The internet allows a great amount of anonymity. You must find ways to determine if the person you are considering having a relationship with is real. You can also consider the women in AnastasiaDate to be scammers if you consider that lying is part of a job. They have also signed an agreement to not exchange personal information.
NEVER SEND MONEY TO ANYONE YOU HAVE MET ONLINE. If they are asking for money, usually they are a scam. The lead up to the money request is often very well done. You may be emailing regularly for weeks, or a few months. They will tell you how much they love you. They will tell you they are on their way to be with you to start a new life together. Then watch out for the catch. When they think they have you on their hook, this is when they reel you in.
They ask for money for a variety of reasons (travel, medical emergencies, hotel bills, hospitals bills for a child or other relative, visas or other official documents, or losses from a financial setback). They may make attempts to raise the money themselves – sell their apartment, ask friends for money, borrow money from the bank – but they will always come up short and then will ask you for money. Despite wanting to travel, they have no passport and arranging one plus a visa takes too long, so they go to a travel agency that can expedite everything, but cost more money. Or out of the blue they will say they have a financial emergency and need money to be sent to them immediately to get them out of a fix. If you do not send them money or insist on safeguards in the sending of any, they will pull out the trust card, saying: Where there is no trust, there can be no relationship. Take that as your cue to walk away for good. Think about why it is that this person has all the time in the world to text or email you but cannot manage to meet you in person. That’s a telling sign of the faker.
Then the plan to visit is cancelled at the last moment because of some traumatic event, a business deal gone sour or most commonly lack of money. Or when it comes time to fly, they can’t board the plane because the Russian authorities want money to leave the country. This is often in the $2500 range and of course, no such fees exist. If you do not send the new money, it will be a tale of woe of them living on the streets, having nothing to eat, and having to walk 400 km back home.
Wiring money to them or a third person is usually done by Money Gram. It is a favorite transfer method as there is no security: only a name in the Russian Federation. The reference number is necessary.
If you have never met them in person AND one of the following applies: 1) they directly asked you for money, for whatever reason, including for visas and tickets to come visit you. 2) they sent you a check or money order and asked to cash it for them. or 3) they sent you a package and asked to re-ship it for them, it is a SCAM, you don’t even have to take the test! I recommend you stop all contacts with them, don’t send money, don’t cash checks and don’t re-ship packages.
SPOT A ROMANCE SCAMMER IF:
1. She contacts you first on a dating service. They scan the new members, spot potential customers and email you. The ones that I dealt with had premium memberships that allowed me access to their email (emails are usually hidden unless you pay). Both sent short emails with their home email addresses attached in order to take me off the dating site and bypass the security available on many them.
2. Her profile or letters state that a man’s age, race or income doesn’t matter to her. “Age is only a number.” A 20+ year age-difference is a warning sign. Chances of being scammed only increase with the age difference and you are the older one, as online dating scammers usually target people older than themselves. Male scammers often target middle-aged women in their 50’s to 60’s. They believe these people to be ideal targets as they are usually richer and more vulnerable.
4. The scammer talks a lot about honesty.
5. As above, they want to leave the dating site immediately and use personal email or instant messaging to communicate with you. This takes you away from security methods the dating site may have to detect scammers. So, if you are contacted first by them, usually shortly after your profile appears on the site, and they want to communicate with them off the dating site, save the profile of that type of contact to your computer for future reference (and to later inform the dating site if she turns out to be a scammer), as when you recheck your dating site messages, those messages will likely have been removed along with the profile. The profile and photos may be useful to compare to information exchanged as your relationship “matures”.
It is recommended to create and use a unique email address for dating sites that is different from your personal and professional addresses when setting up a dating website profile.
6. Be suspicious of rapid escalation. If the person suggests that the communication switch to phone calls and texting asap, be alarmed. If she falls “in love” with you after only a few letters/emails, even if you are a great guy, it’s too fast. Until you’ve met in person and spent time together, any claims of love or over-the-top expressions of feelings should be treated as extremely suspect. Even if she seems genuine about it, you should seriously consider moving on to a more rational, level-headed person who wants to take the time to get to know someone really well before making any type of commitment.
7. Look closely at the consistency of emails they send you. They will be badly written, repeat themselves and make several spelling and grammar mistakes. Their command of your language may deteriorate with time. They may even start out having no clue about grammar or punctuation. They make mistakes, in that their “story” begins to contradict itself here and there. They mix pronouns (he/she, him/her). They mention things that seem entirely unrelated to the profile they’ve built up of themselves, or that seem too revealing and even unbelievable. Note discrepancies that are a dead giveaway. For example: They say they have been away, yet their profile shows them online (most likely chatting up some other victim online). The profile shows geographic inconsistencies, often referencing places that are not in geographic proximity to where they live.
8. They send personal photos that look like something from a glamour magazine. She is too beautiful to be true. Most scammers use photos of professional models/celebrities or photos of beautiful women they have stolen from the Net. In my experience photos rarely contain sexual content or even show them in bathing suits, but they will have perfect bodies and large breasts usually well displayed by their clothing.
9. They claim to be from the U.S. or your country, but are traveling or working overseas.
10. Look for the following descriptions in their profile: self-employed, a professional (for example, an engineer) working overseas, a widower with a child (or just widowed), they claim to live near you, in your country, currently away but will be returning soon.
11. Phone conversations can often unravel a fake. When you hear this person on the phone, note whether they have a slight accent and use awkward phrases; if their accent does not match their supposed origin, be suspicious. Ask them probing questions and trust your gut instinct about the validity of the replies. If phoning, beware a cell phone number that does not match the area in which they claim to live. This often means that the person is not in the same country at all. Match the cell phone number and the area code with the country, state or province they claim to live in. If you spot a number discrepancy, beware excuses. They may tell you they’ve just moved or didn’t bother to change it when they did because it would be too hard to contact all their friends with a new number.
12. Their polished style can be very convincing, but they often copy and paste prepared messages and may add a few specific things from your last email to make it seem each email is new and specific to you. This may become apparent when you start to realize that there is very little real substance to what they say. They may well email every day. They will tell you that age does not matter. They will tell you how they dream about you, think about you all the time, love you, and want to bathe with you, kiss and cuddle. Almost always they came from a broken family, have been jilted recently and thus are looking for foreign men. But they will rarely divulge much info that has much value: where they live, home address, phone number, job information, siblings, or parents. They don’t answer many (or any) of your questions.
13. They rarely take any of your advice on anything. For example to obtain a tourist visas, your help is indispensable (at least it is in Canada). Just to determine if they are eligible to come to Canada and then access the visa application requires good English. They must prove they are visiting temporarily (need return airplane ticket) and have enough money for all their expenses during their trip (usually bank account statements). A letter of invitation is required for Russians. It lists all pertinent information about both of you and you make a statement that you will be financially responsible for them during their stay. The visas are fairly expensive, but my scammers did not ask for any money yet. That is because they are not spending any or applying for the visa at all. The catch is yet to come. The scammer usually is using a travel agency to obtain the visa, “documents” and flights. They do not want your help in booking a flight, nor will they provide flight itineraries.
TIPS to AVOID BEING SCAMMED
1. Adopt an air of mystery. Don’t provide your last name, your address or where you work until you’ve actually met — and be wary of suitors who ask for any of this personal information too quickly. But ask them for this info early on – a scammer is unlikely to provide it.
2. PREVENT CYBER ROMANCE TRACKING. If you’re using a mobile app, turn off your location settings so cons can’t figure out where you’re located.
3. SEARCH THE WEB FOR THEIR PHOTOS. Many scammers steal pictures obtained from the internet and assume their identity. There are many beautiful women out there with many pictures that are easy to steal. As above, beware if the pictures look like they come from a glamour magazine.
Upload each picture they send you to www.images.google.com to see what sites that picture is on. Click on the camera and either paste the URL or upload the image. Keep track of the images you have checked and the information gleaned from the various sites. The sites most often displayed are eastern European social sites like vk.com, flikr, pinterest, and many dating scam sites. The most beautiful women will appear. Ask yourself “Why is this spectacularly beautiful woman interested in me?” (you may be old, not particularly attractive, not rich etc). Obviously, if they are using other’s photos, they are scamming you.
Pull down photos and see if you can get ‘date created’ info through Google+ or other software. Photos 5 years older can be a sign of dishonesty.
If they are using photos off the web, they will be restricted to those photos and may not be able to supply revealing photos in lingerie, bathing suits or actual nudity. These may not be unusual requests from someone who is soon to be visiting you.
Or they may use their own pictures but have scammed before and will be on scam sites.
4. VERIFY IF THE PERSON IS REAL. Do an online search to see if the things you read match up with his/her claims. Is what you read on the person’s Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages consistent with what you’re being told?
Facebook Fakers. If someone has no Facebook page, but they are sophisticated enough to create an online dating profile, be warned. Also look out for potential fake Facebook pages. Signs of a fake Facebook profile can include the fact that the Facebook page was started near the same time that a dating profile elsewhere was established, if few photos are posted, or if there are no people tagged in their photos to show a connection in a relationship.
Twitter: If they are on Twitter, read through historic tweets to see if the story they tell matches up to the same the person you are prospectively dating. Like Facebook, Twitter accounts created around the same time as dating profiles should be treated with caution.
5. USE SEARCH ENGINES TO CHECK OUT A SUITOR. If you get a suspicious email, check it out. Cut and paste the e-mail into Google and see if the words pop up on any romance scam sites. This has not worked well for me and I don’t bother.
6. ASK FOR A SCAN OF PASSPORTS AND VISAS. It is difficult and expensive to get a good fake passport. As a result the fakes can be fairly easy to spot. Passports follow a common form throughout the world. Look at yours to see that format. Google “what a Russian passport looks like” and “what a fake Russian passport looks like” to see examples. Here are the things frequently wrong:
a. The photo on the fake is photoshopped so is rarely clear, often rotated slightly, improperly centered, or have the right amount of white border as a proper passport photo. The Russian passport also has a seal in the lower left corner. It should be clear (eagle) and in the correct place.
b. The date of issue and expiry must make sense. Most passports will have a 5 or 10-year validity. (the fake I was sent had the same date of issue and expiry!).
c. Insignias, crests and shields often are not clear.
d. The lines may not printed exactly straight and
e. Check the two-line machine-readable section on the bottom of the identity page of the passport. The format uses optical character recognition and was standardized in the 1980s to be the same throughout the world. Each line is 44 characters long and uses only the characters A-Z, 0-9 and the filter character <. Hyphens and other punctuation are represented by <, the standard filter character. (NB. the / below is used for clarification in this post, was inserted by me and are not in the passport but used to show a change of info but no space in the passport): Line 1: P, indicating a passport, then sometimes a number for the type of passport used in countries that distinguish between different types of passports
8. DETERMINE the LOCATION OF THEIR IP ADDRESS.
Pairing of IP address to a geographical location is called geolocation. There are times when you need to identify where your web visitors are coming from. You might have an e-commerce website and would like to know where your potential customers are, pre-populate country code on forms, display a different language and reduce credit card fraud based on geographic location. Or, you might want to fight against illegal scammers, spammers and hackers, and would like to locate the real source of the email or problem.
Find the header of the email: each email carrier has the header in its own location and most of them are different. Google ‘how to find IP address” for your carrier. For gmail, click MORE next to the reply button in the upper right corner and click Show Original. Copy and paste the entire header or just the IP address into the appropriate place on the locator site.
Go to iplocator.net or whatsmyipadress.com and enter their IP address. Is it where they say they live?
Although it would be nice to be able to find precise location of a visitor, it is almost impossible to find exact location of a host given its IP address. However, there are tools available to help identify approximate location of the host. ARIN Whois database provides a mechanism for finding contact and registration information for IP resources registered with ARIN.
You may also use 3rd party websites such as Geobytes or Dnsstuff to lookup the IP address. The whois lookup will reveal name of the ISP who owns that IP address, and the country where it is originated from. If you’re lucky, you might also find the city of origin. You may also use products developed by 3rd party companies like Ip2location. whatsmyipaddress and findmyip.org also provide a geographic information of your IP address.
You may also use reverse DNS to find out the hostname of the IP address, which might give you some clues. Many ISPs, Corporations and Academic institutions use location as a qualified hostname, although this is not always true. A couple of things to note here: (1) Reverse DNS translation does not always work. It depends on the correct configuration of the ISP’s DNS server. (2) The US domain names such as .com, .net and .org does not always imply that the host is located in the United States.
You may use ‘traceroute’ command to find clues to the location of the IP address. The names of the routers through which packets flow from your host to the destination host might hint at the geographical path of the final location.
9. DEMAND FACE-TO-FACE VIDEO CHAT. Ask to have a live video talk using Skype or Facetime. Most of today’s smartphones, tablets and laptops come equipped with a built-in camera and/or video. Someone reluctant to speak on live video, claiming shyness or that they can’t find a camera, should be a red flag.
This would seem to me to be a natural progression of any relationship when that person is coming all the way to your country to visit you. But this will be heavily resisted (“I don’t have a computer at home”, “Skype is not available in my computer”, etc) as then the uploaded photos, passport picture and video image must match. The Skype call I received from my scammer had an image so unclear I could not recognize her and with such poor audio, that I could understand nothing.
They would much prefer to telephone as there is no image and no way to prove who the person on the other end of the line is. Refuse telephone calls by not giving out your home or mobile phone number.
If you are being contacted by a mobile with a +4470 +4475 or a +6010 or +6013 prefix, it is probably a scammer. These are the prefixes used by scammers in the UK and Malaysia at the moment.
DON’T CONFRONT THEM.
Once you have determined that they are a scammer, don’t confront them with the information you have discovered. It will only make them a better scammer in the future. It is recommended to discontinue all contact immediately when you have determined they are scamming you. If I have time to waste, try scam baiting. When I get the catch, I demand a passport scan and a video call before sending any money (which I would never do anyway). Usually the conversation deteriorates from there. The trust card is pulled. I hope they will send the scans of both passports and visas to see what the fakes look like.
SCAM DETECTION WEBSITES. Many of these are pay-for sites. And the fees are quite high especially when subscribed to for short periods. It is unfortunate that you have to subscribe and pay money to register scammers. One would have to be really into finding someone to subscribe for a period of time so that you could check out all the women you are interested in.
sitejabber.com – Reviews dating web sites. Will tell you if the site is a scam.
anastasiadatefraud.com – Tells many stories about how the site is a scam. The man who owned this site was sued by AnastasiaDate.
scamvictimsunited.com – Report your scams here, but this is mostly for 419 scams.
spokeo.com – Can run their name, reverse phone, email or address and find hook-ups. Pay-for site.
romancescams.org – Free. Can easily upload info and pictures to register women who have scammed you.
scamwatch.gov.au – Australian scam site.
stop-scammers.com – A pay-for site for female scammers only.
datingscams.com – Pay-for site
Issue early warning alerts to any member who’s been in contact with someone using a fake profile.
Educate members with tips on how to spot and avoid romance scammers — and provide resources and contact information for those who’ve been victimized.