By Soraya Grant
Sometimes, the healing process is slowed down because we believe one or more of the myths about people who are victimized by romance scammers. This can lead to giving yourself a mental beat down you wouldn't inflict on your worst enemy. See how many of the following false statements you find popping into your head.
Myth 1: These types of scams only happen to naive people. You must be the type that believes everybody about everything if you fell for a romance scam.
Reality: Romance scams do happen to naive people. They also happen to cynical people and to people with a perfectly balanced sense of faith in others. Scammers study profiles, chat room dialogue, emails, and social networking pages to form a profile for each of their victims. If someone does seem to be naive, the scammer will certainly use that, but scammers also know how to manipulate a cynical person into believing their story is real.
Myth 2: Romance scam victims spend their entire life communicating with people they only know online. If you would just make some friends you could spend time with in person you wouldn't wind up talking to romance scammers.
Reality: People have been targetted by romance scammers during their first tries on dating sites or their first experience in a chatroom. Scammers who are out for money or for a general sense of revenge on the world go after anyone and everyone who communicates with them once. Scammers who target individuals for personal revenge use online environments because they are easier to hide in than offline environments. Some romance scam victims are people who live online, some mix online and offline communities, and some barely touch their computers outside of work.
Myth 3: Posting sexy photos online, flirting with everyone who is (or seems to be) attractive, and telling a lot of dirty jokes or talking about dating and intimate activity a lot draws scammers. If you were a little more humble and didn't spend so much time trying to show everybody how hot you are, they wouldn't have noticed you.
Reality: Scammers who are working for money or for a general sense of revenge fish for victims at random. It may seem like they "chose" you, but that is only because once you began communicating with them, they began tailoring the scam to you. There is nothing on your profile, chat dialogue, or social networking site that "made" the scammer notice you or pick you. If someone you know offline, or have had previous encounters with online, targeted you for a scam for personal revenge, that shows them to be a cruel and immature person who deals with their negative feelings by harming others. It says nothing about your character.
Myth 4: Romance scam victims have a general sense of low self worth, or at least struggle with believing men or women find them physically attractive. If you would just be more confident, these scammers wouldn't be able to manipulate you.
Reality: Romance scammers are happy to use self image struggles to manipulate their victims. They are also ready, willing, and able to scam people whose self image is inflated in one or more areas, and those with balanced and realistic views of themselves. Scammers are skilled at learning both their victims' weak and strong points and manipulating them to brainwash the person into believing they have really entered into a romantic relationship with someone online.
Myth 5: People who say they have been " online romance scammed" or "catfished" are just being dramatic. Everybody dates and/or befriends people they later realize are up to no good, both online and offline. It really isn't any big deal.
Reality: Romance scammers go far beyond the run of the mill jerk or creepy person that seemed nice at first. These scams involve brainwashing and humiliation, and in many cases, severe financial losses. Some scam victims even face legal problems. Being the victim of an online romance scam does not have to ruin your life. There is hope, and there is healing, and there is more out there for you than being the target of a romance scam. But it is serious and something that will take time to cope with.