(Last Updated On: January 21, 2024)

SCARS Emotional Scam Victims’ Support & Recovery Program

Turning Them Into Scam Survivors

Author:
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
SCARS 3 Steps Scam Victims Support and Recovery Program

Article Abstract

The SCARS 3 Step Emotional Support & Recovery Program for Relationship Scam Victims is a structured, comprehensive initiative aimed at transforming victims into survivors and ultimately thriving individuals.

In the first step, “New Arrivers,” victims receive crisis support, immediate assistance, and guidance on confronting the reality of their situation.

The second step, spanning the next 12 months, focuses on acceptance and empowerment, encouraging survivors to reinforce recovery gains, take corrective actions, and integrate the experience into their life stories.

The program provides ongoing support in the third step, promoting continued acceptance, socialization, and advocacy.

With components like individual therapy, support groups, and legal advice, the program operates on key principles such as trauma-informed care, compassion, and empowerment, offering victims a structured roadmap for healing.

SCARS 3 Steps Scam Victims Support and Recovery Program

SCARS Emotional Support & Recovery Program For Scam Victims Turning Them Into Scam Survivors

SCARS 3-Step Emotional Support & Recovery Program for Relationship Scam Victims

This is a support & recovery program invented by SCARS based on over 100 years of recovery & psychological science.

Please note the time scales are typical estimates. Each individual’s experience will vary based upon their own trauma and their commitment to their recovery. Step duration is fixed and a part of the program.

When we refer to therapy or counseling, this is independent of SCARS itself. SCARS recommends that all scam victims find professional trauma counseling or therapy. SCARS is partnered with BetterHelp.com to provide initial therapy through its SCARS STAR Membership program – but this is not mandatory for access to our Support & Recovery Program. To learn more about the SCARS STAR Membership visit membership.AgainstScams.org  To find trauma counselors or therapists worldwide visit counseling.AgainstScams.org

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SCARS Emotional Support & Recovery Program STEP 1

The first 9 months – New Arrivers

Early Crisis Support

We have a special Step ZERO support group for scam victims who are overwhelmed and experiencing too much trauma to adapt to our regular groups just yet. The focus in the Step Zero group is stabilization.

Discovery and Crisis (3-8 Weeks +/-)

  • Immediate Support:
    • Crisis Hotlines: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988), Crisis Text Line (Text HOME to 741741)
    • Mental Health Professionals: Seek individual therapy or join a support group specifically for scam victims.
    • Legal and Financial Aid: Consult lawyers and financial advisors to secure your finances and explore legal options.
  • Confronting the Reality:
    • Gather evidence and document the scam: This helps solidify the truth and prevent further engagement.
    • Educate yourself about the tactics used by the criminals: Understanding the whole process of victimization, including manipulation techniques employed can empower victims and prevent future scams.
    • Validate your emotions: Allow yourself to feel anger, sadness, and betrayal. Bottling them up will hinder healing.

Begin Processing the Grief and Understanding Trauma (next 12 Weeks +/-)

  • Grieving the Lost Relationship:

    • Acknowledge the loss: Accept that the relationship was never real, and grieve the idealized version of the scammer.
    • Journaling and creative expression: Express your emotions through writing, art, or other creative outlets.
    • Support groups and therapy: Connecting with others who understand can provide solace and validation.
  • Healing the Trauma:

    • Trauma-informed coaching and guidance: Helping survivors learn about their minds and how to better manage their own trauma and grief.
    • Trauma-focused therapy: Recommended third-part counseling or therapy to help address and learn techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) can help process and manage trauma symptoms.
    • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Practices like deep breathing and meditation can help manage stress and anxiety associated with the trauma.
    • Physical activity: Encouraging survivors to engage in exercise releases endorphins and promotes overall well-being.

Rebuilding Self-Esteem and Trust (next 16 Weeks +/-)

  • Focus on self-compassion: Practice self-forgiveness and avoid self-blame. You were targeted by skilled manipulators, not because of any personal flaws.
  • Rebuilding trust: Start small by confiding in trusted friends and family. Gradually rebuild your trust in yourself and your ability to discern genuine connections.
  • Reconnecting with loved ones and friends: Open up about your experience and seek their support. Strengthen your existing relationships and create new, healthy connections. Begin to recognize that they were victims too.

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SCARS Emotional Support & Recovery Program STEP 2

The next 12 months

Acceptance and Empowerment (Survivors)

  • Reinforce recovery gains: Stay focused and committed to recovery and supporting others.
  • Corrective actions: many survivors avoid or are resistant to necessary steps, but now must confront them.
  • Acceptance: Integrate the experience into your life story without letting it define you.
  • Setting boundaries: Develop healthy communication skills and establish clear boundaries to protect yourself from future manipulation.
  • Advocacy and awareness: Consider sharing your story to raise awareness about scams and empower others.

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SCARS Emotional Support & Recovery Program STEP 3

For as long as they want

Acceptance and Empowerment (Thrivors)

  • Socialization: Expand your community with other survivors and turn it into a social context
  • Final Acceptance: Integrate the experience into your life story without letting it define you.
  • Setting boundaries: Develop healthy communication skills and establish clear boundaries to protect yourself from future manipulation.
  • Advocacy and awareness: Consider sharing your story to raise awareness about scams and empower others.

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SCARS Emotional Support & Recovery Program Components

Provided by SCARS:

  • Weekly Zoom Calls
  • Individual support sessions
  • Support groups led by experienced facilitators
  • Educational workshops on scam tactics and recovery strategies
  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques
  • Physical activity and wellness sessions
  • Creative expression workshops
  • Legal and financial advice
  • Peer mentoring and buddy system

Third-party services:

  • Crisis Hotlines: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988), Crisis Text Line (Text HOME to 741741)
  • Mental Health Professionals: Seek individual therapy or join a support group specifically for scam victims. Either BetterHelp or other counseling or therapy.
  • Legal and Financial Aid: Consult lawyers and financial advisors to secure your finances and explore legal options.

Key Principles:

  • Trauma-informed care: Acknowledge the unique needs and experiences of scam victims.
  • Compassion and empathy: Create a safe and supportive environment for healing.
  • Empowerment and self-advocacy: Equip victims with the tools and knowledge to regain control and rebuild their lives.
  • Holistic approach: Address the emotional, psychological, and practical aspects of recovery.

Remember, healing is a journey, not a destination. This program is a roadmap, but everyone’s pace and needs will vary. With support, guidance, and self-compassion, you can move through the pain, rebuild your life, and emerge stronger from this experience.

SCARS Resources:

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.

Opinions

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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