The following is a page from the report:
What have been the psychological effects of income opportunity fraud?
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'Income opportunity fraud is personal violation. Although there is no outward physical injury, certain victims have described the betrayal they felt, as the psychological equivalent of rape. Whilst a few victims have sought the help of mental health professionals or advocacy groups, most have suffered alone.
Income opportunity fraud victims' trust in their own judgment, and their trust in others, has often been destroyed. They generally cannot seek the support of family members or friends, because family members and friends often have been exploited at the victims' instigation, producing increased feelings of guilt and self-blame.
Income opportunity fraud often leads to the following feelings or emotional reactions amongst its victims:
shame, embarrassment and guilt
the sense that the victim contributed to his/her own, or to others', victimization
self-doubt, shock, disbelief
|societal condemnation and indifference (produced by the attitude that victims merit what they got as a result of their own greed and stupidity)|
|isolation (victims suffer in silence rather than risking alienation and blame from family members and friends)|
|anger, resentment and a sense of betrayal toward the recruiter for taking advantage of the recruit|
|frustration with criminal justice system|
|fear for the victims' financial security|
|increased concern about victims' personal safety and well-being, or that of victims' families.|
The financial cost of income opportunity fraud can be evaluated. However, less easily measured, and perhaps the most devastating cost of all, has been the emotional impact of this crime on many of its victims. Such harm is often the result of the victims' loss of the following:
previous social contacts including marriage partners and relatives
|retirement or other savings|
|professional or personal credibility|
Although victim-service providers and mental health professionals have focused on the emotional harm caused by violent crime. Some of the same physiological and long-term emotional effects experienced by victims of violent crimes have also been experienced by income opportunity fraud victims:
|stress, increased blood pressure and heart rate|
|inability to eat or sleep|
|loss of enjoyment of daily activities|
Short-term effects on income opportunity fraud victims have included:
preoccupation with the crime (thinking and talking about it constantly, replaying the crime, wondering what could have been done differently, etc.)
|inability to concentrate or perform simple mental tasks|
concern that other people will blame victims for what has happened
|increased strain on personal relationships (divorce or withdrawal of support)|
In extreme cases, income opportunity fraud has led some victims to attempt, or to commit, suicide.