Huddlehumans has partnered with Global Anti-Scam Organisation (GASO) to raise awareness on scams, the detrimental impacts of scams on our mental health, and how victims can seek support when encountering such situations.
What is GASO & what do they do?
Global Anti-Scam Organization (GASO) was created in June 2021 to support people around the world devastated by romance-investment cybercrimes or Shāzhūpán (殺豬盤). The founder, a victim herself, created the site in gratitude to a Taiwanese support group who helped her back into the light. As Shāzhūpán victims kept surging throughout 2021, the number of volunteers continued to grow as well, and the Global Anti-Scam Organization was formed.
Run now by about 55 volunteers worldwide, GASO supports, organizes, and advocates for Shāzhūpán victims. Almost everyone with GASO has had first-hand experience with Shāzhūpán and is fuelled by their desire to help victims and to expose the romance-investment scams industry.
As of December 2021, GASO has connected with over 910 victims (and counting) of Shāzhūpán from 2020 – 2021, amounting to more than $144 million USD in losses.
Now… What is a Scam?
A scam is a scheme that is designed to trick you into giving away your money, personal details, or data by offering a very attractive deal.
Scams can happen to anyone from all walks of life – age, gender, income levels, gender etc. All of us can be vulnerable to a scam at some time.
Scams usually succeed because they catch you off guard by looking like the real thing. This works best when you are least suspecting of such schemes.
As time progresses, scammers are getting smarter and smarter as they learn to use new technology and services; even utilising major events around the globe to manufacture believable stories that can convince you to part with your money and/or private information.
Popular Types of Scams
The scammer uses a fake online identity to obtain trust and affection from the victim. The scammer then takes advantage of the romantically disillusioned victim to manipulate them into giving them money as proof of love, through false investments or lies. Once the scammer extorts what they want, they disappear.
Investment plans that sound too good to be true are offered. Scammers often convince you to join by guaranteeing a protected capital or promising high returns with low to no risk. They also claim to be well-established and use pressure tactics such as claiming that the investment deal only lasts a limited time, special deals or that many people have already invested with them.
Victims receive a call claiming that their loved one has been kidnapped and demands a ransom. Victims may even hear distressing cries or screams in the background.
An email, letter, or call will be given to the victim saying that a large fortune has been left for them. Victims are told that a payment has to be made first in order to release the funds.
This is a relatively new hybrid of love and investment scams, where a scammer first forms a long-term romantic or mentor relationship with the victim, then later introduces them to a fake investment platform for cryptocurrency, forex or commodities trading.
Tragic Story of a Young Man Getting Scammed and Taking his Life
Read this article written by the Founder of GASO, Xellos, on a tragic account of a 22-year-old young man who became victim in an online investment scam. This ultimately led to him taking his own life by jumping into a river.
Mental Health Detriments Arising from Scams
While scam victims often face heavy financial losses, detriments to their mental health come at an even heavier cost. Often, the negative impacts on the mental health of scam victims have been known to go unnoticed to the public eye.
Victims of scam are known to encounter impacts to their physical health, emotional health and well-being, depression, relationship breakdowns, homelessness, unemployment, and even suicide.
Studies have also shown that scam victims may face impacts similar to that of violent crimes but due to the invisibility of the damage, they tend to receive less support and acknowledgement of their hurt (Source: Cross, Cassandra, ‘Not a victimless crime’: The impact of fraud upon victims, 2017).
What Should You Do When You Think You Are Caught Up in A Scam?
Report the scam
Reporting to authorities is an important step. It puts you in touch with the relevant people who are able to give proper advice specific to your situation. It also helps other people avoid similar scams. You may think that reporting your scam will be of no help, but law enforcement cannot act if too few people report.
Contact your bank
If you have just remitted the funds to the fraudulent website and/or bank account, immediately contact your bank to reverse the transactions, or get the bank to hold the funds. At the same time check if your bank provides fraud protection policy.
For more information, please visit this site for the full article and to receive further help on what you should do when caught up in a scam situation:
This article was written in collaboration with Global Anti-Scam Organisation (GASO). Visit their website here: https://www.globalantiscam.org/