What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn't realise how much they've been brainwashed.

Gaslighters typically use the following techniques: 

  1. They tell blatant lies.

  2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.

  3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.

  4. They wear you down over time.

  5. Their actions do not match their words.

  6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.

  7. They know confusion weakens people.

  8. They project.

  9. They try to align people against you.

  10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

  11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

Gaslighting tends to happen very gradually in a relationship; in fact, the abusive partner’s actions may seem like just a harmless misunderstanding at first.

Over time, however, these abusive behaviours continue, and a victim can become confused, anxious, isolated and depressed, while losing all sense of what is actually happening.

Then, the victim may start relying on the abusive partner more and more to define reality, which creates a very difficult situation to escape.

The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gaslighter's trap.  No matter which way you look at it, gaslighting is a malicious act. It aims to degrade someone’s mind in such a way as to make them vulnerable to another’s control or suggestion.

It can only be described as a weapon because it causes so much psychological and emotional damage. It is a clear form of psychological abuse and a violation of the victim’s love and respect.

See 11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting.

Reporting revenge porn to the police

If someone has shared a private sexual photograph or video of you without your consent you can report this to the police. In an emergency you can contact the police for assistance by dialling 999.

The police may be able to attend the scene of the incident to protect you from further abuse and arrest your abuser.

In non-emergencies you can contact the police by dialling 101. 

See the legal guide Reporting an offence to the police: a guide to criminal investigations which provides more information on reporting an offence to the police, providing a statement, and the police investigation process.

Remember to take screen shots or print hard copies of the abusive posts or messages to show to the police.

Your abuser may later delete their messages or posts so your screen shots may be very important evidence.

Great source of information on the topic: https://rightsofwomen.org.uk/

Spotting a malignant narcissist

Malignant narcissists can be highly manipulative, and they don't care who they hurt as long as they get their own way. They generally don’t care about the pain they cause others—or may even enjoy it and experience it as empowering—and will do what it takes to prevent themselves from loss, inconvenience, or failing to get what they want in any situation.

They see the world in black-and-white terms, including seeing others as either friend or foe. They seek to win at all costs and generally leave a great amount of pain, frustration, and even heartache in their wake. Among the variants of narcissism, however, malignant narcissists are by far the most damaging.

While there is only one official diagnosis for narcissists, there are different "variants" of narcissism or different types of narcissists, and narcissism comes in varying degrees of severity. A 2012 review of the research on narcissism identified several of these variants including grandiose narcissists, who seem to require excessive praise and attention, and vulnerable narcissists, who tend to have a lot of anxiety and need a lot of supportive attention. 

In fact, some experts see little difference between malignant narcissists and psychopaths in that both have a sadistic, antisocial streak, and very little empathy. There is often some paranoia involved with malignant narcissism as well. Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and the severity of symptoms vary. People with the disorder, particularly malignant narcissists, generally:

  1. Care quite a bit about their appearance and can come across as quite charming

  2. Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it, and will discount any evidence that doesn't support their belief of their own superiority

  3. Exaggerate their own achievements and talents, even to the point of lying

  4. Are often preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate

  5. Are highly manipulative

  6. Tend to project their bad behaviour onto others, meaning they may accuse you of the very behaviour they are conducting

  7. Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior

  8. Aren't opposed to taking advantage of others to get what they want

  9. Fail to see or value the needs and feelings of others

  10. Have no remorse for hurting others and rarely apologize unless it will benefit them in some way

  11. Insist on having the best of everything and believe that they deserve this

  12. Can’t handle criticism and lash out if they feel slighted in any way

  13. Have a poor sense of self and weak ability to regulate their feelings and actions

  14. Secretly feel insecure and have a week sense of self

If the description of a narcissist sounds familiar and has you concerned, this is probably a good thing. Knowing that you may be dealing with someone who could hurt you and having some concern for yourself in this situation can help you to protect yourself from the pain that a malignant narcissist can cause, at least to an extent.

Extract from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-recognize-a-narcissist-4164528

The Fraud Triangle

One of the older and more basic concepts in fraud deterrence and detection is the “fraud triangle”; a phrase coined by the criminologist Donald R. Cressey in the 1950s. The three key elements in the fraud triangle are opportunity, motivation, and rationalization.

The opportunity to commit fraud is possible when people access to assets and information that allows them to both commit and conceal fraud.  

Motivation is a pressure or a “need” felt by the person who commits fraud. It might be a real financial or other type of need, such as high medical bills or debts. Or it could be a perceived financial need, such as a person who has a desire for material goods but not the means to get them. Motivators can also be nonfinancial. Addictions such as gambling and drugs may also motivate someone to commit fraud.

Lastly, people may rationalize this behaviour by determining that committing fraud is OK for a variety of reasons. For those who are generally dishonest, it’s probably easier to rationalize a fraud. For those with higher moral standards, it’s probably not so easy. They must convince themselves that fraud is OK with “excuses” for their behaviour.

A thief may convince himself that he is just “borrowing” money and will pay it back one day.

Others believe that they “deserve” to have money stolen because of bad acts against them.

All students of anti-fraud principles — whether in higher education or on the job —eventually learn about the seminal Fraud Triangle. We can find this diagram in fraud examination, accounting, auditing and marketing literature. The Fraud Triangle is universally accepted in almost every setting in which fraud is described or analysed.

Making off without payment or bilking

If someone stays at your hotel and deliberately leaves without paying this is a type of theft.

It is known as ‘making off without payment’ or 'bilking’.

Using West Midlands Police as an example, a helper guide online as to what actions can be taken depending on your circumstances: https://west-midlands.police.uk/your-options/leaving-hotel-without-paying

The output from one such test of the guide: Leaving a hotel without paying and there are witnesses … My situation is this has happened more than once … The person who did this I think I know who did this … Evidence wise - there is video footage or photos … My concerns are - this is affecting my mental or physical health.

If you are a witness or know someone who is then the Police need to know your / their details including name, address and telephone number. If this has happened more than once, please tell them when you report it to them. Please provide details of other times this has happened.

If you know the person or people who have done this, the Police will need you to tell them how you know them and why you think they are linked to the offence. If you have video or photographic evidence, make sure you download and save it, as this could be invaluable to the investigation.

If you choose to report this incident online (say, to the West Midlands Police) you can upload the evidence directly to them with your report. If there is enough evidence, officers may arrest and charge a suspect. The court will then decide whether the person is guilty, and if so, allocate a suitable sentence.  

A community resolution may also be considered.

Logbook Loans with Outstanding Finance

Logbook loans are loans secured on your vehicle, so the lender owns your vehicle until you pay the loan back. You can keep on using your vehicle as long as you repay the loan.

However, logbook loans are expensive and risky, and you should avoid them if you can.

You can normally borrow between £500 and £50,000, depending on how much your car is worth. Although some firms will only lend up to half of your car’s value. When you take out a logbook loan, you’ll usually be asked to hand over your vehicle’s logbook or vehicle registration document.

But even if you don’t, you’re still handing over ownership of the car until the loan is repaid.

Logbook loans are used only in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They are not available in Scotland – if you’re offered a loan there, it’s likely to be a hire-purchase or a conditional sale, so check carefully what is involved and how it works.

You need to be the legal owner of the vehicle, usually with a value over £500 and with no finance outstanding on it.

If a car is bought on finance, such as a hire purchase (HP) or personal contract purchase (PCP) agreement, the vehicle legally belongs to the finance company until the agreement has been settled and all outstanding repayments have been made. Even if the logbook (V5 document) is registered in your name, it is the finance company that legally owns your vehicle, which is why you cannot usually get a logbook loan on a car you do not legally own.

This fact alone may stop a would-be criminal attempting to raise money from your own car albeit, a financed one.

Body-Worn Video 101

Common law provides the police with the authority to use Born-Worn Video (BWV) in the lawful execution of their duties, for the purpose of the prevention and detection of crime.

The operational use of body-worn video must be proportionate, legitimate and necessary.

Compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and Surveillance Camera Code of Practice ensures that the use of BWV is always proportionate, legitimate and necessary. Continuous, non-specific recording however is not permitted.

BWV devices may be used to gather digital video evidence across a wide range of operational policing situations. For example, BWV may help to support the CPS to achieve enhanced sentencing to prosecute hate crime or domestic abuse offenders.

Under normal circumstances, officers should not use BWV in private dwellings. However, if a user is present at an incident in a private dwelling and is there for a genuine policing purpose, they are entitled to make a BWV recording in the same way as they would record any other incident.

BWV may be used to capture the first account of victims and/or witnesses at an incident.

Users should seek the permission of a victim prior to recording serious crime victims and witnesses, or involving children or vulnerable adults, who may be eligible for special measures. BWV may be used to capture a first account, and witnesses may be permitted to review their account prior to making and signing any written statement.

The first account is principally about determining any action that is immediately necessary.

Officers should only ask such questions as necessary to:

  • establish if an offence has been committed

  • establish where it occurred and who was responsible

  • assess the current risk to the victim(s) and witness(es)

  • identify and prioritise areas of the investigation.

Such recordings do not replace the need for formal written statements from victims or witnesses, but they can be used as supporting evidence. When users are dealing with a vulnerable adult or a child (a person under 18) as a witness or victim, the initial contact/meeting should not be recorded on BWV without obtaining permission. At the start of any recording, the user should, where practicable, make a verbal announcement to indicate that the BWV equipment has been activated.

BWV may be used when dealing with priority victims (victims of most serious crime, persistently targeted victims and vulnerable or intimidated witnesses) with their consent. BWV material provides a reasonably complete record of what its user sees and hears at an incident.

Interesting read … extracts taken from the College of Policing guide on Body-Worn Video.

Thieves can steal everything a VA owns

Should a Vulnerable Adult (VA) fall prey to a financial fraudster, they may also might be less able or unable to assist in the investigation of these crimes. In fact, unlike most business-fraud victims, the VA might be less willing to assist in the investigation because they’re ashamed, embarrassed or deny they were victimized. Nevertheless, it’s important to discover evidence on alleged predatory fraudsters who target VAs, and Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE) can substantially help.

A thief can steal everything a VA owns.

A financial predator can also use a VA’s stolen personally identifiable information to open their financial or even mobile phone accounts. VAs are more likely to entrust others with their financial affairs. If that trust is abused, then the victim may suffer substantial financial loss.

Financial Abuse is a term that describes a wide range of acts, all of which deprive someone of money or property that is rightfully theirs. This may occur through dishonestly or fraud (intentional deception made for personal gain), or may occur in other ways, such as through Negligence or carelessness.

To be classed as vulnerable, the adult's circumstances must be unable to be altered or improved by the adult's own individual actions without direct assistance from a more capable adult. The vulnerable adult must also be shown to be, on some significant level, a risk to themselves if assistance is not provided.

In conjunction with Action Fraud, various campaigns have been launched to have a positive impact on the way financial crime is dealt with against vulnerable adults, and to raise awareness amongst all agencies involved in dealing with this sort of crime.

Vulnerable Adults at Risk of Fraud

An “adult at risk” is:

  1. an adult who has needs for care and support,

  2. is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and

  3. as a result of those needs is unable to protect themselves against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.

Vulnerabilities leading to an adult being at risk can take many varied forms. The vulnerability may be permanent or temporary. A person may be vulnerable due to their personal circumstances (for example having a mental health illness or cognitive impairment) or they may be vulnerable due to the circumstances they are in at the time of the incident (for example a person who has been bereaved and is grieving, or a person who is experiencing loneliness and isolation).

The following factors may contribute to an adult being vulnerable to risk:

  • Family Circumstances (for example bereavement or isolation);

  • Personal Circumstances (for example drug/alcohol misuse);

  • Intimidation (fear or distress)

Look at: Section 42(1), Care Act 2014

If they can make and exercise their own informed choices, free from duress, pressure and undue influence of any sort, and are able to protect themselves from abuse, neglect and exploitation; they may not be at risk. A person with the mental capacity to make their own decisions can also be at risk.

There are several forms of abuse and neglect:

  • Financial Abuse: having money or other property stolen, being defrauded, being put under pressure in relation to money or other property and having money or other property misused. 

  • Psychological: Including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, forced marriage, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks. 

  • Sexual: Including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not consented or could not consent or was pressured into consenting to. 

  • Neglect or acts of omission: Including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care of educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has an “Economic Safeguarding Project”; a nationwide initiative set up to highlight instances of Financial Abuse against Vulnerable Adults.

Mobile Phone Theft

76% of adults in Britain own mobile phones, most of which always have their phones with them. Since we can be connected 24/7, we open ourselves up to the opportunity to be scammed. You can lower your chances of being scammed on your mobile phone by being cautious of unknown numbers and taking appropriate actions to keep your personal information private.

Stolen Phones accounted for 442,000 thefts in the UK in 2015 alone.

If a stolen or lost phone winds up in the wrong hands it can be used to make unauthorised calls.

The criminals could also gain access to personal information saved on the mobile phone, such as saved bank account information, which could be used to make purchases on the phone. To avoid losing or having your phone stolen, try to keep it in the same spot on you whenever you are out so you don’t lose track of it.

Make sure to use a secure passcode so the thief cannot gain access to your information.

Some smartphones come equipped with an app that will help you find your phone in a situation like this. If your smartphone doesn’t have such an app pre-installed, you can download one.

If your phone is lost or stolen you can use the app to help you track your phone down. There are also apps that enable you to wipe all the data on your phone remotely when the phone is online.

As he pats his pockets, checks for mobile phone, wallet and keys. All there.