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.
This person sent my husband two emails, so far, she got our email from careerbuilder.com. She screwed up though, she changed her name from the subject to the actual message, also her email changed from one to the other. Check out great mailcenter.com, that was one of the email destinations, all the site says is 'IT WORKS', pretty scary!
here are the emails:
I was looking for jobs on the internet and came across your profile on careerbuilder and thought I would contact you since I don't have anyone else in the USA. I will be coming to the USA in about 2 weeks and would like to make friends with you. I will let you know more information about myself. Attaching my picture now. If you agree then message me back, I'll be waiting. Hope you don't mind. Don't reply back to this email. Make sure you message me to my personal email address firstname.lastname@example.org only, since i am using public email to send you this message.
by the way, I am a girl and people say i am good looking. I am 25 y.o.
Lots of kisses!
Hopefully your new girl friend
Hello my friend(what is your name, pliz tell me)
I am so happy to see that you have decided to reply to my short email.
I hope all is fine and you're not too much surprised to see my letter.
I want you to know that I have only good intentions and I have no secrets.
The thing is that I will work in your country for three months or so
and I would like to meet a nice man to fall in love or just be closest friends.
I don't want to live in Russia because I have not any chances here,it is hardly possible to explain from first time but
I want you to know my plans.I will work in some clinic as a dentist or as an assistant (for the first time)
the agency that i am going through will suggest me some locations. It will be my choice in the end as to what option to go for.
This way I will be able to earn some money and pay for all my expenses. I can choose any city or town.
The agency will just help me to get visa and all the documents required for travelling and will suggest some places
I can work in as I told you before.
My best friend last year met the man from
the USA when she worked
there for three months, too. She had two jobs. From morning till 4 pm she worked in amusement park and after
it she worked as a waitress in some bar till midnight. She was very tired of course but made very good money there.
It is special programm for young people who wants to work abroad and I think it is the right way for me ,
I am lost here,and I think that I am losing the best time in my life. I am wasting it. I am not saying that Russia is bad, I just think
that I will be better in a different country and It will be easier for me to get a better job in a different country,
it will be easier to find the right man for me, my love! I would like to work in the USA, Europe or some other good
country. I have many aims and I want to make my dreams a reality. I would like to share my life with a right person
with the same aims as mine which are the love and care for the right person.
I think that I don't have the looks of Julia Roberts or Angelina Jolie but I really hope to meet my prince and I am
sure that he will not be dissapointed when we meet in real life. These are my plans for the future.
I think I am better to close this sort letter to you but I hope to receive an answer from you.
Ah, I forgot to tell you that I am leaving Russia in about 2 weeks (I can't tell you the exact information right
now) and I want to make sure that I found a man who waits for me there. I will be working the whole day and I want
to find a man who will be spending his and mine leasure/free time together, so we can know each other better this way.
If you're interested in meeting me then please email me back and let me know a little more about you and send me your
photo. I will write more info about me in my next letter. I am writing to you from my personal email box. Please write
me back here(email@example.com). I will be checking it frequently to see if you replied or not. I will be expecting your reply soon.
Kisses Tatyana (this is my name by the way) 07.12.2006