“And so, it is more important now than ever to be vigilant, but also to share your experiences with others so that they know what to look out for – and to underline that there is no shame in falling victim to a scam. The shame is theirs, not yours.”
It is not uncommon for victims of scams to feel shame and embarrassment of what has happened. They may be reluctant to open up about the scam to friends and family – fearing that they may appear naïve or careless with their money.
Scammers are aware of this of course, and play on people’s emotions, needs and fears. This might be playing on people’s desire to find a loving life partner, or to make lots of money from a great-looking investment (which turns out to be bogus).
“After experiencing fraud you may feel a range of emotions, such as embarrassment, shame, sadness or even anger.
Although these are common reactions, it’s important to remember that only the fraudster is responsible for this crime taking place. Many scams are difficult to identify, or very complex and play on your emotions. Some fraudsters only need the smallest amount of your information, such as your address or phone number, to commit a crime.”
If you have been a victim of a scam, you are certainly not alone. Sadly, scams are seemingly becoming more common. The Financial Ombudsman Service reported an increase in complaints about fraud and scams by 66% in 2021: https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/news-events/dramatic-rise-fraud-scam-complaints. But this not only means that scams are very common, it is also means that victims are finding the strength to speak up about what has happened to them.
If you don’t feel ready to talk to those closest to you about being a victim of a scam and losing money, there are services available where you can speak to an expert. For example, Victim Support’s phone number is 08 08 16 89 111.
If being a victim of the scam is effecting your mental health, there are numerous helplines and listening services for people experiencing a mental health crisis, which can be found here: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/crisis-services/helplines-listening-services/
Lastly, being a victim of a scam can also have a huge negative impact on your finances, due to the money lost (even if you might get some or all of the money back in the long-term). Citizens Advice has free information on topics such budgeting, cost of living and help with debt – https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/
Organisations to help you if you’ve been a scam victim:
Victim Support: telephone: 08 08 16 89 111 or send Victim Support an email through this link: https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help/supportline/email-supportline/
Citizens Advice: telephone: 0808 223 1133 or see the information on their website about what to do if you’ve been scammed: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/what-to-do-if-youve-been-scammed/
Samaritans: telephone: 116 123 (to talk about a variety of concerns including depression, family problems and financial worries)
Age UK: telephone: 0800 678 1602 or see information on their website about support for scam victims: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/scams-fraud/support-for-scam-victims/