Do scammers use bank transfers?

by John

A year ago I signed up for free at a site to meet Russian women, but after filling in my profile realized I had to pay to send messages, so I forgot about the site. Can't recall the site name now, but it said women can send messages for free.

Two months ago I received a message from Tatiana who said she'd been in Canada 4 months, living and working in Toronto. After a month we talked on the phone then agreed to meet in Toronto. I checked the number she called from. It was a Toronto area code.

I live outside Ottawa so planned to go to Toronto. A week before we were to meet she had to return to Russia to help her mother. I've called her cell in Russia every day to talk to her since she arrived there 2 weeks ago. A week ago she said she needs help with a new ticket to return to Canada.

I offered to buy her ticket on my credit card, but she said she needs to buy her own ticket. I said I wouldn't send money by Western Union. She understood, and gave me her mother's bank account number, name and a street address, asking me to transfer money from my account to her.

Tatiana speaks good English with a noticeable accent. Her emails suggest she reads my emails, and she answers some questions. I don't answer all her questions, so I'm not concerned she doesn't answer all mine. She seems sincere, but $1,800 is a lot for me to risk.

Our emails are only unusual in that we talk a lot about what real love is and our search for it. She seems to have little experience with men for a 35 year old woman. I'm 60 years old but look 50ish. Attractive women can attract the worst creeps, so I think she may be the person she says she is.

I want to meet her, but I know there's many scams. I made excuses to delay sending money while I think over what to do. I've never heard of scammers using bank accounts to transfer money. I really feel like Tatiana is real and this could be the start of something special. I feel love for her and believe through our emails she's come to have strong feelings for me. If not for all the scams I've heard of I'd have already sent the money.

What are my chances of meeting her if I transfer money from my bank account to her mother's bank account? Is this a safe way to transfer money or another kind of scam? If you've transferred money bank to bank, please let me know what happened. Thanks for any help you can give me in deciding what to do.

Bob's Answer:

So the local caller ID and the bank transfer are new twists, but EVERYTHING ELSE in this story smells very fishy.

The absolute most fishy being her claim that she has to purchase her own ticket. That's just not true, and I know that from experience. I dated and married a girl from Russia, and I used a credit card to buy her plane tickets from Russia to Dominican Republic, and from Russia to here when her fiancee visa was approved. I would not believe any explanation for why she has to be the one to buy the tickets. That alone is such a definitive indicator that I personally would not need any more.

It's also very fishy that just before this planned meeting she HAD to return home, "to help her mother". Not saying that mothers don't sometimes need help, but this is all intended to evoke sympathy on your part.

And finally (in order of significance), she contacted you kinda out of the blue. If you don't mind my asking, what was the site where you met?

I'm pretty sure it is possible to fake caller ID... Actually I KNOW it's possible because I get robo-callers calling me FROM MY OWN NUMBER.

And you're right, for those ANONYMOUS emailer scams it would be very rare for them to take payments by bank transfer, but this one is clearly a little more involved, and the fact that it's a bank transfer definitely does not rule out scam.

At this point I wouldn't pay for anything, not even airfare with your credit card. Because then, after you've put out this $1800 that you can't get back, she'll call again saying that at the airport Russia requires her to leave a deposit to ensure her return (another popular BS story), or that she missed her flight and needs to pay the schedule change penalty in cash, etc.

Sorry for the bad news, but that's how I see it.

Comments for Do scammers use bank transfers?

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Still unsure what to think
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your advice. I thought it strange she said she had to buy her own ticket. I knew of no such requirement by the Canadian government, so I said I didn't understand why. Her reply suggests it's the Russian government. Is it possible that to ensure she'll return to Russia when her 1 year working visa is up, there's such a requirement by the Russian government, to prevent brain drain to the west?

Some photos of her she sent were taken in Canada. She said she's lived here for 4 months, and works in registry at a clinic, and taking night classes to upgrade her Russian medical education.

She speaks good English compared to other Russian women I've spoke with. I don't doubt she is well educated. Her written English is better than any other Russian woman I received letters from yet I see some of the same difficulties with word usage and grammar. I have no doubt she's Russian.

Half of her emails would be around a full printed page. After several emails she began to begin or end sentences, often mid paragraph, saying things like "To be honest John," or "Your letter made me laugh John." or ".., so what do you think of that John. Please tell me.."

Her replies always seem like she reads my letters carefully. Often she comments on what I said and sometimes asks questions. She's asked less about what I do or money I may have than most women do. She was content with "I'm not rich or poor.", and with "I've been off work for some time but I plan to look for work come spring."

Thought for sure Tatyana would be gone after that and was surprised when she replied she thinks I'm an intelligent honest man, then suggests I pursue my photography hobby as a profession. I had sent her several scenery photos I took I thought she'd like from scenery in her photos. Of over 2o only 1 of her photos looks professional, a couple more may be.

I was 101% sure this girl is real until after her first week in Russia she said she'd gone there to sign papers to sell her small apartment, that her mother's apartment had to be fully paid off or it would be sold, so she cashed in her return ticket to make up what they were short, so she'd be back a couple days late, she'd borrow airfare from her father. He refused, so I offered to buy a return ticket. She had to buy it herself or wouldn't be allowed to leave due to the brain drain risk.

I've been single several years and I have met too many scammers to count them, some were so obvious they seemed as if they were trying to find out if I'm a totally stupid. If Tatyana's a scammer she is the most clever one I've met. I hate to admit this, but I still think she could be real, and if I make a bank transfer we might live happily ever after. I know. Stupid romantic me. Think after being once bitten I'd never consider being bitten again, but our communication has been so real she sure has my head spinning. I tell myself no, not going to happen, then I can't stop thinking about her and what life together would be like if she's real. We seem to have so much in common that she almost seems like the perfect girl for me.

I began our conversation about what love is, then suddenly she began writing things that I would've likely written in my next letter. It seemed like we were inside other's head at times. I spent 25 years with a woman, and she didn't communicate as well as Tatyana. Talking with Tatyana seems like we've known each other for years not 8 weeks. Do you think there's any chance she is real and will get on a plane, or do I just want love too much?

I really don't know what to do. I have 2 days to decide what to do before it's too late for her to get back before she loses her job after which she said she won't return to Canada. She's texted me once this week, 2 days after I didn't call when I said I'd call, at 4:30 a.m. her time, asking if I could call. Said she couldn't sleep, was I okay, I hadn't called. I gave a good reason for me not calling that also explained delaying the transfer until later this week. Today I viewed over 8,800 photos of known Russian scammers and none look at all like her. In fact Tatyana is the first woman whose photos make her seem real. I don't want to lose $1,800, nor do I want to miss meeting a girl I could be happier with than I've ever been. She is the first woman in years I think I'll be happy with, so it's not like I fall for anyone. I'm so choosey with women you'd think I'm picky.

Please, if you think she's a clever scammer don't hesitate to say so, but do you think there's even a small chance her story is real? I've had worse unexpected crisis to deal with than Tatyana's, so it's hard not to trust her even after what you've said. As you can tell she's really got me going, so if you still think she's a scammer, I'll trust your judgment not mine. Love can make a man very blind to reality, and for the first time in years I love a woman, whether she's real, or not.

This is the first time any woman has swept me off my feet like this, so whatever you say is greatly appreciated. You have no idea what this is doing to me right now, unless you read a few paragraphs in between each line I wrote, so to live with not helping Tatyana I need your help to decide if I'd be a fool to help her. Thank you more than I can ever put into words for your help.

Still think scammer
by: Bob (Site Owner)

"Clever" scammer at best. Everything - and I do mean everything - in this story screams "scam" to me.

First, let's look at a few cold, hard, really indisputable facts... things whose certainty is up there with the law of gravity, earth spinning on its axis, etc. These are things about which there is ZERO DOUBT:

Russia does not care who departs, where they go, or whether they EVER return. They require no special "departure fees", deposits to ensure a traveler's return, and they don't require travelers to buy their own tickets. And this "brain drain prevention" thing you've mentioned a few times... It does not exist.

So, store that away... those things are as sure as gravity. You CAN buy her plane ticket with your credit card and just email her the ticket info. THAT is also 100% certain.

So if she is not scamming, why else would she tell you this? I know it isn't true, and I know she isn't just innocently mistaken about it.

Now for the "not quite as sure as the law of gravity" is all this drama about having to sign papers to sell her apartment, losing her job, etc. To me that just SCREAMS "elaborate story to make the money request seem legitimate and urgent".

The "known scammers" databases... completely worthless.

Anyway, sorry for the bad news again, but I'm very sure if you send this money you'll never see her again (which would be the BEST outcome... worst outcome would be that she feels she can siphon more from you).

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