Confirming Her Identity

by John
(Sydney, Australia)

Hi. I am corresponding with a girl who says she is from Kazan. We have spoken on the phone and shared many emails and photos, but have never spoken over webcam. She says it is too hard to speak on Skype with a webcam.

I asked for a unique photo with my name. She eventually sent it, but it does not look 100% authentic. I asked for a video of her saying she wants to visit me "name" in "country". She refuses to do it for "her safety".

She gave me a cell number - but there are difficulties calling and it doesn't work.

She does write personal letters which seem to comment on my situation and appear to be unique.

She asks for money to come to my country.

Can I confirm firstly that the person corresponding with me is in the fact the girl in the photos.

I note your advice regarding meeting. If she is real, I then plan to propose coming to her city.

We'll see what happens then...

Bob's Answer:

Thanks for your questions.

One other piece of information can help here... What is your Russian woman's English proficiency? If her English is not so good it could explain why she's reluctant to speak on Skype/webcam or even on cell. Just think about how this conversation would go. There are tools available to help smooth things out if she knows some English (like Google Translate), but it could be very awkward.

To answer your specific question - "Can I confirm her identity?" - yes and no. Yes, in that you can try the kinds of things you have already tried or suggested (Skype, videos, special pictures). There are probably other things you could try too, but ultimately you will probably never be certain, and your reasons for concern are valid.

The biggest thing that would worry me is her request for travel money. I'm not sure about all the rules about visas for Russians to travel to Australia, but chances are slim that it would be very easy for her to get. And most sincere Russian women would not travel to a foreign place like this to meet a man they don't really know that well yet. Most likely she either (1) is a full scammer who will vanish as soon as the cash is sent (most likely) or (2) looking for a nice free vacation.

And here's an observation many fail to make... the fact that she's still talking to you after you have essentially asked her to prove her identity and authenticity via special photos and videos is evidence that she may not be authentic. A serious Russian woman who likes you and is serious about you and has sincere long-term intentions would be offended by these requests and probably discontinue communication.

I hope that helps. Feel free to post a follow-up question here and I'll try to help further.

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