Is this Russian girl scamming me? How to recognize scammers
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Are you an American or Western European man exchanging emails with a girl from Russia? I was contacted by a girl who turned out to be a scammer. Reader Derrick put together some great advice how to detect scammers.
I only have one advice (#8) to add: If a Russian girl tells you that she will get a visa to the USA instead of inviting you, that is - under the current immigration law - a SURE sign that SHE LIES.
Here is the process how a Russian woman can come to the USA:
If she is considered a relatively young/ attractive woman (let's say under 40, hope I don't hurt anyone's feelings here), then there is virtually NO CHANCE THAT SHE GETS A TOURIST VISA TO THE USA. First the Russian Federation will not allow her to leave the country. Then, even if she was getting out, the USA will deny her admission. The reasoning is that she is considered a risk. How could she not be a risk? If she had family in Russia (husband, children) or a valuable business or real estate. Most likely the woman who writes you will be considered a risk. The only way for her to get a visa into the USA is this procedure:
the foreign man visits her in her native area in Russia
they get engaged during such a visit - take photos of the 2 of you together
he flies back and applies for a K-1 visa. A K-1 visa is also known as Fiancee visa, used for marriage-based immigration
once the K1 visa is granted, the girl can enter the USA and stay there for 3 months. By the end of these 3 months you HAVE to GET MARRIED or the girl has to go back home.
if you get married, the girl gets a greencard and can work
after 3 years of marriage, the girl can apply for a US citizenship. That's when they interview you to find out if it's a real marriage. She also has to answer some questions about US history, political system, etc etc.
Here are Derrick's tricks (1-7) that he uses immediately from the start:
GOOGLE or websearch the first part of the scammers first emails and/or 'profile'. SEE HOW MANY OTHER SITES their listed on! RECORD THOSE SITES FOR FUTURE REFERENCE. THAT alone can give you a good idea IF your dealing with a scammer OR not.
GOOGLE or websearch the return email address. See how many 'hits' come from that search and also note all the sites. (many times you'll see the email end up on a 'scammers list') IF YOU FIND THE EMAIL ADDRESS LISTED ON A SCAMMER LIST - don't bother further, your only fooling yourself - no matter what excuse they might give you.
FROM THE START - ASK FOR SPECIFIC INFOMATION! A full name, address, phone number - something. OFFER THE SAME in exchange, except make it a P.O. box and a CELL PHONE rental card that will protect your identity. If you see your requests ignored, which you usually will, don't waste your time further.
ALWAYS ASK SPECIFIC QUESTIONS that would REQUIRE A SPECIFIC ANSWER outside the use of FORM LETTERS. IF YOU FIND your questions go unaddress in your reply emails from 'them/her' - YOUR DEALING WITH A SCAMMER. Again, don't bother further.
DON'T WAIT 6 MONTHS to offer to talk with the PROSPECT by phone! WHAT A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME! IF THERE IS CHEMISTRY OR APPEARS 'INTEREST' BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU - then sieze the opportunity. ARRANGE A PHONE CALL! International rates to Russia and most places are reasonably cheap. IF YOU GET THE REPLY ' I'M SO POOR I DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO A PHONE' - drop the whole thing, your only wasting your time and WILL BE SCAMMED at some point in the future.
PHOTO FLOOD! IF IT/SHE/HIM/THEM - LOOK TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE - THEN IT PROBABLY IS! MOST IF NOT ALL OF THE SCAMMES USE PHOTOS OF MODELS IN THEIR HOME COUNTRIES TO POSE ON THE NET IN THEIR PROFILE(s)! Consider this - IF THEY LOOK like a MODEL then tell you they're so poor they don't have access to a phone - YOUR BEING SCAMMED!
ASK FOR A SPECIAL PHOTO TO BE TAKEN. IF YOU SENT YOURS, HAVE THEM TAKE A PHOTO SHOWING THEM HOLDING UP YOUR PHOTO IN THE PICTURE! That is a good 'scammer filter' - even the most adept with Photoshop will easily be spoted.
BETTER STILL - ASK THEM TO TAKE A PHOTO THAT SHOWS THEM HOLDING A CURRENT NEWPAPER OF YOUR CHOICE OR THEIR COUNTRY, WITH A RESOLUTION THAT YOU CAN READ THE DATE! NOT some low grade - grainy photo! FEW WILL EVER DO THAT.
AT THE LEAST - ASK THEM FOR A PHOTO of them wearing a specific combination of clothes and/or colors - something different then the usual 'model clothing' - most use to send out. OR AN OBJECT - TOASTER, ELECTRIC CLOCK, BY A COUCH, IN A ROCKING CHAIR something that would be very hard to use PHOTOSHOP to just PUT in another FILE PHOTO.
*** IF this person is real or sincere, they won't mind doing this for you! ALSO - offer to do the same for their comfort also - that is only fair.
IF THINGS GET SERIOUS - then ASK THEM TO DELETE ALL THEIR OTHER WEB PROFILE POSTS! CHECK ON THE ONES YOU NOTED EARLIER! Again, IF THEIR SINCERE - they will - happily as your their DREAM and future!
If she talks about getting a visa or that she needs money to get a travel visa to the USA, she lies. See the proper course of action described at the top.
I've got one for you guys. Can You help? I've been talking with 'Veronika' for six months. I offered to send her money, just to see...but she didn't want it. All she wants is for me to come to Russia-ASAP. However, I have asked her twice to send me a real letter, and she says that I don't trust her, and I'll be in Russia soon enough. I've uncovered twenty scams in the last six months-girls contact me through 18-60's.com. But this one has me stumped...
Stumped in Illinois
anonymous from Canada
FIRST QUESTION THAT I WOULD ASK IS : WHY DOES SHE WANT FOR YOU TO VISIT HER IN RUSSIA? ( MARRIAGE? ) AND WHY IS SHE IN SUCH A RUSH?( OH YA , SHE IS RUSSIAN ) LOL , BUT SERIOUSLY,
WOW, A RUSSIAN WOMAN THAT DOESN'T WANT YOUR MONEY.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM ?IF YOU ARE FROM THE UNITED STATES , MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT SHE CANNOT LEAVE HER COUNTRY TO GO TO THE U.S. UNLESS SHE IS MARRIED TO YOU .( SHE BECOMES YOUR RESPONSIBILITY )
YOU'LL HAVE TO TELL MORE ABOUT HER AND YOUR COMMUNICATIONS WITH HER IN ORDER TO GET A CLEARER PICTURE.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME AT MICKEYMOUSETWO@HOTMAIL.COM AND I'LL SEE IF I CAN HELP YOU FIGURE THIS OUT .WHO KNOWS, MAYBE THIS IS FOR REAL.
MJ from United States
After googling 'veronika's' key sentences in her letters, I found STRIKING AND SIGNIFICANT similarities with these 'women'.
I believe they are all connected. These girls wait six months before asking for a lousy $400! 'Veronika' just asked for $423 this morning. She/he/they are now using the blonde's picture, instead of the usual brunette.
Ekaterina Smirnova, Alekseeva Elena, Lana, Glushkova Svetlana, Sherbacova Natalia, Olga Vladmirirovna Abdulina, Anastasiya Pershutkina (Samara, Russia), Elena Kruchinina/ Anastasia Pershutkina (Sumara, Russia), Elena Inyutina, Elena Kruchinina, Irina Egorova, Ludmila Tarasova, Irina Galkina (Sokur, Russia), Katya Golubok (Saratov, Russia), Ludmila Tarasova (Miasskoe, Russia), Natasha77 (aka Natalya) aka Natalia Caregorodceva, Russia, Elena Inyutina (Iskitim, Russia), Olga (Vladimir, Russia), Olga Zhukova (Kislovodsk, Russia), Valeria Chekaleva (Cheboksary, Chuvashia)
anonymous from United States
Hi everyone me again. If you scroll up to the picture with the girl holding the note that says Hi chuck I am real!!! I just wanted to give an update. as I said I wasn't going to send any money and I didn't, now please read the letter I received this morning,is she for real?? I will feel bad for douting her if she is. here is the letter. Darling Chuck,
I have VERY GOOD NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have found money for buying a ticket to come to you.
My good friend gave it to me. All I need to do now is to
go and to pay for it. And then all the roads are open to me.
Dear, please, write me your phone number. I will call you as
soon as everything is ready. I will tell you all the flight
details. And we will decide when and where you will meet me.
My dreaming is coming true and I can’t believe in it.
Don’t forget to send me your phone number, please.
I will be waiting impatiently.
I kiss you tender and hug you tightly.
Love you very much.
email@example.com from Belgium
Read the note on the girl Tatyana Tarasova, 30 years old. I am writing to a 30 year old Tatyana Tarasova and maybe I am running the risk of being scammed. Any further comments? I add a picture of 'my' Tatyana.
anonymous from United States
yep she is a scam. she is is listed here on this website
Dating scam from Kazan, Russia - Part 1
look at the one dated 2005-05-21
Hello fellow vitcims: I am from the Netherlands.
I seems that i just got rid of this scammer named : Ekaterina Torbeeva
I reported her already to this site,but i think her initial-email should be here.
The same for her profile that she is using in dating sites.
She had this in her profile. (i was just in time to save it, just the day before she had removed her profile from the angency)
This was in her profile:
Birth day: 1979-11-18
Relation type: Penpal (<---yeah right!--Now i even believe she did means that)
My country:United States (<- when i asked her why she left Russia, she told me that she lives in Russia, but this was for privacy reasons)
My city: Pittsburg
My hello phrase:Hello to all men!!! (<--pls not the 3 exclamation marks!!! they are typical hers! in all her letters) (Same letters as on this site btw)
'Congratulations I Ekaterina. To me of 27 years. I very romantic and careful girl. I work in children's hospital as the children's doctor. I very much love the work. I very much sympathizing and easygoing the woman. Here I have not found second half. I want to find love. With impatience I wait for your letters. Ekaterina.'
This was her first email to me:
'Hello mine dear friend!!! I have in detail seen your structure in agency, he seems to
me much better others. You very intellectual, formed the man. I very much would want
to meet you closer to learn you as it is possible better. I wanted to tell a little
bit to you about myself in this letter. My name is Ekaterina, I the young romantic
girl, me of 27 years. I work in the company, on sales by the goods by the manager.
Very much to like me my job as it is very interesting trade. I have finished
University and I have the maximum economic education. I write to you that and has not
met the close friend in my life. Here unfortunately I have not found such person, but
I think that we shall meet you and we shall understand each other. And as I think
that we can get happy family. And I am sure about our family will to speak, that this
family was constructed on trust, love and mutual understanding. I with impatience
shall wait for your letter and consequently I want to leave to you the address of my
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, please write to me the letter. Ekaterina.'
ok, finally the photo's she used:
This must be a profesional model:
The meanest thing she did to me is, that she wrote in the email before the money letter , that she attached a photo (like this one,but better quality--) and she wrote:
Are you sure you are ready to meet me? It can change your live completely as you live it now. Please take a look at my photo, and decide if you want to meet me.
This is really taking advantage of men's weakness: Who can say no to a girl like on such photo? Well...I know this is not really her. if you are this girl on the pic, give me your address, i will send you money and i will marry you!!! :p
Good luck everyone!
anonymous from United States
well chuck consitering that she also told Jon that she was for real
maybe he's the one who gave her the money to see you!
'''Boo hoo..sob sniffle... I had all the money on my way to buy the tickets and I got mugged. Now sob. sob I have no way to come to you. I can not ask my friend for anymore money'''
sniffle sniffe and I love you very much.
anyone wanna take that bet???
MJ from United States
Hey, I think Veronika has switched personas and is posing as Anastasia, pictured here. When researching, she uses the same letters as Elena Alekseeva. She also looks just like that Tatyana Tarasova pictured above. They all ask for $400 at a pop.
Boy, I'd really like to get ahold of whoever is behind this crap.
MJ from United States
Who knows this girl, known as katya or elena, from Yokshar?
MJ from United States
Hi XXXXX!!! I was very glad to receive a letter from you. I've read
your letter very attentively and you seem to me a very interesting
person, I would like to know you better and continue correspondence
with you. I think that in my first letter I should tell you more about
myself. As you already know my name is Katya, I am 25 years old and I
live in Russia, in Ioshkar-Ola. This is a very quiet, small, but very
beautiful town. I like it. My town is situated in 700 km from Moscow.
And what city do you live in, XXXX? Tell me more about it. It will be
very interesting for me. I have lots of interests. I like to be
outside, go to gym, dance, I like to do aerobics, read, communicate
with people and smile :) And what are your hobbies? What do you like
to do the most in your free time, XXXX? Ok, I am finishing my letter
now. I am sending you one more photo of me and I am looking forward to
your reply with your photos. Please do not send me big on the size of
a photo. It is difficult for me to receive the big photos. Sincerely,
thinking a lot about my future life and I think that I would like to
move to another country to live, there are few reasons for that. I can
tell you why. First of all I should say that I want stability in my
life. I think that it's very hard to get this here in Russia. There
are several reasons for that. I do not have anything against Russia.
Russia is a wonderful country, that's my Motherland and I love it, but
the economical situation here is very bad, you cannot be sure in the
next day, but I am thinking about my future. Sometime in the nearest
future I am going to have a family and children and I want my future
children to be safe, I want them to have everything they want. In my
opinion, this is very important. What is your opinion, XXXX? And
there is a second reason for my intention to move to live to another
country. I would like to find my soul mate, the person I can trust
completely, the person who is going to be near me all the time, love
me and take care of me. Russian men have lots of bad habbits, they
drink a lot. My dad used to drink a lot. It gave my mom much pain. I
do not want this to happen to me. So, I think now you understand why I
would like to move somewhere from Russia. I would really like to have
a good and strong family based on good emotional connection first of
all and understanding and surely love. I think that these things are
the most important. I would like to have my second half near me to
feel that I am safe, that I am loved and that I have a person near me
whom I can give all my tenderness and care that is inside of me. I do
have a lot to give, but for right now there is no one special whom I
can give it to and I do not want to waste it just for someone, I want
to meet my only one, my special one. I am thinking a lot about you,
XXXX, and I would like to hear from you soon. Ok, I am finishing my
letter now and I will be looking forward to your fast reply! With warm
email@example.com from Belgium
MJ - 2006-05-28
Thanks, I knew it was too good to be true, but yeah, sometimes men are weak. Maybe started to research a bit too late, but still in time to safe myself a lot of money. The picture of the girl with tulips, I got a variant send to me by 'my' Tatyana Tarasova. Don't know about the letters she send to other guys, although the ones I received are all fine and fit the ones I write. So nothing suspicious there.
In the ongoing story, she is on her way to me and ready to pass customs when they stopped her because of an undeclared family jewel. She asked for financial assistance. I admit being rather sure of her, but at least I intended to contact the embassy to see if she had really applied for a visa.
Also beware of the teddybear-story!!! I add another picture of 'Tatyana Tarasova'
Keywords: redhead fir trees black coat snowing
anonymous from United Kingdom
To MJ (Who knows this girl, known as katya or elena, from Yokshar? )
Keywords: blonde white dress with flowers staged black background
MJ from United States
Here's what Veronika wrote me this morning, after she asked for no less than $423. I just wrote and told her send me the information, so I could find her last name. If anyone wants to help me mess with her, I'd welcome your input. Heck, write her and say I died or something. Just keep me posted. I can't believe someone puts in six months for a lousy $400 payday.
How can you trace an IP for <HeartofAngel@inbox.ru> ? (That's Veronika)
'Oh honey, I am very happy, that you to understand me and can help me.
Michael, I to find out as it is possible for you to send yours transfer.
In my city to have system Western Union. It is very fast system of transfer of the finance. Thousand people in my city to use this system. It is very fast and reliable. I to not know, that in my city there is such system! Dear, you to have Western Union?
Also, I to find out, that you could send me your translation, you should know mine full a name.
My full name Veronika Stozharova.
And that I could receive yours transfer, I should know your full name and your full address (the country, state, city, street, etc.).
And more, the worker of bank to advise me, that when you will send me yours transfer, you should write only my country. It is better to not write my city, it will be even faster and easier to receive to me yours transfer.
My Love, I so am happy, that is already absolutely fast we to meet!!!! I to promise you, you never to forget time which you to spend with me! My heart to start to knock faster when I to start to think about our meeting.
I Love You!!!
For ever ONLY YOURS, Veronika'
She uses the same letters as Alena Aleeksva, and any other alias that's connected:
'Hello my loved friend Rob!!! I am very glad to receive your letter. I hope that you may understand my letters. I so am happy, that you at me on mind all the day. I am happy to read your letter. How at you an affair? How mood? I think that at you all is good. I want it very strongly. I shall ask the god that you were healthy and happy.
Today at us solar weather and it is wonderful. I want to tell you, that my heart began to beat more often when I think of you. I want to feel you, your gentle sight, your smile, and your hands. I so need in heat and care and I think, that I ask not so much. I to search pure love and romanticism in relations. I to like, when all is beautiful, fine, gentle and romantic!!! Desire to have the family, the loved person beside, feeling care and constant support difficult minute, to what to aspire each person in life and I too. To me 27 years, and I and to not have, about what I to speak you. I was close to happiness in the past, but my trust to break my heart. I should trust the person with whom I shall be all life.
To trust his each word, gesture, a sight, a smile. In the world now so it is a lot of meanness and deceit, that it is necessary to concern to people which to surround you very attentively. I to not speak you that it is necessary to concern about mistrust to everyone, just necessary to know the person so that to be completely sure in him. I to know you not long, but I can tell, that you very fair and open and it very much to involve me and let's me trust, that I can love and be loved!!! My mum to teach me, that I should be always open. I to tell her, that our relations to develop successfully, and she is happy for us. She to dream, that I, at last, there was not one and to have family. We are far apart. But it does not prevent our dialogue. Though I already thought that through the Internet it is not absolutely enough dialogue to understand each other more strongly. What you think of it? I would like to see you not only on a photo.
But I do not know as it probably, because we very much far apart. You to like me and I think, that our relations may be deeper. I do not know how to explain it in a word. I simply feel it. Your letters make my mood high. To me it becomes joyful on soul. Yes I very much love pets, is especial cats and dogs though itself I have no them. I use basically domestic marks of spirits, my favourite flowers, it probably roses red. I have no bad habits. But I can drink only on a holiday a little good fault. We have good weather as there comes spring, and much more now is warmer, so spring my favourite season. I shall wait your letters, and I hope, that you will write to me soon. I think that sometime we with you shall meet.
I would like to arrive to you to meet you, to look, as you live. I want it because I begin to understand, that between us to occur something the greater, than the friendship to seem to me, that this feeling of trust each other, to me to seem, that it is love, me to seem, that you too feel it. I now very much to want to talk about you! I so to want to share with you pleasure personally when I to see your eyes and a smile because, that I am glad. I to want to see your pleasure and to share it with you. I to want to know what to make you happy? And I shall try, that everything, that I to make was the present happiness for you. Please, give me chance to make it!!! Give me chance again to feel the loved and loving woman. I wait for your beautiful letter and I promise, that I shall think of you each minute. About love your friend Ekaterina !!!!'
And thanks for help on 'katyanok'. She's been writing me this week.
anonymous from United States
why not tell her you sent the money and give fake name and money transfer #
and have her running all over russia looking for money you never sent.
She needs your name right
Michael Phill McCracken
1313 Mocking Bird Lane
bumfuck, (enter your State, and Zip)
The Money Transfer Control Number is a 10 digit # ..hell only give her 9