Is it OK to send money for a women to get Skype to be able to get to know each other?

by Francis

By the way, men in 2012 who are seeking a Russian bride are very lucky... We have you who gives us great tips!! Very very lucky! I appreciate it.

I'm corresponding with a beautiful 26 year old Ukrainian woman from a small town about 200km from Kiev, but she doesn't have a good internet connection at her house and doesn't have Skype. So far we exchanged a few messages online and then e-mails. She can sometimes use internet from her work and friend's house (but she said they don't have Skype either). Since she didn't have Skype, she offered me to do a phone meeting. We did have that phone meeting and it went well. She doesn't speak English well so her friend who speaks English helps us. I already asked you once if it was normal that she didn't have Skype and a good internet connection and you told me it's very possible. You also told me it was a very good sign that she asked me for a phone call.

So now I sent her an e-mail saying that we absolutely have to have Skype to get to know each other good before I go to Ukraine to visit her in a couple of months. I told her I would cover the expenses to get Skype, I'm not sure if that was a good idea but what choice did I have. She seems to be struggling working long hours at a flower shop and taking care of her daughter.

She wrote back to me saying that she can get Skype but she needs to get 3G unlimited internet connection and also a camera for seeing each other. This package costs around $200 USD. And also around $30 per month for the connection. I almost don't even know that girl but I would like to. Do you think it's OK to send her that money right away for her to get Skype? Or might this just be a scam?

Thanks a lot!

Bob's Answer:

Thanks for your compliments!

This is a tough question. First, it's always possible that you're being scammed, but there are many things in your story here that make me think probably not (but a few other things cause a little concern).

She didn't ASK you to send her money, right? Now keep in mind, there's not much difference between "asking for money" and telling some sob-type story that strongly implies a money request. But I don't see that here either. YOU DEMANDED Skype and she doesn't have it.

To me it's totally believable that she doesn't have Skype and that she has a very busy life and not much money.

While searching for information to convey what the standard of living there is like I found this interesting page:

Some of the costs she describes seem a little off to me, but it's possible they're right. For example, I know in 2010 in Poltava Ukraine (which is also 200km from Kiev) high speed cable internet was more like $12 USD/month with a $25 installation charge. HOWEVER, my fiancee in Russia lived in a building where the cable company would not run high-speed internet because there were not enough other customers there to justify it. So she had to use a cellular modem which is slower and cost more. That's probably what your girl is talking about judging by the fact that she refers to "3G".

You probably know that Skype is FREE and almost every computer has speakers built in. And most laptops made in the past 5 years also have microphone and webcam built in too. So the worst case seems like it should be that she only needs a webcam and microphone. Well, I see online that I can get a USB webcam with microphone built in for less than $15 USD.

So that whole $200 package plus $30/month sounds high to me.

But here's where it gets dicey. If you start challenging her numbers too much or demanding other proof/evidence that she is real and sincere, then IF she actually IS real and sincere, you'll offend her and lose her, OR you'll motivate her to ACTUALLY try to scam you as sort of a revenge. Ironic, I know!

So maybe just gently ask her about some of this... "Can you get high-speed cable internet at home?... and what would a webcam/microphone cost?..."

Sending money is always risky, but if your history with her, and her answers to your questions sound believable, then it may be worth the risk.

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