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05 Jul 2017
The emotional distress caused by fraud

Victims of fraud don’t only lose their money. They also stand to lose their confidence, self-esteem and their trust in others.

Unfortunately, many fraud victims encounter overall disbelief and even condemnation. Here are the stories of Henk, Imane, Annet, Corrie and Ibrahim, who all suffered emotional distress as a result of fraud.*

These stories are based on the many reports that come in to Fraud Help Desk every day. The stories are very real, but for privacy reasons, we have used fictitious names and stock photos.
 
 

HENK: ‘That someone could do this to me!’

IMANE: ‘I couldn’t swallow anymore’

ANNET: ‘My children don’t want to know me anymore’

CORRIE: ‘What kind of a world are we living in?’

IBRAHIM: ‘I did it for my disabled daughter’

 

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‘That someone could do this to me!’

 
Henk (64) is a businessman who lost almost € 9,000 to a fake employee of the Tax Administration.

‘I spent hours on the phone talking to this crook, who I believed was a tax official. He kept threatening me that my company would be seized if I didn’t pay a fine very soon. All that time, the scammer only had one thing on his mind: how to fleece as much money as possible from this person. The idea that someone is able to do this, isn’t that unbelievable?’

‘I spent hours on the phone talking to this crook, who I believed was a tax official. He kept threatening me that my company would be seized if I didn’t pay a fine very soon. All that time, the scammer only had one thing on his mind: how to fleece as much money as possible from this person. The idea that someone is able to do this, isn’t that unbelievable?’

‘Of course, afterwards, the whole world will tell you that you should have done this, that and the other… Maybe I would have reacted the same way if it had happened to someone I knew. But believe me: those scammers are expert at their dirty job: they can really fool anyone.’

‘I couldn’t swallow anymore’

 
Imane (34) was called out of the blue by a Microsoft phone scammer. Using all the tricks in the book, the crook managed to squeeze € 2,500 out of her.

‘I wasn’t even aware that I was giving away the savings of my eleven-year-old daughter to these scammers. This has left me totally heart-broken. And awfully angry at myself. Why didn’t I follow my intuition? I should have just hung up the phone!’

‘I felt terrible when I found out that all the money was gone. I took a shower because I just felt dirty. I was trembling on my feet and couldn’t swallow anything for many hours. I called a friend and luckily she rushed to me immediately. I told her my story, I really needed her support.’


‘It is as if those scammers put you into some kind of tunnel, in which you can no longer think straight. All you feel is extreme stress and you want to get rid of that feeling as soon as possible. This makes you do what you are told you do. Only afterwards, you realize what you’ve done.’

‘My children don’t want to know me anymore’

 
Annet (59) was duped by a dating fraudster. In total, she lost € 95,000.

‘What did it do to me? I’m shattered, devastated.’

‘The impact is not just financial. Losing all that money was a bitter pill of course, but much worse is the overall condemnation from my family. I betrayed my husband when I started chatting with another man … I thought I felt lonely in my marriage, but now I really know what it’s like to all on my own. My husband has forgiven me, or so he says, but I notice his rejection in everything he does.’


‘My children don’t want to know me anymore because I also gave away their savings. The contempt in their eyes is unbearable. Every day, I’m faced with the errors of my ways. No, I wouldn’t wish anyone to experience this.’

‘What kind of a world are we living in?’

 
Corrie (87) received a visit from a young man who claimed to be home care. Once inside her home, he stole her belongings.

‘You may find this hard to believe, but I haven’t felt at ease for a single day since. My GP has given me pills to relieve the stress, and I take them religiously three times a day. Imagine, someone being so cheeky to trick their way into your house and steal your money and bank cards.’

‘No, I won’t open my door to anyone anymore, except for my son, who comes to see me a few times a week. Not even when it is scorching hot. I will only open the skylight. I’m not strong enough to defend myself properly. You know, I’m 87 now and I have always been good to everyone. I’ve always worked hard, raised my children, nursed my husband when he was sick.’


‘I don’t have much money, but I have learned how to make ends meet. And then this cheeky young criminal comes in and takes everything away from you. Actually, I’m glad he didn’t hurt me physically, because the stories you sometimes hear nowadays… Then I think: what kind of a world are we living in today?’

‘I did it for my disabled daughter’

 
Ibrahim (42) fell victim to investment fraud.

‘I can kick myself for wanting to hit the jackpot, which would allow me to retire without the burden of a mortgage. That was the whole idea. When I look at it now, yes, I was blinded of course. But it all looked so promising. The investors had more than 35 years of experience according to the website, and promised ‘no cure, no pay’. I had invested small amounts several times. I could log in on my own account and keep track of everything. But then suddenly, after I had put in a huge amount, I couldn’t log in anymore. Half a million euros gone.’

‘No, it wasn’t greed so much. It was primarily the care for our disabled daughter that drove me to do this. That care costs a lot of money, and I would like to be able to spend more time with her. That thought prompted me to take the risk, even though I felt suspicious deep down inside.’

‘Now, I feel extremely guilty. Towards my whole family; my wife, our daughter and my son, who hasn’t received the attention he needs…’

*) About these stories
These stories are based on the many reports that come in to Fraud Help Desk every day. Victims of fraud often prefer to remain anonymous. For this reason, we have used fictitious names. The images are stock photos.

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