If you saw this lady on Match. Hey, I didn't even intend to make a rhyme there: All true Russian dating scams are about tricking you out of your money, so as long as YOU control how and where your money is spent, you won't be scammed.
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Direct scams usually perpetrated through email is the first category. If you sign up for "direct-connection sites" sites where members communicate directly with one another without any human intermediaries - like Match. With this kind of scam, the "girl" with whom you think you are corresponding doesn't even exist. Sometimes this can occur when you actually write a girl on a site, sometimes the girl contacts you on a site, or sometimes the girl directly emails you even though you've never seen her before or written to her.
She'll just say "Hi, I saw your profile at the agency and you seem like the perfect man for me Of all the varieties of Russian dating scams, this is the easiest to recognize and avoid. Click HERE to read about how to avoid email scams. Marriage Agency Scams If you use the services of "marriage agencies" or a marriage agency network to pursue Russian women, then you run a pretty good risk of encountering another family of Russian dating scams known as "Marriage Agency Scams".
At the start you may not even know that you are dealing with an agency or agency network. You may think it's just a big dating website, but in reality it is a network of local agencies. The most obvious indicator that you're dealing with an agency or agency network is that you pay for each message to any girl to whom you write, and usually you must pay for her reply if she replies.
Russian dating scams involving marriage agencies i. In a nutshell what is usually happening with these "letter services" pay-per-letter services is that the agency is writing letters on behalf of the women, often without their knowledge. Alternatively, the girl may actually be writing the letters, but the agency shares the revenue with her so she's "real", her name and photos are accurate, she's actually writing, but she's PAID to do it, and the longer she keeps you writing, the more she earns.
These scams are lucrative mostly because they prey upon distance and anonymity. Since a large percentage of men who visit these sites never actually end up making a trip, the agencies can really rake it in without getting caught. And if you do engage in the pay-per-letter process, the girl may push for you to visit her through the services of her agency who will provide ground transport, apartment, interpreters, etc.
The agency makes profit on all these items and shares a portion with the girl. Of course if a car arrives to meet you at the airport, and if you have an apartment to sleep in, if a translator is actually present on your dates, and your date actually shows up, then you might wonder where is the scam?
Non-Scams In addition to addressing Russian dating scams, let me also mention "non-scams" In some cases men throw around the term "Scam" a bit loosely and label as a scammer any woman who does not fully cooperate.
For instance, a guy may invite a Russian woman with whom he has been corresponding to join him for a tropical vacation at his expense. She agrees, but during the trip she refuses him sex, or later loses interest.
If some other details match as well, there is larger chance that your lady is involved somehow after all. Start paying attention to what your lady is saying. Is she asking for money? Is she hinting that she may need money soon?
Did she fall in love with you too fast? Is there anything else in her behavior that you feel uneasy about? Can it be true? We find it hard to believe. The scammers probably asked people to send money by Western Union or some other system like that. Western Union and MoneyGram require for the receiver to produce a valid passport before the money are released.
We do not know how her friend would be able to make a good enough fake passport to fool the bank tellers who are trained to detect forgeries. Most likely, your lady was really involved in the scam. But if you still have your doubts, carefully verify everything that she is telling you about herself. Is it possible that she was involved in scams in the past, but now she has really fallen in love with me and really wants to meet me?
Well, although it is possible, we have never seen it to happen in real life. We would not advise to send money, unless you are are are morally prepared to take a financial and emotional hit if you, too, will find yourself to be a new victim in the list. There are too many black lists. I cannot possibly look through them all. Is there any place where I can go to see all reported scammers? No, unfortunately, we do not know of any web site that would have such a compilation.
You can try to do that, but if you are not a computer wiz, you would have to learn a few new things. Since many scammers know that their location can be tracked via IP, they do what they can to go around this problem by using proxy servers and spoofed IP addresses.
And, most of the time, it works. So, your ability to research the origins of the emails will depend largely on whether or not the scammers used proxy server. What headers can tell you about the origin of spam - by About. Tools for detecting spoofed email headers - by Information Security Resources. How can I confirm that the photos I have been receiving actually belong to the person I am corresponding with? Most people think that it is very easy to verify how someone looks like, or to obtain a photo of a person.
Nothing could be further from the truth. So, usually you have only four options that you can really count on: We can try to check whether your lady has a profile on one of Russian social network sites. Network sites are very popular in Russia and Ukraine, and many people include their photos in their profiles there but many don't! This, however, is not a very reliable method of verification. First of all, your penpal may not even have a profile on any social network sites at all.
Second of all, she may not post true authentic photos on her social network profile. Photos there could be purposefully misleading. Despite these drawbacks, the Interner research is the fastest and most hassle-free option. If your lady has a social network profile, we could obtain all the photos she posted there.
We recommend starting with this option and then looking at other possibilities. Usually it is done under some pretence that is used to call the needed person to the door for a brief conversation. Please note that this method is best for comparing the photos visually or for obtaining a verbal description of a person, but it is not a good method of obtaining a photo. It allows the investigators to obtain photos of a person, but it is a very expensive option , plus the quality of the photo may disappoint you.
Unlike what you see in movies, the quality of surveillance photos is USUALLY very poor, due to distance, camera resolution and the speed at which the camera can focus on a moving subject, not to mention the lighting and weather conditions. Good quality photos are relatively hard to obtain.
A florist with a bouquet of flowers could visit the apartment, present the flowers to the recipient, and ask the recipient to allow him to make a picture of the delivery process. If the recipient agrees, a couple of photos of the recipient with the flowers are made. If the recipient declines the request, then, unfortunately, the florist would have to honor that refusal. We used to offer flower delivery services on www.
The rest of the time the addressee did not show up for the meeting. Eventually, we cancelled this option to avoid enless back-and-forth with florists and refunds. How can I found out who the person is in the pictures that I have been receiving? If you have a picture of a supposedly Russian or Ukrainian citizen and you would like to find out whom it belongs to, then there are two possibilities that we could check:. If so, we could establish that using the picture verification methods listed above.
In that case, the only option that we know about is to use the Online Photo Search to see if the pictures source can be found online. Unfortunately, there is no database of photos of citizens of Russia and Ukraine, so most of the time it is impossible for the investigators to find a person by using his or her picture. If the pictures match the real person, then she is not a scammer? There are several types of dating scam that never use false pictures see section below.
Even in the travel scams, some scammers specialize in using real pictures. So, it is never safe to assume that a person is genuine, even if you met this person face-to-face. Unless you can read this person's mind, you do not know who is genuine and who is a pretendor.
Do the scammers use their own pictures? It depends on the scam. Scammers usually have 3 options as far as acquiring pictures: How can I find out if a passport is a fake?
By the way, we have a large database of fake passports that have been used in scams in the past. We can check our database to see whether we have any matching passports for you for an additional fee. Your report states that the passport I received is a fake. What should I do? In over 10 years of checking passports for our clients, we have never seen a case when an Internet acquaintance who sent out a fake passport ended up being an honest individual.
Therefore, first thing that we recommend doing is to put a stop on any plans for meetings, trips, or any financial support. You should never make financial transactions with someone whose ID cannot be verified. If this person provided you with an address or some other information that you could check, we would recommend trying to verify important parts of that person's story before deciding how to proceed.
Your research found duplicate passports matching the one my girlfriend provided. Should I show those passports to my girlfriend? If you are talking to a scammer and at this point it is very likely that you are talking to a scammer , you will never receive a truthful answer. So, do not help scammers to avoid detection by providing them with information. Scammers are very quick learners, and they will use whatever information that you provide them to improve their act. How can scammers get away using fake passports?
We address this question in this article. How much does it cost to open a bank account in Russia? We receive this question alot because the scammers generally do not like providing their banking details to the victims and, when pressed to provide banking information, they tend to claim that they cannot afford to open a bank account because it costs a bazillion of rubles. According to our research, the cost of opening an account at SBERBANK The Savings Banks of Russian Federation, which is the primary state bank costs 10 rubles this sum is matched to the the price of one gram of silver, apparently , which is a fraction of a dollar.
Please advise your Russian penpals to use SberBank accounts. Although it is rare that someone can trick the scammers into sending him some cash, here is what you CAN: How can you do that?
Keep the scammer hoping that you will send some money, but keep finding reasons to postpone doing so, or make the scammers jump through hoops to demonstrate to you that they are "real," or that they "really love you. It is not free for the scammers to correspond with you! They pay for the Internet access, for electricity, and for the use of paid proxy servers if they use proxy servers.
If the scammers work as a group, they pay for the employees of the group to sit and type in messages for you, and they pay rent on their rented scam-apartment. Most importantly of all, the time and money they spend on you cannot be used to make money someplace else. So, they take the financial hit twice. Say that security online is your primary objective! It takes time and patience to falsify those, and that is the time that will scammer won't be able to spend luring other potential victims.
By the way, please forward all the documents you received from the scammer to us - they will be a nice addition to our growing collection of fake documents.
Do not take the "I don't have a camera" excuse for an answer. Tell her that you will find her money for her if she can find a camera to do what you asked. The scammers will scramble to keep you on the hook, very possibly spending some cash to arrange the needed photos. Once the scammer can no longer take it, announce to them that your heart is broken but make sure that you make everything "her" fault. This type of open-ended finale will drive the scammers on the wall with frustration.
Once your little game is over, publish everything you obtained from them on a black list, so other potential victims could find that information and avoid losing money. Many scammers are also involved in check scams or credit card scams. Can the scammer retaliate against me or my family? We have never seen any scammers being able to employ any kind of physical retaliation against anyone so far.
So, no, we would not expect Russian Mafia to break into your home any time soon. Here is a good example. Elena Garrett, the owner of this site, has been one of the most relentless and open crusaders against scammers for the past 12 years, costing the scammers thousands of dollars in weekly revenues, teaching Internet users how to avoid the scams and how to scam the scammers, and assisting victims with contacting Russian authorities. The scammers are very much aware of the damage that Russian Detective is doing to their financial bottom line, and several cyber-attacks have been made against this web site, but so far no physical retaliation incidents have taken place.
She travels freely and openly to Russia and back every year. However, do not become too relaxed. If the the scammers become really angry at you, they can try to send you some nasty virus or a Trojan to try to cause you to lose your data or have to buy a new computer altogether. Also, keep in mind that many dating scammers also practice credit card theft, so watch out - they can attempt to to steal your passwords and sensitive financial data.
When dealing with scammers even if for a short while , it is always a good idea to keep your antivirus program up to date we personally recommend Kaspersky Internet Security Suit , to set your email account security level at high, and not to click on any animations or strange attachments that the scammers may insert into their email.
To learn more about ways to secure your email to the greatest extend possible , go to any search engine, type in "email security," and read some of the more novice-friendly articles. I heard that one guy wrote a letter to President Putin, and Putin got the scammers arrested and sent to jail.
I wonder if I could do the same. Yes, the story is true. In , an Australian guy who lost money due to the scam wrote a letter to then-President Putin and Mr. Putin or his staff forwarded the case to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for investigation.
You can read the whole story here. Since that story got published, we have received alot of requests from our viewers and clients to look up Mr. Since we continue to receive these requests, we are publishing for you the mailing address of the current President of Russian Federation as of , that would be Mr.
President of Russian Federation. Now, having provided that information, let us add that although contacting Mr. Putin sounds like the most exciting thing you can do, we would suggest that you contact Mr. Putin only after you have filed a complaint with Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and have not heard from them back within 6 months or more. Sending a complaint to them directly will result in much more prompt action on the side of the law enforcement.
Sending your complaint to Mr. President will likely result in a large delay, since your complaint will have to travel from the the President's office to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and then the Ministry will have to contact you back asking you to file your complaint properly. Medvedev ever took interest in any of those cases, we do not know, but so far we have not seen any particular difference that it would make in their cases.
President, since there have been alot more prosecution cases coming from the Ministry of Internal Affairs than from the President's office. Just make sure that you submit your complaint properly. Not just any piece of info received about the scammers can make its way into a criminal case. There are legal standards that both you and police will be following.
For example, there is more involved in filing a formal complaint than just writing a page or two venting your feelings about the situation. Besides properly writing the complaint itself, you will need to support your complaint with sufficient evidence and notarize it to make it an official document. To find out how to submit a complaint properly, visit our Prosecution page.
If you have not suffered any financial loss, you are not technically a victim. I am worried that I might be corresponding with a scammer. Listen to your head it it is trying to tell you something. Do not feel guilty for having doubts. If you are corresponding with an honest person, the research will confirm that, so you will be able to rest at ease. If you are corresponding with a dishonest person, the research might save you alot of heartache and financial trouble.
How can I find out if the person I am corresponding with is a real person? If your main goal is to confirm that such and such person really exists, then your main source of information will be public records of in-person verification of some sort.
But before you can decide how to proceed, you will need to put together a set of questions that you consider vital to the verification of this person's identity. Only then you would be able to decide who could do the best job answering those questions. For example, lets say that you are corresponding with a lady who said that her name is Natalia Petrova, 25 years old, working a nurse, and living at Main Street, Kirov city.
What if other data matches, but the age does not? What if other data matches, but the employment does not? What if other data matches, but the address does not? What if other data matches, but the photos do not? It would be even more useful to ask your lady to provide you with a copy of her passport.
Can I use a phone book to check whether a particular person lives in a particular city? For your check to be successful, several things would all have to be in your favor. Phone books usually do not provide full name of the owner of the phone number. Usually, they provide just the last name and the initials.
For example, a listing for Natalia Nikolaevna Petrova would appear like this: Choosing a private investigative company. There are many Russian and Ukrainian private investigative companies that place their advertisements online. How do you know which one to choose? If the investigative company is located in Moscow, Russia, and your lady lives in Kiev, Ukraine, then all other things being equal, it may make more sense to contact a Ukrainian investigative company.
There are many two-months-frauds on the Internet who open a web site for about months, collect money from clients, and then disappear in the thin air.
If you do not want to get scammed that way, spend a couple of hours finding a trustworthy company. Check for the following information:. The domain name should look like this: Does the company provide sufficient contact information? A legitimate private investigative company will display their mailing address and their phone or fax number. Russia-based investigative companies also will likely provide their PI license information.