International marriage and online dating scams. Do not send money!

Article by Evgenia Burilova.

Here you can find information on finding Russian wife, russian women marriage, single russian women.

New: Did you know scammers often use pictures of Russian celebrities? We have recently added a list of pictures of Russian celebrities most often used by scammers. 

Note that while you should carefully read the article anyway, it is quite unlikely that you encounter scammers on our website.  This is not self-advertising, this is just a fact.  Starting January 2007 we have switched to the system, where we monitor all profiles and all communication throughout the site.   We do not allow communication outside our site until you exchange 15 letters and we certainly do not allow any solicitations in the communication.  This proved to be an effective deterrent against scammers, who now have no economic incentive to place their bogus profiles with fake pictures on our site.

See list of known scammers

Forewarned is forearmed

Evgenia BurilovaYou have just stepped into the world of beautiful foreign women. You are likely to be full of hopes, expectations, and dreams. You are eager to find things you have despaired of finding in your own country. You seek beauty, love, understanding, and appreciation. And then all of a sudden you find it all (or so you feel). You have just discovered someone that seems so right for you. You barely know her, but your heart tells you she is the one. Your feelings are overwhelmed with her beauty. You are no longer your rational self. You are in love, and ready to put the whole world to your foreign darling's feet. The girl is absolutely wonderful. She is just very poor and desperately needs money. She asks you for help. You might or might not be taken aback by that request. In any case, you think to yourself "anything for that wondrous woman" and take out your wallet. Better hold your horses. Not all is gold that glitters.

Just as everywhere else this mysterious world of foreign brides is full of its own dangers. Man becomes awfully vulnerable when it comes to love. He forgets himself. He loses his head. He gets emotional. As a result, he is easy to be taken advantage of. Many women understand it. Some of them will try to use it. Ever heard of so-called "dating scammers"? They are people dying to cash in on men's feelings. They disguise themselves as beautiful loving women. Their only goal is to con you for money. And they will pull all the different tricks on you to achieve their goal.

First, they will try to seduce you with beautiful pictures. Next, they will sweet-talk you into sending them money. Then they will disappear. Nothing complicated. And yet many men have fallen victims to such schemes. Does it mean these pitfalls are unavoidable? Does it mean scammers are impossible to recognize among hundreds of honest women? The answer is NOT AT ALL. Common sense and a basic knowledge of standard scam scenarios go a long way.

Here is the most classic of all scams. You meet this most gorgeous girl on the Internet. You correspond with her for a while. You are getting to like her. A lot. At some point she tells you you are the love of her life, and she is dying to meet you in person. Money is the only problem. So, could you please send her some cash to help her pay for the tickets/visa/passport? Such a request should immediately put a man on his guard. It often catches him off guard instead. Why? Because he feels like he has known this woman forever when in fact he has not. He sure is convinced this woman is completely innocent. She is just really desperate and needs his help. After all, he wants to meet her just as badly, doesn't he? Well, the truth is he really does NOT want to meet someone like that.

A scammer might use different other plots to achieve her ultimate goal. For instance, she might attempt to play on your feelings. She will do her best to arouse your sympathy. What would you say to "I don't have enough money to pay for my internet service" coming from an incredibly sweet attractive girl? You do want to be able to stay in touch with her, don't you? The 50 dollars she needs would not hurt your budget, would it? How about "oh, my god! My mom's dying of cancer (stomach ulcer/brain tumor - you name it!)! I've managed to find $170, but it's not enough! I need $450 more… I'm so devastated, and have no one to turn to for help! No one but you.. It hurts me so asking you for money, but please help me if you can… I don't know what to do.. been crying my eyes out every night.. You're my only hope in the whole world.."? How would you react to that kind of heart-rending letter? Would you rush to the nearest bank and send her the money to keep her from selling herself?

It all might sound somewhat cynical. But it would help if all men receiving that kind of messages realized that there is no dying mom. There is a crafty scammer behind that "cry for help". Nothing but a fraud who has been sending such letters to hundreds of other men. There is no human tragedy in such cases. Just shady business.

A scammer can come up with a hundred good reasons why she needs money, and why YOU have to help her. However, most of them use the same old tricks that have proved fairly reliable. A girl might ask a man to pay a non-existent monthly fee of $50 at her agency. She might tell you she needs money to pay an interpreter to translate her letters to you. Because her English is not enough to let her express her feelings. And you do want to know about her inner feelings for you, right? She might tell you a heart-breaking story about her losing her job, losing her money, being in debts. The list goes on and on. Use your imagination!

The girls' English might be poor, but it does not prevent them from being very convincing in their emails. Some of them are rather blunt about the money matter. Others are ever so subtle. They might not actually openly ask for money. They might simply imply it by complaining about how tough they have it.

Do not be gullible. Do not let some frauds fool you. No honest, respectable woman will EVER ask you for money in such situation. Nor will she hint at it. No matter how reasonable they might seem to you, any money requests are absurd and inappropriate. By complying with them you are setting yourself up for a big fall.

A woman who has her heart in the right place will never play on your emotions. She will never try to arouse your sympathy with a view to get some money from you. She will never exploit you and your feelings. A true woman does not want pity. She wants love. She does not want money. She wants a relationship. She will NEVER accept any money from you until you have actually met, and your relationship has turned into something real. You do not want a woman preoccupied with money. A scammer will of course claim she does not care about money, but we all know actions speak louder than words.

You by no means are encouraged to become cynical, paranoid, or scared. There is no need to be distrustful of all foreign women seeking their love over the Internet. You should keep in mind that most women out there are not fakes. They are sincerely looking for someone they can spend the rest of their lives with. They are truly beautiful both on the outside and the inside.

It is highly important to be careful in everything, not just Internet romances. We take precautions in our daily life to avoid troubles. Why not take them here too? Better safe than sorry.

Hundreds of men have met their foreign wives with help of the Internet and are happily married now. Keep that in mind. Also remember that there is no instant gratification in love. Be patient and your patience will be rewarded. Just like this life is worth living in spite of all the dangers and difficulties, true love is worth searching for. Be careful, but do not let dangers daunt you.

Do not waste your feelings, sympathy, and money on scammers. Save it all for someone who truly deserves it.

Editor's comments: I speak with my clients on the phone every day.  And MANY (I mean really a lot) of them tell me they had been scammed at some point.  So if you had been scammed too - do not think you are too gullible. It's just those scammers are that good.  They know how to get people hooked, and they adapt when situation changes. For instance lateley they don't just ask guys for money for visa/ticket as this scenario is too widely known.  Instead they would tell them they have the money, and going to pay for visa/ticket themselves.  What could be more disarming than that?  However in the middle of the process she suddenly comes up $400 short, and just wants to "borrow" this amount from you.  It's easy to fall for such trick even if you are an absolutely rational guy, especially if she produces some documents, like a passport with a US visa.  Needless to say, you won't ever see this money or her again.  We have seen our share of fake passports/visas/tickets, so if "she" or whoever it is sends you a copy of a document you think might be fake - send it to us.

NEW!  It looks like recently the scammers are starting a new trend.  They actually don't ask guys for money!  Aren't these crooks clever!   They go something like this:  "she" tells the guy she is coming over to his country on her own and does not know anybody in the whole country except him.  Could he pick her up at the airport?  Ok, he is interested, apparently :).  She does not ask for money, she says she has the visa and the money for the ticket.   He is even more interested, especially because "her" picture looks so sexy :)   Days go by, he is washing his car and hiring a maid to clean up the house, getting ready for the big day.  Just a few days before the supposed flight, she says "sorry dear, the agency said there is an additional fee (or someone stole her wallet, or whatever) and now I am $124 short, I've used up all my resources, so I cannot make this trip".  She is overtly NOT asking for any money.  I don't know about you, but a lot of guys will fall for that trick and think in terms of "she is not asking for any money, so maybe she is not a scammer, and 124 dollars is not so much, why don't I take a bit of a risk once in my life"... well guess what, after he sends them 124 dollars, suddenly something else comes up and now she desperately needs 233 dollars to make that trip, but she is still not asking for a penny from him...  Ok, they figured you are a sucker, so why not take a ride?

Our new website is being monitored for possible scamming activity.  We can see if a member is sending multiple messages to other members, if she is using certain keywords, etc. and suspend or delete them immediately. We also warn our members of possible scam/abuse and let members warn us if they receive a suspicious letter.  So you are protected to certain extent here.  However your best protection is your common sense.  Do not send money.

Keep in mind that sometimes the scammer is not actual girl, but the agency that "represents" her. The most common scenario is when an agency charges you for the correspondence with their ladies. It could be a monthly fee of $50 or so, or they charge you per each letter received. The problem is that those letters are written not by the ladies, but by agency staff. On the other hand, there are some absolutely legitimate agencies, that charge men for correspondence. These agencies they have real girls, writing real letters, the agency just collects a fee for delivering and/or translating of the correspondence.

How can you tell the honest ones from scams? Use common sense. For example, if a lady is telling you that she is falling in love with you in a second letter or so, and you are not George Clooney, it is definitely a red flag. Another thing to watch out for, is when the fee comes as a surprise (i.e. their site advertizes "write to our women for free" and then, after you have exchanged a couple of letters with a stunning lady, and "have really hit it off", you receive an email from "Manager of the agency" telling you that in order to keep corresponding, you have to pay. Personally, I would avoid anything that is advertizing as free service.  Any company has got to make money to pay wages.  If they advertize as free service, ask yourself how are they going to make money. Third, you should be able to get her home phone number. If her agency precludes you from getting her number, or if "she" repeteadly ignores your question in her letters, that is a big red flag.

When in doubt - call or email us, we will help, for free.

And finally, do not send money to the women. Do I really need to repeat this again?  Apparently yes, because when I talk to some of you guys you go like "yes, I know you said I should not send money, but... {she said she already paid $2000 her own money, she said she pawned her family jewelry and now she is only $160 short, she said the person who was supposed to lend her money was hit by a car, .... }"  oh, if I could only list here all the reasons I've heard.  Look, the part after "but" simply does not matter.  It's just what "she" says, and the scammers are quite inventive .

A woman who is sincere, will not ask you for money.

See list of known scammers

See photos of Russian celebrities most often used by scammers