Recently our CEO was e-interviewed by new popular ezine www.HowToDateaRussianMate.com, published by FMB Media. Here is the transcript. Here you can learn a little bit about scam and new trends in the industry.
1. About scamming, does the idea that both parties (men and women) are guilty (Dostojevski) give the individual female scammer and gold diggers an alibi to their minds?
CEO> If by men being partly guilty you mean men being too gullible, then my answer is no. While it may indeed give an alibi to THEIR minds, it certainly does not give them alibi in my mind. While some men are sort of “asking for it” by trusting large sums of money to women (or whoever is behind the scam emails) whom they never met in person, it does not take any part of guilt from the scammers. This dilemma may be viewed from a different angle, actually. Many would agree that scamming a very gullible person is more immoral than scamming a “know-all, been-around- the-block” tough guy.
2. What’s the point of view of you national about men who like to find a Russian lady?
CEO> Being a Russian-American I am generally of high opinion of American men. What discriminates them against their Russian counterparts is that they tend to have stronger family values, live healthier lifestyles, and be more financially stable. These qualities are very important for Russian ladies looking to create a family.
3. What about the number of men who like to find a bride in FSU?
CEO> I do not have any data on the number of men currently looking, but I think that this number is growing. The reason is the successful marriages of some of the guys, including our clients. This type of marriage attracts a lot of attention, so the word is quickly spread. More and more often I get calls from men who are calling because their buddy or a neighbour got married to a Russian woman and their marriage is working out great.
4. Is there a change in the type of man that goes to FSU?
CEO> No, I have not noticed any changes there.
5. Is there a change in to where they go?
CEO> Yes, there is a slight change. Lately they go more to smaller, remote towns as opposed to the capitals. This change is dictated by the fact that in the capitals the lifestyles and the salaries more and more resemble the Western ones, so women there are now less inclined to move to another country.
6. Do I perceive it well, when I think E-Ukraine is getting more popular amongst men, why?
CEO> Yes, you perceive it correctly, the tendency is there. The reason is the same as in my previous answer, Ukraine being a little bit behind Russia economically.
7. How about the further penetration of AIDS in Russia, does this cause problems. And how does the Russian government deal with this issue? For example do tours to Ekaterinburg have a increased risk due to the high percentage of young drug addicts in this city? - Off line media reports a huge drug and AIDS problem in this city, due to the international smuggle of heroine from Afghanistan.
CEO> I do not have reliable data on this. I can only advice anybody who plans to get married to take AIDS tests together first. “Together” is the key word here. When men ask me about AIDS in Russia they always ask if he should ask HER to take HIV test. They forget that there is over 1,000,000 people HIV-positive in the US, plus God knows how many not yet diagnosed.
8. Has address selling become a potential source of scamming, because of the non-update, unreliable information in most of the agencies databases?
CEO> On the contrary, I think lately the situation has improved because ironically, scammers make us update the information more often, contact the women more often, and thus we have more updated and correct information than a year ago. We for example, had to invest a lot of time and money to better check all incoming questionnaires from women, filtering out obvious scammers, and checking anything questionable. We have 3 people on staff, contacting women on a regular basis, not including the local agencies who are supposed to stay in contact with their women constantly.
Of course there are some agencies on the Internet, that refused to respond to a change in the situation (i.e. the vast increase in scam cases). Their databases has become ridden with scammers, and as soon as their reputation catches up with them they will probably go out of business.
9. What about the mind set of the Russian ladies? Do they still (compared with, let’s say five years ago) have high interests in meeting a foreign man. Even when there’s a big gap between the male target group and the female target group (age, life style, etc.).
CEO> There has been decline in such interest in the large cities, especially in Russia, for the reasons I mentioned above. However, in the majority of Russia and Ukraine the interest is still high. As far as other former Soviet republics, for them it’s just the beginning. There is a lot of Russian people living in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and other countries, that only begin to emerge on our market. Russians there are often dominated and want to get out.
10. Do girls get fed up with waiting for the right man (I’ve spoken with some who waited for five years)? What happens to them?
CEO> I think the girls are waiting not for just five years. We all singles are looking for the right person all our single lives. Not on the Internet, I mean, but everywhere. Every new person that comes along we evaluate as a possible candidate for our soul mate. At some point the woman is of course, fed up. Especially when her childbearing years are almost over, and she still has no prospects. What she does then depends on her personality. Some just marry the first guy that comes along and try to make the best of what they have, some continue to wait, some even decide to have a baby with some guy, and then stay single (but still looking, make no mistake here). You see, they too, watch Sex And The City.
11. Is e-mail forwarding a better way to correspond, then writing letters? Why so?
CEO> This way the letter is printed and mailed in the country of destination, which makes it a domestic mail. This speeds up the process, and increases reliability. It is important to check that an agency providing e-mail forwarding also provides an easy way for a woman to respond.
12. What are the newest scam tactics? Can you describe three of them?
CEO> I haven’t seen anything new lately. The tactics are the same:
a) “Shotgun approach”. After a couple of letter exchanges, where everything seems to be going well, she writes that in order to keep corresponding she needs to pay $50 (or so) for the Internet access (or to the agency, or something similar) and she does not have that kind of money.. blah, blah, blah. You pay the money, and she either disappears or continues correspondence, which goes nowhere, asking you for small sums every now and then.
b) “Sniper approach”. You exchange dozens of letters over a few months (or weeks). She gets really personal, and you feel like you know her pretty well. You may have talked to her on the phone. She says she loves you very much.. blah, blah, blah. She is ready to come over to you (or meet you in France, Egypt, etc), only if you pay for her ticket. The smarter ones even say that she already has $X dollars that she borrowed from uncle Vasya, but only need $Y from you to complete the visa process and buy tickets. $Y is usually more than $1000. You wire the money and never hear from her again.
c) “Mother Theresa approach”. It’s the same as “Sniper’s” except after establishing a “relationship” with you she starts asking for thousands of dollars for her mother’s operation, uncle Vasya’s car accident, and so on.
I am consciously omitting gold diggers here, because no one can protect you from one, except yourself. If a guy after spending a significant time with a woman cannot see what her intentions are, then who can help him? Either she is too good or he is too naïve. In any case, sign a pre-nup, that’s all I can say.
13. If and how do you see the connection between the marriage industry and female trafficking (trading off women for dubious causes)? – reports from the EU. What’s your opinion?
CEO> I don’t think there is a connection there. Enticing a woman by pretence of marriage means individual approach, tons of letters, meeting in person, etc. It is simply too expensive for such cause. As far as I understand the trafficking of such kind is usually connected with entertainment industry. Those criminals usually pretend to hire an entire group of women for exotic dancing or nude modelling, or something like that. This is much cheaper and they get the type of women they need.
14.What can you say about the time it takes for a man to find his soul mate in FSU? What’s the change here?
CEO> I don’t see a change here. As before, it might take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. In order to speed up the process the men have to be more proactive and less lazy. Some guys write endless letters, contact endless new women, but never make the trip. A reminder for men: you cannot find a wife sitting behind your computer. You have to be prepared to make a trip to Russia or Ukraine at some point. Don’t think of it as hard work though. Think of it as of your next exciting and unusual vacation.
15. I spoke with the manager of Adam & Eva in Odessa, she told me that the number of letters sent to girls declined since the writing isn’t free anymore, what does this mean, to your opinion?
CEO> I am not familiar with Adam & Eva agency, but I guess if they started charging for writing, it is normal that the number of letters declined. However it may be a good thing. You see, I find that free services usually attract people that are not really serious. Therefore they are just a waste of time for whoever they correspond with. For instance, I’ve received some feedback from girls that posted their profiles on semi-free sites like Match.com and similar. They all say that they received tons of letters from men, but in the end none of them came through. I guess the more we pay for something, the more we tend to value it, and I don’t mean just money.
16. Is there something else that could shift the paradigm of western men meeting Russian women?
CEO> I have already mentioned the shift from the big cities and the emerging of other former Soviet republics. Also, I see the fast increase in numbers of women that have email addresses. About 2 years ago we had only 20% of women who had access to an email. Today this number is well over 50%. This does not need an explanation or comment.
Next, the increasing number of people in Russia who get connected to the Internet will also continue to increase the number of scammers we have to fight off. However, today we are already implementing pretty cool technology allowing us to filter them out. We are currently working on tracking them by the range of IP address of where the email came from, and trying out image recognition software to filter out the known photos of scammers. Tomorrow’s new technology will sure bring new solutions. As always, the best solution for guys will always be to NEVER SEND MONEY to unknown persons. The more we spread the knowledge about scammers among our potential clients, the better is the chance that at some point scamming of this kind will become economically unfeasible at which point it will virtually cease to exist.
I hope that more and more men will learn about the exciting opportunity to find a wife in Russia or Ukraine, and set a good example by their own marriages. We at www.1st-international.com are always happy to see you, and help where we can.
In conclusion, I want to address all men who are still hesitating. Try it out, make the fist step. Like Mark Twain once said : “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do”