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Mail order brides scam, international marriage scam, Russian women scam - let's fight it!
How to avoid being scammed?Here are some scam scenarios used by scammers to cheat you and get your money. Read it, consider it, but do not become paranoiac and see scammer in every girl who contacts you. Just NEVER SEND MONEY to women you have not met.
- Visa and air-fair scenario.
1. She wants to visit you.
The most expensive kind of scam. Your correspondence isn't limited to a few letters with general information. As a rule you receive letters regularly. They are individual and detailed. You begin to feel more attracted to her. She will keep up her romantic correspondence until she feels you are ready to pay. You receive a letter with a following content: suddenly she has 2 weeks of holidays and she can visit you; her acquaintances or relatives working in tourist firm can help her to buy a cheap tour at the very moment to come to you; her foreign passport soon will be expired and it's a big problem to get a new one and that's why she can come to you right now or she doesn't know when she can come another time and so on. To use this unique possibility to visit you scammer asks you for a material help (visa, tickets, insurance, etc.). Besides there's no time to be slow and the money should be sent now. As soon as money received in half cases scammer disappears. The other half continues to develop the scenario because you're already caught. You continue to receive tender letters with detailed accounts about official registration of the documents. And next stage of scam begins. Visa problems occur and she needs more money; visa can be received in another city so, she needs more money to buy tickets (pay for the living and food) to go to this city to get visa; there are expensive tickets only and this means additional expenses and so on. It will be continuing until you stop sending money, when you do so scammer disappears.
WAY OUT: It is you who should come to woman's native country for your first meeting. Refuse to invite her to your country, say, you were planning to visit Russia (Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, etc.) anyway.
2. You want to travel to her.
This kind of scenario is rarely used (as it is not that profitable) and as a rule it's used when you after a short correspondence insist on visiting her in her home city. She's very happy to see you soon and she's waiting impatiently to meet you but there's a big problem with hotel and you have to pay for it in cash beforehand to guarantee your living in it. Or she's ready to take organization of your staying in her city (transfer, hotel, cultural program, translator and son on) and you have to pay for it in cash. As soon as money received scammer disappears. From her contact information you have only her name and her e-mail address or plus postal address (in which different people live or which doesn't exist).
WAY OUT: Address the agency, not necessarily a dating agency, traveling agency will also help you with hotel reservation. Though travel to meet the gilr only in case you are sure she is real; or having contacts of several marriage and dating agencies in the city you come to; they will gladly help you to meet other women.
3. You want to travel to her country, but prefer to stay in a bigger city and invite her to come there.
In this case she will ask to pay for her travel expenses. When you send money to her she will disappear. Or, she will ask for more money then would be necessary.
WAY OUT: Address the agency, not necessarily a dating agency, it can be traveling agency, and ask whether they can buy tickets for a woman. To buy plane tickets it would be necessary to use woman's passport. You still can send money to the woman directly, but inquire at your traveling agent, or try to find in the internet the costs for the plane ticket for the woman - if she quoted you the right price, it is a good sign, but... You can ask her to pay for the trip herself and promise to compensate her expenses when you meet.
4. She says she has found a traveling agency that would help her to obtain visa and tickets to come to see you. Also see paragraph 1 of this section.
Of course, she asks you to pay for her travel expenses, visa and passport, and you feel rather secure doing it as you pay to the travel agency, which has an e-mail, sometimes a web-site, and a bank account. When you send money to the agency, both the agency and the girl disappear.
WAY OUT: Address the agency you find yourself in the Internet. If you need help in finding an agency that works in the girl's city - address any dating web-site administrator (majority of the Ukrainian or Russian travel agencies web-sites are written in Russian, so if you do not know the Russian language, it can be difficult for you to find a suitable agency. Many of the traveling agencies have an e-mail address and phone numbers on their web-sites, so you would be able to send an e-mail or call them). Usually marriage agencies staff is friendly and will help you to find out information you require. Anyway, try to come to see the girl in her country. Remember, it is VERY DIFFICULT to get a visa to the USA, it is quite possible that a Russian woman would be granted a tourist visa to one of the European countries, there were cases when Russian women received a guest visa to a European country, it is easy for a Russian girl to enter Turkey, Egypt or United Arab Emirates (only few countries to name; these are the countries where you get entry visa right at the airport when your plane lands), but be careful if you have never met the woman.
- Standard - the most used scenario: Scammer tries to keep up a regular correspondence, but all letters have general content and there is no concrete information in them. After exchanging a few letters the scammer begins to ask money for covering expenses for using Internet, translator payment, foreign languages courses, driving courses and so on, or you are contacted by the "agency" that helps the scammer with translating/typing/sending letters to you.
WAY OUT: Use the web-sites that provide letter translation and delivery. Usually if men pay for correspondence, local marriage agencies do not charge women. If you do not believe any agency and want to correspond only directly, "play a fool" - pretend you do not understand her hints, ignore direct requests; if she says Internet cafe is expensive - say you prefer less regular correspondence; if she says she can't afford translation - offer a free Russian-English translation web-site - let your letters be not so understandable but she wouldn't use this pretext for money requests again; if she offers "her" agency, find a different one in her city and offer her to join that agency (believe, if there is one agency in the city - there should be several more) - at least you will know she couldn't correspond with you regularly exactly by the reasons she gave you; pay for foreign languages and driving course only after you meet face to face and you are sure you want to continue relations with the girl and marry her.
- Illness scenario: It's one of the frequently used kind of scenario. She writes letters thoroughly and she sends them regularly and they are full of happiness that she has found a real gentleman, a man of her dreams in you. You also feel attraction to her and you begin to think over plans for future. But suddenly you'll receive information from her that she (her children, her parents, relatives) got ill and she needs money for operation or/and for expensive medicine. And as it is a question of life or death (there's no money to pay for it) she appeals to you for help. As soon as money received scammer disappears.
WAY OUT: Do not believe it. It can be that she (her children, her parents, relatives) is really sick, but if it is a question of life or death - she will find money. Honest Russian woman will never ask for money from a man she has never met, Russian women are proud, they consider asking for money a kind of humiliating.
- Hardships in life: Scammers can be very inventive regarding hardships in their life. Her story may be about losing a job because she refused to have sex with her boss; robbery in the street while she was coming home late in the evening after a long working day with all her month salary, fire in her apartments so she has nowhere to live and has to rent a room, and it is very expensive and so on. Reading most stories men feel real pity for the girl, want to protect her, help her... and send money. Perhaps, she will not disappear after she receives your money, she will try to milk some more out of you.
WAY OUT: Do not believe such stories. It can be that she is really in a terrible situation, but as it was said above, honest Russian woman will never ask for money from a man she has never met; she does not live in isolation, she has friends and relatives to help her.
- False photos and profiles: As a rule, false photos are used by individuals (we can't say that it is an "agency", because one or two people who run this scam can't be called an agency) to run a standard scam or sell contact information of non-existing women. Usually they use photos of beautiful models or just pretty faces found in the Internet. In better case a man gets contact information of the girl he liked but the information is wrong. This scenario was often used by scam agencies in placing data of false women in databases of famous dating service, where they were able to get commission for false correspondence: famous dating web-sites offer pay-per-letter scheme of work (i.e. a man pays for every letter he writes/reads, the local dating agency translates and delivers this letter to the woman, gets her reply, translates it and forwards to the man; the local marriage agency gets commission for this job). Men begin to have a correspondence, the agency gets its commission for the "job" they do (translation, e-mail forwarding), then correspondence stops, and men will never know that this correspondence was false. Fortunately, all serious big dating agencies nowadays have toughened their rules, verify women's contact information and (sometimes) content of the correspondence.
WAY OUT: Avoid free web-sites - too many false profiles can be found there. Remember: free cheese is only in the mouse-trap. Ask the agency (the girl) send you additional photos that are not taken in the studio. Ask for girl's home address (not postal one) and order a gift delivery with a picture on delivery through an independent delivery company.
MAIN: DO NOT SEND MONEY to women you haven't met! DO NOT OFFER TO SEND MONEY to her to help with anything - very few women would refuse, and then will see the easy way to "make" money.
Try to avoid money question at all. If asked for money - do not send it! Just reply her nicely you wish you could help out in her situation but are unable to at this time. Or simply forget to mention it. If she is a scammer - she will disappear, or make another try.
Don't mention money, your salary and possessions. You may mention that you have a stable financial position, but never say about how much exactly you earn - does she need it right now? She doesn't know prices in your country anyway.
Don't rush the relationship - Take your time and get to know her. If she were a scammer she would not waste her time on long drawn out targets. She needs to see some results right now.
Use dating agencies where you pay for corresponding and letter forwarding: dating net-works care about their reputation, the agency checks their women-clients identity (so, you avoid possibility to write to a phantom woman), the agency translates and delivers letters to women and do not charge them (so, you avoid possibility to be scammed by standard scenario); besides, you can always ask for advice, help and support. If you are going to use services of a dating agency, avoid web-sites that do not accept payments for the services on-line. When you pay with the credit card, your money "leaves a track".
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