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.
More info on the continuing saga with my scammer, 'Agapi'. This is getting interesting. I have caught her in a few lies and confronted her but, as other posters have predicted, she is ignoring these protests. Instead, she sent me some suggestive pictures. What? That makes lying OK? I have also requested specific info/pictures, all of which is also ignored. The ramp up continued with the first request for money this morning. I am still playing along, but this person won't get a cent of my money. I wonder how far this will go. Here are the latest posts:
July 28, 2014 (from her)
Hello, my sweet!
I can’t sleep at night, because it’s so little time left until our date. I am very intrigued. I’m also confused and afraid a bit. I don’t know what to expect. I know that everything will be ok. I like to talk with you. I know you a little. And I hope, that I’ll not be surprised of your lie. I trust you, but I have got already bad experience in relationships, so I just hope, that you were sincere with me all this time. I think a lot about it, and it seems impossible. We haven’t acquainted so much time, and I am very confused in such situations. But now I can’t turn on my mind, and just listen to my heart. I can’t wait! I can’t gulp myself! I want to see you every day more and more. I don’t know, how it’s happen. We just talked a little, and then I understand, that I want to meet you in real life. I have told myself many times, that I need to wait, to know you closer. But now I see, that’s enough and I want more. I want to know, how you imagine our first date? How do you want it be? I hope, that you’ll show me your city. I really want to see it with you. I’m waiting for this so much. My feelings pull apart me. I’m very scared. I never meet man in real life after correspondence in internet. And you? I saw your photos, and you saw my, and we like each other, so our date should be great. But people look a little different in real life. What if you don’t like me? What we will do? Will we be just friends, if we can’t be lovers? I like you, and don’t want to lose. I’m glad, that I’ll go to your city because of work. It would be terrible to go to date with man, and if nothing will work out to leave alone in foreign city. So, my work helps me not to think much about it. I think, I’ll do it for few days, and then I’m free for whole month. After that, as I said, I’ll go to Greece. I will take my laptop to write to you. I’m glad that I have written this letter, I feel much better. Before this I can’t work, I just can’t concentrate. I hope, you’ll tell me about your thoughts about our meeting. I believe, that I could make you happy. I really want it. I’ll do everything for you. Maybe, it’s early to say such things, but I want you to know it. I’m serious about you, dear.
Could you send me some of your photos? I’ll be very glad, if you do it.
But now it’s time to work. I’d like to hug you now. That’s bad, that I can’t. Soon we will be near each other.
Hello, my love, (from me)
I too look forward with great anticipation to our meeting. I can't wait to see you in person, to touch your face, to run my fingers through your beautiful hair. I long to hold you close and tight to my body, to caress your body with my fingers, and to explore you with my tongue. I want to feel your hands and tongue and mouth on me. I want electricity, ecstasy, and wild passion. Yes, we will be lovers. We will become one; holding each other, caressing each other, entering into total union with each other - mind and body.
Do not be confused nor afraid. Yes, I am sincere. Our first date? Once you have rested from your travels, I will pick you up early in the morning at your hotel, gently kissing you awake. We will spend the day travelling around seeing my beautiful city and the countryside. We will have lunch along the river, enjoying the sunshine and each other. I can't wait to see you! I am nervous, too. I want so much to kiss you (on your mouth, your breasts, all over), but do not want to be too aggressive nor move too fast. After lunch, we will drive into the countryside to go for a long walk in a beautiful park nearby, hand in hand, and arm in arm. There are many beautiful and romantic things to see there. We can stop whenever you wish to see some tourist sights, or leave them for another time. As evening approaches, we will find a little intimate place to have dinner. I long to gaze deeply into your eyes over the candle light. After dinner, we will go back to your hotel, and ...
Please send me the following, as soon as possible:
1. Date of your arrival, and the airline
2. Which particular city you are arriving in (there are several that make up my city - it is very large)
3. The hotel you will be staying at (since you are coming for work, they will be providing your accommodations)
4. A photo of you holding the photo I have attached to this email (I have done the same - this is for both of our protection)
My arms ache to hold you, Agapi. I want to enjoy all of you and give all of me to you. We will hold each other in our arms in a short time...
Come to me very soon,
July 30, 2014
Hello Agapi, (from me)
Please send me your full name and address so that I can send you a surprise present ahead of your travel date. Please tell me your favorite colors so that I can personalize my gift for you. You will LOVE it!
Please send me a picture of you on the steps of the Melbourne Conservatory building. It is a beautiful building (one of my favorites) and your beauty will make it even better.
Please send me your detailed travel itinerary, including dates, airlines, flight numbers, stopovers/transfers, hotels, your company name, etc.
My wife found one of your pictures on the computer and wanted to know who you are and why I had the picture. She is now suspicious.
Even so, I look forward to hearing from you again. I was disappointed when there was no letter waiting for me this morning.
Oh my dear, PLEASE JUST DO NOT THINK THAT I FORGOT ABOUT YOU! I'm sorry, that again and again forcing you to wait for my answer. Oh my goodness, I feel guilty in front of you ... To be honest, I myself do not understand why things happen that way. This is the third time this week I sit down to write you a letter, but hell every time something happens that prevents me from making it to the end. I'm a little swearing, but it's not for you. I scolded the Greek tax office, which has fallen on my shoulders like a stone from the mountains. This is the first time they check my tax payments took so much time. Last year, they checked my payments and then they could do it in one day. But now they have all week dug into my archives payments and to be honest I do not know what they were looking for. I myself was not himself because of this test, but thank God this nightmare finally ended today and now I can breathe freely. dear, I know that I wronged you, but please forgive me, ok. I'm sorry, that now again forcing you to wait with my answer and ... if I messed you up to, forgive me, too!
and how are you? What to you mood today? I hope you have not had problems with the tax authorities as I have? (I'm just joking now). In any case, I very much hope that your mood will be better when you see my letter. By the way, I will send you a surprise with this letter. I had never showed anyone my candid photos, but towards you I feel some confidence ... or if it another way, I feel some sort of warm affection to you,
day after tomorrow morning I'll have to go on a business trip to Helsinki (Finland). In Helsinki, within 2 days will be held trade fair selling gold jewelry and I why I should go there to support my business. But it will take more than 2 days. I'll go back on a Saturday night or Sunday morning. So Sunday night I know I can be home. This time I did promise you that.
By the way right now to my room my mom came. She saw me when I was writing this letter to you and asked me who I write such a long letter. I told her that I am writing this letter to my beloved man. At first she was a little surprised when I heard my words, but then told me that I finally found a man that I like. I do not know, maybe it was only her joke, but I liked what she told me. This means that my mom did not mind that I communicate with you. I have not told you this before, but I've already told my mom about you. She asked a lot about you, about where you live and what you do ... I told her everything I knew about you and I think that after all these conversations she liked you. Of course she did not say so explicitly, but I think my mother is a very good opinion of you, because she did not say anything against you. So, I think you and I have great chances of having a more serious relationship. I wonder what you think about this?
I'm reminded of my last letter that I wrote to you a long time ago. I was talking to you about my holiday. To be honest, I was joking about the meeting. If you agree to meet me on a visit, I could come to you for one week. But I need to know the nearest hotel to you, where I could stay. maybe you can write me where I'd rather stay with you? Hotel name, phone number, so I could stay in my holiday. On Expenses please do not worry. I can pay for itself the hotel and the road to you. You know, I was a little worried when talking about meeting you. To me this is the first time, but honestly, I really want to see you in reality. Maybe after a meeting with you our friendship can grow into something more than just friendship. At least I hope so. if you want to call me on the phone, call this number. This is my number 55-36-32. Code of Greece 30. Code of Thessaloniki 231. (+30-231-55-36-32)
It again received a long letter. To be honest, I even tired of writing it. So I stop now. I hope you'll be happy to see again my letter. And please forgive me again for this latest delay. Love you lots and lots of kisses to your sweet lips mmmmmuuuuuhhhhhhhh .....................
Yours sincerely Agapi
Agapi, (from me - challenged her on her lies)
I would like to clarify some details.
On June 24th you wrote me and said that both of your parents had died two years ago, but in this most recent letter you told me that your mom just came to you in your room as you were writing to me. This is impossible.
Also, on June 24th, you told me that you live in Melbourne, Australia, but now you tell me that you have problems with the Greek tax authorities. They would not be after you if you lived in Australia. If you live in Australia, why do you still have a Greek phone number? Where do you really live? I am confused and hurt by these things.
In previous letters you did not write about a holiday, but of coming here for work. Now you say that was a joke (not funny), but that you could come for a holiday. I do not know what to believe. You are just playing with my feelings?
You also just wrote that you are travelling to Helsinki for a gold jewelry trade fair in a few days. However, the only trade fair in Helsinki for that purpose takes place in October of this year (from 17 to 19 October). Do you have another man in Finland. Are you playing with my heart?
You sent me some sexy pictures, but early on you said that you were not that kind of girl. I would love to have sex with you, Agapi, but I want more than that. But now, I am having a difficult time believing what you say.
I deserve to know the truth from you. You have hurt me deeply. Your name, Agapi, means 'love', but I do not find these things very loving. I trusted you and gave my heart to you. Now I find that you are just playing with me. I also wonder why you have NEVER called me by my name in any of your letters?
VERY IMPORTANT: In order to continue with me (yes, my heart is still soft for you), I need to know that you are really who you say you are. In your next letter, I must see a picture of you holding some of the pictures that I sent you of me. No excuses. If you love me as you say, you will do this for me. I need that assurance, as my wife is now suspicious (as I wrote to you earlier today).
I await your response to this letter. It will determine the future of our relationship.
Agapi, my love, (also from me)
I have stopped crying, and I tried to call you to clear up some of the issues I just wrote to you about. I also wanted to hear your voice.
However, the operator said that Greek telephone numbers are 10 digits long, but your number is only 9 digits. There should be the code for Thessaloniki (231), followed by 7 digits, but yours is only 6.
Please send me the correct number...
July 31, 2014 (from her - she has ignored my requests, but apologized for hurting me - how sweet!)
Hi my sweet heart. I do not know if you can now see my letter, but if you see, please reply me soon, ok. Damn, now I do not even know how to write to you about it ... and please forgive me if my letter hurt you. I'm very very angry at myself ... I got in trouble and I need help. forgive me for what I'm asking you for help. I know that we are not so much close to you, so that I could ask you for help, but if I'm even a little road you, I implore you to help me, ok. I'm in Riga, Latvia. As you know, I went to Helsinki for my business. I bought in Helsinki gold jewelry, but yesterday when I was riding on the train back home to Greece, the Latvian customs stopped me on their border and arrested all my luggage with ornaments. I wanted in Latvia after the train to fly home on the plane but I was stopped at customs when I was traveling in a train. Heck, it's just a nightmare ... and I really do not know what I do now. I went to the fair in Helsinki gold jewelry. And at this fair, I bought 12 gold jewelry collections for which paid 19,300 dollars. All was well, at first I was happy successful purchase, but now I feel terrible, because now the Latvian customs want to confiscate all my jewelry. It happened yesterday morning, when the train made ??a stop in Riga. People with their customs checked my luggage and when they saw me they asked decorations give them purchasing a certificate. I showed them the receipts, which gave me a dealer in Helsinki, but the Latvian customs officer told me it is not an instrument for jewelry. He told me that I should be sure to have a procurement certificate for all these decorations, that would allow me to carry these ornaments. Damn, at first I could not understand at all, about what document he told me. Many times I was carrying gold ornaments through their border, but yesterday when I first heard about the procurement certificate. Then I talked to an officer with their customs. I asked him what documents they require from me. And the customs officer told me that with the January 1, 2014 they enacted a law to mandatory certification of gold jewelry, which gives me the right to transport gold jewelry. He told me that this certification is required because without these certificates they can not get away from me a guarantee that these are my gold jewelry is not stolen. I told the officer that I did not steal these ornaments. I told him that I bought these ornaments in Helsinki and I'm taking them home to Greece for sale. I told him that it was my business. I even showed him my tax documents, but he told me that without the official certification of gold jewelry he has no right to miss me through their border. Oh my gosh, it's just some crazy house. The first time I deal with such laws and so I feel confused. And I do not even know what to do now. Latvian customs imposed upon me the penalty for intentional removal of non-certified jewelry. They tell me that I had violated their law and now I have to pay an administrative penalty under their law for an illegal export of non-certified gold. They wrote the protocol on administrative violation in my name and told me that I must pay the fine within 10 days. Amount of the fine to $ 870 of their protocol. dear, I would not ask you for help, I am ashamed to ask you to help me, but the problem is that I spent all my money on buying these gold ornaments in Helsinki and now in my pocket left only $ 110. I have no money with them, and so I want to ask you to help me with the payment of the fine. please just do not think badly of me. I myself hate myself because I ask for your help. If I would have another option to find the money, I would not ask you to help me. Today I spent all day trying to find the money, but neither my mother nor my friends could not help me with the money today and so after all these attempts to find the most money, I tearfully decided to try to ask you for help. I do not know how you react to my request ... I am very afraid to offend you, but on the other hand, I very much hope that you can understand what I'm feeling right now. I really need your help and if I really even a little road you, I implore you to help me, ok. I'm not asking you to give me the money. It's only a couple of days ... I ask you to help me with money borrowed only for a couple of days. I'll send you the money immediately, as soon go home. Tell me honestly, you will be able to lend me $ 870 for a couple of days?
I am ashamed to ask you for money, but if I'm even a little way to you, I beg you to help me. I'll give you your money in a couple of days, as soon as I can go home. I am here at the station branch branch western union. I ask you to send help through western union and I just can receive your help and pay your fine and go home. I asked and they told me that you have to send me help should only write that I get it on my passport. detailed information here for you to give me your help - First Name-AGAPI. Last Name - PAGIOULA
country: Greece. City: THESSALONIKI
I hope now that you believe me. Please, if you now see my letter, tell me immediately. I'll be in an internet cafe inside the train station in Riga. I am writing to you from an internet cafe, because here I have no other connection. And it's weird, even here my cell phone does not work. Appears on the display, the telephone network is not available. I'm shocked and I myself do not understand how this could be. if you see my letter, please tell me. I'll wait. I wholeheartedly hope that you will not leave me. your Agapi
August 1, 2014
My dear, Agapi, (from me)
I know you are upset and annoyed about potentially losing your purchases. I am upset for you as well. I wish I was there to hold you and tell you it will be okay. We could work it out together and then go to a hotel and make love surrounded by all the gold you bought. How very sexy!
I do have questions, though, about some parts of your story.
1. You say your mother hasn't the money to help you. I guess that is true since you wrote that she died 2 years ago.
2. Why would you take the train from Helsinki to Riga, and then fly back to Greece. There is no direct train from Helsinki to Riga, since trains cannot go over the Baltic; you would have to take it over St Petersburg, Russia, which is much too far out of the way. Why did you not just fly home from Helsinki, rather than waiting until you got into Latvia?
3. I contacted the Latvian embassy in my country and they do not know anything about this law concerning gold confiscation. I think you may be being cheated by this customs man.
4. Since this is for your business, why do you not just pay the fine of $870 on your credit card, or withdraw the money from your bank account? Further, why are they levying a fine in dollars when the currency all over Europe is in Euros?
The story from this customs man is very suspicious. I feel he is cheating you. I would suggest you go to the Greek embassy and report him. I am sure they will be able to help you and will straighten this out so you don't have to pay the fine. I order to get you started, I will wire $100 to you as per your instructions; however Western Union told me they need a copy of your passport in order to make sure it gets to you. This is a new rule here, because of all the fraud. That is all I can do for now, until you find out more from the Greek embassy about the cheating customs man.
I would still like to receive answers to my questions in my last letter and that you fulfill the requests that I made. Please answer those things and also send me a copy of your passport so I can send you some money via western union.
I want to help you. I want to believe you. Help me with that, Agapi. Soon we could be together...
ps; do you have any more of those sexy pictures? I sleep with the other ones under my pillow...
I am now eagerly awaiting her response. The baiting continues...