Too Good to be True
- These women are trying to correspond with as many men as they can. Because of that their letters are often surprisingly impersonal and vague when it comes to specific questions. If women avoids using your name or worth still - uses a wrong one, if she is not answering your questions or gives very general answers than it is a first RED FLAG.
They also do not have time to waste!
They will reply with enormous joy and happiness that you wrote to them. After a few more e-mails they are completely head over heels in love with you! The photographs they use (which are not necessarily their photographs) are of a very beautiful women. Being realistic (unless of course you are Brad Pitt or Sean Connery) - does not this instant love at first sight sound a bit unusual to you? This is a second RED FLAG.
This brisk set up serves as a jumping point to the real thing.
RULE#1: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Money, money, money...
- OK, mutual love has been established. Now they are starting to explain how hard it is for them to keep in touch with you via e-mail as the costs of the Internet (translator, telephone, photographs...) are high and if you wish to continue this correspondence could you please help them with these costs.
Or her computer has suddenly crashed and to fix it she needs just ridiculous $70 which she does not have. Just send some money by Western Union to keep a romance alive. Not much (from your point of view) only 50 (70, 100) dollars. However, to a very pretty lady who is weekly getting 100's of letters from dozens of men it might be a very healthy income, taking into account that the average wage in Russia is around $300 - $500 a month.
Another favourite trick of the scammers is to go quiet for a while keeping your guessing - what could possibly happened over there? Then, out of the blue, they will write to you about a horrible accident happened (or about to happen) to them (family member, friend...). Mother who needs urgent surgery in a hospital is an undisputed winner. And yes, you are, of course, the only one who can help them out. This time you will be looking at $300 - $1000 depending on the set up and her greed.
Any, and we wish to stress this in the strongest words possible, ANY AT ALL request for money is the most red flag out of all RED FLAGS.
RULE#2: If you are being asked for money (under whatever circumstances) before you have personally met the lady - run!
Air Tickets, Visa, Customs duty
- This is an ultimate goal for every scammer - to clean man on an airfare. The Holy Grail of all introduction scams. Latest scammers' trend is to ask for only part of airfare. Here is a part from a real e-mail: To come to you I need only tickets and if you'll help me with part of cost of my tickets I can come to you.
Ironically, this is the easiest scam for you to avoid. In order to visit you in Australian or US, woman has to have a valid Australian, US, UK or NZ entry visa. And this is a hard thing to get for a young and single Russian lady. We wish to make the following point absolutely clear - it is a very common misconception that you can just buy an Australian or US entry visa in Russia. No! It is a complicated and some times long process and the very last thing it depends upon - is money. Remember - your money can not get visa for her. Don't be fooled.
There is a very simple way to see whether she is genuine. To be on the safe side you should:
Offer her to buy air ticket in Australia yourself and then send it over to her with a courier.
Ask her to send you a fax or e-mail with a scanned copy of her passport page with attached valid entry visa in her name.
If her intention is really to visit you and she has a valid entry visa to do so then she should be only too happy to delegate the whole thing to you. But if she insists on money versus ticket, becomes offended, refuses to give her visa details, then it does not look too good...
Some other common fishing tricks scammers use:
Needs money to show on Russian border to Russian customs. RED FLAG
Needs money to show to Australian (US, UK...) Embasy.RED FLAG
Needs money to give to travel agency (employer, customs, police...) as a guarantee of return to Russia. RED FLAG
RULE#3: Never send money for airfare. Never send money for visa support. Always check for a valid entry visa first. If valid visa does exist and you really need to send a large amount of money - at least ASK US TO VERIFY THE PERSON for you before you do so.