Russian Brides Cyber Guide


Don't fall a victim to this common online scam!
Russian Brides Cyber Guide scam warning

Russian brides for sale scam is the name people commonly use when referring to a type of online scams where scammers pose as a Russian bride or a Russian woman looking for marriage.

Naturally, you cannot "buy" a bride nor there are "Russian brides for sale" (on the Internet or otherwise), however, there is a growing interest among western men in European women, particularly in Russian, Ukrainian and Eastern European women, and as with anything in high demand, there are people who try to take advantage of the inexperienced.

There are two typical Russian brides for sale scam scenarios, one of which, for the purpose of this article, we shall call "Visa and ticket scam" and the second type "Agency scam".

Visa and ticket scam

This type of scam is conducted by individuals or small groups, who are posing as Russian women and use various means (usually large online dating sites) to get in contact with potential victims. They often use people living in the target country (U.S.A., Australia, Canada etc) to place profiles on dating sites to avoid detection by IP address and possible deletion of the profile by the website's quality control. Once on the website, they start contacting hundreds or even thousands website members, immediately asking to communicate through a private email address. The scammers use pre-written letters to establish a "relationship" seemingly "falling in love" over the course of correspondence. After exchanging 10-20 letters, they suggest to visit the man in his home country, and ask money for a visa and tickets (thus the name "visa and tickets scam").

How to detect "visa and ticket" Russian brides for sale scam:

  • The contact is usually unsolicited - "she" writes to you first;

  • The letters you receive are long and detailed but very general; descriptions of daily activities (visiting a grandmother in the village, doing charity work, cooking a Russian dish etc), aspirations for a good and happy family, and - very typical - lots of sentiments about honesty and trust.

  • Your name is used extensively through the letters (10-20 times) - scammers use find/replace options for that or a specially written mailing software which sends letters daily on receiving your response;

  • The content of your own letters is irrelevant; whether you write long or short letters, you will be receiving the same long letters in response;

  • Personal questions you ask are seldom answered and those answers do not form the major part of the letter; they are answered usually at the end in a couple of phrases if at all;

  • Each letter has a photo attached to it, with the photos getting juicier as you get to the money request;

  • You WILL be asked for money to help her buy tickets to visit you;

  • The money will need to be wired via Western Union or Money Gram instant wire transfers.

  • Often the request for money will be masked by some windfall that allegedly happened to "her": she found an old coin that is with hundreds of thousands, she has an old icon (worth hundreds of thousands) which she wants to bring to you and give you as a gift, etc. "She" promises to return the money she is "borrowing" from you once she is in your country. "She" has exhausted all avenues of finding the necessary funds to buy a ticket to visit you (pawned all her jewelry, borrowed funds from family and friends etc) and "she" already bought a non-refundable ticket, which will be lost if you do not send her 2-3 hundred bucks to top it up (to buy insurance, a ticket from her city to Moscow from where the plane flies etc). All in all, the "poor Russian bride" already spent money of her own to get to you, she is promising to give you the expensive artifact which is worth thousands, and she is only "borrowing" the money from you... (plus she is happy to provide sexual favors once you meet, she can't stop dreaming about you and her physically together) - what are you going to do, allow her to waste all her own money, plus what she borrowed from friends just because she needs extra $300? Of course not, you are going to send her $300 by Western Union - and if you do, you will be asked again and again and again ... for insurance, money to show at customs that she has funds to support herself, money to pay for the accident she had on the way to the plane, money to pay for the change of the ticket because she was late for the plane (because of the accident she had on the way), money to pay the bribe to customs officers because she was arrested for trying to smuggle the rare artifact out of the country, etc etc. You will be asked for money until you stop sending it, and certainly no one will ever arrive to you - everything is fake; the photos (probably downloaded from the Internet), the letters (prewritten and mailed by a mass-mailing software, which inserts your name in specified places), the feelings and the whole story.

How to protect yourself from "visa and ticket" Russian brides for sale scam:

  • If you are contacted on a large dating site by someone claiming to be in Russia, create a fake identity of your own: register a separate email address at Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo etc and send emails from both your own email address (as you would write) and another email from the fake identity. If you start receiving the same letters in response (claiming of course you are the only one she is writing to and going to visit), then you know it is a scam. Drop it like it's hot!

  • Get on Skype and talk to the person. See if they have read (and remember) your letters and if the photos match the real person.

  • NEVER, EVER SEND MONEY TO ANYONE YOU HAVE NOT MET IN PERSON! This is a simple rule which if followed will protect you from scammers of all kinds, including the fake Nigerian treasurers needing your help to transfer stolen millions out of the country in exchange to giving you 10% of the two hundred billion they have no one in the whole world but you to trust.

  • If you want to have fun, once you know it is a scam, send them to Western Union with a fake number; plus inform the Western Union and request to put a warning on the name they want you to transfer money to. Scammers don't pick money themselves; they use "mules" much like drug traffickers use people to transport drugs; they will need a new name for picking all other transfers and you may save a few hundreds of potential suckers from being ripped off by this Russian brides for sale "visa and ticket" scam.

Agency scam

This type of scam is conducted by an online website, which features real Russian women, however, in reality it is just a money sucking machine by the "agency" designed purposefully to make you pay and pay and pay, and not to help you develop a relationship with any of these women.

The system for most "agency scams" schemes is 4-level:

  1. Real women in Russia, Ukraine etc

  2. Local agency in the same town which recruits women, makes their photos and videos (Local Agency)

  3. Online agency to which the Local Agency uploads profiles, photos and videos (Online Agency)

  4. You (the sucker)

You want to meet real women (some of which indeed want to meet foreign men, for others it's just a job - they are getting paid to be featured as "brides"); however, you cannot really meet these women because of the 2 layers in between (Online Agency and Local Agency), which both try to prevent you from getting in direct contact with real women. Why? Because they make money when you cannot talk to women directly and nothing when you can.

"Agency scam" is based around the communication model where you are requested to send mails through the Online Agency only, and you have to pay for each mail sent and received (or for each minute of online chat/text messaging or video chat). Let's say, you pay $6 per mail: $4 goes to the Online Agency and $2 (commission) goes to the Local Agency. And because you would not want to pay this money for just having your letters forwarded through the mailing system, the agency calls it "translation" - i.e. you are paying for translations to translate the letters you send to Russian/Ukrainian for women, and to translate their letters back to English for you.

This may not sound suspicious or seem to be unfair (translation is work and should be paid for), however, this is highly unlikely your intended recipient (the real woman) ever sees your letter. Imagine how much work should be going into that, really translating your mail (for a mere $2) and then contacting the woman and giving her your letter - because women absolutely cannot get your mails any other way than through the Local Agency (they also cannot register on the site of the Online Agency without being registered with a Local Agency - the Local Agency is the Online Agency's protection against the clients exchanging direct contact details and getting into a real relationship without both agencies).

As such, the Online Agency pushes all the legwork onto Local Agencies (hundreds of them), which it obviously cannot control and check, and the only way for a local agency to make money is the mere "translation" payouts for sending letters to and from women. Now, this about it... is the Local Agency interested in women getting into real relationships, i.e. getting married and leaving the agency? Absolutely not! Is the Local Agency interested in women starting an exclusive relationship with ONE man? Absolutely not! The Local Agency is interested in getting as many as possible letters through the system, or to be paid per minute for online texts and video chat. 

Here, you think you would be getting the real deal seeing women online or chatting to them by text in real time. However, it will never be unless you are NOT paying for it. If you are paying per minute (or per letter), this means someone is making money from that and they will never want to give it up! This is where many women are getting paid by the local agency, because if the woman comes to the agency's office and "chats" online (with several men simultaneously, each of whom is paying), then obviously it is inconvenient to her and she must be compensated for that. If she really wanted to meet a man for marriage, it would be easier for her to have a computer at home and do it at her leisure, rather than go to the agency. "But women cannot afford computers" - what rubbish! This may have been true 10 years ago but not today; any woman has a friend or can access email at work or a free public place (like a library); the point being, if you are paying for contact (pay-per-mail or pay-per-minute), and someone is making money from it, you don't know if the contact is actually real or just a money-sucking venture for the Local and Online Agencies.

The only way to know, is to be in DIRECT CONTACT with REAL WOMEN for which no one gets paid per letter or per minute. Then you know the person is talking to you because they want to be talking to you and not because they are paid to do that.

And this is what "agency scam" Russian brides for sale schemes are meticulously trying to prevent: they do not allow exchange of direct contact details. It is the function of the Local Agency which censors your correspondence and removes any direct email addresses, phone numbers, Skype names etc. And if you think you are chatting with women directly on video/text online, so this is not an agency scam, tell your woman to talk to you directly on Skype (without the agency) and see if she wants to do it. If she is getting paid to talk to you (Local Agencies usually pay to women to chat online pay-per-minute with men), then do you think she is going to want to switch to talking to you for free? If she wants a real relationship with you, YES, she would certainly grab this chance; but if payment is the only reason she is talking to you, then obviously she won't. There can be any excuse presented as to "why" she "can't" talk to you for free on Skype (no computer at home, no Internet connection, Internet is too expensive, etc) - but you know it's B.S. if you really want something to happen; you can simply talk on the phone (excuse: no home phone, no mobile phone - rubbish! Everyone in Russia/Ukraine has a mobile phone, it's not 1995).

Can it be for real?

If you want to ask whether it can be for real if you have met a woman through one of the many per-per-letter or pay-per-minute online agencies, the answer is, well, certainly it is possible that your communication is for real. It is possible to win a lottery although not probable. It is possible the woman you like indeed talks only to you and is not getting paid by the agency to chat to you online, or she indeed writes all the letters you receive and receives all letters you write. However, it is not probable. Most contacts based on "agency scam" model are not for real. Although the woman on photos and videos is real, her feelings for you, most likely (probably) not. You can just as well pay for a hooker at home or join any of the hundreds singles chat services ads of which you can find on the back pages of the local "Playboy", you will get the same result (actually with a hooker you are at least guaranteed some action).

How to detect the Russian brides for sale agency scam:

  • You are paying per-letter or per-minute of the contact;

  • You are not allowed to exchange direct contact details (this is often written in the agency's Terms of Use which most of us just tick when joining a website; check it carefully - do they clearly state you are not allowed to exchange direct contact details?)

  • The woman, when asked, is not willing to use free contact services such as Skype, MSN etc, for whatever reason (if she really liked you, she would find a way, also she would want you to spend your money on her and not on the agency);

  • If you send mails to many agency women or chat to many women online, you always (or nearly always) get responses and they all are happy to talk to you (when not under an agency control, women usually only answer 1/10 of the letters they receive; less if she is very pretty, more if she is just average).

How to protect yourself from Russian brides for sale agency scam:

  • The "fake identity" trick will work here, too (and for any scammers); just here you'll have to be more creative and because you have to pay for contact, you not only will need a new email address but also a new name on the credit card... this can be your friend or family member; certainly this will also mean you will have to give more money to the online agency.

  • READ THE TERMS OF USE! If the website states clearly they do not allow exchange of direct contact details, or only allow it after you have exchanged certain number of pay-per-letter mails (which means spent enough money with the agency), simply stay away!

  • If you have already fallen into the trap (you are in contact with someone you really like and you would really want it to be for real): first, sign up with another Russian dating website which allows direct contact. This is just to keep you grounded and so that you realize there is a world of beautiful women out there and "lots of fish in the sea" and you do have options. (I personally recommend Elena's Models). Second, you need to get in direct contact with "the woman of your dreams" and find out what she really thinks of you and if she is just as dedicated to your contact when you are not paying for it. From my knowledge of Online Agencies, the two way you can do it are: (1) order a 3-way phone translation conversation, and give the woman your direct phone number / email address and ask her to call/email you directly; or (2) send her the cheapest gift on the agency's list of gift delivery services and include your direct email address and phone number in the card, which is supposed to be delivered with the gift. The second way is not guaranteed because the same Local Agency that delivers the gift will be the one writing the message on the card, so you never know if the woman actually receives the card. In any case, if she doesn't ring/email you directly, you know that your "relationship" is a fiction: either the whole thing is a typical "agency scam" sham, or she is simply not interested in you. Both those ways through are quite expensive, and if you have already spent hundreds with the Online Agency, you may feel a bit resentful about spending even more. However, some people feel they have already invested some money and time into this "relationship" and they are willing to spend several hundreds more to establish the truth - be prepared the truth (most probably) is the typical scenario discussed on this page, and not a "happily ever after" story you hoped for. 

Can you meet someone real despite "agency scam"?

Once again, it is possible - but not highly probable. You might, but against all odds - and why would you bother?



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