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.
I have a Russian scammer that she writes to me.
What to do, that is taken by the police?
Surely the photos that she has sent me are not his, but it use an address e-mail of yahoo.com and she is writing me.
I am intentionally anonymous, because surely also the scammers know this site and they see it.
Tell me thing I have to do....
anonymous from Germany
I do not know from which country you are from but I can tell you that it is very difficult to get them caught. You would have to go to Russia at least twice.
See the third post from top here:
The question how to get them is discussed in some other threads here and you can also find examples at other sites by googling.
What you should do is to post all new info you have so that you can help others, who are not sure about their 'honey', i.e. new pictures, addies, names, first and money letter with headers and on what site she had found you.
First you should use the picture search function to figure out if 'she' is already here. If yes, add your new stuff there, if possible on a thread that starts with her. If not start your own thread with the button at the bottom of this page.
anonymous from United States
I too was emailed from a girl named Inna, claiming to be from Russia. About the fourth email she announced that she was on her way to me, and asked for approx. 1200.00 US dollars. I told her to go back home.
For any newbies on the thread, here is a little info about Russian dating scammers. If several or more of these criteria apply to your Boris (the beautiful Russian 'girl' that is supposedly writing to you), resist the temptation to help 'the poor girl' by sending her money. You're really writing to a sleazy guy sitting in a smoky room in Yoshtar Ola, Mari-El Republic with a bunch of other sleazy guys spamming indiscriminately on laptops .
# 'girl' writes to you first on a dating site...especially a free one (or an email appears out of nowhere in your mailbox). Real Russian girls are rarely so bold as to write to you first. (unless you're obviously very attractive or rich :). Plus if they're looking for a partner, they generally prefer him to be Russian speaking and live in Russia. Much more convenient!
# girl's much too young for you (or too good to be true/looks like a model/porno star)....although I have noticed a recent tendency for some scammers to use photos of slightly 'less attractive' girls.
# girl has some far-fetched excuses for you not visiting her in Russia (criminal city, not the Russian custom, etc). Actually, the normal way to meet a Russian girl is to visit her in her city first!
# scammers rarely have children, but all the real Russian women I've ever met on the internet did.
# photos are too revealing (can't be a respectable girl). Respectability is very important in Russia.
# most of the pics are old and a little bit faded with a curiously grainy quality that soon becomes easy to recognise (overuse?). A serious girl who's looking for a partner, would save up and go to a professional to have a photo set done, and/or borrow a digicam at least (dates should also be on the photos you receive). Russian girls aren't all that poor anymore.
# girl claims not to have a mobile phone. Very unlikely!!! fer f***'s sake.....do you know a single girl without a mobile phone? Even poor Russian girls can't do without one, they're much cheaper than in Europe and a megafon telephone card doesn't cost that much either. You should be able to call her. On the other hand, not having a landline or a computer is quite common.
# very long rambling/ecstatic form letters with a strange format, punctation and layout written in scamlish. (world's worst Babelfish copy)
# writes everyday in English (how does she have time if she's working? + most Russians can hardly speak a word of English). Anyway, what's the point of finding a girl if you can't communicate with her, at least on a basic level?
# doesn't answer direct questions (sometimes factual mistakes in the letter)
# falls in 'love' very quickly. Don't let your ego or loneliness pull the wool over your eyes. You could be an axe murderer for all she knows.
# uses a proxy server to hide his/her location, ie a SOCKS server / GPRS Internet. if you can't trace 'her' IP, it's 100% scam. If she uses gmail, be suspicious too cos you won't be able to trace the IP. Hotmail and yahoo are acceptable if she'll chat with you on messenger, otherwise why does she have a non-cyrillic email account?
MOST IMPORTANT...if you get this far:
# wants money for a 'visa' and/or maybe tickets, but IT'S VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR A SINGLE RUSSIAN GIRL TO GET A TOURIST VISA TO A WESTERN COUNTRY! She can get a sponsored visa with your help, but then she needs a personal letter of invitation from you, a copy of your passport, a proof of your residence in your home country, a completed sponsor's application form (also from you)....not including the documents that she has to fill in herself. All of these she has to drop off at your national embassy in Moscow WITH PREPAID TICKETS and wait 10 working days. USA and Canada is almost as complicated. Anyway, a normal tourist visa + travel costs + hotel rooms would set her back 2000+ US dollars for a trip to the US. She should be asking you for a lot of money! Why should it be so easy for a gorgeous sexy girl just to jump on a plane and fall into bed with you? Be realistic.
NB...you should check your national embassy website in Moscow for visa prices and procedures.
There are a few scammers that are more patient and professional. There are even a few real girls scamming, and professional gold-diggers. One or two (mostly in the Ukraine) are not even afraid to use their true identities. These scammers are harder to spot.
But a ground rule is: if you are looking for a Russian wife, you must be prepared to travel to Russia to meet her. and if she turns out to be a professional gold-digger, which has never happened to me personally or anyone I know, you should try ot be philosophical and treat it as an exotic trip to a foreign country, have fun anyway, and try not to waste too much money on her.
There are actually hundreds of perfectly nice Russian girls waiting for you!