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International Dating Rife with Scams, Con Artists on Blacklists; Scam Detectors Have Ways of Detecting Frauds

By Tony Rutherford
Huntington News Network Writer

Source of the article:

Huntington, WV (HNN) --When Tatyana continued basking me with letters containing the warmth of alleged love, I contacted a Russian acquaintance for a heart-to-heart.

Surprisingly, the woman told me that she had worked for an international marriage agency, occasionally working as a translator for a couple who had been paired and had their first meeting with the Russian woman not knowing English or the man Russian.

Unable to determine from the letters Tatyana’s sincerity, she advised me to be wary of ‘scams’ and to Google for agencies that can detect them.

Many black lists exist for Russian women (and others) who have conned money out of men over the Internet. Tatyana’s name was not on any of them. I took a preliminary ten question ‘test,’ which did not clearly show she was a fraud.

Not wanting to simmer a legitimate romantic, I found Russian which said they could ‘check out’ almost any Russian woman. The idea behind Scamcheck is to have the man send the woman a small gift. Working generally through a network of florists, this agency would have the delivery person report to them on such vitals as the age of the recipient, whether she lived there, whether ‘there’ was a residence, etc.

The monetary risk slight: Twice the cost of a dozen roses i.e. $40.

So while Tatyana continued asking, “You will take care of me to arrive to you?” and “I have almost finished official registration of papers. I already can arrive to you. Put only in the finance. I send you a copy of one of documents,” I arranged for Scamcheck ( to help me learn whether the woman was “real.”

In fact, they told me that “the letters of scam women may look very similar as letters from honest women and vice versa,” wrote Phillip Miltov, a customer service associate at Scamcheck. “None of the scammers ever provides the correct address and phone number.”

During the period when the rose was being sent, I held off for the most part on answering Tatyana’s correspondence, even though at one time during that critical she sent me five emails in one day.

A few days later, I received the following: “We found that there is no such person at that address. This is an office building. We asked the management and employees if they ever knew Tatyana , but they said they did not know such person. In addition we check the local phone and address directors, but could not find her in the public listings.”

Disappointed? Yes, but not heartbroken. I had been previously advised to be cautious despite her sincere sounding letters.

Tatyana indicated that she lived in one of the former republics of the Soviet Union. According to Miltov, “the scam cases are less possible in Moscow as the people in Moscow are busier on their jobs and do not have time for Internet scamming. In the other parts of the country, the scam rate is more or less equal in every area. Women in other parts of the county have more difficulties finding a job or are getting low pay. Some unemployed or low-paid women who know at least basic English, may do scam(s) on the internet.”

In fact, my source in West Virginia indicated that she had occasionally worked as a translator for couples who had met through a legitimate Russian marriage agency that assembles profiles and generally send men a list of potentially compatible women.

“Language is no barrier to love,” she explained, indicating that some of the couples with whom she worked developed hand signals or basic communication skills during their tour of the city.

She does not know if any of the couples for whom she assisted with translations married, but she did say that some of her female friends who studied with her in Russia at a university had married European or American men. “They seem to be happy,” she said.

So, are you corresponding with a women (or men) whom you have not met?

A few quick and terse recommendations:

1. Look for a ‘form’ reply that does not answer specific questions. In fact, you should ask several benign questions – I liked to ask something about specific movies --- to see if she attempts to answer the question.
2. Most women send a different photo of themselves with each email. Ask her to take a specific picture for you. Suggest she get a shot of a park in her city, a theatre, or herself in, say, a red dress.
3. If passions heat up, ask for her phone or ask her to call you. Try to get her to use an Internet messenger.
4. Get her home address.
5. Do not send money (to help with Internet fees, café costs, an illness, a visa, etc).
6. Re-read some of her initial letters and see if what you think is ‘original’ might have been ‘repeated’ word for word in other letters.

Russian Scam Check also will send a single rose, verify addresses and check for passports ($59). A full background (i.e. date of birth, criminal records, children, divorces, phone numbers, etc) is also available for $120. Additional agencies provide similar services and thee are forums where men can inquire about particular concerns such as travel, the K-1 Visa, and cultural differences.

While Tatyana actually sent me a scanned copy of her passport, the greatest hurdle is for the woman to get a tourist visa to the United States. And, if you send her money, there’s no way you can ensure that she spends it for that. Some services can check AFTERWARDS to see if it has been obtained, but by then you will have been scammed hundreds.

Also, the K-1 Visa (“fiancé visa”) requires that the couple have MET at least once before it will be approved. A lengthy documentation of emails, letters and phone calls will assist in the approval. The LONGER the time frame , the more likely for an approval.

Otherwise, women are likely to scan false documents into the email and attempt to demonstrate that they have obtained a visa. Some then allegedly arrive at a European airport, and email the guy , asking for money again.

As for Tatyana, I sent her two emails telling her that she did not live at the address she had given. I asked her to call or send a new address as I had tried to “send her flowers.” I received an email apologizing for not writing stating that she had been in the hospital. I wrote back and asked how she was doing. She did not comment on the address, flowers, or mention travel. The closest she came to acknowledging these questions was to “Please do not take offence at me, I is not guilty in that in Russia very bad work for us the Internet of café.”

When speaking of her illness, she told me, “I have very much frozen and therefore was ill. Mum came to me in hospital each day. Each day asked --- WHEN WE SHALL BE TOGETHER? I very much love you. I am very happy again I can to write to you. I shall write to you now each day. Your love, Tatyana!”

I have not heard from her since Nov. 13.


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