The fike person seeks to create a virtual relation through the exchange of pictures and e-mails. Scammers can signup to online dating agencies or chat just like anyone else. Many dating sites allow anyone to join free, and they usually don't screen their members. At some point she/he begins to ask for money and frequently asking that it'd be transferred through wire services. She/he commonly states that the money's needed to help resolve a family tragedy, arrange for a trip to your country. The copy of a fraudulent visa is attached to prove good intention. Many men have lost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.
Is it a scam?
The scammers even have the cheek to use photos of models, beauty contest winners, celebrities and popstars! There're quite a several groups that operate in the area. Most are language students (male or female!?) from the local university. They obtain pics of beautiful russian women and then solicit western/american men and hopefully start an online relationships. When the time's right, they start asking for money. In many instances the email's don't even come from ladies. Some of the most common reasons they give for why they need help include:
- I want to meet you but I do not have enough money to travel and see you
- I've been robbed and beaten, I require urgent treatment or surgery for a serious illness, me or my family member has been a victim of a serious/fatal accident and you're the only person who can help.
It is suspicious? Sure.
They play on the typical Russian/FSU stereotypes. There're no jobs. Russian men are horrible. They drink too much, they are full of infidelity. So, they need someone to save them:
- Your new date looks like a beautiful model - this is probably because the scammer has used a stolen/a magazine picture.
- Your date talks a lot about herself/himself and does not answer your questions - because they are sending standard e-mails to hundreds of people.
How to protect myself?
- FROM THE START - ASK FOR SPECIFIC INFO! A full name, phone number, address - something. OFFER THE SAME in exchange, except make it a P.O. box and a CELLPHONE rental card that'll protect your identity. If you see your requests ignored, which you usually will, do not waste your time further.
- DO NOT WAIT 5 MONTHS to offer to talk with the PROSPECT by phone! WHAT A TOTAL WASTE OF the TIME! IF THERE IS CHEMISTRY OR APPEARS 'INTEREST' BETWEEN THE 2 OF YOU - then sieze the opportunity. ARRANGE A PHONE CALL! International rates to Russia/Ukraine and most places are reasonably cheap. IF YOU GET THE REPLY ' I'M SO POOR I DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO A PHONE' - drop the whole thing, your only wasting the time and WILL BE SCAMMED at some point in the future.
- ASK FOR A SPECIAL PICTURE TO BE TAKEN. IF YOU SENT YOURS, HAVE THEM TAKE A FOTO SHOWING THEM HOLDING UP YOUR FOTO IN THE PICTURE! That is a good 'filter for scammer' - even the most adept with Photoshop/Paint will easily be spotted.
- Remember: not all international ladies want to move to the USA/Europe.
I think I have been scammed..
We regret that you've no way of obtaining your money back. We suggest contacting the money transfer office or your credit card company/bank to ascertain their policies in such cases.
We invite to cooperation all dating agencies.
Data of any lady that requested money from a man must be deleted from the database immediately and reported here.
Our link is: <a href="http://www.russian-scammers.com/"><img src="http://www.russian-scammers.com/images/scam.gif" border="0"></a>