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.
And nevertheless that from other country I is interesting to correspond with :) whom did not think in general that you will answer my letters :) so strange this all and new to me to be friends of the man - the foreigner moreover and on the Internet-letters. Some I friends too spoke that have correspondence on internet with the friends and friends. At us in Russia the Internet not so long ago became popular, earlier I on work did not have an Internet, but the computer costs already for a long time on work both at school and in institute we already had computer science, but acquaintance about the Internet has happened at me at all for a long time, can for about a year back. In some foreign states as people even speak on tv order to itself through the Internet or what that things, at us in the country such still are not present meanwhile and consequently to me now very much all interestingly and all surprises a pizza and pleases with the saturation and colour in a network the Internet, here and looked through some sites of acquaintances and there has seen you and has decided to write the letter and here we have correspondence with you:) And I am very glad! I understand that you now at a stage of your divorce certainly I understand it and do that you consider it necessary. I shall be very glad to be your friend and can be more.
And still, I wish to ask to you not a modest question, it is possible? You are lonely? Do you have girl or girlfriend there? In fact somehow you should solve the problem with sex? Or you have a mistress? You men very ridiculous when want the woman, are ready to make anything you like. Ha … Ha.. And how much I have had time to understand you, you want them always, and not one skirt do not pass. Write, well? Only understand me correctly, I ask you about these questions only because I wish to be frank with you, I hide nothing from you, and I would like, that you will not hide anything from me. I'll be waiting for your soon reply.
Alena This image was also posted here: Is this Russian girl scamming me? How to recognize scammers
anonymous from United States
Dear Jim, where have you dissapeared? Why you don't write me? What
happened at you? I'm waiting with impatience to hear from you back
very soon. Tomorrow - it'll be the Easter here. I'm going to my
relatives today anbd will come back only tomorrow evening. Write me.
I'll be waiting to receive your letter tomorrow.
While, I agree that Julie has nothing to do with the scams or scammers.
You have more than made, Your point by postings all over this site.
Please stop making any further postings.
Enough is enough.
It is not enough to say Julie is not part of the scams.
Because there are photo's from Mellisa Midwest, Raven Riley, and
others that are stolen and used by scammers also.
Nearly every single scam out of West Africa is done by Young Black
Men and they use stolen photo's all the time.
I tell everyone, I ever help about that fact.
I myself was scammed by a scammer who used Julie's pictures.
There really is no need for, You to continue posting, Your message
hello my love ,,
this is the right time,,, this is the best time ,, i think the lord has choosen the best moment for me now to meet up with my future husband ,,, and i think i am really proud about it because the story about you is very sweet and wonderful ,, and i will like to be part of that story of your life ,,, my dear , thanks for the wonderful mail,, you have really made my day complete,, i am sorry i couldnt reply to the mail yesterday ,,, i was actually busy filing some douments at my office for a very important forum that will be going on at some part west africa ,,, it came up as a surprised and i didnt know anything about it ,, it was just yesterday that my management told me about it and they told me that i need to be present at that forum ,, i will be held at west africa in a country call ghana,, i have never been there but i heard it is such a wonderful and cool place ,, so i gues it will be a previlage for me to emback on my first assignment since i started working ,,, ones again i am realy sorry for not replying to your mail on time ,,, and i think i should appologyse for this surden trip that i have to go but never get worried because it is a two days forum and i have been back in about 3days time ok,, so please you have to try to understand me and wait for me ,, i know this is the best time for us to try and get to know each other and see what happens to us in the future ,, even the easter holidays is near and i think we need to meet each other to have all the fun during this holidays ,, because of that i will be lying straight to you at indiana when i am coming ok,,, i will be flying by tomorrow morning ,, but i promise to send you another mail before i fly to ghana ok,,, i want you to understand that i am really serious about you and i do wish to get on with you ,, i want to go to the top with you and i believe the lord will bring us together as husband and wife in the future ,, love is all about honesty and understanding ,, so i promise you this,, i will give you great love if you give me the chance to come into your life ,,, oooh no ,,,i have to go now ,,, i still have s ome iles to c lear from my desk ,,so i will write to you again before i fly in the morning ok,,,i am really tight up now ,,so i cant write much ,, iam just sending to inform you about my trip ,, i know you wish us to meet very soon,,,i also promise you that we will meet very soon ok,, so just calm down and let keep on writing to each other on here ,,, maybe you should give me your phone number to be calling when i get to ghana ok,,, i wish i never go for that trip but it is very serious and important ,,i cant not be left out ,so i have to be there but it only 2days ,,so i will be back in about 3days time ok,,,take care dear ,,, i play that this grow to become a serious love relationship someday ,,, ok dear , tell me more about yourself,, i understand you are gettinga divorce but i also want to know about your own family ,,like mother and father,,, your siblings and even more about the type of work you do ,,, write back soon ,,, take care ,,
protia is calling for your love ,,,
portia aidoo <email@example.com>
anonymous from United States
anonymous from United States
anonymous from United States
anonymous from United States
AFTER I FOUND OUT SHE WAS A SCAMMER AND HAD HER OM MY YAHOO MESSENGE LIST, SHE SAID:::Juliet Kwarteng: please can you delet me from you chat
SHE MUST BE TALKING TO ALOT OF VICTIMS UNDER THAT CHAT ID!!!!
SHE SPENDS MOST OF THE DAY ON YAHOO MESSENGER!
Summary. U.S. Embassy Accra now receives as many as 15 requests per week from Americans all over the US who have lost anywhere from $1,000 to over $20,000 sending money to a fiancé, girlfriend, boyfriend or just a friend in Ghana who they met over the Internet.
Dating websites are very popular in the U.S. offering Americans the opportunity to meet other singles. However, the anonymity of the site allows criminals in Ghana to take advantage of unsuspecting American singles by forging fraudulent relationships and attempting to get money out of them. The majority of Americans who start an online relationship with a Ghanaian originally think they are corresponding with someone in the United States. Americans meet Ghanaians on all of the major dating websites and many of the more specialized chat rooms. Only after a relationship is formed does the correspondent inform the American that they are from Ghana.
Relationships last anywhere from 1-3 months before the Ghanaian correspondents ask for money. There are several generic stories that are used: death or illness in the family, need to escape an abusive situation, visa and travel expenses, or arrest by customs officials for smuggling gold. Regardless of the reason for the request, the American is usually so involved in the relationship that they send money on the first request. At this point, relationships have usually advanced from email to phone calls. Often, the American has spoken with the Ghanaian's 'relatives' and/or visa broker and feels like a part of the family.
Some Americans start to question the relationship after they receive two or three requests for money and no visit. Many victims have noted that it is at this point when they found Embassy fraud warnings on the Internet. The majority of Ghanaian correspondents send pictures of themselves along with scanned copies of altered Ghanaian passports and U.S. visas to assure Americans of their existence and their intent to visit. Pictures are generally headshots taken from websites (the most notable coming from a Brazilian transsexual website).
The next and most lucrative step in the scam comes when the Ghanaian correspondent ostensibly leaves Ghana but is picked up by Ghanaian, British or Dutch immigration authorities. Usually, the American receives an email or phone call from their friend in prison asking for more money to bribe the officials to facilitate their release. We have had several cases where the 'customs officer' has called the American directly. Since Ghana is known as the Gold Coast most Ghanaian correspondents are able to convince their American friend that they carry their inheritance in the form of gold bars that they will smuggle out of Ghana to start their new life in America. Many Americans believe this and have parted with as much as $10,000 in hopes of receiving millions of dollars worth of gold when their 'friend' arrives in the U.S.
U.S. Embassy Accra is combating this fraud trend through providing additional information on its website, http://accra.usembassy.gov and by working closely with local police authorities. This has been useful in making Americans aware of the high level of fraud in Ghana and educating them on Internet fraud. The webpage offers information on the visa process and contact information for personnel at post who can assist in verifying visas that are used in the scam. Generally, Americans involved in this scam fall into two categories--they either do their homework or they do not. Those who do their homework check the Embassy webpage early in their relationship and lose only $100 - $3,000. Those who do not do their homework generally end up losing large amounts of money. Often, they contact the embassy only when their 'friend' has been 'arrested' at customs and they need embassy assistance.
Conclusion: As long as Internet chat rooms and dating services are in demand in the U.S. this scam will flourish. Through the embassy website, the Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU) is educating Americans on fraud trends in Ghana before they have lost large sums of money. Also, in an effort to gather more information, the Embassy has developed a questionnaire that is sent to Americans who have been the victims of Internet fraud. The information gained will be passed to Ghanaian authorities to further educate them on the existence and scope of this ever-growing problem.
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