This is mostly of concern to people who are interacting with women from Russia, although many former eastern bloc European countries also fall into this category. Many of these situations apply to 'pen pal' type activities over snail-mail, but they still apply to the Internet.

Be very careful when seeking women or men for relationships or marriage on dating sites hosted in other country's or who's clientele is mainly from a country different than your own. Especially if the ad says seeking men or women in other country's for love and possible marriage. “HELLO”, if that doesn’t say looking for a sucker nothing does. Its been proven time and time again that a lot of these people use dating sites to get out of there native country, or as a vehicle to get into yours, because they would not normally qualify. For some reason or another they can't do it on their own and that's where you come in. I can't count all the stories I've heard or read of people who met someone online from another country brought them over, got them green cards or whatever they needed to stay in the country, then once they were there for enough time that they no longer had to fear being sent back, they were gone. Often leaving the original sponsoring person with a broken heart, big alimony payments and in some cases child support payments. In the mean time their former spouses were busily sponsoring  their real lover from their own country.

One example of this is a man I know who immigrated to Jamaica. He had opened a store there and was making a life for himself. He hired an single woman to work in his store who happened to have several children. After dating and marrying her she began to pester him about going back to his country and how it would be a better place for the kids to grow up. Do you smell a con job? I do. Instead of standing his ground and staying put he applied to take them back home to live, once there she became pregnant, he got a job, was buying a home for them and paying for a vehicle. And after having two children with him on top of the three she had originally she threw him out. She got the house, car and all the furniture on top of that he had to pay alimony and child support for five children, the last time I saw him he was actually riding a bike, living in housing and had lost his job because of his lack of focus brought on by the separation. A high price to pay wouldn't you say.

Another example is a women I'll call Betty who met a man from Europe, brought him over, and married him. After a while she began to notice that her bank account was being drained. Well it turned out he was dipping into it and sending the money back home to his parents. Soon after that he started demanding that she dress like people from his country and only associate with the same. He got her to sponsor his family into the country. It was at this point that she realized that she had been taken and quickly pulled her sponsorship of him, filed for an annulment, and had him deported.

I'm not saying everyone out there are set to use you, but many are, otherwise they would be looking for someone in their own country instead of yours. I mean I know a guy who had a women contact him on face book and tell him she was in love with him. How could she be in love with him when all she did was look at his photo.  One favorite con  is to tell you early on that they are in love with you, like those are magic words or something. Its impossible for anyone to fall in love that fast with someone they have never met in person. They cannot know enough about you! That is your  cue  to block them and stop all co North America is one of the most  beautiful places on earth and we have lots of good looking men and women looking for someone like you. There’s no need to look any further then you own back yard for someone special to share your life with. Just put yourself out there and get noticed. At least you will know they are not after a green card or sponsorship. The truth is that some of these dating sites don't care if you get conned as long as they make money. There are lots of dating and chat sites that you can join to meet men and women locally you don't need to get involved with over-seas sites.

The following are specific examples that have been cited in other publications:

She tells you she can come on a student visa. She does not want you to visit her in her home country and insists on visiting you instead. She asks for money to buy an airline ticket.
Although your lady friend might have some legitimate reasons not to invite you to her home-country  it should still raise a red flag for you. Never send the money, even if it looks like it might be cheaper for her to buy it at her end (also unlikely). Instead purchase a ticket that only you can refund.

She tells you she can come on a student visa You are inviting a lady friend to visit you in your home country, and she tells you that she needs money to get an exit visa to leave Russia.
This is a classic scam, to get money from you. Most countries do not charge for an exit visa, certainly that is not the case in European countries (even Russians do not need any exit visas to leave Russia anymore. 
She tells you she can come on a student visa.
Unlikely but possible. Do not send her money. Ask her to provide more details on her visa and the University that she is going to come to study at, and then contact that University. If they have some kind of a student exchange program in place, they will be happy to tell you about it. Also, you can contact the Embassy that issued that visa to confirm its validity. If she is scamming you, on a valid visa then you can lodge a complaint against her and they will pull the visa most likely.
She says that she can get a visa because she can claim to be your  fiancee
She cannot file for a fiancee visa if the two of you have never met before. One of the requirements for the fiancee visa is a personal meeting within the last two years. And YOU will have to file lots of paperwork before she can even fill out her application.
She claims that she can come because she has a work or business visa.
Improbable. Check the validity of the visa. Get her to send a scanned picture of the visa and then check with the issuing Embassy. Some women offer to come on a work visa and then to get a fiancee visa later. They will usually ask you to pay for travel. If you believe her to be honest then buy her the tickets instead of giving her the money.
You find her ads still posted on other sites after you start making arrangements for you.
She may not remember to remove ads from multiple sites after she connected with you. Also, some agencies may keep selling her address to increase profits. Try replying to these other profiles with new email addresses that you set up for this reason, and see what happens.
She tells you that her Internet costs a lot, and she cannot afford to pay for it.
Using an Internet Cafe might be a very big expense for her. The average salary in Russia is only about $200.00 a month or so. If this is one of the first things mentioned however, you should be thinking SCAM!. She may be telling the truth. People in Russia seldom earn more than $300.00 a month. If it is the first thing asked for, then your scam-alert bells should be ringing. Even though it may be true because people in Russia do not earn that much money, if it happens early in your communications with her, then it is likely a scam.
She seldom if ever uses your real name, but usually just refers to you by pet names that could apply to any man she is speaking to.
There is a strong possibility it is a scam because she could just be sending out a form letter to 20 other guys saying the same things. If there are specific answers to specific questions that you have asked in your previous communications, then it could be legit.
She professes love for you after a few letters.
SCAM Alert!! This is almost surely a scam
She says that she is very attracted to you, and you are a lot older than she is.
This could be true, because culturally it is more acceptable in Russia for older men to have younger wives, and women will usually target older men for marriage. This could also be scam, so coupled with other things this could be the nail on the coffin for your relationship with her.
She makes you aware of her need for money with every communication without ever actually asking for any from you.
She may be trying to get you to offer money to her as a subtle scam, or she may just really be poor. So test her attachment to you by mentioning that you do not have that much money yourself.  You make just enough to get by. If she still continues communicating with you, then she is likely honest. If she stops, she is either a scammer or else a gold digger. Either way, you are better off without her
Most of her letters pretty much say the same things over and over using the same words and phrases.
Very likely this is a copy and paste scammer. They have a lot of pre-written letters and literally cut and paste stuff from them into the current letter. They often lose track of what they have already sent you. Try writing her using an post office box under a different name and see if she sends the same stuff
She says she doesn't have a phone and you cannot call her.
Likely true. Many places in Russia do not have phones in every house.

Useful Links and Trusted marriage agencies:
Russia: Internet Dating Schemes US Department of State

Better yet, seek your future wife in North America:
Here is a great place to find the best dating sites on the Internet.

Hello! Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard often.
When she got there, the cupboard was bare. Bummer.

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    My name is Clarissa, I am the writer of this blog. I am happily married and the mother of 2. I enjoy horse back riding, writing ,cooking and spending time with my family. I hope you enjoy your visit to my site.


    October 2011