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.
There is a Jessica Michelle that claims to be from San Jose, CA She lists her email address and country of country of origin as the UK. She is listed on IwantU as michelleo4 and claims to have lost both her parents but her father was Native American and her mother was Irish. She states that she was born in Ohio until she lost both her parents and went to Alabama. She will tell you that she has travelled using KLM Travel Agency and that she needs money for her BTA (Basic Travel Allowance) that she will return to you once she comes to you.
She has all sorts of games that she will play with you. When she does not show up at the airport after sending you a false flight schedule from her KLM Agency, she had this terrible accident. So you will be out the money for her ticket to you and the money for her BTA. Two weeks later she will email you with another line and a guilt trip a mile long as to why didn't you contact her and answer a third person's email to you. Usually the third person is someone like a doctor
Beware! She will bleed you for hundreds of dollars. She will ever tell how mean and godless you are because you will not send her any more money.
OJAS from United States
Anon UK 2007-10-22, 04:52:36, or if you are a newbie,
for Outlook 2007 see the link below, post time stamp: 2007-10-23, 10:48:34
I have posted full headers (time stamp 2007-10-23, 10:48:34) in Elena Sodovnikova thread
From: Kari Cabrera [firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Mon 10/22/2007 8:30 PM
Subject: Where have you been?
Hello! I am tired today. I am nice girl that would like to chat with you. Email me at m@GreatGloveCell.info only, because I am writing not from my personal email. Don't miss some of my naughty pictu.
If you like to try practising scam-baiting, here's my present.
1) In the headers I posted I see no useful trace by 3 tries
2) I have a firewall, spam / junk e-mail filter that this scammer has penetrated
3) I receiced it at my organization, this e-mail addressed to the WHOLE organization, i.e., scamming masse!
Here is a letter I received from Galina. One of the photos is attached:
I am from Kazakhstan. But its impossible to send any email on the site
from 'kazakhstanian' profile at all. This is why my profile said that
I am from USA. Excuse me please for this misunderstanding. I hope on
My name is Galina. I do not know as to begin this first letter to you,
I just tell you something about me. I am 30 years old, my birthday is
20 December 1976 year. And when does your birthday? My country named
Kazakhstan. I live in village Ortau that situated in about 150
kilometers from the Agadyr. I live in very good village. It is not
big, just have one small shop and railroad station. I rent an room
here because its cheaper than in Agadyr. What about your city? What is
its name? How many peoples live there? In Agadyr I have a work. Every
morning I with my girlfriend going on railroad station together. From
there I reach up Agadyr. My girlfriend works on this railroad station.
I graduated from our States University, which is situated in
Karaganda. I learned English at school and University but already do
not remember many English - but I shall recollect and learn English
again. Please do not use dificult words and phrases in you letters. I
shall be capable to understand you but it will just take more time
this way. I was very surprised to receive your answer. I am very glad
that I can to write to you this letter. I did not trust before that
can be a dialogue through the Internet. It is my first experience. I
very much want to know you more. How you have got in the Internet and
why you search dialogue through on line? Please write me more about
you, your life, city and country?
I think you interresting about a reason why I am here. I search for my
soulmate, to share with him all my happyness and love. I need to find
real man for love and I hope its you. I understand that these desires
are banal but care, love and understanding any woman wants in
P.S Also I will try to attach my photos in my letter - I hope I will
do it correctly. Let me know if you receive it.
anonymous from Sweden
anonymous from United States 2007-10-23, 15:18:59
What's your question? do you think your Kazakhi girl is a scammer?
OJAS...I still haven't quite understood what you've sent me and what I'm supposed to with it (nor the last one). Could you please write a mail and explain in simple English?
OJAS from United States
@newbies ref: Anon US 2007-10-23, 15:18:59
for my soulmate, to share with him all my happyness
See the spelling mistake and copy including this, 10 words max (to the left in this case)
By pasting into delphi search, it will truncate after the newline character. So first paste in Notepad, remove the newline character and paste the whole phrase in delphi. When queried, there are a few hits, and try one e.g.
I'll send the second part in the e-mail later, some thoughts, since I now have to hit the road.
anonymous from United States
Anonymous from Sweden 2007-10-24, 11:17:21
IwantU.com is not free! You are correct in that it is loaded with scammers and also a lot of porno. Like Yahoo Personals and some others they do no check the individuals. Some I am sure are from Nigeria and some are from Russia. If I had to label IwantU.com, I would call it a “Pimp” Site.
The story for Jessica Michelle is not only complicated but I was given an address in San Jose, CA and a phone number. Along with that I was given her “auntie’s” address in Ohio. Auntie’s name was real and doing a people search showed that not only was auntie real but there was an address for her.
Having mentioned IwantU.com, please be advised that this is not the only site that scammers are using heavily. I have traced several individuals that are using the worldofjewish.com; dating-site-advisor.com; dwarfdate.com; deaf-mail.com; flixster.com; forsomeonespecial.com; quechup.com; yuppiematch.com.
Some of these scammers are becoming more and more difficult to track down. The names they are using makes Google almost worthless at times. With names like Caroline Douglas or Molly Henderson, a Google Search becomes more difficult. Conversely, handles like Dammy Lisa (A.K.A. Dammy Nice, Dammy Jones, Dammy Lisa Jones); qkweenteena (A.K.A. Lindsey, Teena Kelvin, Lonelyserious); tk2isreal (A.K.A. Rose, Roseline) are much easier to track using Google.
While many of these scammers have multiple email addresses, they like to chat on Yahoo IM. It is easy to keep a record – I have physical evidence of chats done with the aforementioned individuals – because Yahoo IM permits a copy of the entire conversation to be saved.
Eddie from Sweden
anonymous from United States 2007-10-24, 12:08:25
...the name's Eddie (I'm the only regular 'Swedish guy' on the site, but not quite as ubiquitous as OJAS... :)
Yes, you can add Romantic Planet to your list as well. I did a lot of baiting there at Christmas... very few real girls, very many scammers...Russian, West African and quite a few Filipinos too. They also used English sounding names as you mentioned, difficult to google, and they wanted to chat on yahoo etc. I was sent links to porn sites as well. When a 'girl' (scammer) wants to chat on yahoo etc, I automatically assume they're West African. They all had the same types of stories as well more or less, stranded in Africa, mixed origin orphans, etcetc.
However, I found that googling unusual words, phrases or spelling in their mails or profiles worked quite well. A few times I turned up 'girls' who had profiles posted on 6 or 7 websites at the same time, and automatically reported them. Sometimes they had the same profile texts but different pics, or the same profile but different American cities, etcetc.
The Russian scammers (or Russians in general) hardly ever want to chat, basically because the majority of Russians can't speak much English. And I should know because I've been there twice in the last year and I'm engaged to a Russian, who also had her residency interview 3 weeks ago. I found a good trick was always to write to Russians/Ukrainians in Russian. The real girls appreciate it and write back in Russian, the scammers either don't notice or they lose interest because they realise that I'm unscammable.
Nowadays I don't browse on any dating websites (don't have the time, nor the inclination)....I just lurk here on delphi posting info and advice to guys who need it, gleaned from my experiences of 2 years of baiting. Or I help them with letters in Russian that they can send to their scammers:
Пожалуйста, не оскорбляйте мой интеллект. Tы не живете в (название города), ты живете в Yoshkar Ola, преступный город в России. Tы посылаете мне украденные фотографии и копируете письма хуиня. Скоро, Tы будете просить деньги получить визу (невозможный получить без письменного приглашения от меня и билетов, также.)
Поэтому, я сэкономлю тас некоторое время. Пойдите отсюда, чтобы искать честную работу, ты несчастный жулик. Я не имею никакого интереса в ташем cкамерство. Oto'idi, a to jebnu, хохол. Idi na khuy!
email title: skamerstvo!
Pozhalujsta, ne oskorbl'ajte moj intellekt. Ty ne zhivete v (name of city), ty zhivete v Yoshkar Ola, prestupnyj gorod v Rossii. Ty posylayete mne ukradennyye fotografii i nizkokachestvennyye skopirovannyye pis'ma. Skoro, ty budete prosit' den'gi poluchit' vizu (nevozmozhnyj poluchit' bez pis'mennogo priglasheniya ot men'a i biletov takzhe.)
Poetomu, ya sekonoml'u tas nekotoroye vrem'a. Pojdite ots'uda, chtoby iskat' chestnuyu rabotu, ty neschastnyj zhulik. Ya ne imeyu interes dl'a vashego skamerstvo. Oto'idi, a to jebnu. Idi na khuy!
email title...scam business!
Hello vile greedy one!
Please do not insult my intelligence. You don't live in (name of city), you live in Yoshkar Ola, a criminal city in Russia. You send me stolen photos and poor-quality copy mails. Soon, you'll ask for money to obtain a visa (impossible to obtain without a letter of invitation from me and tickets as well.)
Therefore I will save you some time. Go from here and look for an honest job, you miserable swindler. I'm not interested in your scam business. Get lost or I'll kick your ass. Fuck you!
Works well with the following photo attached :))
anonymous from United States
anonymous from United States
My name Tonia Zuniga
. I am single and never been married. I am from texas. I try to always enjoy life. Life is to short to take like to serious all the time. But I can be serious with that special person in my life. I love to be very romantic. I like giving flowers and holding hands and the walks on the beach. That is my favorite place. So peaceful and relaxing and the best place to be with your true love. I am looking for someone to be bestfriends and partners in life. To share in all our interests and to maybe have a loving family in the future. Or to just be good friends. I have a good job and I could care and protect the person I love. I have lots of interests. Love music and the outdoors. I like to exercise everyday. I am in good shape. I eat healthy but still like my junk food too. I love dressing up when going out to eat. And wearing casual clothes to. I dont have children but I hope I will in the future. I love to travel too. I think we have a lot in common. I liked your profile very much. I would love to get the chance to know a special person like you in the future. I hope to talk and maybe meet soon. Sincerely..mail me more about your self and your pix as well