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SCARS|RSN™ Insight: What About Ukrainian Women?
Africans Are Not The Only Romance Scammers Out There, Ukrainian & Russian Women Are Also Heavily Involved In Dating And Marriage Scams
In The World Of Romance, It Takes All Kinds.
Every dating site has a huge number of Eastern European Women looking for willing men.
How Do You Spot The Scammers From The Real Ones?
It is much more difficult, if not impossible initially. There are some clues. However, you first have to understand their situation.
Women in Ukraine
Women in Ukraine are the most frequent posters of profiles, so you will encounter them more often than from other former Soviet Bloc countries. The living conditions for many are not great, and the culture does not favor single women. So it can be heartbreaking to hear their stories. However, there is also a thriving industry in helping them find mates, both honest and dishonest. The lines between the two are very confused also.
Legitimate women will have a sad story – it is common – you will want to send flowers and/or small gifts. But if they suggest a specific business for this be concerned. It is too easy to find an online florist, so you really don’t need help – just make sure you call your credit card company and tell them you are making ONE payment in Ukraine and not to allow any more. Sending Western Union funds is also a red flag in the first month. After a few months then maybe, but the good thing about scammers is that they have little patience, so they will pitch their scam within a couple of weeks. If you get past a month of frequent chatting and emails without a money request, odds improve that the woman is honest – no guarantee, but better odds.
Use Webcam or Video Calls
Another little clue is if you can see her on a webcam – look for anything out of the ordinarily, such as if she lives with a man – she might claim him to be her brother, cousin, etc. This could be true, but more likely this is her husband or boyfriend, and you are being played.
Look for Gifts or The Demand For Gifts
Look for a lot of stuffed animals as well, this is a sign of gifts from other men. One of the scams is that they get a commission from the florists and gift shops, so getting many men to buy them gifts is the scam in and of itself.
You Should Never Give Your Credit/Debit Card Information Directly To A Ukraine Business Over the Web or Phone
Credit card fraud is also very common, so remember to call your bank and tell them IN ADVANCE about the transaction you are going to make.
Over All Risk
Otherwise, the risks are far lower overall with Eastern Europeans than with the hidden African scammers, but they do exist. The highest risk with Eastern Europeans is in Immigration Fraud – meaning that you are just a stepping stone. The only solution to that is to take lots of time before making the leap.
Eastern Europeans Are Connected To Real Organized Crime
There is another danger with ANY nationality from Eastern Europe: namely good old fashion strong-arm extortion. What we mean is a couple of kinds of this.
The first is that they are in danger and need your help – could be an ex-husband in the police, or whatever.
But the truly dangerous one is the Show Up At your House kind. The Eastern European Mafias are very serious and very deadly, and if the woman is part of their ring, there is a risk that they will show up at your door one day – so be VERY careful with your full identity and address. In these cases, they play their victims for anywhere from weeks to months, then drop on them.
When There Is Doubt Walk Away
With all online dating, watch for the signs, and bail out if it begins to smell suspect!
According To The United States Embassy in Kyiv:
The Embassy receives many inquiries from people who have been defrauded for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars by Internet contacts they thought were their friends or loved ones. Internet con artists try to convince you to send them money. These schemes include lotteries, on-line dating services, offers of immigration or visa assistance, or even requests from a “friend” in trouble. In many cases, scammers troll the Internet for victims, and spend weeks or months building a relationship. Once they have gained their victims’ trust, they create a false situation and ask for money.
Before you send any money, check to see if you recognize any of the following signs that you may be a potential victim of a scam:
- You only know your friend or fiancé online and may never have met in person.
- Photographs of the scammer show a very attractive person, and appear to have been taken at a professional modeling agency or photo studio.
- The scammer’s luck is incredibly bad – he or she is in a car crash, or arrested, or mugged, or beaten, or hospitalized. Close family members are dead or unable to assist. Sometimes the scammer claims to have a young child overseas who is ill or hospitalized.
- You have sent money for visas or plane tickets, but they can’t seem to make it to their destinations, citing detention by immigration officials, or other unexpected reasons that prevent them for traveling.
- Beware of anyone who requests funds as a requirement to depart another country for the United States – sometimes called a Basic Travel Allowance or BTA. There is no such thing as a BTA. In other cases, your Internet friend will claim a need for a certain amount of money to travel to the United States. Again, there is no such requirement under U.S. law.
- The scammer claims to have been born in the United States, but uses poor grammar and spelling indicative of a non-native English speaker.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv receives numerous reports from U.S. citizens who have been the victims of a particular type of internet fraud in which the person has sent money to a person or an agency with the agreement that a young woman will visit the United States for the purposes of marriage or study. Often, these scams will result in requests for increasing amounts of money for various purposes, including many noted above. Once the U.S. citizen becomes suspicious, the individual or agency will cut off contact. Many of these agencies have existed for years under a variety of different names and addresses.
Even if the woman you have become acquainted with does exist and it honestly trying to visit you in the United States, it is unlikely that she will be issued a visa. The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens not to send money to people or agencies who have advertised for these services over the internet. We have no authority to investigate these types of incidents and it is very unlikely that you will recover your money if it turns out you are the victim of a scam.
Legitimate information about obtaining various types of U.S. visas is available for free from the U.S. Embassy website and the Department of State . Additional information about applying for a visa for your fiancée is also available from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service .
If you believe you are the victim of an Internet scam:
- Do not send money. Unfortunately, any money you have already sent is probably not recoverable.
- End all communication with the scammer immediately. If you feel threatened, contact the local police at once. DO NOT attempt to personally recover the funds you have sent.
- Report the matter immediately to:
- The Internet Crime Complaint Center , a partnership among the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).
- If you are in Ukraine, to the local police.
- If the scam originated through a particular website, notify the administrators of that website.
Originally Published on: Feb 19, 2013 – Updated
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