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've never been scammed before and I think I will just play this one out for a couple of weeks. Could be entertaining. I might let my girlfriend do some posting and see if we can pick up some extra cash from her. ;-)). But seriously...
Its very curious how they got my email address. Its not like its hidden or anything but i assume they mine the dating sites to get their scammable addresses, and I am not listed on any sites and haven't been. Hmmmm....More investigation needed.
Anyway following is a copy of 'her' letter. Just putting it up for all to be edified.
Mrs C. I was looking through some of the past posts and I almost fell out of my chair reading your take and replys. Very Funny stuff.
All..be smart and keep it local. There aint nothing better than a home grown American woman. Come south Yankees and see what real women are all about.
God Bless all
How are you? Im fine. You may tell to me about yourself all that will want. What to tell you about me. Well...I am living from my childhood in the town of Cheboksary, like it very much, at winter it's a cold but beautifull town, not very big and not too small. I can say that our climate is rather good, and the nature is really nice.
I'm living with my Mom and my sister, my father works very far from and visiting us four times a year. Of course we are missing him much but such is life, everybody gets his work.
I have a lot of interests so that's way I have a lot of friends, I like to spend my freetime with them, it's allways nice and light parties or we all toghether walking, going to the cinema, some disco-bar, somewhere where we can spend nice evening or weekends. My favourite sports are aerobics, big tennis, skiing and swimming. I love the sea, it has something magic in it's waves in the sunsets and sunrises with it.I'm fond of caring with the flowers, gardening is nice I think. I like to make food myself and do not like the halfmade packages from the supermarkets, they are bad for the health. Every second day I go to the gym as a girl must to keep fit!
I like Russian Italian and Ukraine food.
as for dating i'm fisrt time trying to know somebody through the internet and you? im finding that very interesting and unusual.
My job...I work as a consultant I have a lot of things to do everyday and I need to help everyone from them with all what I can, a little hard , but I like my job. My work begins in the morning and longs for 7 hours. I have free weekends the Saturday and Sunday, so I have some freetime to spend it with my friends, family.
I have never been married. I like to travel, never been abroad but visited some towns in Russia, it's really a big one and beautifull country, sad that politics and other people can't understand that still well, bye bye for now and will wait for your reply Olga
anonymous from United States
Lets have some fun with her? wanna?
Should this be you in the pic to her (richard night stalker) ramarez.
and this could be your responce letter to dear miss olga
Hi my new Russian friend
It is so sweet of you to write,I don't know how you got my address but I am glad you did
well let me till you about myself, I live in california in a town called San Quentin, it is a Exclusive gated.
community by the pacific ocean, of I'll send you a picture of it.My wing is to the left. that is My uncle's Buford and Maynard in the fishing boats
I like to read I'm just now finishing a great noval by Dr. seuss called green eggs and ham. I also like movies. some of my favorites are Silence of the Lambs,red dragon,Summer of Sam, and Helter Skelter. and Just like you I like to go to the gym and workout, here in our community we have a spa called The Yard.we pump iron and sometimes eachother.
I have two roommates Bubba and Gental Ben. We call him Gental Ben as a joke because he is a ornery polecat as big a a bear. Bubba says we should call him Genital Ben on accout he spends most the day in gland to hand combat.
But enough about me, I want to know more about you.
before you start looking for a lovely Russian Lady, suggest you take a short journey to Russia for a holiday, and see for yourself what the people and country are really like.
I can almost guarantee that your image of Russia and Russians will change.
Go and see for yourself !!!
[hidden] from Kuwait
Marina Vinogorova (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Irina bablo ( email@example.com )
Nizovtseva Olga ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
(possibly aka Svetlana Cherepanova from Ekaterinburg, Russia &
possibly aka Oga Nizovtseva / Glushakova Svetlana from Samara, Russia)
Address: Beliscogo 9 A, Tomsk, 634050, Russia
Check this site
anonymous from Kuwait
Man gets prison for role in Russian bride scheme
A San Bernardino County man was sentenced to five years in federal prison
yesterday for cheating men out of more than $1 million in a Russian bride scam.
The sentence was imposed from an April plea bargain in which Robert McCoy, 40,
of Rancho Cucamonga admitted defrauding more than 250 men and agreed to pay
back his victims $737,521. Prosecutors dropped other charges.
Investigators positively identified 352 victims, but there may be more, said San Diego-based federal prosecutor Richard Cheng.
Anna Grountovaia, 32, McCoy's wife and the mother of his 2-year-old daughter, was sentenced to three years probation after having served 11 months in jail.
Grountovaia, a Russian who met McCoy through the Internet before moving into
his home, said she posed as a prospective bride in telephone calls with some of the
victims, including several San Diego men. She pleaded guilty to fraud and may
She met him after the scam was already under way and didn't play a big part in
the scam, filling in when he needed a woman with a Russian accent, her lawyer
said. Most of the victims spoke with women in Russia, lawyer Timothy Scott said
in court papers.
McCoy is a drug-addicted felon who sports gang tattoos and has earlier convictions
on assault, kidnapping and weapons charges, according to court papers.
In court filings, prosecutor Cheng detailed the scheme this way:
McCoy met his victims through personal ads he placed or answered
on Web sites i ncluding America Online and Match.com.
In each case, he wrote e-mails posing as a Russian woman seeking love and
sent pictures of a pretty model.
Eventually, a visit would be arranged, and the victim was told a Russian dating
service needed about $1,800 to pay for a visa and plane tickets.
On the day the victim was expecting the woman to arrive, McCoy would write as
an official from the fictitious dating service and said there was a problem: A new
regulation required the woman to carry $1,500 cash to enter the United States.
The service would lend her $500, but the victim needed to wire an additional $1,000.
The men learned they were taken days later, when their e-mails were ignored or
bounced back because the accounts were closed.
The FBI began investigating the scam after a Baltimore man told a London
newspaper about the scheme.
McCoy regrets what he did and plans to use his prison time to get off drugs, said his lawyer, Arthur Greenspan, who blamed the drug addiction as a big reason for McCoy's behavior.
A Web site on Russian scams tells prospective suitors to beware any woman who
asks for money after an online meeting.
[hidden] from Kuwait
Mr. Sepehr from Iran/Tehran (email@example.com)
The guy from Pakistan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Try this Agency it is very well known trustworthy and
established for meeting Russian women ,So I heard
Elena's Models : http://www.elenasmodels.com/
[hidden] from Kuwait
Hey Mrs. C
I love this idea I am sending a copy to my new Love
just one week ago and she is in love with me .
Mrs.C from United States
Glad you liked it !! maybe next letter Richard will tell her about his life growing up in a small town called Mayberry with aunt Bee ,Andy Opie,Barney, and Gomer
After she moves to USA are you gonna take her back to the ol'homested so she can work on your chicken ranch in Nevada
Thanx I'll call you ( Love Adviser ) I end this message the scammers way,
With impatience I wait for Richard's Story I wish you all most best. I like,
strong whole .
Chicken ranch , I can't do that to her remember we are in Love
[hidden] from Kuwait
Her name is Olga but her last email signed Elena ,When I asked her she said
( My name Olga, but I sometimes write Elena. As they are identical on value )
Do you have any advise .
from United States
This is in reply to the Guy that wanted to know if this Honey girl is a scam YES SHE IS below are the email address she uses and the links to her on the Black list Site
She IS A FAT YURI !!! hope this helps
HERE IS THE POST FROM 2006-06-08, 11:53:07 (updated: 2006-06-08, 11:53:09)
AND there is another one right above it she said she is from Australia this time What a juke however the mule is beautiful
I write from Melbourne Australia,
I think I have a scammer on the loose, she's been corresponding with me for about a week & she's already in love without even seeing me (too good to be true principle).
Parents killed in Chechnya and she had to go live with aunte whom died of 20 mins heart attack :) she works as 'honey for sister' :0 if anyone knows Lumilda with the above description plz post a reply.
Looks like OLGA / ALEXANDRA is at it again she is a total scammer and listed on the Black List
email@example.com - EK
Lavanda73@rambler.ru - EP
firstname.lastname@example.org - MP
Mrs.C from United States
New idea to drive your scammer crazy
Many sites selling products have a 'contact us' part where you can put in a e-mail address (like hers) with the magic words (please put me on your mailing list) or ask them a question and have them reply to her e-mail address.
Just go to google and type in.. going on mailing list natural colon cleaning products
I thougt that would be good infor for them, after all thay are full of shit anyway.