Am I dealing with a professional Russian scammer?
Hi Bob , first of all thank you for this space and your advice. I met a woman online trough a free dating site with no intermediaries. I first made the contact, she replied positively. It was about two months ago, and after about 5 or 6 letters she asked for my personal mail. I gave it to her and we moved from the website to our personal mails. By now I'm almost totally convinced she is real.
I mean she really exists. I know this for sure because we videochat on Skype several times a week. What worries me that she might be a professional scammer is that she proposed to come to my country in a very short time. She does not talk about love. She says that she wants to come for vacations to see if things works well for us, then go back to Russia and make the final decision.
The funny thing is that when I say that I would like to go meet her first she does not appear to like the idea. She says that I can go and she will receive me but she won't feel comfortable since her apartment is really small and poor..... so she is not refusing me to go first but she encourages a lot the idea of her coming to me first...... here are some facts:
1. I am 29, from Mexico, Airplane Pilot and Air Traffic Controller, she knows this but I have made myself clear about I am so distant to be a millionaire man. I got to say I'm a good looking man, and I have no problem getting local girls, so I don't see an obvious attempt of scam in this.
2. She is 28 from a mid-size city in Russia. She is divorced no kids.
3. We exchange letters every single day, and the letters are long and descriptive both ways, detail and effort are put into every letter.
4. We videochat on Skype and discuss things we have written in letters, so at least I know she read them very carefully. She has no problem answering a Skype call anytime.
5. We exchange text messages to our personal cellphones.
6. She has no problem answering a phone call to her cell phone anytime.
7. Her IP address matches the city she says she is from.
8. I did research on all websites I could found about scams, on her email, name, IP address etc, I couldn't find anything. She seems to be clean.
9. I did research on the internet on her name and email and found a profile on a social networking site. I compared the information she told me with the profile I found and everything was ok. She is not lying on anything so far. (her profile was submitted in 2007)
10. I Google all her photos. They are clean and authentic. I see her when I video chat on skype so I know its her.
11. She has no problem with getting in touch with me. As I told, she can pick up calls anytime, she has internet at work and at home.
12. Don't ask me how, but I was able to find the company she works at, and confirmed she works there, it is a serious company, it's actually a bank.
13. I found her resume on a website and matches correctly all the information.
14. Don't ask me how again, but I found her school records of a Russian university, even her results of some school tests... she is not lying about it also.
15. I told her I'm willing to pay her expenses to come to Mexico, but I will not send overseas a single dollar. She agreed. I told her I will buy the tickets myself on the Internet. She is OK with this.
16. Russians have no problems at all for entering Mexico, so she can not ask for any weird fee or something. I told her I got a friend that works for customs and immigration in Cancun international airport, so she will not have any problem... she is ok with this too.
I could go on and on with facts that point to a real thing. The only thing that worries me is how quick she wants to come.... only after 8 or 10 days of exchanging letters, skype, and cellphone calls.....
Bob I'm totally convinced she is real, but I worry because I have read stories where the girl was real, but then turned out to be a professional scammer.
She agrees that I would not send any money, and agrees that I buy the tickets myself. She agrees to pay her expenses in Russia (her flight from her city to Moscow and back) and that I will only pay her ticket from Moscow to Cancun and back, and of course her expenses for two weeks in Mexico. I'm afraid to receive the economical disaster phone call a day before her arrival, and in which case I will not send her any money of course, but in which case I would lose the cost of the airplane tickets.
Bob, please tell me what do you think about all this situation, thank you so much in advance. Best regards.
Wow, you're THOROUGH and well-reasoned! It definitely sounds like you've ruled out the easily detectable Russian dating scams where nothing is "real", but you still sense that something isn't right based how quickly she wants to come to your country.
I agree with your concern, mostly because of where you live (tropical climate, probably planning to spend time in Cancun/Cozumel). To a Russian woman, these things make you like a millionaire! She may be real, and she may like you, but she may be much more excited about escaping to your lush, tropical paradise for a few weeks away from her icy, frozen tundra :-) Although this certainly isn't what you really want, technically it's not a scam. She WOULD show up, she would spend time with you, etc. Her motives just may be a little off.
But I see a few other things in this story that also support this theory.
One is the fact that you've actually told her you'll never send money, yet she's still in communication with you. That would offend most sincere women who were truly interested in YOU (as opposed to some material benefit associated with you). In other words, you've implicitly told her that you don't really trust her that much, but she's OK with that!
Another concern is her excuse for not wanting your first meeting to be in her city: Her apartment is small and poor? So? Who says you have to stay in her apartment? Most (though not all) sincere Russian women would actually not want you to stay with them in their apartment on your first visit.
Personally, I think the simple solution to all of this is to just take the meeting in Mexico off the table. It's too much of a prize, especially if that meeting is near Cancun/Cozumel.
My first preference would be to meet in her city and stay in a hotel or rented apartment. Don't stay with her, and DON'T send money for her to arrange your accommodations. If she offers, just say "Thanks for your offer to help, but I don't want to trouble you... I'll just stay at the ___ hotel". That takes all ulterior motives off the table, and it's how most sincere Russian women would prefer it anyway.
If you offer such a plan and she resists, listen carefully to the reasons.
BUT, if her resistance is over the concern that there's not much to do or see in her city, then there is an acceptable alternative.... Meet in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, or some other larger Russian city. That way the trip has value to you in the event that she stands you up or things fail very quickly. You'll be in a large city with lots to do, and maybe even many other women to meet. BUT, if she's sincere, she'll probably be thrilled to be your guide.
NOTE: Pay careful attention to the rules in Russia. You will need a visa, AND you need to "register" in any city you visit for longer than three days.
I hope that helps!