Are the Russians coming? Magic 8-Ball says no ... As to why we saw a bizarre E-mail fraud try to get less than $300 dollars from the guru - no one can figure out why or what they hoped to gain. Quite puzzling. Either the guru was sought out by Lone Scammer or a gang of Scam Artists ...
How do you know if your virtual girlfriend and correspondent is a scammer?
But life goes on -
“... The answer is very simple: just deliver her flowers. I am completely serious! Let's see what happens.
All these tricks are based on the fact that the man (M) can not locate his correspondent (F). He knows her e-mail address in some free internet service like YAHOO, or uses e-mail forwarding services offered by the agency where he purchased her address. He has seen her beautiful and attractive pictures. Maybe even pictures of her family, child, and cat. He has read her letters. He maybe even has her postal address and phone number, but has never used them. And when M has finally been robbed by F and begins to analyze their communication, he finds out that he can not even tell, is she a real person or not? He sees that it could be a male, an old ugly monster, or a group of young pranksters.
Almost every city in former USSR has a flower delivery service. If you order from such a service the delivery of flowers for your correspondent you would never fall into the role of victim I described above. Obviously, you should not to use the flower services offered by the agency from which you have obtained her contact data if you have some doubts of its reliability. As a rule, flower delivery services offer the photographing of the addressee with your gift. Order this service from them. After your order is accomplished you will know FOR SURE that:
- Your correspondent really exists and the pictures she sent you really belong to her;
- She gave you her real contact information: her phone number belongs to her and she really lives at the address which you have;
- She really has an attraction for you and you have gladdened a nice pretty woman with your gift. ...”
IN THE NEWS: American MAN sentenced to 5 years in jail for "Russian Brides" scam
So you thought those "Russian brides" were canny and stealing money from nice western guys? NO, scammers are mostly MEN pretending to be Russian women seeking love! And this scam was run FROM THE U.S.A.
In his guilty plea 40-year-old Robert McCoy from San Diego, California, admitted defrauding more than 250 men and agreed to pay back his victims whopping US $737,521. Investigators say there could be more victims that have not been identified. The fraud utilized the infamous "visa and airfare" scheme: McCoy and his wife Anna were posing as Russian women seeking marriage and a non-existing Russian marriage agency that would provide women with visas and tickets. (Click here for earlier reports on this scam.)
The Black List - Is Irina there - it seems so ...
From the US Embassy in Moscow: Russian Internet Dating Scams:The growing popularity of Internet romance has led to the growth of fraudulent online activity in Russia directed at Americans and others outside Russia. The United States Embassy in Moscow is receiving increasing numbers of complaints from American citizens who have been lured into online relationships via false internet profiles. Often, these are men pretending to be women who make contact with Americans – usually men – over the Internet through dating websites or chat rooms. The fictitious person then seeks to create a virtual relationship through the exchange of photos and e-mails. At some point s/he begins to ask for money, frequently asking that it be transferred through wire services. S/he commonly states that the money is needed to help resolve a family tragedy or arrange for a trip to the United States. A copy of a fraudulent U.S. visa is sometimes attached to prove good intentions. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow urges Americans to exercise caution – many U.S. citizens have lost hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars.
There are common factors in these Internet scams. Scammers usually misinform the Americans about travel expenses and/or they inflate the cost of the expenses that do exist. They lure the American in with e-mails, pictures, phone calls, fake visas, and even e-mails from fake travel agencies in an attempt to prove their good intentions. Typically, something happens and they "can't leave the country." They either "are hospitalized for an injury" and a "member of the family" contacts the American citizen requesting money, or a "member of the family" needs an emergency operation and needs money. Sometimes they are stuck at the airport and are not allowed to board until they can show they have a certain amount of dollars to cover their expenses while in the U.S. Some claim to have been robbed of the money that was sent or claim that they are detained at the airport. Again, their purpose is not to immigrate to the U.S., but to get as much money as possible from the victim. Most of these scammers are actually men who are paying women a minimal fee to sit and pose for pictures and pick up the money at an office of a money transfer agency.
Please keep in mind that, while the U.S. Embassy in Moscow does not have the authorization to initiate investigations of these scams, the Fraud Prevention Unit can verify the authenticity of any U.S. visa via e-mail at FPMM@state.gov.
FAQs to Russian Internet Dating Scams
Based upon previous inquiries, the Embassy has created a list of Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQs) with answers. We hope you find them helpful. Clink on the questions below to be taken to the answer.
- I've heard a lot about Internet dating scams involving Russian women. I would like to know whether the woman I have met is for real, but all I have is her name and photo. Is this enough to find out if she exists?
- Can you tell me whether this U.S. visa is real or if this woman has applied for a visa?
- I've heard there are blacklists of women on the Internet listing known dating scammers. Does the U.S. Embassy have a blacklist? Where do I find a blacklist?
- I think I have been scammed. I have sent this woman $2,000.00 and now I find out her visa is a fake. How do I get my money back?
- I want to lodge a complaint with the Russian government and the U.S. authorities about being scammed. Can the U.S. Embassy help me? Who do I contact?
- My Russian girlfriend wants to come visit me but says that she must purchase insurance and have $300.00 in cash to show she can afford to travel. How much money are Russians required to show?
- The woman I'm corresponding with says that she needs $1,000.00 to show for "pocket money" or the airline won't let her board the plane. Is this true?
- I would like to bring my Russian girlfriend to the United States to visit and she says I must wire her the money for a ticket. I don't want to send it directly to her. If I send the money to the Embassy, can you buy the ticket for her? Can you recommend a travel agency I can send the money and have them buy the ticket?
- My girlfriend says that she must go to a tour agency and pay $500 for her visa application and visa, and it will take 2 months. Is this right? What is the procedure for Russians to get a tourist visa?
1. I've heard a lot about Internet dating scams involving Russian women. I would like to know whether the woman I have met is for real, but all I have is her name and photo. Is this enough to find out if she exists?
Unfortunately, the U.S. Embassy cannot verify the identity of Russian women. Russia has strict laws protecting the distribution of information about Russian citizens. The embassy has information on foreign citizens only if a person has actually applied for services from the U.S. government.
Although the U.S. Embassy does not maintain such a list, there are many Internet "blacklist" websites, where victims of scams have placed information and identities of people who have defrauded them. It may be helpful to perform an Internet search for such sites.
Because the U.S. Embassy is a diplomatic mission and not a law enforcement agency, you will need to go through the appropriate law enforcement channels, should you believe you are a victim of fraud. You may contact law enforcement authorities in your area. You may also visit the Internet Fraud Complaint Center hosted by the FBI at http://www.ifccfbi.gov/ in order to file a complaint. For information on contacting law enforcement officials in Russia, you may try contacting the Russian Embassy in the United States at: www.russianembassy.org.
To receive a U.S. non-immigrant visa, applicants are not required to show cash or proof of insurance for travel. For more information on the visa application process and requirements, please visit our website: www.usembassy.ru/consular/wwwhcnm.html.
8. I would like to bring my Russian girlfriend to the United States to visit and she says I must wire her the money for a ticket. I don't want to send it directly to her. If I send the money to the Embassy, can you buy the ticket for her? Can you recommend a travel agency I can send the money and have them buy the ticket?
The embassy cannot suggest or verify the validity of private companies or organizations within Russia, nor can the embassy purchase tickets. Tickets can easily be purchased in the United States directly from the air carriers for Russian citizens. In addition, applicants are NOT required to have a ticket prior to the visa interview. In fact, applicants are counseled NOT to buy tickets or make arrangements until they have the visa in hand. Scammers will cite fictitious American or Russian regulations requiring that the tickets be purchased in Russia with cash in order to get the cash sent overseas.
9. My girlfriend says that she must go to a tour agency and pay $500 for her visa application and visa, and it will take 2 months. Is this right? What is the procedure for Russians to get a tourist visa?
All visa applications are submitted to a Russian courier service – Pony Express – for delivery to the Embassy. The U.S. government charges a processing fee of $100 for each application. The courier service charges a delivery/handling fee. However, there are no additional fees, nor any requirements to show traveling money. For information on how to apply for a visa, please visit www.usembassy.ru/consular/wwwhcnm.html.
Once an applicant submits their application, they are immediately scheduled for an appointment to appear for an interview within the following 10 days (or within 21 days during peak travel seasons). At the appointment at the Embassy, the applicant is interviewed by an American Consular officer and is immediately told whether he or she is eligible for the visa. If the decision is positive, the visa is sent to the applicant within 72 hours through Pony Express.
For more information about the Russian internet scams, please view the Department of State's Public Announcement on these scams at: www.travel.state.gov/travel/rid.html.
John, a banker orders a mail-order bride Nadia from Russia on the internet. Later on, her cousins turn up to celebrate her birthday. After an altercation one of her cousins holds her hostage and demands a ransom from John. John is forced to steal from his bank where he has worked for ten years. After the ransom is paid, he learns that the hostage incident is a hoax. Nadia and her 'cousins' are her criminal accomplices, one of them being her boyfriend. Nadia gets into trouble after her boyfriend learns she is pregnant and John goes back to rescue her.
Trivia<>When released in Russian-speaking countries, Nicole Kidman's voice had to be dubbed over (along with the English voices), as her Russian speech, while sounding convincing to many Anglophones, was actually very poor, and at times barely comprehensible.Many scenes of the movie were shot in the English town Hemel Hempstead which made world news in 2005 as being the location of the Buncefield Oil Depot disaster.>
At least Nicole is free of Xemu - Sparky