How elaborate do Ukraine scams get ?
So I've been chatting to what appears on the surface to be an ideal match for me but I have some doubts at how everything seems too good to be true. This girl (we will call her Irina) isn't the best looking in Ukraine but she's still attractive, has a wonderful personality and is very interested about my life. She first initiated contact with me on a well known UK dating site, we went through the icebreaker questions and it reached the point where she gave me her email to contact her so we could carry on the exchange, her initial reasons for being on this dating site was so she could meet people to improve her English which is already good and also so she had some friends if she ever gets around to moving.
So a week after first talking we were exchanging emails nearly everyday and there was a lot of detail in those emails, she would ask me questions to which I would reply with questions of my own and she in turn would reply in great detail. I never thought anything of it really as it was nice to be conversing with someone so interesting from another country. So she told me about her education, bits about her family, some of her likes and her dreams and about the Ukraine economy not being so great but she gets by (I asked her opinion on money so that was me). She also told me where she's currently working and even included the website so I could see it (it's a really nice place to be honest) and she also sent me some pictures and asked for some in return.
So after all this is done and about 8 or 9 replies later she asks if I use whatsapp or another messaging service. So I obliged and she sent me her number so I could add and since then we have been talking all day everyday for the last 2 weeks, we've had voice conversations, she even gives me a wake up call daily, has sent me pictures of her with her family and she usually sends me pictures of things like messages written in English to me, pictures of her workplace, the scenery, of her there in her workplace (the workplace pics I know are legit 100%) so, so far it all seems legit she is working where she says she is.
Now it was me who brought up visiting her, she was shocked saying nobody has done that for her before, money isn't an issue I have the money to fly out tomorrow and she knows this but due to her work she can't currently do a 2 week meet so I have to wait for her to finish her current job which is seasonal. We've discussed cultures & traditions, she says she wouldn't want me to spend money on her while I'm there except for little gifts and the meal on the first date and maybe buy her a drink if she's thirsty or too hot, you know nothing out of the ordinary and things most gents would do naturally. I've even gone as far as beginning to learn Ukrainian and she has been helping me, creating personalised help sheets for me (I did scan them for virus and opened them on google docs so macro's couldn't work, yes I am security conscious lol)
Things are going really great if I'm honest on the surface but I have a higher than average IQ and I'm incredibly analytical so I think of all scenarios all of the time, it's a curse at times but it helps protect me, I'm also good with computers so I've done the usual checking original source of her mails to look for IP, there's no mass mailer used but one slight flag for me is that her IP is encrypted, she's sent me a geotag location it was in the correct area but about 2km away from where she should be although I know that geotagging is not always reliable due to GSM towers in poorly receptive areas. I've used reverse image search on google for every picture she has sent and all the pictures she had on her dating profile, again absolutely nothing comes up suspect apart from her social media profile which has nothing suspect and Ukrainian site which seems to be like linkedin and has her resume.
However I still have my doubts, it's getting a little too lovey dovey and I apparently make her smile all day, we've discussed relationships and providing everything carries on the way it is I could definitely be her boyfriend. Also in my investigations I found one image on one of her social media contacts page who happens to have the same surname as her and is of the 2 of them kissing and it looks like a wedding but there's no wedding ring on her finger so it may be somebody else wedding. Now this picture was taken in 2012 and she says she hasn't had a relationship for 2 years and she says she has been married once in the past when she was 21 (she's now 28 and I'm 33) and has a past which she is going to tell me about and has fears it may put me off her but I've reassured her I value her honesty and who she is now more than her past which is true. And she has been really supportive with me, she even brought up Ukraine scammers when she asked why I wanted to keep talking to her and we've discussed it and she's asked me to tell her any way she can earn my trust.
So I want to know if you guys think this is some really fucked up elaborate scam even though she knows I'm not currently working nor does she know much about my finances (she only knows I can afford a trip to Ukraine) my heart wants it to be legit because it would be a dream come true but my mind is being it's usual rational self thinking the worst. Also I would put in exact messages she has sent but I feel if it is true then it is not right to post privately sent messages. If it turns out to be a scam then it's fair game I'll post everything I have on her!
Wow, that's a lot of detail!
Let me first address the few things you list as causes for concern... I would NOT rely too heavily on IP geolocation... it's a general location at best. In America different IP lookup systems trace the location of an IP address to two different very distant states. Further it's not always easy to determine in email headers which IP address is intended to represent the location of the sending computer, and some email systems don't even include that information (like GMail).
As for the social media analysis, I wouldn't put too much stock in that either.
Then there's the "lovey dovey" and her claim that you make her smile all day... THAT is the one thing that usually spooks me instantly... it just rings hollow when a girl after ONE message says crap like "Now because of you I have a smile on my face all day and my friends think I'm crazy...". But there's a huge difference between "after ONE message" and after weeks/months of daily emails and now even frequent voice calls. Was this "lovey dovey" and "smiling all day" stuff at the beginning, or did it seem to increase over time? If it was immediate, I would be concerned. If it grew over time, it wouldn't concern me as much.
Given what you've told me I would caution you about "testing" her too much at this point. If she is real and sincere, it will cause her to end the relationship, but if she's a scammer she'll submit herself to your tests, and by passing the tests she proves she is a scammer! Ironic, isn't it? ;)
BUT here's my main thought... A lot of stuff in this story sounds legit... She's putting a LOT of consistent time and highly interactive communication. It's at least legit enough to go forward with a short meeting. I realize she can't take off a two-week period of time right away, but can she take a long weekend (Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon)?
If finances and getting time off work aren't that much of a challenge for you, this would seem like a no-lose deal. Being in the U.K. makes the long-weekend plan manageable as it appears to be about a 3 hour flight from London to Kiev. You leave on a Thursday after work, arrive in Ukraine that night, spend all day with her Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon, and fly back to London Monday evening and return to work Tuesday.
And for all the money thing... Like dating anywhere you should naturally expect to pay for all meals, entertainment, transport (not just on the first date), and a few little gifts (it is IMPORTANT to show up to EVERY date with a gift, no matter how small). That's just normal dating cost, not a scam.
Even if she takes you to expensive restaurants where you run up a bill over $100 USD it's not a scam. If that happens more than once you might want to be concerned about her character, but that's far short of a scam.
If you get there and she tells you she can't meet with you because her mother was just injured in a car crash and will die within a few days unless she gets expensive medicine (that you're invited to offer to pay), or some other high-drama thing like that, THEN WORRY that it's a scam!
But as I see it, a long weekend visit has almost no real risks for you. The ABSOLUTE worst case would be that you get there and she doesn't even show up. Then you would need to entertain yourself for a few days. If that happens and you can't figure out anything, contact me and I'll give you some pointers!
And on the upside, you get some real face-to-face time with her where you should be much more able to get a read on what's really happening and know whether you're wasting your time on her.