This scenario is so subtle and well put together that you cannot imagine for one second that you’ve been scammed!
This scenario is also called the “cash cow” scenario because the scammer here cons you for small amounts of money at regular intervals so as not to arouse your suspicions: they “milk” you without causing any pain.
You come in contact with a young Russian woman through the Internet, you have carefully read my anti-scam guide and have taken the necessary precautions: you asked for her personal details, you went through a local agency for email correspondence expenses and you have decided to go visit her in her country (you yourself will rent a hotel room or apartment). You sometimes talk in person with her on the phone (possibly with the help of a translator), everything is going perfectly.
After a few letters she makes you understand that her income is very low and she is in a very bad financial situation. She does not ask you for money directly but you understand that a few dollars could greatly help her through this bad period. You know of course that you should never send money to a Russian woman if you want to avoid scams, but you tell yourself that you can easily find your correspondent in case she wants to scam you. You trust her though, and send her every month, "small money" between 50 and 100 euros. These little amounts actually represent a considerable boon to your correspondent in Russia or Ukraine, where the average monthly wage is 70 euros in some smaller cities !!
After a few months you speak with the girl about your next gathering and start to imagine beautiful romantic walks hand in hand, intimate dinners with candlelight in a restaurant etc ...
A few days before your departure, "the woman of your dreams," has something very important to tell you. She does not know where to start, she feels guilty, but she must take her courage in both hands and tell you the truth: the day before, she met her childhood sweetheart whom she had not seen for years and they have again fallen madly in love with each other !! (another variant of the story: she corresponded with another Western man who came to see her the day before and decided to marry him ...).
She says she does not want to hurt you, she will always be your friend, but she chooses her way and hope you will forgive her. She says that you are a wonderful man and the woman you love will be lucky. She wishes you happiness for the future, and will remember you all her life.
You then say: "Damn," and you blame yourself for being so stupid to have waited so long to go to see her. It could have been you she had chosen if you had met two weeks earlier!!
In fact the girl never thought for one second to be your wife. She may already be married!! It's just her way of squeezing a few hundred euros out of Western men. It is possible that after a few weeks you will not even think about the 300 or 400 euros you sent to her; you do not like feeling scammed. In addition you will probably not see if what she said is true: it does not even occur to you to check in with a lady who is now with the love of her life, does it?
This scenario is not common because scammers do not like to take their time, but rather quickly ask for money after 2 or 3 emails.
The solution, I tell you, and repeat: Never send money to Russian women who you correspond with!! No money = no scam
The last-minute thunderbolt scenario is a long-term scenario for the scammer that aims to extract small amounts of money over a long period. In general, rather than the technique of "cash cow" scammers prefer to take the maximum money in minimum time. They will ask a lot of money for various reasons and then will disappear once the transfer is complete: it is the “accident” scenario.
This scenario can be envisaged by the scammer if you have not followed the instructions set out above: you do not have the address of your correspondent and do not know how to find her if she suddenly disappears.
You correspond with a beautiful Russian woman, everything goes well, she wrote you the most passionate letters that you have ever received in your whole life. You think about meeting her and then all of a sudden, surprise ... she sends you a message announcing that her mother fell seriously ill (or father, or a close family member) and must go immediately to the hospital: she has no money and if you do not help financially her mother will die!!
There is another alternative: the mother is not ill but she had a serious car accident and is hospitalized, but it is expensive and she needs you.
This request makes no sense: in Russia and Ukraine, medical expenses are free in case of hospitalization in urgent situation: doctors will do everything they can to save the patient.
If you really want to know if this hospitalization story is true (this can happen 1 time in 1000) then go through a local agency and ask them to check.
Some beautiful girls from Eastern Europe, intelligent and determined, look to find the love of their life in the West. But above all they want to meet someone "special", a man who has something more than the others, and in general that "little something" boils down to a bank account of several million dollars.
Some girls with a "Top Model" look meet lonely millionaires to win their heart, lavish gifts, money, trips etc ... and some of these girls discover their power of seduction and decide to enjoy it and become what I call "gold diggers"
The gold digger is ready to meet any rich man: she will make him believe that she has feelings for him, that she wants to marry him. She will have sex with him if he insists but prefers to avoid it. In appearance, everything suggests that the two will get married. But in fact the girl has no intention of getting married !!
You think it is very difficult to detect this kind of scam because the girl is real and plays her part very well: you are wrong! There are signs that should not fool you.
First observation: gold diggers live in large cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev ... I've never heard of a gold digger who lives in a small town. Major cities are easily accessible for foreign men who have a much higher standard of living than the rest of the country; girls who live in these big cities are closer (from the point of view of the character and lifestyle) to that lifestyle than the Russian girls living in small towns or villages.
There are more marriage agencies in the capitals than elsewhere, and all a gold digger needs for registering is proof that she is single. The girl will usually register with 5 or 6 agencies and can meet rich foreigners (organized " romance tours", see my “taboo” column "taboo" to find out more about these "romance tours") almost every week if she wants: Russian girls living in these cities tend to be very selective. Foreigners coming to these Eastern European capitals to find true love are indeed numerous.
In general, I can tell you that if you live in a small town or a village in Western Europe and intend to marry a girl who was born and raised in Moscow or St. Petersburg you will have some serious problems: the girl will have difficulties adapting to her new life.
Apart from the fact that gold diggers live in large cities there are small signs that do not lie in her character and her way of "managing" your relationship:
- She will fall quickly in love with you
- She will not want you to correspond with other women and she will try to convince you that she is the "woman of your life"
- She will ask you to send her money to rent an apartment for future meeting.
- The most important is that her main topic of discussion will be the meeting: she will seem much more concerned about your future trip to Russia than by your real personality. This is logical as it is during the meeting that gold diggers extort much money in the form of gifts, entertainment (casinos etc ...), restaurants ...
See the differences in behavior between a honest and sincere Russian woman and a “gold digger”:
How does a "gold digger" behave?
The meeting is an opportunity for this kind of woman to try to get you to spend your money; she prefers the casino, cinema, she goes crazy for stunning jewels in a luxury boutique discovered by chance during a walk (in fact she planned the strolls around the city to visit some luxury boutiques of her choice) etc ... she has also immense self- confidence; she knows her power of seduction and plays it to perfection; she knows exactly what she wants. If you try to do things according to your own point of view or if you contradict her then she will easily become angry and irritated: this detail of her personality should alert you.
Another point is that she does not spend all her time with you, she will invoke some problem in her job (she can not take holidays because her "boss" refused), she should spend part of the day with her mother who is very ill, she must help her family to take care of household chores etc ...
After the meeting ends, the gold digger knows the follow-up to your relationship: she knows that you are going to invite her to your own country. She takes the opportunity to ask you to lend her money for a variety of reasons: to buy the plane ticket (she will buy herself) to come to see you, to pay the legal costs to accelerate her divorce process, financial compensation to take care of formalities for your future meeting (must leave work to have time and therefore requires a "wage compensation"), to pay her personal debts (she has accumulated large debts when her mother fell ill and was hospitalized last year), giving money to her ex-husband to sign the papers authorizing her child to leave Russia etc ... all she needs is money and knows coincidentally (from experience?) all the formalities and above all what it costs to get the various visas necessaries for a marriage ...
How does an honest and sincere Russian woman act ?
A Russian woman who truly loves you will consider it an honor that you are going to visit her in her country and she will feel "protected" against potential profiteers: she will negotiate menu prices in the restaurant (if a waiter realizes you are a tourist the bill can easily be multiplied by 10) and choose the less expensive dishes or will tell you rather to go to "cool little restaurant" where you can eat well for cheap (like a coffee for students), she will invite you to her home to save you the hotel price, she will ask you to take the bus rather than a taxi (it's cheaper) to save money, she will prefer to go to a secluded place like a nice park (to better discuss and discover each other) rather than in a very crowded and noisy place. She will be proud to present to you her family and her friends. She will never ask for gift and will be delighted if you buy her a bouquet of flowers.
She will not have great self-confidence and seem sometimes a bit lost: she does not know exactly what she wants, even if you ask her. During the meeting she seems happy and excited, she will accept your way of thinking and deciding, she will expect in general that you take the initiative even if she's suggesting you what to do in a given situation.
She will be almost all the time be with you because she organized her life for the meeting before you came, and even if she can not take a vacation she will ask you to visit her at the office.
She does not know what to do about the administrative formalities, the various types of visas or if it needs permission of the father of her child to leave the country with her kid and join you in the West.
If you leave her some money for these administrative formalities she will look a little embarrassed but will accept money. But in any case she will not ask you for money.
You may find that these differences in behavior are obvious between a gold digger and sincere Russian woman: if you ignore these differences you are ready to fall into a trap. Here's why it's important that you correspond with several women to compare their different characters.
How do you to detect before the meeting if you are in correspondence with a gold digger?
Generally the gold digger will give you her home phone number: phone her at different times of the day to see if she really lives where she said she does.
Dishonest women usually correspond with many men and do not take the time to read all the letters carefully; therefore she will not clearly know the details of the life of every man with whom she is in contact: during a telephone conversation with her mention a particular aspect of your life and check later if she remembers it; if she forgot then there are two possibilities: she has too many correspondents or you’re corresponding with a different woman from the one you've contacted by phone.
During the phone conversation listen to her voice: does she seem happy to hear news from you or does she bored? Ask her a direct question and analyze explanations. A fun trick that always works: Call her and say "Guess who ?" if you are really the love of her life it would be embarrassing for her not to know the answer to this question ...
You can also send three or four letters by e-mail under different names and describe an imaginary man's personality completely opposite to yours, which is supposed to not correspond at all to what she told you that she sought. Use this method as a "test" to see if she quickly falls madly in love with you after only 2 or 3 emails. If to the contrary she has not declared her love for you and does not claim that you are the man of her life then she may simply mean that she is still trying to choose among her correspondents, hence the need to send an e-mail from a "virtual" man with radically different personality of you. Take care to send emails from different computers or hide your IP address when you send emails from “different men” she could verify the IP address and discover the test.
To avoid blunders, remember to check what emails she gave you for correspondence; remember what I have revealed to you at the beginning of this guide: scammers or gold digger contact dozens of men every week and do their "selection" by assigning a specific email address to different category of men: men who seem to be easy to scam, those who hesitate, and those who will not let themselves be scammed. If you send the first test letter to the address which is attributed to men who have take the bait you are going to be discovered.
If you receive a letter from her that was actually intended for another man (she made a mistake) then you know that it is not good at all. This may possibly be a simple carelessness on her part (she has the right to be in contact with several men, as you have several correspondents) it is best to be honest and to speak frankly with her. Tell her that you feel disappointed after receiving this letter, and tell to her that you really care about her. If she is sincere in her intentions that will make your relationship open and honest. She will find that you are not a 'loser' but instead someone very realistic and pragmatic and Russian women love men who have the strong personality and who know what they want !! If instead you say nothing and she notices that she made a "blunder" and she may feel too embarrassed to continue the relationship with you. If she is dishonest in her intentions this error is the end of the game because now "the cards are on the table": listen very carefully to what explanations she gives about her mail error and make the right decision.
In case of doubts and if you think your correspondent is the woman of your dreams you can possibly make a private investigation by contacting a specialist company.
And never forget my advice as smart as a scammer can be, a scam always end with a question of money, and as I said to you no money no scams!!
After giving you some tips on different scenarios of scams that you may be facing I will now unveil a simple and effective way to "protect" you from scammers: the attack will be your best protection !!
Everything will actually be determined by your first letter in which you tell her that you don’t need to send her directly money to organize a meeting.
This scenario is used by dishonest Russian or Ukrainian dating agencies. If you have decided to directly contact a dating agency (which has no obligation or responsibility to respect laws from a legal point) rather than adhering to an international marriage agency (subject to regulation strict and controlling the seriousness of its partner agencies in Eastern Europe) you must carefully read this chapter. A marriage agency will establish a contract with a partner agency in Russia or Ukraine, which will detect rogue agencies, serving as a kind of "filter" search.
To avoid paying membership fees to a marriage agency, many men register directly with “free” dating agencies to meet the women in Russia. This chapter is for them. Because of course nothing is free in this world, especially in the field of international relationships on the internet, and this will last as long as men prefer to contact young slim girls in bikinis rather than ugly old women.
You write to a Russian woman whose profile is displayed on a dating site. A few days later you receive her answer, a letter in which she pretends to have sincere feelings about you. This letter was accompanied by a letter from the director of the agency asking you to pay for e-mail correspondence with the woman: he tells you that the Internet connection charges are quite high in Eastern Europe and if you want to correspond by email, this is a cost that your correspondent can not assume with her meager salary: you have to pay. From there 4 assumptions can be made:
1) The agency is honest, the girl really exists and is really interested in your profile.
2) The agency is dishonest, the girl really exists and has read your letter, but despite the fact that the girl does not want to continue the correspondence with you the agency asked the girl to respond positively to you to gain the money from your correspondence.
3) The agency is dishonest, the girl really exists but has not read your cover letter (often for the simple reason that this girl has recently married but the agency keeps her profile on its website to sell her address and make money through correspondence) and it is the agency itself that writes to you, without the knowledge of the girl.
4) The agency does not exist, the girl does not exist: a crook mounted this scam to convince you to pay for a correspondence that will never happen and will then disappear upon receipt of money through Western Union.
About the first assumption, I congratulate you, you were very lucky luck !! All my best wishes!
The second assumption is most troublesome in the sense that it is the kind of situation where it will be very difficult to know if you are the victim of a scam or not.
The third hypothesis: you can check easily if your connection is real: you just need to know if your sweetheart is married or not, or whether she is aware that you have contacted her. To get this kind of information go through a third party agency located in the same city as your beloved: make sure of course that the agency is serious (see my tips presented above in the scenario of Internet expenses, Chapter A ) and ask the agency boss to learn about this woman.
For the fourth hypothesis carefully follow my advice in Chapter A for verification and the use of your correspondent’s contact details.
So we will study in this chapter the second hypothesis, since it is the most difficult to detect if its a scam or not.
However, I will tell you something that will shock you but which is often true: the first emailed response that a Russian woman sends to a western gentlemen who contacts her is usually always a pre-written letter !! But that does not mean you are scammed. The current situation is very simple: dating agencies selling addresses of Russian women often receive dozens of letters every day from western men : being submerged by letters how do you think some these women (the most beautiful ones) find the time to personalize each of their first letter? Men often ask the same questions: "Tell me more about you", "tell me about your work, your family, the city where you live" etc ... if women are interested in your profile they will save time by sending an already written "text" as a positive answer in which they detail more precisely in their form their personality type and aspects of their social and professional life. They also ask questions that are very important in their opinions to know you better. The fact that the first letter is already written does not mean it's a scam!
Another truth: I know many agencies that sell the address of pretty Russian women hundreds of times, these agencies do not take the time to print all emails sent by Western men and sometimes respond positively without the knowledge of the woman whose address you have purchased. Printing a letter is expensive in some smaller cities in Eastern Europe (ink, paper, internet, depreciation of computers etc ...).
There are sometimes people working for the agency who pose as the contacted Russian women and are responsible for responding to questions from Western men in their correspondence, without the knowledge of these women. These employees are careful to answer various questions to "personalize" the letters to give you the impression that you really are communicating with the Russian woman whose address you have purchased. The illusion is complete!!
So you pay for correspondence and any translations without knowing for certain if this correspondence is fake or real. After a time you decide to visit your beloved and then at the last minute, the agency announces that your correspondent has met the man of her dreams during the holidays. What a pity!! The head of the agency consoles you, telling you that it's not so bad: there are plenty of other pretty Russian girls with whom you can correspond (and of course pay to write to them) within its agency ...
The second hypothesis is the most difficult in terms of scam detection, how to avoid a "phony mail scam"?
The ideal solution is to choose a postal correspondence (and be very patient because of the slow mail delivery in Eastern Europe) in order to not pay for a matching service. Also choose another agency for the translation (if necessary) of your letters to avoid paying the costs of translation to the agency which you are unsure about. Another solution is to make a direct phone call to your correspondent with the help of a translator: the sound of the voice of the Russian woman will tell you immediately her degree of motivation to meet you; if she is "pushed" by her agency to respond positively then you will feel some discomfort and obvious lack of enthusiasm to know you better during the conversation.
A common practice inside dishonest agencies: you pay for an address but the agency only sends you her name and email address, saying that according to their rules they can not give to you the mailing address and the girl's phone number. According to them, any contact between you and the girl must necessarily be through the agency. In fact, these agencies collect photos and profiles of Russian women (some of them are already married or engaged but they don’t check these profiles) from different sites and create a database allocating a fake email address to each girl which is managed in reality by the dishonest agency staff. They create hundreds of virtual e-mails. You pay to match with the girls displayed on the internet site of this agency but the match is of course totally "fake": it is the agency itself that receives your letters and not the girl you wrote to. The girls are not aware of these emails and do not even know you exist. So it happens regularly that men who have succeeded (by their own means) to find the address and / or phone number of the girl with her name and the name of the city where she lives, enter directly in contact with her and are then are very surprised that the girl has never heard of them while you thought you were corresponding for months with her and you supposedly exchanged dozens of emails !!
You enter into correspondence with a Russian girl without knowing that she is a member of a Russian or Ukrainian dating agency. After a few emails the girl informs you that she does not speak any foreign language (even English) and cannot pay (because of her modest salary) the translation fees of the local dating agency she belongs to. This scenario is often used by dishonest agencies of the city of Lugansk in Ukraine. The girl really exists and the agency has put her profile on the Internet, but the girl does not have knowledge of your letter. The agency says on the Internet profile of the girl that she speaks English but later they tell you (after a few emails exchanged with her) that in fact she actually has a very low level of English but can not read and write in English…. in order to make you pay the translation cost. Know that this statement is absurd since the Russian women who speak English can of course also read and write in English. This is just a ploy to make you believe that you will be able to correspond with your beloved without having to pay for translation costs.
If you decide to pay for the costs of translation then you must know that you run a great risk when corresponding with a translator (paid of course by scam agency) who sends you fake emails and of course the "real" woman is unaware of this scam. To avoid being scammed ask for the complete mailing address to your correspondent and go through the translation service of a third party agency.
Scammers never lack imagination!! The "classic" scams ("visa" or "accident" scenarios) are now well known to the public through my anti-scam guide. Scammers have to take a "head start" in relation to pretexts to extract money to Western men. The crooks decide to operate in a new vein of ignorance on the part of Western men about administrative or judicial procedures in Eastern Europe. In this scenario it is the foreign government that plays the "big bad wolf" accused of trying to break up a beautiful love story ... and guess by what means we can escape the "administrative beast": it is of course cold hard cash!!
Some examples of "administrative threat" scams used to squeeze you for money:
1) Her parents are forced to pay a large fine or they will be thrown in jail if she does not return to her country after obtaining a tourist visa.
They will suggest that there is a law in Belarus stating that if girls leave the country with a tourist visa and do not come back, then their families would be the guarantor of her return and would pay a large fine or be thrown in jail: imagine, after several months of regular correspondence with a beautiful Belarusian girl and careful preparation of her arrival to your country the beautiful woman suddenly announces to you: "I love you, I want to live with you but I can not because my parents could not afford to pay the fine and will end up in jail" ... this law do not exist of course and it is just an excuse to get your money.
2) Parents must sell back to the state the room she will leave empty to join you in your country.
Your correspondent tells you that she wants to join you in your country but there is a very big problem; if she moves out of her parents’ apartment, then they will have move to another smaller apartment. Indeed, they are housed in so-called tax-free apartments, where for a three-room, it is necessary to have three people in the apartment. If a person leaves the apartment the family can either buy the missing part, or they move to a smaller apartment. Of course according to your love her parents cannot move and they do not have any money. She says to you she cannot leave the country because her parents have to pay a few thousand dollars (between 4,000 and 6,000 dollars) to buy the remaining room. You trust her, you decide to pay this "part".
You think everything is settled, she can finally join you and there, suddenly, SURPRISE! Her parents must pay again for another administrative formality: her parents have to pay another $2000 to get the certificate of purchase of the third room! She asks you again to help to "finance" this operation.
3) She was arrested at the airport customs for "jewelry fencing" for a simple piece jewelry she wanted to give you: she must pay a heavy fine to the police
The long-awaited day when she will finally come to meet you in your country she is supposedly stopped at the airport customs because she carried jewelry she wanted to give you. So either she pays a fine or she would be supposedly arrested for "jewelry fencing" (and of course she misses her plane, what a shame!). She has no money, and she asks you to pay a fine of $ 600. Important note: the scammers opting for this scam are careful to book the flight bound for your country. In fact it's easy to check if your correspondent had really booked the flight or not. If she has not booked her flight, her script collapses as it means she could not go through customs without her boarding tickets. Typically this scenario is in addition to another scam scenario. In fact played alone that scenario is not "profitable" for the scammer as they lose money (the money you sent to pay for plane tickets is actually used to make the reservations and serve as an excuse for the jewelry fencing scenario) she only gains on the other side (the money you send to her to pay the fine). But this "operation" allows her to build confidence because she can prove that she has booked the plane. And for a scammer nothing is more important than capital "trust" that the victim gives to her ...
4) She can not get her passport because she has outstanding loans!
Your love tells you that since the beginning of 2008 a new law in Russia banned all Russian citizens from getting a passport if they have any outstanding loans. Of course she asks you for help to finish paying these debts.
In fact it is illegal for Russian citizens to leave Russia if they have unpaid loans, unpaid alimony, apartment rents of unacknowledged states and have been blacklisted by financial services Russian after several payment reminders and official notification of the insolvency of their part of debt distress: it is an extreme procedure that is set up for very bad defaulters. For your information none of the girls in my agency (and there are thousands!) have been blacklisted by the Russian financial services due to bankruptcy. A Russian may well have debt and leave his country, the problem is leaving the country if unable to pay the loans.
Of course the scammers take advantage of this windfall to extract even more money from the gentlemen since the amount to ask from the western man can be much more expensive than an air ticket or a passport! The scammer may ask for several thousand dollars in order to pay off her debts and supposedly become able to get the passport! Of course she will tell you that her father, mother or uncle will give you back your money you as soon as possible. Know that even if this law exists you have a tiny chance that your correspondent is in this case, therefore never pay anything!
This scenario is actually the "419 scam" adapted to the international dating world. What is the "419 scam"? This scam is not new. It existed long before the popularization of the Internet and then was made by mail or fax. According to the US State Department, this kind of letter appeared in the 80s, with falling oil prices. A crisis that pushed some Nigerians to turn to "economic crime.” Today, Nigerian spam floods the Internet. The English Brightmail company that develops spam filters, class Nigerian spam top ten reported worldwide. It is also known as the "419 scam" (419 fraud) because it violates Section 419 of the Nigerian penal code that condemns the scam.
419 scams are always presented in the same way. Shippers pose as representatives of foreign governments, encourage their victims to travel abroad to complete the transaction, provide false official documents and end up asking for advance payments for various transaction fees or other bribes. In other words, it's extortion. In the worst cases, the victims are too naive are taken and are then released against ransom. Several million dollars are taken this way each year.
Crooks have recently adapted the 419 Nigerian scam to the field of international meetings: and whereas in general the Russian girl asks you for money, in this scenario the "419 scam" it is she who offers to give you a lot of money!! And not a little: millions of dollars!! Of course she has this large sum of money in a Russian bank account, and she is keen to transfer this money directly to your bank account to avoid paying heavy transactions in Russia. At the same time she says that this windfall will help your future relationship with her to buy a house or apartment in your country. You obviously accept this tempting offer. After a few days she announces that you must pay various fees (notaries, lawyers, security companies, accounting etc ...): the scam has started. Once you have paid off these “fees” the scammer disappears, and of course you haven’t earned a single cent of the promised amount. This scam is called “advance fee” fraud.
This scam is recent and is still very unknown by western men surfing the net looking for the love of their life in eastern Europe.
In this scam your correspondent asks you to deposit checks and to return the cash equivalent, less bank charges, claiming that the pay check is in euros and that she can not cash them in Eastern Europe: if she does not find help, she can not meet you in your country. The scam is very well organized.
This scam plays on the emotional state of dependence of the victim "baited" on a dating site. Scammers know that the bank will not necessarily detect a forged check.
As the bank will not notice anything, despite a written request for verification of the validity of the checks; the bank even authorizes sometimes cash withdrawal corresponding exactly to the forged checks.
The height of the scam is that the gentleman is an unwitting accomplice to forgery and the bank sues him to repay the overdraft caused by the scam.
There is currently no law in European countries; the bank's liability is incurred.
If you have been a victim of this scam please tell me, I will put you in touch with people who want to work together to file a complaint against this scam.