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SCAM
By  Anatoly Neverov 
Copyright Anatoly NEVEROV, 2000. All rights reserved

As more and more Western men seek life partners in the former USSR, the quantity of male victims is rising. They fall prey to so called "scammers" - individuals or groups of people who, using the internet, defraud money from too naive or credulous persons. I would like to share with you some tricks used by these dodgers. I am going to produce here several situations known by me when a man was bamboozled by an artful and crafty crook. Please get acquainted with them and use in the search of your soul mate. 

I'd classify the scammers in 2 categories:

  1. Scammer-loner: a person who works alone and operates on his/ her own.

  2. Scammers-bandits: collectives (bands) of scammers. Matrimonial services and bands using such services created especially for scam.

1. Let's begin with the first category. Here is the usual situation: a man (M) finds in the internet a female (F), contacts her, they begin to correspond and in a short period of time they become "friends". After exchange of several letters M feels more and more sympathy and affection for F; her letters become necessary to him, he wants to communicate more and more often with her, they begin to plan their personal meeting... But all at once he is suddenly informed, that:

  • her internet providers will disconnect her from the internet since she needs to pay them $50.00 ($150.00; $250.00; $384.43, etc.), and today in a bus (subway; store; market, etc.) a thief stole (she lost) her purse with all her money.

  • or- her Mom (father; son; sister, etc.) needs a very expensive surgery and she has gone into debt $150.00 ($500.00; $800.00; $1226.94, etc.) for this surgery, which means she cannot afford internet now since the internet connection is very expensive (she must sell her computer to cover the debt, etc.).

  • or- the computer which she uses for communication with M belongs to her girlfriend (or to the firm where F works, etc.). Her girlfriend has married a man from an another city, is going to sell her computer and to move to Murmansk or New York (or today F was fired from the firm).

...and so on. The result of all these misfortunes is one: the communication of M and F will become impossible in the immediate future if she doesn't find a certain sum urgently. She cried all the night and just doesn't know what to do; she can't imagine how she will live without his tender letters, blah, blah, blah...

Can you guess what M does after he knows such sad news? Right, he runs at a breakneck speed to the Western Union office and sends her several hundred dollars for computer, internet connection, surgery of her Mom, and financial support for his robbed loved one. It is his second to the last, but most expensive virtual contact with her. The last one is his message to her with the control number for the Western Union service. After that F disappears forever. Her mailbox is in @yahoo.com (@mail.ru; @hotmail.com, etc.) which she no longer answers, and in several months the account is closed.

The described situations can slightly vary, but the following moments are always presented:

  • F is very beautiful, intelligent, feminine, friendly, understanding, fluent in English, young, tender, and can not find "her soulmate". At least, M likes F very much;

  • F shows M that in her eyes he is very attractive; she never has met such an interesting, romantic and intelligent person. They have a lot of common; her thoughts and feelings are congenial to the M's ones in every trivia;

  • the internet connection she uses does not belong to her, that is why she uses a mailbox in some free service like @hotmail.com;

  • F has some financial difficulties, but she is a pride person and never tells M about them. She just once unwittingly made a unintended mention of them, but if M insists her to tell him about her financial problems, she softly but aggressively stops this discussion - it is HER problems. If he doesn't pay attention to this subtle allusion about her problems, at some point she can repeat it (accidentally), but it is not really necessary. Already, M knows that F is living a low standard of life, modest salary ($20.00 or $30.00 per month), maybe a little child who F loves immensely... and she is sure that M knows that.

  • the misfortune (impossibility of further communications which can be eliminated if M sends F some money) happens suddenly and surprisingly, like a bolt from the blue, just as M has become accustomed to her letters, when everything seems to be wonderful, when they begin to exchange of very intimate and tender plans and wishes... Money is needed all at once.

I know an interesting modification of this situation: M and F progressed to the point of preparations for the trip of M to F's city for their first personal meeting. M sends her money "for preparation of his visit" - renting of apartment, driver for his meeting at the airport, expenses in legal formalities for invitation, etc. To my knowledge,  $US 500.00 is typical.


2. Now I'd like to tell you about groups of people which create virtual matrimonial services especially for scam or use already existing services for that purpose. I know that such collectives exist and their activity makes victims of many luckless, trustful seekers of a Russian wife.

Long ago I created a site with young Belarusian photo models. While building that site, I made the acquaintances of many young pretty girls-models, and with some of them I am still in contact. These girls tell me that from time to time they are invited for photo and video shots where they are shot as "brides" for marriage agencies. The girl-model is paid $US 3.00-5.00 for one shot, plus, if she brings to the shooting a young pretty girlfriend, they pay her an additional sum for each model she brings.

This is how they operate. They hire an apartment or a studio, a cameraman, a photographer, and a make-up person for several days. The girls-models pretend to be seekers of husband in the West. As a rule they shoot one model in 2-3 photos and 2-3 videos during one session. The makeup artist changes her image, she changes her clothes, hairstyle and make-up, and the photographer changes the background and light in shooting her. They teach her 3-5 English phrases and when shooting in video she introduces herself by various names. The girls even don't know what this is all for, but I can tell you. Read further!

Some of my clients have told me how they bought addresses of young pretty girls from various internet agencies, and corresponded with these girls using the mail forwarding, flowers/ gift delivery and translation services offered by that agency. They spent heaps of time and money for such contacts, and in the end the girl suddenly informs them that she has found her match already and apologizes to him for wasted time. Some people happen to not use the services offered by the agency. They just bought the addresses of the girls and wrote to them directly, but their letters weren't answered. Why? Nobody knows. Maybe the girl just didn't like him? But I can tell you that it could be also that the girl just didn't exist at all!

It could be that these shootings come from the marriage agency itself, or from groups of independent photographers or cinematographers who sell those pictures and films to the various marriage agencies which do not realize that they are crooked. Both possibilities are absolutely real. The result always is the same: the final customer pays money for his contact with a non-existing lady.

Now, what to do? How do you know if your virtual girlfriend and correspondent is a scammer?  

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;

  • the contact data she gave you are real: 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.

I render flower delivery service in Minsk and during Valentine's Day and the Russian holiday on the 8th of March 2000  my service discovered 6 scammers. I just could not find the ladies to whom I should deliver flowers from their gallant men. The phones and addresses of women which my clients gave me did not belong to the women they had been writing. One lady disappeared after she knew that I had to take her picture with delivered gifts.

And one more thing, don't trust agencies with doubtful contact data. You should be able to get without any trouble the agency's phone, fax, and postal address. Its e-mail address should not be placed in any free service like HOTMAIL or MAIL.RU. For your money they should present the full contact data of the lady, at least her postal address. Their offer of usage of their mail forwarding, translation and other services should not be forced upon you. You must have the possibility  to use the ones rendered by an another provider of them contacting the lady of your interest.

In the end I want to tell that big agencies which operate from overseas have many more individual women scammers than local agencies which publish women from their own area of operation. Big American, British or German marriage agencies usually publish their ads in Russian newspapers and receive from all over the former USSR many letters with pictures and data of ladies looking for life partners. Sometimes they work through their affiliates who do not have to prove honesty.

Big foreign agencies are not physically able to check if this or that lady is a scammer, whereas the temptation to publish a nice pretty girl who undoubtfully will be sold many times is very big for them. That is why if you buy an address from a big long-existing international agency this DOES NOT assure you against scammers. And the more the percentage of young, pretty "sellable" faces you see there, the more risk you have of being scammed. In contrast, small local agencies usually are in constant contact with their ladies-clients and although their ladies maybe are not so beautiful and numerous, their catalogs and biodata are as a rule much more reliable. Of course, such an agency's e-mail box should not be located at YAHOO or MAIL.RU server...  


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