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 may be using the wrong IP addy. On the scammer I uncovered there were a couple addys in the IP header. one was California and the other was yankbone-ola or whatever it wes in Russia.
anonymous from United States
anonymous from Mexico
well,im in a relation by mail whit a russian women,we have 8 months in this relation and all this time i think that she as been sincere,why?well because she never in this months tell me that she needs money,and she is studing the university,but you know that always we have a dude,and also she send me three photos of her self but im asking for more and she said that in this moments she not have the digital camera to send me more,do i dude of these women? how can i get the true?.....you know something im a mexican inmigrant working in texas and she said that that was not a problem for her because she can come easy to usa,she live in her child year here in usa,and i hope that all this not be a lie,...well..take care all....and be careful////...
(excuse my bad english)
anonymous from Canada
I'm currently playing the game right now with Tatjana Ovsjannikova (email address- firstname.lastname@example.org)and haven't been asked for money yet. The first clue is that I recieved a message giving her email address from her on lavalife (which requires a profile)and when I tried to look at her profile it was gone almost immediately. The second clue was that She (or he) didn't answer any of my questions or comment on the photo's I sent her. The third clue was the second reply from her was an almost identical email as one posted on this site. Saying how she went to Humannitarian University and graduated as a professional dancer. Right now, supposedly she is in Moscow getting her work visa, going to the travel agency, and is going to give me the flight details in a day or two. She asked for my full name and phone number during this procces. I gave her my short form first name my last name and my phone number. Maybe I screwed up but I can't see the harm of her having that info. She could just look it up on the internet if she wanted.
Tony from United States
I read with great interest the post made by Anton-Chiang,Mai from Thailand on2008-03-23, 13:57:07. It good to here the people over there got busted. It also explains why I haven't heard from Olga, a person that wrote me everyday, sometimes twice a day. Here was the last email I received from her/him along with a friend she claimed had been in the hospital. Glad to see the rain down south didn't wash you away OJAS. Have a good one!
Re: Hello my new friend, Anthony!
From: Olga (email@example.com)
Sent:Wed 3/19/08 6:59 PM
Hello my dear AnthonyToday is a wonderful day only because i'v got your letter!I don't care about anything else. Today i woke up earlier than usual.I couldn't sleep any more. It was dark in the street. I looked at the window.But suddenly a small bird fly to me and began to sing very beautiful.I looked and thought that you are so far. May be you sleep and see me in your dreams.If i were a bird i will fly to you and sing.I told the bird to fly to you and to say hello to my close friend....Tell him that i thought about him. She flied as understood my words.If you will see my... a bird near you singing a beautifulsong remember that i asked her to visit you:)) Anthony I have good news. Today i was at the agency they told that i can come toMoscow because I've got my visa. There is no embassy at Nizhni-Novgorod.They will prepare my tickets tomorrow. Tomorrow i will learn the details.everything is going on fine. Destiny helps me to be close by you.Blue sky, bright sun, stars and your letters make me happy.I like to read them and they make me smile. Sorry but i must go.Send you all my kisses.Yours Olga !!!
anonymous from Ireland
all dating sites are full of scammers ever site is full of black mailes as well
thats why peple leave dating sites i have left a good few and i am about to leave go fishdating to night
All I CAN SAY IS THANKYOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH AND I SHOULD HAVE READ THIS$5,000 EARLIER
anonymous from Australia
To everyone, (especially oz guys), just adding to my comment on the 18/3 on this thread. I have had another Suss contact me through russian brides agency from Melbourne. It is a scam from 100 miles away. Will play along for the time being and will reveal all when I have 'blown' her/his little game.
Hey people. How are you? I did something today which I hope catches on. Maybe it isn't a good idea though. I sent an email to a scammer saying I hadsent the 500 dollars. I also said that Western Union had a way now that I could ATTACH a picture of them to my money transfer. That way the person who picked up the money would also have to LOOK like the person and have an ID to match. Good or bad thing? Input please. Thanks OJAs, Peter, Drod, Drogg and anybody else I forgot to mention. Oh yes. crikey!
Do not be surprised seeing me without 'body' just with 'head'. It can happen to me when I post from work.
This idea has right to exist. At least for 2 reasons: 1) sender can put a requirement in WU form to show persons's ID to receive money; 2)I have seen in my country different rules from information drod posted here. What I mean is drod said (if I understood correctly) that WU money ca be picked up in any country because it is only a matter of receiver. Here in Russia I was told that it is not true. So Tony you can create any reasonable thing to make life harder for scammers.
Peter from Germany
The WU money can be picked up only in Russia but there everywhere. Receiver needs MTCN, passport and exact amount as far as the WU rules are concerned. Indeed russian WU checks even more data.