Avoiding Russian Women Scams
Nearly every question I receive centers around Russian women scams and goes something like this, "I've been writing this girl for __ months, we have not spoken by phone, but she wants to come see me in the U.S.... She seems real, but I'm not sure... Do you think it's a scam?"
If you are even asking this question, the chances are pretty good that you've stumbled upon one of a million Russian women scams. Many in such a situation become consumed with trying to figure out whether or not it's really a scam. Unfortunately once you've reached this point, the only thing to do is to move on. If you feel that you have a special case on your hands and would like to run it by me, please feel free to do so at Russian Scams Q & A
But all this is a waste of time, energy, and money that can be almost completely avoided if you know a few things about Russian women scams and how to manage your online dating efforts.
Overall there are two general categories of defense against Russian women scams... (1) Avoid the scammers in the first place by searching on good sites, and (2) "Follow the money". Allow me to elaborate...
Use the right sites
The best protection from Russian women scams is simply to avoid them altogether (obviously), or at least learn how to spot them in their first message to you (or even earlier). The best way to do that is simply to use the RIGHT SITES.
As I mention quite a few times elsewhere on this site, Russian-Ukrainian-Women.com
is very scam-resistant. If you shop there you will almost never need to wonder whether the girl you are writing is real or not. And if you suspect foul play, you can write customer service and they will investigate promptly.
Other sites may have more women or hotter women, but with Russian-Ukrainian-Women.com
the women are REAL. Sites that offer pay-per-letter services are nearly always havens for Russian women scams and are to be treated with skepticism. I recommend avoiding them altogether (at least their letter services).
and Ukraine Date
are also excellent sites with many attractive women, but to use them you will need to learn a few more things about Russian women scams. I offer some great tips for easily filtering out the scammers at Russian Cupid and Ukraine Date - Review
and at Email Scams
In summary... better to just shop where you are less likely to find Russian women scams than to spend all your time and emotional/mental effort trying to figure out whether the girl you are writing is real. Or, as the old saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" (for you metric system folks, maybe more like "A gram of prevention is worth a kilogram of cure").
Did She View Your Profile?
All of the good sites that I mention above have a feature whereby you can see all the women who have actually viewed your profile. If you write a Russian woman on one of these sites and she replies with interest, but doesn't appear in the list of women who have viewed your profile, there's a really good chance she's is one of the many Russian women scams!
The same applies if she writes you first: If a Russian/Ukrainian woman writes you through one of these sites but does not appear in that site's list of women who viewed your profile, she's probably one of your typical Russian women scams.
It's just plain and simple common sense if you think about it. What do YOU do before writing to a Russian woman? You view her full profile. You examine EVERY picture she has posted extremely carefully. And, if a woman writes you first, probably before you even read her message you do the same. You view her full profile and all pictures.
A REAL Russian/Ukrainian woman who is sincere and serious in her pursuit of a foreign partner will do exactly the same. She would never write you or send an "Expression of Interest" without first viewing your full profile, nor would she reply positively to your first message or EOI without first viewing your full profile.
NOTE: This feature isn't 100% sure. For example, in some cases it could be possible for someone to view your profile while not being logged in, and thus not show up in your "Who Viewed Me" list. It's just a guideline. If the ONLY thing that raises suspicion is that she hasn't viewed your profile, don't worry about it.
Follow the Money
But once you are already in touch with a Russian woman and concluded she is probably not a scammer, or if you aren't so sure she's a scammer but you are willing to take the chance, the next step in avoiding Russian women scams is to simply follow the money.
Remember, Russian women scams are all about tricking you out of your money under completely fraudulent premises. In other words, they get you to wire them money to travel to see you, or wire them money to arrange your apartment for your visit to their city, or spend money while there on a translator that isn't really needed, etc., etc. OR, they get you to pay for letter services writing to a woman who either doesn't know you exist (the agency writes on her behalf) or who shares in the revenue from the letter services.
As long as you NEVER send anyone money, and as long as you only spend money on services that YOU choose, and as long as you avoid pay-per-letter services like the plague, the risk of becoming a victim of Russian women scams drops to near zero.
If you are writing to a Russian woman and decide you want to meet, you plan the meeting in a way that completely keeps cash out of her hands. In other words, you obviously need to spend a fair amount of money to travel to meet her, and for a hotel or apartment, and for dates. But it is important to do this in a way that the only thing she takes from it is a good time, a good meal, etc., but NO cold hard cash in her pocket. It's easier and much more natural than you might think. How, you ask? Easy...
DON'T use pay-per-letter services
I just can't say it any more clearly than this: If you are communicating with Russian/Ukrainian women through pay-per-letter services, you are probably being scammed.
The woman may be "real" (i.e. the woman pictured on the site and purportedly sending you the messages does exist, and her name, city, and photos are accurate), but she is either writing you at the encouragement of the agency in exchange for a share of the revenue OR the agency is corresponding with you on her behalf.
Instead use either free sites or sites where you pay one price for unlimited communication for a period of time. Examples of such sites are Russian-Ukrainian-Women.com
, Russian Cupid
, and Ukraine Date
Meet in her city
At least your first meeting MUST BE IN HER CITY, no matter how hard a trip it is for you. This completely removes the matter of you needing to send her money to cover travel expenses, one of the mainstays of Russian women scams. And it even removes another negative possibility that falls a little short of an all-out scam: The woman getting exotic vacations on someone else's dime.
A "pure" scam would be where you send her money to arrange her own travel and never see her or the money again. But the other option isn't that much better if you're serious. If you offer to fly a Russian woman to an exotic vacation location (they like Dominican Republic, for example), you control the money, so you know she isn't just banking it. You pay for her flights and hotel, but don't send any cash. She shows up, you spend a wonderful vacation together, but after the vacation she seems to lose interest.
But both these possibilities are completely stripped away when you just visit her city AND make all your own arrangements. Even though a trip to her city may be a lot more complicated for you, and maybe a lot less fun than hanging out in a tropical beach paradise, you can have a much greater peace of mind that she's the real deal.
And frankly, any sincere Russian woman would prefer this since she gets to remain in the safety and security of her own environment.
Arrange your own accommodations
A favorite in the Russian women scams handbook is the good old trick, "OK, you can visit me in my city... Just send me $1000 USD so that I can arrange your apartment".
This is easy to avoid... When planning your visit to her city, you arrange all necessary accommodations on your own. You may feel a little lost in this, but it isn't as difficult as you may think. First, remember that Russian/Ukrainian cities are quite different from most American cities. Nearly all of them have a "city center" where everything happens. That's where you'll want to rent an apartment or a hotel. And chances are pretty darned good that everything you'll need to do will be within walking distance.
Use your own translator
Many Russian women scams involve a Russian woman insisting that you use her translator, but in reality the translator and your date are in business together.
If your girl doesn't speak English and requires a translator, YOU find your own translator/guide. NEVER should you agree to use "her" translator... If she suggests her own translator, and especially if it's real important to her that you use her translator, it's probably because she's in business with the translator and derives a nice income from it.
Watch out for the "Taxi Scam"
In-person Russian women scams often involve taxi money. There are variants, but generally here's how it works. You're writing to a girl in Kiev. You eventually plan a trip to meet her. But when you get there she informs you she actually lives in a distant suburb far from the city center where you are staying and needs taxi money to travel to the city center to meet you.
Of course it would be natural for a girl from Irpin, Ukraine to put on her profile that she's from "Kiev". Irpin is 15 miles from Kiev. It is like someone from Carrollton, Texas saying they are from Dallas. So there's no real deception there.
So what's the scam? I mean if she really does live 15 miles away and doesn't have her own car, then transportation expense is just part of the deal, right?
Well, most of the time one of two things are happening.
One possibility is that she really does live that far away, but she takes cheap transportation to meet you and pockets the difference (which is a lot). If she lives within metro range, she'll spend $0.25 USD each way to take the metro. If she lives outside metro range she may need to spend another $0.25 USD each way to get a "route taxi" (Google it). This is definitely how she would normally get to the city center on her own.
That round trip by taxi could easily be $20 USD for the round trip.
This is shady, but it's hard to call it a complete scam. I mean if it's worth $20 to her to spend an hour on smelly public transport each way and pocket the difference I guess that's more in the grey area.
But the real scam is when she really isn't coming from Irpin, but is already in the city center. Maybe she really lives in Irpin, but is in the city all day every day for other reasons. Or maybe she lives in the city center - or at least very close. In these cases she just WALKS to meet you and SAYS she took the taxi.
Most sincere girls won't ask for taxi money. A sincere girl who really does live in the far suburbs would probably take the route taxi and metro for $1 each way and not say anything of it. If that happens after a few meetings you can OFFER to give her taxi money. Or you can just offer to get her an Uber ride home.
You choose the date activities/locations (mostly)
You should be on the lookout for women who suggest expensive restaurants and order the more expensive items at those restaurants. She might be in cahoots with the restaurant, or she just might be a selfish princess taking advantage of you. Either way it's a red flag.
You can circumvent this scam by simply being the one who chooses the date activities and locations. But this is a little tricky. Remember, you ARE courting her, so you can't just veto everything she suggests.
But you can suggest things you want to do. Ask around for recommendations for classy, but reasonably priced restaurants. Suggest those for your date. If it's really important to her that you go to a restaurant she chooses, it's bad news.
Get help from an agency or a local guide
Most of those suggestions above for avoiding Russian women scams could be very difficult for you to implement if you have no experience in Russia/Ukraine, but nearly every city where you would be meeting your Russian woman will have personal guides who can help you with any accommodations you might need. They are used to dealing with foreigners visiting their city for dating purposes and have arrangements with apartment rentals, translators, guides, taxis, etc.
And with the advent of AirBNB
that can solve all your problems in one pass. Before booking the airbnb, contact the host and ask a few questions. Ask if they can give you some guidance, recommend some restaurants, and maybe even suggest a guide.
If you would like my help with any of this, visit Russian Women Advice
where I can offer customized input for your situation.
In summary about Russian women scams
Most Russian women scams have no chance if you just use common sense and do things right. The best scam prevention is to follow the advice on this site. If you speak with a girl on Skype regularly prior to a visit and really get to know her pretty well, most of this risk just flies out the window.
You KNOW when money is leaving your wallet. And now after this page you should know some of the tricky ways it can leave your wallet without you even realizing what's happening.
If you're not sure and would like to run your situation by me personally, I offer several options at Russian Women Advice