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Healing and growth after the scam

First Sunrise first wrote about her story nearly six months ago, wherein she encountered three different scammers all at once, a situation which became even more harrowing when one of the scammers continued to contact her after the scam, unrelentingly leaving many emotion-laden messages from different numbers after being repeatedly blocked, even voice messages. Here, she describes how she has processed her experience since, and offers perspective and advice for others on how to recover from their own difficult experiences.

It’s been a few months since the scam happened. I still ask myself how I allowed it to happen. Truth be told, I was in a vulnerable state last year due to some personal losses. Having someone coming into my life who paid so much care and attention to me was really nice. Of course, as soon as I found out that it was all a scam, I immediately forced myself to cut off all emotional ties. The first few weeks were awful – the person who was heavily involved in my life for the last two months is gone. It would’ve been better if they never existed, but I truly believe things always happen for a reason. Whether it was good or bad, there is always a lesson to be learned.

Losing the money is still painful; however, I count my blessings every day that I was fortunate enough to stop the losses before it got a LOT worse. As weird as it sounds, I owe it to scammer no. 2 and 3 – despite them being scammers themselves, they were the ones who broke the news for me. I am thankful that they were kind enough to leave me alone after. Scammers’ greed can be quite relentless – scammer no. 1 kept contacting me after the fact, denied that he is a liar and that his fake platform is legit. He said in order to rebuild our trust, he will help me get my money back, but we all know it wasn’t going to happen. Once you transfer your money to the fake platform, it’s as good as gone. Aside from the initial small withdrawals that they allow you to do in order to convince you the platform is real, there is no way they would’ve given me my money back. I played along and told him to “come clean” (I already knew the truth but wanted to see what BS he was going to feed me) and because these scammers only know how to talk to victims with a script, they can only say so many things. After a few more exchanges of a whole lot of nothingness, I blocked him again.

Fact: these fake trading platforms usually disappear after a few months as the scammers will move to operate under a different name. HKYY no longer exist and is now operating as HKICTC.

Also, if you can’t download it from the app store, it’s most likely not legitimate.

As closure, I found the person the scammer stole photos from, who, in reality, is also a victim to the SZP scam as his photos (and many others) have been stolen and used endlessly in these scams. I learned that he is young and seemingly immature, a working class like myself (aka not with hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting in a crypto account), and lives on a different continent – nothing like the “perfect soulmate” profile I was led to believe. I know a lot of victims blame these photo owners and even think they’re the scammers themselves, but that is not the case. Photos are usually stolen or bought – these scammers have endless folders of photos to share – the only thing they usually refuse to do is do a live video chat with you; however, I have learned that with certain apps now they can even manipulate to look like whoever they want!

On the plus side, I gained a friend: I befriended another victim from the same scam platform. When we first met, she had just realized she fell victim to the SZP scam but was still in denial of who the scammer was. I couldn’t let her continue living in this lie and really wanted to help her break free – I supported her and reminded her daily that none of this is real, but she needs to let it go herself. Her scammer ended up cutting her off – but at least it ended. We talk every day and are glad to have each other to share about our experience.

As a big part of healing, I continue to focus on helping others wherever I can. I understand some people suffered significant losses and all seems hopeless and impossible.

Money is important, but your life comes first, and your family and friends do care about you. If you feel like you can’t face this alone, consider reaching out to them.

If that is not an option, reach out to anonymous support groups. Also, don’t blame yourself anymore – humans have feelings and these scams are designed to target emotions. Without the feelings and emotions, this scam would be a lot less successful.

Here’s something I really want to emphasize from reading a lot of other victim testimonials – trust your instincts. Those red flags? Look into them. If it doesn’t make sense, do a Google search. During the scam, I did doubt on several occasions about the legitimacy on the entire thing, but my emotions blinded me. I still kick myself for not doing my due diligence, but I can’t change the past. I’m not going to lie, had my other two scammers not alerted me, I wouldn’t have gotten out of it at that time, and I would’ve suffered a lot worse. Until this had happened to me, I had no idea what a SZP scam was. Scams will always exist and continue to evolve, so the best thing we can do is to keep educating ourselves. Learn how to protect yourself. Read the news. Update yourself - take care of yourself.

I’m hoping my update can provide you with some comfort, as well as some things to relate to. And at any time, please reach out to the volunteers on GASO - it really does help to talk it out.

--First Sunrise


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