A few decades ago, when I was a young whippersnapper of around 20, I fell for a door-to-door magazine sales scam.
The teenage kids were well dressed, polite and soft spoken. They seemed very nice and relaxed about their summer job, that would help them pay for college or a school trip or something like that. I lost about $30 to them. I didn't tell anyone for months about that. I felt embarrassed to admit that these kids fooled me and took my money. I felt "stupid," but I finally realized that I was just naive about these type of scams. I was a very trusting person and these people were trained very well to detect and take advantage of people like me. They must have practiced their scam and been taught by another older scammer, as they were so polished in their approach. Those kids were being taught to be criminals by an adult! Maybe their own parents, or maybe by someone who picked up runaway children and took advantage of them. Once I started thinking about this, my emotions changed to anger, and I lost a little bit of my trusting nature in the process. I wasn't that pissed off about the money, as it wasn't that much. I was more mad that people could exist that would do something like this. Look you straight in the eye, lie, steal, smile, and take some of the good from you, leaving you with embarrassment and anger, controlling your emotions in the process. It was a shocking but enlightening experience for me about the world we live in.
The hardest part to deal with is the emotional fallout, but it did help to talk to other people about it. Talking to others, and having a sympathetic ear, or just someone to vent anger to is important, I think. It helps you to get back to your normal self, but just a little wiser. I hope that some of these 26% who have told no one might talk to someone about it, especially if they are beating themselves up for their own "mistakes" that they feel they have made. Scammers are professionals. They do this for a living, and most of them are good at finding victims' weak spots. Do not feel bad about yourselves for falling for their lies. Do not feel bad that you are a trusting, generous, loving, good person. If you are hurting now, I hope you will tell someone about it and find help expressing your feelings.
Scammers are devils, with no empathy for anyone. They feel no emotion and feel no regret at stealing money, hearts, or souls. They steal as much money as they can, this is all they ever do in their lives. Scammers never change. They are pathological, antisocial, psychotic criminals who sold their souls for money.
I still think about this incident occasionally, when the subject of con men comes up. I sometimes wonder if those kids are now in jail or dead, thanks to their parents, or the evil bastard who snatched them off the street.
I have told my family and friends about it, and maybe a few other people if the subject came up. And now I have told tens of thousands on this website. I hope my words have helped someone going through a hard time now or in the future. Talking about it really does help not only yourself, but helps other people to spot and avoid scammers.