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.
Got the identical emails and photographs from Dariya Devochka, including the pic with the cat. I was immediately suspicious. She says she is now in St Petersburg waiting to travel to the US. Ha! Several early clues were (1) the email was sent to my fake email address; (2) her English was a bit too good; (3) the word 'devochka' in Russian means 'girl.' Unlikely real last name. (4) the escalating slew of attractive pictures, and more. Good work in revealing this scammer guys. Frank
email@example.com from Seattle, United States
Got all the same pics and emails
anonymous from United States
i received a third letter and it is from St. Petersburg!!! this is a copy:
it is me,can you believe I am in St.-Petersburg. I can't believe ,it was wonderful flight and they gave red vine in plane,wow,I have never tried such tasty one!!!!!
I was in travel agency today, but my documents are not ready yet, it will be ready in 2 days.
So in 2 days I will go to travel agency again to get all info about my trip.
And of course, when I will get it - I will send it to you!
It is such great city
and it takes a few hours to travel from one end to other. I took a taxi from the aiport to the flat i rented for few days.
They have such nice taxis ,it is Ford - Focus -not new one (1998 ) it was so nice jorney from airport to the flat.
So comfortable car,I have never been into such car!
Taxi driver showed me some nice places in St.-Petersburg while he was taking me down to the flat. Such a great city it is. I have no words to explain.
you can't imagine how great St.-Petersburg is,to be fair I wouldn't like to live here,a lot of cars,people , voice and pollution.Ugly traffic and people with crazy eyes.
When I get off plane in airport St.-Petersburg policeman asked about passport and he looked at me like I am any enemy, I think all people here are a little crazy at terrorism.
Life here in St.-Petersburg is expensive. I was going through some shops today and it is much more expensive than in our town. Food and all the general things. It is the same country but different prices, what a great change.
I think people living in St.-Petersburg are very cautious ,I think so.
But I think that I have done my choice and to be fair I don't want to live here,it is not the city of my dreams.
you know I am not coward I am not afraid I know it is my chance to meet kind man .I do hope I am right.
and I think you are too kind to make any bad things I feel it.
Well,I will close this letter ,please write as soon as possible!see you soon!KISS . Great kiss from St.-Petersburg!!!!!!!!!!Dariya!
ps. I have some more photos of me for you!!
be aware it is a scamMMMM!!!!!!
anonymous from Los Angeles, United States
here is another pic.
anonymous from United States
here is the one with her cat.
anonymous from Canada
Hi guys i got 3 same latter from Dariya Devochka with same pictures. she was looking kind person who help her out. she is poor and trying to support her family.In her last latter she is talking about nice flight, hotel,travel in car,going to egancy for paper work,waiting for for paper work and bla.bla,............
i found her profile,she is scam becarfull guys..
Franktalk5@aol.com from United States
Here is the most recent email from Dariya Devochka describing her activities in St. Petersburg, but completely ingnoring specific questions II had asked her. One of the two additional pictufres she sent (of somebody - a scantly clad beach shot) was really hot. Keep up the good work guys. Frank
Hello my honey !
This is Dariya again, so I write you from St.-Petersburg
internet cafe.here are too many people as I wrote you and that's very
unusual for me. Today I went to cinema and
watched '007 Quantum of solace' recommend this movie so much.
It's very kind movie!!!!!
Also I liked that cinema in St.-Petersburg, it's very big!i've never been to
such big cinema. Soon I will go to Museum and tomorrow I will go to
the Alexandria theatre so maybe I will not have enough time to write
you. I already bought tickets to the theatre, the play is called
Cherry Garden (or Orchard, I'm not sure how to write it in Eglish). It
was staged on a book of famous Russian writer Anton Pavlovich Chehov.
I think I will like this play. I've been told there will play very
good actors Kondratieva and Ostroumova. I'm sure you've never heard of
them but that's OK. Have you ever heard about Chehov?
OK, I have to go now... I will write you more as soon as I can. If I
can't write you tomnorrow I will write you the day after tomorrow after I visit
I already miss you!!!!
anonymous from Canada
Hi this is nxa again. I got same latter from Dariya Devochka describing her activities in St. Petersburghere with same kind of picture..wow what she is trying to do is any one knows.
i think she just want come usa or canada some how......Bcarefull gys..
Yuliya's proof email saying she is real and ready to come to US, here is my proof, my passport
anonymous from United States
Has anyone else received e-mails from this woman? She uses the name Vika and claims to be a hair dresser.
anonymous from United States
This is the ASK letter, where Darya says that she does not have enough funds for a return ticket and asks to borrow the amount required. The flight details are enclosed as well as Western Union money transfer instructions. There is a sense of urgency because the flight will arrive in Seattle at the end of this week. Clearly a lot of calculated effort goes into these scams. Of course, I had previously written to Dariya and said that I could not meet her or help her financially. She ignored that correspondence. Stay tuned.
'[My Name Here] dear hello,
it is me again and I want you to know that you can't imagine how happy
I have a schedule of my flight.you can't imagine how much crazy
St.-Petersburg is. It is great fear to live here I think so!Our small town is
more friendly . Well,about our business,
I tasted my blood,such rule for foreign visitors wanting to visit your
country!Thanks God I am in good health,
all of my tests are all right,I only need some vitamins I think it
is the bad foods and long winters problem.I have to eat much more
fruits and vegetables.The doctor said!
well,here is all info ,I do hope we will together in a few days!
Information for Tryheena Dariya
'Vista tur', Krasnousov Anton. 3326700 St.-Petersburg,
Frunze street 3,office 11.
Saint Petersburg, Russia to Seattle, WA Fri 12 Dec 2008
Flight Information – Fri 12 Dec 2008
Flight 3251 Departs: 5:55a
Pulkovo (LED) Arrives: 6:55a
Franz Josef Strauss (MUC)
Coach | Fare code: Y5 | Airbus A319 (Narrow-body Jet) | 3h 00m
Layover in Munich, Germany (MUC) for 5h 15m
Operated by United Departs: 12:10p
Franz Josef Strauss (MUC) Arrives: 3:25p
O'Hare International (ORD)
Coach | Fare code: Y5 | Boeing 767-300 (Wide-body Jet) | 10h 15m
Layover in Chicago, IL (ORD) for 1h 55m
Operated by United Departs: 5:20p
O'Hare International (ORD)
Seattle/ Tacoma Intl (SEA)
Coach | Fare code: Y5 | Boeing 757-200 (Narrow-body Jet) | 4h 35m
Please use our service .
Best regards.Krasnousov Anton.
Price: USD 1. 00+
Honey I am so glad to see that I am almost near my goal,and our meeting
wait for us.
I think I will call you from airport and I will wait for you there so
long as you need,I mean if you need any time to arrive in airport.
it is not problem to wait there because I know that it is the end of
my trip and I have time to improve my condition(some parfume)after
long jorney.I want you to see me in good shape!
I think everything will be all right.Rather I am sure everything will
be all right!.
My Dear, they have told in travel office that I have to show tickets
when I will visit embassy after tomorrow before my flight.
People from embassy must be sure that I am not going to stay
illegally in your country and I have tickets with returning data.it is
very strong rule. I have some money but my flight
from Krasnoyarsk to St.-Petersburg costed so much(about 600$)
because so many kilometrs from there to St.-Petersburg.
I didn't guess that tickets costs so much.
and I have to book tickets till in less than 2 days ,because of my interview.
be you could borrow some money?I am sure I will be able to return it
back in a few weeks after my arriving I will earn some money and at
first to return all money to you.
in Agency they have told me that you may send it by Western Union.
It is pretty easy to use. The guy from the agency explained to me how their
system works. It is instant worldwide money transfer system. All you need is my
name and my surname to send me the money. Once you do this , I'll be able
to pickup the money in any local Western Unuion office in St.-Petersburg.
We need to do it pretty fast,
because we have no time till my intervew,if everything will be all
right I will be on this flight!
I have about 300 US dollars yet and I think I need about 980 US
dollars from your side with all travel needs and living
here till my flight!If everything will be all right between us I can
you longer than three months,maximum I can stay about 6 months for
first time! We should change only the date of my returning flight.
Or I can return earlier if something is wrong!
Here is more info about Western Union. You find any local Western Union agent,
go there and send money to my name. Western Union will ask you for my full name
and address in St.-Petersburg where I am staying at. Once you give them all the
they will initiate the transfer. In just less than 10 minutes I will be able
to pick the money up at any Western Union agent here in St.-Petersburg.
you will send me transfer info and MTCN( money transfer control number )
I will get cash. So I will need your full name and your address + the control
number of the transfer.
Kiss you many times ,I am tired today,you know it is hard enough to be
in foreign city. So many different emotions .
Kiss you many times! Dariya! see you soon!
Ah, silly me. Nearly forgot to give you my full name info and my address.
My address here (the flat i am renting)
is Russia,St.-Petersburg , Sedova sreet,build 5 flat 19.
(right writting in English) Dariya Tryheena !
I am sorry to send so dry letter but it seems to me I am like any
I have lost my mind and my head works so badly,see you tomorrow. I am
sorry to make so
many problems for you I only hope that you will be not disappoined to