from friends, family, support providers, or professional counselors. Support systems play a crucial role in recovery.
      4. Trust Rebuilding: Rebuilding trust in oneself and others will take time. It’s normal to feel cautious in future relationships, and this caution can be gradually overcome.
      5. Learning from the Experience: View the scam as an opportunity to learn and grow. This perspective can help in preventing future victimization and rebuild resilience.
      6. Financial and Legal Challenges: Understand that financial recovery and legal processes might be slow, complex, and may fail. Patience and persistence are key in navigating these challenges.
      7. No Immediate Resolution: Don’t expect an immediate resolution or closure. Emotional healing and regaining a sense of normalcy can take considerable time.
      8. Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Self-blame and guilt are common but unproductive and destructive. Self-compassion aids in healing and self-acceptance. Learn Mindfulness.
      9. Setting Boundaries: Recognize the need to set and maintain healthy boundaries in future interactions. This practice is essential for protecting oneself from further harm.
      10. Gradual Return to Normalcy: Expect a gradual return to normal activities and routines. Small steps towards regaining control of daily life can lead to significant progress over time.

Understanding these realistic expectations helps scam victims navigate their recovery with patience, self-compassion, and resilience, ultimately leading to a healthier and more empowered future.


The perception, expectation, and perspective of scam victims are deeply intertwined and play critical roles in their recovery from relationship scams. Misaligned perceptions and expectations can hinder or stop recovery, while a balanced and informed perspective can facilitate healing. Addressing these factors through education, counseling, and support can significantly improve recovery outcomes for scam victims.

Important Information for New Scam Victims

If you are looking for local trauma counselors please visit or join SCARS for our counseling/therapy benefit:

If you need to speak with someone now, you can dial 988 or find phone numbers for crisis hotlines all around the world here:

Statement About Victim Blaming

Some of our articles discuss various aspects of victims. This is both about better understanding victims (the science of victimology) and their behaviors and psychology. This helps us to educate victims/survivors about why these crimes happened and to not blame themselves, better develop recovery programs, and to help victims avoid scams in the future. At times this may sound like blaming the victim, but it does not blame scam victims, we are simply explaining the hows and whys of the experience victims have.

These articles, about the Psychology of Scams or Victim Psychology – meaning that all humans have psychological or cognitive characteristics in common that can either be exploited or work against us – help us all to understand the unique challenges victims face before, during, and after scams, fraud, or cybercrimes. These sometimes talk about some of the vulnerabilities the scammers exploit. Victims rarely have control of them or are even aware of them, until something like a scam happens and then they can learn how their mind works and how to overcome these mechanisms.

Articles like these help victims and others understand these processes and how to help prevent them from being exploited again or to help them recover more easily by understanding their post-scam behaviors. Learn more about the Psychology of Scams at

SCARS Resources:

Psychology Disclaimer:

All articles about psychology and the human brain on this website are for information & education only

The information provided in this and other SCARS articles are intended for educational and self-help purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for professional therapy or counseling.

Note about Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices have the potential to create psychological distress for some individuals. Please consult a mental health professional or experienced meditation instructor for guidance should you encounter difficulties.

While any self-help techniques outlined herein may be beneficial for scam victims seeking to recover from their experience and move towards recovery, it is important to consult with a qualified mental health professional before initiating any course of action. Each individual’s experience and needs are unique, and what works for one person may not be suitable for another.

Additionally, any approach may not be appropriate for individuals with certain pre-existing mental health conditions or trauma histories. It is advisable to seek guidance from a licensed therapist or counselor who can provide personalized support, guidance, and treatment tailored to your specific needs.

If you are experiencing significant distress or emotional difficulties related to a scam or other traumatic event, please consult your doctor or mental health provider for appropriate care and support.

If you are in crisis, feeling desperate, or in despair please call 988 or your local crisis hotline.

PLEASE NOTE: Psychology Clarification

The following specific modalities within the practice of psychology are restricted to psychologists appropriately trained in the use of such modalities:

  • Diagnosis: The diagnosis of mental, emotional, or brain disorders and related behaviors.
  • Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis is a type of therapy that focuses on helping individuals to understand and resolve unconscious conflicts.
  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of trance in which individuals are more susceptible to suggestion. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, and pain.
  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a type of therapy that teaches individuals to control their bodily functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety, and pain.
  • Behavioral analysis: Behavioral analysis is a type of therapy that focuses on changing individuals’ behaviors. It is often used to treat conditions such as autism and ADHD.
    Neuropsychology: Neuropsychology is a type of psychology that focuses on the relationship between the brain and behavior. It is often used to assess and treat cognitive impairments caused by brain injuries or diseases.

SCARS and the members of the SCARS Team do not engage in any of the above modalities in relationship to scam victims. SCARS is not a mental healthcare provider and recognizes the importance of professionalism and separation between its work and that of the licensed practice of psychology.

SCARS is an educational provider of generalized self-help information that individuals can use for their own benefit to achieve their own goals related to emotional trauma. SCARS recommends that all scam victims see professional counselors or therapists to help them determine the suitability of any specific information or practices that may help them.

SCARS cannot diagnose or treat any individuals, nor can it state the effectiveness of any educational information that it may provide, regardless of its experience in interacting with traumatized scam victims over time. All information that SCARS provides is purely for general educational purposes to help scam victims become aware of and better understand the topics and to be able to dialog with their counselors or therapists.

It is important that all readers understand these distinctions and that they apply the information that SCARS may publish at their own risk, and should do so only after consulting a licensed psychologist or mental healthcare provider.


The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of the Society of Citizens Against Rleationship Scams Inc. The author is solely responsible for the content of their work. SCARS is protected under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) section 230 from liability.







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