Looking for love? Watch out for this massive online scam!

Don’t get caught in this Online romance scam

Looking for love? Watch out for this massive online scam!

Don't get caught in this Russian romance scam

The birds are singing, and the flowers are blossoming. It’s spring and there’s love in the air. And this year, there is the added ingredient of a “fairy tale” romance. Yes, Wills and Kate have now entered married life – and even hardened republicans wish them happiness, or at least more joy than the previous generation of royals.

So with love all around, is it any surprise that even I receive amorous emails? This week Zina sent me…..

Good Morning!!! I am an elegant and gentle russian lady with dark hair and blue eyes. I am very attractive and romantic. I want to meet a man not who I can live with but who I can not live without!  I have very high family values and I am very honest. Almost always you can see the smile on my lips, because I enjoy my life! Perhaps you and have my man? I’m waiting for you to chat, It will be interesting…Cordially!

How flattering! A hyperlink leads to “About Russian dating”. I can’t find Zina but there’s a choice of picture galleries – I can select women 18-25, 26-35, over 35, blondes or brunettes. What’s more, every single one is unfeasibly beautiful. They look nothing like real Russian women I remember from visits – in fact they mostly don’t resemble Russians at all. This array of female pulchritude would not be out of place in showbiz or glamour magazines.

And, of course, this is where they come from. Zina, whose email oddly leads to Indianapolis Downtown, a site devoted to that American city, does not exist. Nor do any of the thousands of other women on Russian dating sites. Sometimes, the same name is used for two or more different women (sorry, this is only about women – these sites have nothing for women seeking men, or women seeking women, or men seeking men).

“Zina” leads to Anastasiadate.com, one of around 40 similar set-ups run by Muscovite Boris E Sashin who grosses around $25m a year. But Sashin is far from alone as a conservative estimate of Russian dating sites puts their numbers in the high hundreds.

Registration to sites is “free”. Then you can email your selected woman. And that’s when you start to pay. There are premium rate lines to chat to women who are paid 12 US cents (about 8p) a minute – they learn how to talk to ten men at once. And if you persist in your pursuit, you’ll be asked for “gifts” – international vouchers or jewellery! Then you might be asked for money for translators and there will certainly be a demand for cash for “visas”, “travel”, and “cash to help my studies/family/children”.

Once really smitten, you’ll end up on an expenses paid (by you) trip to Russia. Besides air fares, expect to shell out big wads of cash for the “limousine” on arrival, the “luxury apartment” (usually a dowdy flat) and for “flowers”. You might even get to meet a Russian woman who will look nothing like the photo and take you for as much money as she can before returning to her friends. Victims of one site discovered these women were paid in mobile phone vouchers.

It’s a racket, pure and simple playing on the loneliness of many.

Still, hope springs eternal. Take Elena, a glamorous 26 year old “journalist”. This is her profile.

Personality Optimistic,active,kind, romantic, outgoing, funny, curious, without bad habits
Interests Life, love, travel, dances, sport, music, art,nature, animals, meeting with interesting people and more other things.
Looking for a partner
Age to 55
Race Not important
Other I am looking for a optimistic, honest and intelligent man for serious relations. I would like to meet a person who will be also my best friend and with whom I can talk about everything and trust completely.I prefer men who older than I. I need a man who more experienced and knows more than I. I want to find somebody who can teach me new things in life and support me on everything what I do.
Personal message I’m optimistic, outgoing, tender, sociable and romantic girl. I often smile because I really love my life! I’m full of energy and I have many friends. I like to make people around me happy and merry. I prefer an active lifestyle and always try to find something new. I enjoy everything what I do. I’m studying in the university and have a job. I love my profession but family means a lot to me too. I like to be loved and like give love in return. My life is very good right now. The only thing I dream of is to meet a man who will want to create a loving family.

Touching!

But best avoided. Elena is not for real. The only contact is via the website. And the words come straight from the copy and paste library – almost identical to those used for thousands of other so-called online Russian / Polish / Ukranian / brides.

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One comment on “Looking for love? Watch out for this massive online scam!

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