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.
You can do most of the detective work yourself! The more you do, the less we need to help you with. It's not hard!
We're happy to help, but most of this is very simple, and finding the information YOURSELF may help convince you this is a SCAM a bit faster!
If you find sufficient information that this is a scam, you still need to post this scammer in this forum!
Posting the information will help inform other victims, and educate the public.
When a potential victim finds the information on a scammer BEFORE they send money, this hurts scammers!! They miss out on a payday!
These scammers operate in a BULK mode. They send out hundreds to thousands of pre-written letters a day.
Only a few victims need to 'pay up' to make it profitable. The scammer has little time, and expense tied up in the effort.
Cheat them out of a paycheck!! Post VALID information on scammers!
How to find clues or evidence you are dealing with a scammer???
Google the email address. It may have been in use for a while, and there may be reports online already.
Learn to check the email headers. This will show you the email is not coming from where the sender claims to be, or more.
Google various strange sentences, phrases, or mis-spellings in the letters.
One set of scam letters always mentions she likes to drink 'red vine'.
The same lady misspells 'university' in a wierd way.
You'll see strange phrases that stand out.
Cut and paste the phrase into the google search box, inside of quotes ' paste here ' and search.
Google the dating site member name, and strange phrases from the profile!! You'll find more profiles for the same person, sometimes with different pictures!
For fun, enter this phrase into Google
'i the decent and sociable girl'
That is a phrase used in many dating site profiles by one scammer group, it used to return 20-30 profiles for one persona. Now it's down to one.
Now google Oksana1976
Many profiles for this scammer!!!
Oksana28, and some of Oksana03 profiles are from the same scammers!!
Multiple profiles on many sites prove it's a scammer? Not really. Just interesting information.
The scammers create many profiles on many sites, and write many people. The letters you get are not 'special'.
The last thing you should try to do is find the face. It's very time consuming!! Sometimes, somebody will recognize the pic, but with thousands of 'scammers' out there, don't count on it.
The pictures usually depict somebody who is not involved in the scam. The pictures are stolen from the internet, or RARELY, are of local girls, paid to pose. Only in a handful of the thousands of scammers I have information on, does the person in the picture actually seem to be involved in the scam. Rare, a fraction of a percent. Not likely!
Posting the pictures has the biggest shock impact on victims. Your 'Olga' is somebody else's 'Natalya'. The same happens with letters. When you read the same gushing letter as you got, sent to other people....well....time to wake up, isn't it?
Remember, just because the face doesn't show up, does it mean it's not a scam!!
Checking the email headers, and googling the letters are the fastest, and most reliable means to determine it's a scam.
Hi to all...
I want to alert as many people as possible (alas I don't have the time to post on EVERY 'SCAMMERS' site I find, so if you come across any that I have missed PLEASE feel free to use the information that I am posting...
Whether you're a ‘scambaiter’ like myself or you have been in contact or are corresponding with a ‘woman’ from Russia...
1) I want to advise EXTREME CAUTION when you receive an email from a 'scammer' that contains a photo in the body DO NOT DOWNLOAD IT TO YOU PC!!!! It will more often than not have some kind of TROJAN VIRUS encoded in it (I recently found out the hard way when I d/loaded photos to cross check it) using the ‘picture search’ faculity on your site.
PLEASE check out these other sites for more information:
When you guys get sick and tired of all the scammer BS and really are ready to find an honest, down to earth Russian girl check out this guy's personal match making service. He is Russian who lives in the US and he really knows his stuff. within 2 days of working with him you will be talking with real russian women and flying to meet the ones you connect with in about 10 weeks. I found that noone else offers the type of service that he offers. the site is www.getrussianwife.com
Below is the article about Yoshkar Ola scammers, found on the Russian internet. The article was obviously in Russian, sorry for somewhat lousy translation
<to do Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V> - the most popular joke on the recently held in Yoshkar Ola comedy stage show. This year, the jokes about scammers are very popular. Students are drumming and singing about the boy who
loved money very much, and another boy marches across the scene
with a poster <I love Western Union>. The audience laughs hard,
everybody understands. Because for the Yoshkar Ola's students the
question 'what does scammer mean' is not an issue, everyone is
familiar with it, everyone knows what it means.
'Hello, my name Elena. I read about you in your profile. You are
very interesting to me. I want to get aquatinted with you. Write
me, I shall wait'. All customers of the English dating sites
periodically get such messages. And very soon any interested
American, Canadian, British or a citizen of any other country
learns that far away, in a Russian suburb lives Lena, who has dreamt about him all her life. Then our 'prince on the white horse' learns that it is love, and it was sent to him by God. And maybe (why not believe in destiny?) a gullible foreigner will send to a Russian princess a couple of thousand dollars on a ticket to be with him the rest of their lives together. In the end, he will learn that the girl 'Lena' is actually a 'fat Boris', but chances are, he will still hate the heartless Russian women.
You will not find any modern Russian dictionary giving the
explanation of the word 'scammer', except for maybe English-Russian
dictionary. In English, word 'scam' means fraud, but in Russian it
has a narrower meaning: the fraud on the Internet dating websites.
A scammer, respectively, is the same 'fat Boris' who pretends
to be a girl, starts an Internet romance, and then requests money.
The scamming in Russian has another, more colorful and patriotic
name: 'to take the riches'. Indeed, why not 'take the riches',
make them share their money. This even sounds like a fair deal, the weak takes from strong, poor from rich. This should calm down the conscience of scammers, as we were told, they don't sleep good.
From all types of online fraud, scamming stands out because it is the easiest one to put on the conveyor. It is the real production process, where everything is divided into stages. To minimize the time and effort, the whole process has been systemized long time ago. In the early stages, thinking is not necessary, you simply need to work hard. Usually, scammer receives his first money after two months, this time frame should allow acquaintance, friendship, love and the desire to meet in person, unfortunately unrealistic. After establishing another faceless mailbox like <ElenochkaForYou@....ru> or <Natasha547@....ru> and registration on the dating sites, starts the most boring part for scammers - 'zakidka'. This is exactly what the above-mentioned comedy show meant by 'to do Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V'.
On the dating sites scammers start with looking for the suitable
candidates for scam. First, they select the country (usually USA), then the region or state, and make sure they do not interfere with the colleague, so they don't pick the same victims. The main parameters: male; between the ages of 27 to 50 years; race - all, except blacks (the scammers say that blacks will most likely take you, instead of you taking them). All letters, including the first introductory ones, are pre-written long time ago, and you don't have to think about anything, just do: <Ctrl-C> (copy), <Ctrl-V>
(insert), and the letter are sent. 'After the overnight monotony
work doing <Ctrl-C>, <Ctrl-V>, you become totally dumb and tired' - shares his story Andrei, who will soon have to do it for several nights in a row, 'this is the most boring work, the most
interesting part comes later'.
But the truth is, the further it goes, more sad it gets. With
each new template and each new photo it involves you more and more. After the fourth template half of the riches is gone: some don't like the girl, some are not looking for anything serious, but most are simply afraid to deal with Russia. At the end, the most desperate and naive remain. Or maybe it is more pleasant to say 'stupid'? Stupid and rich - this way you don't feel a pity for them. 'I simply don't get it, how can they meet somebody on the Internet and except anything?', says Andrei, although he is scamming for more than a year, he still doesn't understand this.
Those few foreigners who really want to find their love online, in the approximately seventh letter learn that they have found it,
although they themselves are really the ones who have been found by scammers. Scammers proclaim their love, and do it naturally and fast (because their conveyor cannot wait). Next, depending on the reaction, 'the girl' immediately or little bit later requests money for a visa, tickets, or both. 'Sure, I am sorry for them', says Andrei, but refuses to talk more on the subject.
'This month I earned 15 thousand rubles, and two months ago only four' - Kolya believes that scamming is a real work, and for the provincial student it is a large amount of money. His office pays to scammers 20% from received money, in many other offices they pay only 15%. 'We used to have a guy in our office, to whom one American during three months sent more than twelve thousand dollars'. According to Kolya, how much you earn, half depends on the diligence and half on luck. But not everyone can force the American lover to send more and more - you need a good fantasy. You have to invent why his sweetheart cannot fly to him: she is being robbed in the subway, her mother is sick, she is accused of hiding taxes and put in prison, and he has to send money for a bail. 'Very popular is a story that she accidentally broke the expensive
antique vase in a museum and should pay back 3000$', laughs
Just like love, the desire to send more and more money have to be develop. To begin with, a foreigner is asked to send only $300 for visa. If he sends them, later it will be harder for him to reject the idea that his princess will fly to him, but will be much easier to send more money, because the barrier of mistrust has been broken already. Next, the amount of $1,400 for a ticket. The development of events is determined by a scammer's skills to brainwash. There are many semi-legends which circulate among scammers, how someone took one American for 40 thousand dollars in one month, that another American robbed his own company to get the money, and a really crazy one got heavily in debt, got fired from work, refinanced his house and sold his kidney for the non-existent sweetheart. Indeed some people still have faith in 'the humble Russian girl Lena', which turns into obsession, and they are ready to go bankrupt for her: this is a big luck for scammers and they live off it.
Who is this fatal girl? The whole point is that this girl does not
exist, she is created by the joint efforts of a scammer and a victim who sets the direction. While similarities do exist: she is usually between 25 and 30 years old, beautiful and smart, looking for a serious relationship. Men from Russia don't suit her because they are rude and drink too much. She believes in God and loves the most popular movies and music, uses a dating site for the first time, and always uses the Internet cafes. 'It is very important that the girl looks natural, so they believe in it. Not a supermodel, but good-looking', explains Kolya. Almost all photos are stolen from the Internet, so the real girls are completely unaware that they indirectly help deceive foreigners. The site womenrussia.com has a big collection of Russian women gathered from cheated men from all over the world, the so-called 'black list'. Sometimes there might be very unexpected picture. The real girl Elvira accidentally discovered her photographs and personal data there: 'one friend of mine wanted to prove me how much scamming is developed in Russia, and entered my data, turned out that I was on all scamlists for a long time'. Most photos are simply stolen by scammers from the girls' personal pages and blogs, and if you check, the 'black lists' are also full with pictures of Alsu, Valeria and many other Russian celebrities.
According to the old-time scammers there are almost 300 offices in Yoshkar Ola (other estimates give the number of 500). Each office has five working scammers, and there are also girls who pick up money. Of course, there is no statistics, and the situation is estimated by eye, but if it is true, every 100th resident of Yoshkar Ola is a scammer. And if we take into account that almost all scammers are students, and usually guys rather than girls, the typical scammer is easy recognizable. In Yoshkar Ola, the capital of Mari El and concurrently 'the capital of Russian scammers', all scammers recognize each other. 'Yes, it is true, our city is the capital of scammers', with some pride says Andrei, he recently got a transfer of $1,000, and is in a good mood today, 'other cities has some scammers too, but we have more. There are so many scammers in our city that is almost a legitimate business.'
'I will rent my apartment to scammers', says the elderly lady Olga Mihailovna, housewife, 'they are nice guys and always pay good rent'. 'In the office where I used to work, if we earned 20,000 dollars per month, the owners would pay us bonus, but some offices may earn 30,000 dollars or more per month' says Andrei. Good office earns about 15,000 dollars per month. Accordingly, the annual income of an office is about 200,000 dollars. And if it is true that Yoshkar Ola has 300 offices the annual income of Yoshkar Ola is sixty million dollars.
Nevertheless, scamming never became the official national business of
Yoshkar Ola. The authorities recently closed several offices: they
turned off the lights in the entire house, and when scammers got
out to see what's going on (they need electricity to work!), cops
broke into the apartments, arrested everybody and sealed the
apartments. After that, the city became quiet for some time. Sure,
during this period of time many foreigners wondered why their
'love' doesn't write to them. But just two weeks later everybody
returned back to their offices. There is enough work for both: scammers scamming, and law enforcement agencies catch them
red handed from time to time.
I have been contacted by a 'woman' called MARINA, who works in the company 'Saratovenergo'. She once called herself 'Larisa'. I see now that it`s a scam! Here is a picture the person sendt me! This image was also posted here: Dating scammer Larisa Malina Dating scammer Larisa Malina
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anonymous from United States
anonymous from Houston, United States
Thank you for the site, it saved me alot of money it would seem. I could not get over my intuition buzzing me like a bad back ache, thats when I started researching. I found her, after a $500 lesson in stupidity. I dropped the last email addy in a google search and felt relief and my heart sink at the same time. She managed to hit stopscammer.com and had a few aliases. Just a heads up for anybody reading this, the person (name is unimportant as it will change) using the email Jshypearls@aol.com is my scammer of the week. I hope you read this before and not after...
anonymous from United States
I totally agree with your advise.
anonymous from United States
wow I have been corisponding with a young lagy that we havre been hitting it off very well, but I was waiting for the time that she would ask me for money. Well it just happend, and it happend about the way that is described here. I must say that I half expeced this to be a scam, but I am kind of dissipointed about. Oh-well on to the next one
anonymous from United Kingdom
I am i in the middle of a correspondance with a Russian girl from Omsk and until i read this site was unaware of these scams.There are a lot of similarities with these and my emails from ElenaM.Agiain the pictures are of model propotions and the girl is also a lot younger than i am.I have said it was too good to be true and i thank everyone who has contributed to this site for bringing this to my attention.I will procede with great caution
anonymous from United States
I will say this: I didn't read all 70 pages, but the visa infor in the first post is wrong. Your Russian girls can sometimes get a J-1 (worker-exchange) Visa for a summer visit.
1) a job offer before visa application
2)financial means to pay for the trip
3) reason to return (can be to finish university)
And please before anyone tells me I'm wrong, I know a girl who did this.
Yes, it is in Russian, use google to translate it. (I'm not actually looking for a Russian girl, but I know Russian, this I have somewhat of an advantage)
Don't look for girls one dating sights, learn the language, find a girl on a language site, their intenetions seem to be better.
anonymous from Mexico
Hey guys i got a new scam for you. This girl sent me this mail...
Pay close attention because this one is kind of smooth and very tricky...so watch out and block this e-mail adresses:
Jakrutaja@rambler.ru / firstname.lastname@example.org
Send you the photo...to die for ha!!
Hello, Humberto!!! Very pleased to meet you, Humberto!!!! How are you?
I hope that everything is fine with you?! I'd like to tell you, that I
was glad to receive your letter ;-) To tell the truth, it is my first
attempt to acquaint with a foreigner, so I feel shy, now and then,
please do not pay attention to this, ok? I promise you, I'll correct
this sad fact in my future letters, may be (of course if you give me a
chance to correspond with you. Believe me I have a burning desire to
be in correspondence with you, Humberto!!!) It is necessary to say
that I made up my mind to acquaint with a foreigner as a friend of
mine told me about the girl that managed to find her 'Great Love' not
long ago ;-) The point is that she met a good person with the help of
Internet. Her friend, David, if I'm not mistaken, came from Canada.
They are very happy together. This girl found the very person she
always needed. They completely understand, trust and love each other.
So Internet helped two hearts to unite in a single whole. It sounds
like a wonderful fairytale!! But it is true!! Well, I decided to try
my luck too, and I hope I will not lose! I suppose you want to know,
why not to find a friend (or a boyfriend) in my own city, in Russia?
It is rather difficult question. But the answer is simple - I'd like
to see near me a person, who will really love me, take care of me,
think highly and respect me. (Like David does it.) Unfortunately, I
have never met such a person in my city. Russian men are only able to
drink Vodka, smoke 'Prima' (that has a strong fetid smell, by the way)
and cry obscenity 'tvouy mat'… At the same time it does not matter
that I have never have a Love story :-) I'll tell you about it, if you
will take an interest in, ok?
Well, well, well… You probably want to know something more about me?
Am I right? So, let me start… Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce
myself ;-)))) My name is Tatyana, you know. I'm from Samara. I'm 29
years old. I was born on the 22th of November 1977. My Zodiac is
'Scorpion'. And what about you, Humberto? I have neither husband nor
children. My education - I graduated Yaroslavl State Teacher's
training University. (And which university did you graduated?) Since
my early childhood I'd been dreaming to become a schoolwoman. But, you
know it is too difficult in Russia today to find a workplace!!! So now
I'm a librarian by trade. I work at Pushkin Library which is situated
in my town, Samara, quite near my house. I'm fond of reading and,
surely, like my profession with all my heart. But it is not my primary
activity. I work at home - give private lessons in English for pupils
and also from time to time translate some articles, at a price, of
course. Humberto, I'd like to know about your activities, ok? :-) How
do you find my English, by the way? Are there any mistakes? As for me
I suppose my English to be…not bad ;-) Humberto, please, tell me what
do you think about all this, ok? Well, what else do you want to know
about me? May be about my spare time? When I have some, I prefer
embroidering in satin - stitch sitting in front of the tube to for
instance discos and nightclubs. I am also fond of cooking. I can cook
anything you like, and my friends always tell me that I'm a rather
skilled cook. My special is slapjacks with cottage cheese or with meat
or anything you like. It is really delicious!! Tell me, please cookery
of what country do you prefer? I hope you like Russian one? And what
are your favorite dishes? I also would like to know about your free
time spending. What sport do you prefer? Are you keen on chess or
tennis? I'd like to know more about you to make our virtual
intercourse easier. You see I ask you so many questions and I hope you
will give me the answers!!! It will help us to know each other better.
I' m eager to do it, believe me Humberto! To tell the truth I've never
been in foreign countries so I will be pleased if you tell me about
your country - weather, points of interest, cookery, everything you
like, ok? About your family, about yourself - I'd like to know
everything about you, Humberto! Unfortunately I should finish here I
hope it was interesting for you to read my letter to you. And I also
hope to receive your answer as soon as possible!!!!!!!!
Your new Russian friend,
Tatyana. This image was also posted here: Letters and pictures of Aleksandra Doshina from Moscow, Russia Dating scammer Kristina Klenova from Kirov, Russia Dating scammer Kristina Klenova from Kirov, Russia
anonymous from United States
I was sent 2 emails from Elena, my first clue was, there was no way in hell a girl this attractive has any problems finding a man, she claims that she was from some small town in Michigan, but when I asked her about it, she never answered, in fact she never answered any of my direct questions, which also raised some suspicion. So I googled their 'gas' company and sure enuf, reality hits. I'm glad my gut feeling was right. I just basically emailed her and told her how pathetic this whole thing was and that if I wanted to be lied to I could just get a woman from California to do that.
here is a picture of Elena