Similar to victims of violent crimes, victims of economic crimes suffer mental and emotional harm as well as stress-related physical effects. Scammers elicit a victim’s money, their means of survival, victimize and abuse them at all levels - that being physically, mentally and spiritually.
Working with scam victims has put Heyns in the unique position of not only experiencing symptoms of scam abuse but gave her the opportunity to observe these symptoms in all victims as well. The results of scamming on any scam victim are devastating. Being scammed deprives a victim of their ability to trust. They spend years trying to recover from these crimes. The effect of victimization on a scam victim is like “psychological mugging” or “like being raped”.
Victims lose faith in the world and the system that was supposed to protect them. Scam victims lose confidence in themselves and others and are left with no closure. Victims also have lost their ability to judge so they trust no one becoming suspicious of everybody.
Scamming robs victims of their security, self-esteem and dignity, in addition to financial losses. Victims are robbed not only their money but also their security and their self-respect. Statistics show that only 5% of scam victims come forth: they hide in the woodwork because of shame, guilt, embarrassment, discrimination and lack of trust and continue to suffer in silence.
Society is mainly to blame for the easy brutal attacks and judgement towards victims, without any knowledge or true facts. Literature validates my experience and observation, it states: Fraud victims also experience: Self-blame, shame, depression, sense of violation, isolation (suffering in silence), social stigma (victim blaming) and guilt. The majority of scam victims who were scammed by “Romance scams” are suicidal after being scammed. Scam victims are left homeless after being scammed without food or proper medical care.