Was I scammed?

by Alex
(Orange County, California )

I was in Kiev, Ukraine recently and I met Alina on Tinder while I was there. I wanted to meet Alina and she made arrangements to pick me up at my hotel with her friend, Anna to accompany her because her English was not very good. I was picked up and taken to an expensive restaurant named River Grill Restaurant on the outskirts of the city by the river. The date was very nice, the food was good and we concluded we wanted to stay in touch because I was leaving the next day. I did receive a quick hello again on Tinder, but I'm still wondering if this is a typical tactic if a scam that a restaurant might engage in to get customers in to spend money on their expensive services. What do you think?


Bob's Reply:

It's refreshing to get a scam question from a guy who actually set foot in Kiev! It seems all the scam questions I get are "I've been writing this Russian girl for some time... she wants to come see me but needs $450 more to pay the balance due at the travel agency for her visa to the U.S...."

I like to try to be precise in my use of the word "scam" and restrict its use to cases where deception is used for financial gain. And when I say that, I usually mean that the scammer walks away with cash in pocket and the scammed got nothing but an intriguing story (like the travel agency thing).

By that measure I couldn't call what happened to you a scam.

Let's look at what you KNOW is "real"... You actually saw and spent time with two women. You actually sat at a restaurant, saw a menu (and prices), ordered, ate, drank, enjoyed company of the women, and paid the bill (which probably corresponded with the prices on the menu of the things ordered).

Did you sense that Alina's English was shaky? It is very plausible that a girl with weak English would like to have a friend along who speaks better English.

Of course other things could also be happening mostly out of sight. Yes, I have heard that sometimes restaurants pay a little kickback to customers who refer other customers.

But more than likely these women were just opportunistic party girls with expensive tastes who sniffed out the "rich American" and had a good time at his (your) expense.

I've never used Tinder, but I would have to guess that this kind of thing is a bit more common there than with other approaches.

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