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.
She´s very pretty but I don´t think she is real :-)
Last letter was that she need money for travelling *gg*
'My Sole Love. How are you? I believe in destiny. Our meeting, is our
destiny. I miss you so much!!! I want to tell you these words face to
face as soon as possible. I want to divide with you my feelings and my
emotions. You should see it!!! Pulse of my heart, becomes frequent
constantly when I think of you!!! The last some days were very hard
for me. You know, different bad ideas do not leave my head now. But I
do not lose hope and I continue search exit from this situation. When
I have lent 1200 euro, for surgery Katya's daughter, I have warned
her, that I shall require this sum when will come time for my trip to
you. Katya has accepted my conditions. It were all my savings which I
planned to spend for payment of our meeting. Now, my girlfriend Katya
has told that she has problems on work and in the near future cannot
return to me my sum. She has told, that is required two or three month
before, she can return to me my sum. I cannot believe, that similar
situation takes place to be. I do not understand how Katya can place
me, in similar problems. Today, I have visited my parents and have
told him, about our situation. Parents cannot give me any finance. I
understand situation of my parents and I am not offended on them. I
yesterday weigh day tried to borrow money but without result! Everyone
speak that have spent money for New Year's gifts! It is very sad! I
should pay about 500 euro for my visa and international passport and
also the air ticket. Also services of the consul! These are consular
gathering! I have already collected all documents from my work and was
photographed on the passport for travel abroad! I should pay these
charges after tomorrow. On February 10 I should be in Moscow for
interview in embassy. I cannot go in embassy, not having paid visa and
passport. Now, I have not any finance and I can not go in embassy. I
hope beloved, My love in travel agency to me
also have told as better to send money. My love travel agent has told
that the most convenient and fast way is the Western Union. My love
you know this bank??? Western Union it is bank which transfers money
this money. To send money to you it is necessary to know my full data.
I hope that you can find out about the Western Union. It is very
popular bank. Lyutsiya Pavlova.
post code: 429952.
I hope that we shall be
together in February! Lyutsiya. '
..though I am posting for a while...are you, Derrick, my collector friend, then do not hesitate taking contact by my Norwegian email, known in our collectors´ club in England.
Stor sej known as Big Jäg
[hidden] from United States
Does the name Anna Pyatova or email@example.com ring any bells.I have been corresponding with this girl for 2 weeks now.Average looking claims that she has no phone and will not give me her address.She called me this morning she said from a post office.I've offered to mail her a phone so when she declined I thought that was a good sign but I don't know.I have been suspicious from the jump.My friend sent me this link and I would very much appreciate any information.
Peter from Germany
Brief call and voice sounded pretty young? They hire phone-girls for that purpose!
Russian woman without cell-phone? Barely to comprehend.
Eddie from Sweden
[hidden] from United States
from what you've written, it could be a real girl.
If she's using a non-cyrillic email provider, that's also a reason to be suspicious. Most real Russian girls have a mail.ru or yandex.ru mail address, for example. Think about it....would you automatically open an email account in a foreign alphabet?
However, the best way to check up on her is to trace her IP address. Open the advance header of one of her mails, identify the originating IP and then trace it using RIPE whois (or trace all the IPs you can find if you're not sure, though one of those will be the email provider, eg msn, google or hotmail.)
Scammers nearly always cover their tracks by using untraceable IPs, IP spoofing or proxy servers in foreign countries. If your 'girl' is kosher, her IP address should locate her somewhere in the area that she says she's writing from. And if her IP traces to Yoshkar Ola or Mari El republic, this is another reason to be suspicious as this is the hub of the Russian dating scam 'industry'.