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Russian Scams Offline:  How to Avoid Them on Their Turf

 

“Russians like to group together to scam people.”

 

- A well-traveled Lithuanian girl

 

 

Introduction

 

Although Russia is a very fun, wild, spontaneous, and best of all, inclusive place and society, it is also highly infested with crime, corruption and a lack of ethics among the many scammers, opportunists and extortionists. Therefore, an article like this is necessary for me to write for the sake of the newcomer’s safety, protection, and health.

 

Now, most Russian bride seekers have heard the standard warnings from the online marriage agencies about scammers asking for money online.  It seems easy enough to protect yourself; simply refuse when the Russian woman you are corresponding with invents a reason to ask for a large amount of funds.  However, once you are physically in THEIR territory – Russia, Ukraine, or countries of the former Soviet Union – you are far more vulnerable than you think, for their ability to scam you is much more effective, lightning-fast, clever, cunning, and highly elaborate, especially when the scammers band together in cahoots to swindle you.  The techniques they utilize are very sophisticated and go far beyond what most Americans are used to back home.

 

Unfortunately, most Russian bride seekers are not prepared for this, as their marriage and travel agencies don’t educate them on it.  So they are easy prey for the highly skilled, experienced, conniving opportunists who target and exploit them, often resulting in losses of hundreds of dollars or more.  Therefore, I have created this page to help them.  Here, the seekers can learn from my real life experiences of having been the victim of several highly elaborate Russian group scams.  I have listed the scam and theft tactics that I’ve seen and experienced in Russia, having spent about a year total there in dozens of cities and meeting thousands of people.  They range from the simple pick-pocket and hit and run scams, to the highly elaborate group scams, which are the most efficient, to police and customs officer scams. 

 

Russians seem to be mentally gifted.  Some use their talents for good, while others use it for evil and crime.  Russian scammers are among the most cunning, calculating, and skilled con artists in the world.  They are highly strategizing, thinking way ahead of the common Westerner (hence their world dominance in chess).  And when they have home court advantage, you are a sitting duck in waiting for some serious foul play, especially if you are alone.  Another thing in this case that works to their advantage is that the foreigner, unfamiliar with his/her cultural environment, will be much less able than a native to recognize when something is fishy or out of place, hence rendering their defenses ineffective.  The scammers and opportunists know this, and know how to use that to their advantages as well.

 

The most swift and effective Russian scams are the group scams.  When you are teamed up against, you’re almost certain to get taken in, especially if one of the group is your friend, lover or acquaintance, for your trust in that person serves as their key to the successful execution of the scam (My own examples summarized below will illustrate this)  And that’s because they VERY good at what they do, like pros.  They use two very effective principles - speed and misdirection.  Speed, because they aim to work so quickly that by the time you realize you’re being had, it’s too late, for you are already in the position they want you to be in, for their scam to work in getting what they want.  Misdirection, because they employ a barrage of tactics swiftly to get you into the position they want you to be in.  These tactics can range from false promises that prey on your greed/desires, to telling you what you want to hear, to faking friendship/love with you, to preying on your desires/needs/fantasies, to hyping you up with emotion/greed/desire/alcohol to inhibit your judgment, and even drugging your drink to rob you later, etc.  In other words, they know how to push your hot buttons to get you to do what they want, in a very elaborate highly calculating deceptive quick manner. 

 

You might wonder why these con artists have no conscience or sense of right and wrong.  Well, they are sociopaths, incapable of guilt, and as my dad always told me, “You can only have morals if you can afford them.  Some people can’t afford them.  So be careful.”

 

Remember that no matter how smart, experienced, or shrewd you are, you are still vulnerable to being scammed in Russia.  Even Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the greatest military strategists and geniuses in history, got scammed and outwitted in Russia, as his massive army gradually weakened and dwindled.  On their turf, Russians have ways of pulling strings to get their way, often covertly, deceiving even the most perceptive.  Therefore, don't even go in overconfident thinking that you're scam-proof. But staying informed about them and what to watch out for will up the odds in your favor.

 

Here are the types of scams I’ve experienced, witnessed, or heard about, arranged by category, with a synopsis description under each:

 

 

Note:  If you’ve benefited from the info here and feel that they will save you from being a victim to the scams described, please consider getting my Ebook Package to help me recover the financial losses I incurred from these Russian scams. Thanks.

 

Hit and Run Scams

 

Pick-pocketing

 

These are the most simple to counter.  Basically, the pick-pocketer singles out a foreigner in a high traffic area by the way he/she dresses, carries himself/herself, looks and behaves.  They usually hang around crowded metro/subway areas, crowded buses, streets, or train stations.  Then they try to inch close to the foreigner and snatch anything they can out of their most accessible pockets.  Sometimes they work in pairs, with one bumping into you to serve as a distracting decoy, while the other tries to pickpocket you at the same time. 

 

To counter this, simply put your wallet in your FRONT POCKET (many tourists in Russia don’t even do this), not your back pocket.  Place your passport, credit cards, and most of your cash inside a “passport protector belt” worn under your shirt, which you can buy in most luggage stores.  Only leave expendable items in your jacket pockets and back pockets.  And please do NOT put your passport in your back pocket or jacket pocket.  That seems like common sense, but you would not believe how many tourists I’ve met in Russia who did just that, and lost their passport, leaving them to go to their country’s embassy to get a temporary one, making getting around much more difficult.  Also, if someone accidentally bumps into you, immediately place your hand over where your wallet is, to guard against a pick-pocketer reaching for it.

 

The Lost Wallet Scam

 

This is a quite common scam which I’ve seen several times.  One person runs past you, dropping a wallet or bundle of cash in front of you, but before you can pick it up, another person does, and offers to split it with you 50/50.  But first, you must follow him to a more secluded area, such as a back alley or behind a building.  There, before he can give you your cut of the prize, the person who lost the wallet or cash finds you both and demands to get it back.  The other person denies having it, so the accuser looks to you.  When you deny it though, he doesn’t believe you, and insists on seeing the contents of your pockets.  If he sees cash in your wallet, he may insist that it is his.  And while he argues for it, the other co-conspirator puts the large amount of found cash in your back pocket, leading you to think that if you give him the cash in your wallet, that you’ve still made a profit from the lost cash in the hundreds.  If you do, then they take off, leaving you to find out that the cash wad left to you was a fake.  There are several variations of this though.

 

Here is another variation of it, as told to me by another foreigner who has lived in Russia for years:

 

“Another scam - You are walking down the road. Someone walks past you in a big hurry. While he passes he drops a small packet (as if it fell off from his pocket). Obviously, you would try calling him "hey you dropped off something" but he wouldn't listen (remember he's in a big hurry!). You would be confused what to do. Maybe you would even pick up the small packet to chase the guy and give it to him. There is another thing about  this pack! It is transparent and you can see at least a 20$  bill  bundled up inside (supposedly with more money). Suddenly you would notice another guy just walking close to you!

He would look to you and will pick up the bundle / pack himself. He would try to shout to the other guy with a suppressed voice. Obviously that guy is gone now. Now you two are left with this pack. he would say since we both saw this let's share the money inside. You would say probably you don't want it and try to go your way. But he would try to lure you into this. Finally you might say "alright!" He would ask you to get in to some lane to share the money. As soon as you go into this lane the first guy who dropped the packet would come running back and say "some lady saw you pick up the packet I dropped". Before you can say something, the second guy would immediately reply "no, no we never saw any pack!" and make you a party to this lie! Then the first one appearing to be irritated and very annoyed would want to check you pockets and shoes. To prove to him you didn't take any money, you would agree. He would then ask you to show your pockets, purse and ask you  to remove your shoes too just incase you hid his money there. As you do this the second guy would drop that pack on the ground. Now the first guy would say "see, I knew you took it! and I'm going to the road to call the cops!" He would run towards the main road pretending to stop some patrolling car! The second guy would tell you let's run in different directions!! Standing dumbstruck all this while, without actually having done anything bad, you become a victim of all this drama. You can't run immediately as you still have to put on your shoes! Lol! The two guys disappear and you wanna get the hell out of this place as soon as possible lest these buggers bring back cops on you for something you haven't done and try to frame you in a stupid scandal! 

You also run/go away, feeling relieved that you got out of this unnecessary mess! But this is not the end of the drama. The finale is ahead. As you feel relaxed, guess what!! You check you wallet / purse  pockets, and find that the money that was there has now disappeared !!! You start searching for it and become amazed on how where could have they gone? Then only you realize that while the first was checking your pockets / wallet for his money, he was actually unnoticed was stealing yours!

You think "what a fool I am!" But no! There are more ways to these scams and hell these guys are innovative!!  This one happened to me when I first came here. :))

But during all these years, I haven't met a foreigner who wasn't scammed in one way or the other here!!

Here they say Americans have plastic smiles and no depth of mind or heart. There is nothing to talk with them about. But I think one thing that the Americans don't have is this kind of deep scam thinking! Lol!”

 

If this scam happens to you, don’t try to argue with the finder of the cash who offers you 50/50 that you know his game plan.  If you do, he will merely be persistent, even going so far as to grab you.  Instead, tell him to go away or fuck off, and then yell for the police, which in Russian is “militsia”.  That should scare them away immediately.

 

Leading you into an ambush scam

 

This happened to me once, but it failed fortunately.  However, a similar version of it did succeed for a while a year later, but the Russian police got my stuff back and then the media put me on national news, making me famous.  You can read the story about it here:  The Cherepovets Assault

 

Anyway, the group ambush works like this.  In the middle of the night, some men approach you on the street, wanting to make friendly acquaintance.  Then they invite you to go somewhere with them, to have fun or meet some girls.  If you, they will try to lead you into a secluded area so they can beat you, knock you unconscious, and steal whatever valuables are on you.

 

If this happens to you, simply tell the men that you are busy, and if they persist, threaten to call the police “militsia” with your mobile phone.  But if possible, avoid walking the streets alone at night.  If you aren’t with company, take a taxi at night instead.

 

Train compartment mugging

 

This happened to a Dutch backpacker I met in a hostel in Moscow.  He related to me that over a week ago, he boarded a train to China through Siberia.  But when he got inside his compartment, two men entered.  One shut the door, and the other grabbed him from behind, covering his mouth as well.  Then the other assailant choked him into unconsciousness.  When he awoke, his passport belt was gone, along with his passport inside and cash.  Without a passport, the train concierge kicked him off.  Apparently, the two robbers had bribed the concierge to get onto the train to rob him too.  Since then, he has had a difficult time getting another passport and visa arranged for him to board the train to China again.

 

Now, this didn’t happen to me, fortunately.  And I would say that such incidents are rare, since I rode Russian trains hundreds of times without anything like that happening.  But here is how I would guard against it.  When boarding a train, if the compartments have sliding doors, do not enter your compartment if no one is in there yet.  Instead, hang out in the hallway until the train starts moving, or until other passengers go into your compartment.  By the way, I heard that in Russia it is legal to carry pepper spray too.

 

Train station platform hold up

 

This happened to a British traveler I met. When he got off a train from Siberia to Moscow with his two female companions, as he walked the platform toward the Kazansky station, someone held him up from behind with a solid object pressed on his back, which supposedly was a gun.  The thug asked him to empty his pockets.  Not wanting to risk getting shot, he complied and lost a lot of valuables, including his British passport.  As a result, he was unable to buy train tickets to St. Petersburg without a valid visa in his passport.

 

Fortunately, this didn’t happen to me, but I know the mega Kazansky station complex (off metro station Komsomosky) which comprises a total of three main train stations, serving as a gateway to the rest of the continent.  And as such, it happens to be a seedy area infested with thugs and pick-pocketers.  So it’s never been a place I’ve felt comfortable around.  But to guard against it, I would suggest that when getting off the train there, keep a distance from the other people walking by.  If someone comes near you, walk away briskly with your luggage, and if you feel a tap or grab from behind, simply behave as though you are in a rush and didn’t notice it, and walk on quickly.  Even if you do get held up, chances are that if you pretend not to understand what’s going on and walk away, they probably won’t shoot you in a crowded public area, since doing so wouldn’t accomplish anything for them, since their main objective is to rob for profit, and gunning down someone would require that they run away immediately afterward.  Besides, if they just wanted to shoot you, they could do it without holding you up in the first place.  But don’t quote me on that though.  That is simply my assessment.

 

Another thing you can do, which you can also use in the lost wallet and ambush scams, is to carry a decoy wallet with you, which is a cheap throw away wallet with very little cash usually under five dollars.  If someone pulls a gun or make the quick grab, they will be fairly satisfied with this decoy.  You can also put a few things in there too - phone number cards, fake credit cards you get in the mail from credit card companies, etc.  The bigger the wallet is the better.

 

Skilled Larceny Scams (involving confidence games)

 

The inside jacket pocket retrieval scam

 

This happened to me just before I left Moscow.  While sitting in a secluded section of the Time Online internet café underneath the Red Square in the Ahot Marriot mega mall, someone stole my mobile phone by squeezing it out of my inside jacket pocket which was hung over my chair while I was sitting in it.  I didn’t think such a feat was possible, because the mobile was deep inside a concealed pocket which I often had trouble getting out.  But it happened nevertheless, or at least it’s the most plausible explanation that fit the scenario of my stolen mobile.  You can read the full details about it in my account 2 Professional robberies I experienced in Moscow under the section “The mystery of my stolen mobile phone.”

 

Before the thief stole it, he tapped me a few times to ask me to watch his stuff while he left momentarily.  Unknown to me at the time, this was a confidence game he was playing with me.  By asking me to watch his stuff, he was in a sense creating a false sense of trust between us, implying that we were a team on the same side.  That led me to lower my guard against him when he made his move to steal whatever valuables I had in my inside jacket pocket, with my back turned.  It was a very sneaky, skilled, and amoral tactic, but worked nevertheless.

 

To protect yourself, I would avoid sitting in secluded section of internet cafes, first of all.  Instead, sit in the main areas below where other patrons and administrators have watch over the area behind you.  Also, since these thieves are skilled at snatching items from even deep pockets, you might want to wear your mobile phone around your neck on lace strings, instead of stowing it in your jacket pocket.  Sometimes that makes it uncomfortable, but it heightens the safety measure.  And finally, if someone asks you to watch their stuff, watch out.  As soon as he returns, leave, for I have heard that such is a common confidence game.

 

The drugging your drink to rob you scam (erasing your memory as well)

 

This happened to a fellow American I met in a hostel and hung out with, which you can also read about in the account 2 Professional robberies I experienced in Moscow.  Basically, these predatory women meet men in bars and nightclub, and while socializing they slip a certain type of drug into their drink which makes them drowsy and blocks their memory as well.  This drug, designed to lower blood pressure, can have lethal effects when mixed with alcohol, and has been used by aggressive con women for years now, as has been reported in the Russian media.  It has also known to be used as a rape drug by men too.  Once under its effects, the con woman then suggests to the man to leave and go to his or her place.  The man usually complies (not surprisingly) and once in secluded quarters, she waits until he dozes off before robbing him of cash and other valuables.  The man, under the influence of the drug, remains drowsy and dazed for about 48 hours, giving the woman plenty of time to do her thing, and if they are in his home, God forbid, she also then has the chance to take anything she wants from there as well.  And when he awakes, his memory, having been inhibited by the drug, doesn’t even recall what happened, not even remembering the appearance of the con woman.  However, he usually deduces what happened after finding his cash and valuables gone.

 

Embarrassed to say, I witnessed all of this happening right in front of me to the fellow American I hung out with that night, described in the account above.  Amazingly, though awake and sober, I never noticed the con woman extracting his cash while asleep.  She was so highly skilled and executed it in a flawless manner, using misdirection, angles, and confidence games to quell any possible suspicions from me and the hostel owner as well.  I was completely stunned and speechless when it was discovered what had happened later, right under my nose.  I would highly recommend reading the full account at the link above.  This also happened to one of the managers at an English school I taught at in Moscow, who related a similar story to me.

 

I guess the moral of this is to keep your drink away from the Russian women you are meeting in bars and nightclubs, or else don’t have a drink around them at all.

 

Highly Elaborate Team Scams

 

The Negotiator Scam:  Promises of Reconciliation and Sex

Group culprits:  Yanis, Katya, and Yulia

 

Synopsis:

This is the first of two Russian group scams that I’ve been a victim of.  Taking place in Moscow’s Izmailovsky Hotel Complex, it was committed against me by my ex-fiancee Katya, her girlfriend Yulia, and a con man we met in a hotel lobby who called himself “Yanis”.  Basically, when me and my opportunistic gold digger fiancée were about to break up, Yanis observed the scene and used it to his advantage.  He befriended us both and offered to reconcile us, but not before briefing Katya in private.  Yanis then offered to reconcile me and Katya, promising that if I listened to him, she would sleep with me again that night too.  He told me what I wanted to hear, and even employed a clever confidence game on me.  To demonstrate his powers and solidify my trust in him, he told me to give Katya 200 dollars in cash, promising that it would be returned.  Unknown to me at the time though, he had plotted this out with Katya in advance.  When all happened as he predicted, I was amazed at his ability to predict them, and so he gained my faith in him, setting me up for the big swindle that he would pull on me later.  To further subdue my senses, Yanis took us all to a nightclub to try to get me drunk on vodka.

 

The plot partially succeeded, and would have completely succeeded if not for a stroke of heavenly luck.  What happened though, was an episode of black comedy, culminating in me eventually finding the “smoking gun” by a stroke of luck or heavenly grace.  You can read the full account from my journals here The Negotiator Scam:  Promises of Reconciliation and Sex.  But be warned though, for many who have read it described it as extremely blood-boiling.

 

As to Yulia’s role in the “negotiator scam”, it is unproven largely speculative, but based on the circumstances, it is highly probable that she was aware of it to some degree, though she denied it (but what do you expect a proven liar to say?)  Her crime in it was one of passiveness, failing to do her ethical obligation to warn her supposed friend, me, of the criminal plot against me.  By nature, Russians seem to like to protect and cover up for other Russians who are attempting to scam or swindle foreigners, hence their highly despised international reputation.  But even before this, Yulia had already committed a barrage of opportunistic acts against me anyway.

 

Photos of Katya and Yulia will be placed in the Hall of Villains section, but Yanis’ photos are unavailable since he refused to be photographed (understandably).  Since they got away with their crimes, it is my hope that placing their names and photos there will damage their reputations in the name of truth, hopefully garnering enough collective will and psychic energy against them from all who read about them, to deliver them their karmic consequences.  I say this for it is a well documented fact that prayer and the collective will of a large group of people can affect the molecular structure of physical reality, resulting in the likely manifestation of that intention or wish.  And of course, it’s all I can do at this point.

 

The “Private Police” Scam:  Robbery, Extortion, and Ambush

Group culprits:  Vadim, George, Sergey, two girls from a disco named Ksenia and Irina, and one unknown tall assailant with a black cap

 

Synopsis:

This second group scam against me happened the year following the “negotiator scam”.  Unfortunately, it involved one of my best friends in Russia, Vadim, who was like a brother to me. (I know, with friends like that, who needs enemies?) The elaborate scheme went as follows.  During my visit to Vadim in Novgorod (3 hours south of St. Petersburg), we brought home two girls from a disco one night, named Ksenia and Irina.  They somehow steal my camcorder and leave.  The next day, Vadim employs a “private police firm” to help me recover the video camcorder from the black market, promising almost certain success, but at a cost of 300 dollars.  With no alternative (I would have had to spend that much on a new camcorder anyway), I comply, and that evening, my camcorder is returned to me.  His friend Sergey acted as the policeman, showing me his police badge (probably faked) and even filling out a seemingly real police report while interviewing me.  George, who nicknamed as such due to his ethnicity being Georgian (I don’t know his real name), acted as the driver, shuttling Sergey between us and the “private police” firm.

 

After getting my camcorder back, the next day as Vadim walked me out of an internet café through a park at night, I was suddenly led into an arranged ambush he set up for me, as an attacker came out to assault me and attempt to steal my camcorder again, obviously so Vadim could ask me for more money to pay his “private police” firm to retrieve it again.  Fortunately, it failed, thanks to perhaps the angels of grace.  After footsweeping me to the ground and hitting me to try to pry my backpack loose, he gave up after a while and ran away, perhaps fearing that my shouts might attract attention.  But the attack left me slightly bruised and shaken up.  Vadim pretended that it was a random attack on us, and that he didn’t know the assailant.  However, the giveaway was that he lied about being hit in the stomach, using it as an excuse for not coming to my aid during the struggle, for I witnessed that the attacker only pushed him aside.  (And even if he was truly struck there, he could have still fought back afterward.)  That was the “smoking gun” so to speak.  And add to that the improbable fact that a lone attacker would physically assault two men without any weapons, made the set up obvious.

 

That meant that over the course of two days, Vadim, one of my best friends, and his cohorts, committed a total of three crimes against me – robbery, extortion, and ambushed assault.  I have never had such wonderful “friends” before.  Yet he had the nerve a week later to ask me if he could “borrow” a hundred dollars from me, promising to pay me back later.  Yeah right, I’d sooner trust the devil than him.  What insatiable greed.  Fortunately, after the ambushed assault, I left soon, before Vadim and his gang could cook up anymore schemes against me.  Living in his home, I was simply a sitting duck for them.

 

The amazing thing about it is that the whole time, Vadim lied about everything, yet he always did it with an honest look.  Outside Russia, I have rarely seen such masterful actors.  Obviously, to be that good, one must be devoid of guilt and conscience.

 

(Note:  It was explained to me recently by a chemical dependency expert that if Vadim had been on drugs, it would explain his sociopathic behavior devoid of conscience.  And perhaps that was the case, as I do remember seeing him smoke marijuana.)

 

You can read the full details here: The “Private Police” Scam.  Taken from my journals, it includes follow up addendums and list member comments.

 

And again, like the “negotiator scam”, photos of Vadim, George, and Sergey will soon be placed in the Hall of Villains section, for the same reasons I mentioned above.  Unfortunately though, I have no photos of Ksenia and Irina.

 

Summary and preventive measures

 

As you can see, Russian teamed group scams are highly efficient and swift, hitting you before you even know it.  Therefore, they are difficult to anticipate and guard against, especially if one of the conspirators happens to be someone you trust, like a friend or lover. (For a great example of a group scam, see the group scam portrayed in the movie The Birthday Girl with Nicole Kidman, which gives a chilling but realistic depiction of one) Often, they are so effective, covering every base, that they don’t even leave any red flags or bad signs that you can detect in advance (at least ones that you can recognize) so that you can forsee what will happen, as in the case of the “private police” scam.  Therefore, while in Russia, there is no foolproof way to guard against them.  However, here are some guidelines I’d suggest.

 

 

Finally, what I’ve noticed regarding highly skilled con artists who defraud others and use manipulation, is that they have one thing in common.  They prey on the human desire for a quick fix and an easy way out, promising way too much too soon.  Therefore, if you find that someone is giving you a beyond perfect answer to all your problems and needs, stimulating your desires too quickly, then that is the vibe that should serve as the warning sign or red flag to you, that you are being set up.

 

Police and Customs Officer Scams

 

Police Scams

 

I hate to admit that in Russia, even those working as law enforcement are involved in scams, swindles, and bribes.  Although it’s pretty ironic that those whose job is to protect you and uphold the law, are also trying to scam you of cash, that nevertheless is what you have to deal with, especially if you are of non-white ethnicity.  This just goes to show the extent of the deeply rooted corruption in Russia.  And in fact, the corruption there is beyond what most Americans can imagine.

 

The Russian policemen, known as “militsia”, target foreigners, especially non-white ones, by checking their passports and visas.  While doing so, they look for reasons to declare problems with their visa or registration, to use to ask for bribes.  Sometimes they will make up a reason, even if there is none, knowing that the foreigner probably isn’t familiar with all the laws.  Though most common among Moscow militsia, it is now becoming more common in other cities as well.  Ever since the incidents of Chechnyen terrorists hit the country, it gave them an excuse to beef up security even more, allowing the opportunistic militsia more leeway for this.  They walk up to obvious foreigners or even to Russians from out of town, and ask for “documents” (the word in Russian is the same).  They especially like to target Asian tourists for two reasons:  First, if they are Japanese or Korean, they tend to be more compliant and unquestioning of authority, preferring to pay rather than deal with conflict.  Second, they tend to be more likely than blacks or Siberian Russians to have a lot of money to scam from.

 

As a minority, I’ve been approached many times by militsia, even been hauled to the police station once, so here are my suggestions and strategies for dealing with this.

 

 

If you are stopped by a Russian militsia to be checked for your passport and visa, here are some strategies for dealing with it.

 

 

The above should up your chances tremendously of getting off without having to pay a bribe or fine.  Please note though, that you should not quote me verbatim about Russian visa and registration laws, as they are constantly changing and being revised, which is no surprise given the highly volatile state of things in Russia.  What is true one day may be different a few months later.  And this ranges from ice cream flavors, best selling drinks (e.g. whereas Lipton Iced Tea was nonexistent last year, it suddenly fills shelves all over the country this year), to customs laws.

 

Customs Officer Scams

 

The Russian customs officers, posted at airports and at the nation’s borders, are also known to scam foreigners and ask for bribes.  As the case is with the militsia above, they also tend to target Asians for the same reasons.  To deal with them, following the same strategies above, keeping in mind several things.

 

 

Finally, it has been reported that in some airports like in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the check in staff may try to scam you by finding problems with your ticket, and asking for a payment fee to fix it.  Since I haven’t been in such situations, I don’t know if the above strategies for dealing with police and customs officers will work, but having a Russian person travel with you will help, as they will be less likely to pull it on him or her.

 

Russian Women Opportunistic Extractor Scams

 

Through Cyberspace

 

Although the purpose of this article is to guard and inform the foreigners against in person Russian scams on their turf, I should nevertheless address how to deal with the prevalent cyberspace scams.

 

As you might already know, the online Russian scams basically follow the same pattern.  A woman (or man) contacts lonely foreign men through the internet, under the guise of seeking serious love relations, sending him a pretty to gorgeous photo.   Instantaneously, the scammer falls in love with the man, telling him all that he wants to hear, while sending him canned form letters, the same ones she’s mass mailing to many others at the same time.  The purpose of these lovey dovey letters is to make the men fall in love with them, hyping them with emotion, and inhibiting their logic and common sense, so that they are more likely to do what the scammer wants later, which of course, is to send a large amount of funds through Western Union.  The canned form letters usually don’t contain answers to any of the man’s questions in his letters, which ought to tip off an alarm in him, but he may be so “in love” and emotionally hyped that he rationalizes that away.  Or sometimes they may answer one of his questions in the beginning, followed by a pasted form letter.

 

When the scammer feels enough time has elapsed between them, he/she pulls the final swindle.  She or he invents a reason that requires money.  It can be anything from a sick mother who needs an operation, to needing one herself, to needing it to get a visa and plane ticket through special connections, so she can come to his country to be with him.  Sometimes, it can also be as mundane as needing money to buy a mobile phone so he can call her, to take the train to meet him in Russia, to fix up the house for him to stay in, to rent an apartment for him when he arrives so they can live together there, or to book a romantic excursion tour when he arrives.  Whatever the reason, they need money, and a lot of it.

 

(Needless to say, it’s not possible to purchase a visa to America through the American Embassy.  And no Russian company has that power over the US Embassy, which doesn’t accept bribes.  But the scammer hopes you don’t know that, and sometimes he or she is right, unfortunately.  There is, I heard, a way to legally obtain US citizenship for half a million dollars though, for the purpose of establishing a business in the US, but that’s beyond the scope of what we’re dealing with here.)

 

Fortunately, most men don’t go for this scheme, but these scammers are playing a percentage game, and the few that fall for it provide a handsome income for the scammer.  Here’s some ways you can weed them out early on.

 

 

How to deliver poetic justice to a scammer

 

If you find out that this person you’re writing to is a scammer, here’s how you can deliver some karmic justice to her or him.  Tell them that you will send them the money by Western Union, and in fact more than what they asked for to get them ecstatic.  Then give her a fake Western Union 10 digit tracking number to pick it up.  When they attempt to pick it the next day with extreme excitement and anticipation, they will be hugely disappointed to find that no such money was waiting for them.  Then, when they ask you about it again, tell them that you fixed the problem and it is now ready for them.  When they experience the same huge emotional letdown the next day, repeat the cycle for however long it takes.  The scammer will suffer a lot of emotional anguish, which will be well deserved.  By doing this, you help teach her a lesson that crime doesn't pay, deliver her rightly due karma, and hopefully discourage her from doing this again to other men. 

 

Or, if you want to try to give them a dose of their own medicine and maybe profit a bit by it, then ask them to send you $20 or $30 by Western Union first, as a token of trust, before you’ll send them the thousand dollars they want.  Test their greed.  If they send it, keep the money and drop them, to teach them a lesson.

 

In Person

 

The in person Russian women scams also follow a predictable pattern.  These women, who are opportunistic gold diggers, leeches, and whores, meet foreign men either through marriage agencies and social tours, the internet, or in bars and clubs where foreign men hang out.  Though they pretend to be seeking serious relations, they true intent is to be showered with money, gifts, and fancy dinners.  They tend to pick the most expensive activities and places to go, and are total shameless takers, perceiving money as an aphrodisiac.  They are not ashamed to directly ask for presents, or cash gifts and loans.  And they treat men as cash cows with no regard for their financial needs.  Sometimes, they use mind-control techniques, such as calling the man “greedy” if he refuses to buy them what they want or spend freely, staring at him with a hypnotic gaze that induces guilt in him.  Unless they are attracted to the man, they will make excuses not to have sex, ranging from her parents being worried about her being out late, to saving sex for marriage, to claiming that she moves slowly.  They will gladly accept sex for money, with the price in inverse proportion to their level of attraction to him. 

 

But even among the cautious Russian women who move slowly, the self-respecting ones will not ask you to buy anything for them.  In general, Russian women with sincere intentions who have self-respect and truly like you, will usually do most of the following: 

 

 

Also, here is a list of bad signs and red flags outlined by the owner of the Russian Women Abroad Forum, Natasha:

 

http://www.russianwomenabroad.com/forum_eng/index.php?sid=cecac74d7c9772e386426cf1b62ae8b4

 

“Here are some signs, which can enlighten you that she is not attracted to you:

She looks very frustrated when she first sees you. She does not smile;

Even after you spend some time together, she still does not want to hold hands. When you try to touch her, it looks as though it irritates her... Here I should say that it is wrong to think that Russian women don't like "holding hands". They do, but only if they like you. I remember my close friend told me about one of the foreigners who visited her. She said, "you know, when he tries to touch my hand, I feel repulsed..." In another situation, when she liked a guy, she would love "holding hands"!

Here are some other Red flags: 

During your stay, your Russian friend will prefer to spend all of your evenings in night-clubs or restaurants, instead of spending “quality time” together with you getting to know each other (don’t confuse this with her attempting to be hospitable and showing you the town); 

Will try to make you buy as much stuff for her as possible, will complain and show her dissatisfaction in case you don’t get her something she wants;

Will show a change in her mood very often (ex. Will be happy and excited when you are in public, but sullen and silent when you are alone);

Will act like she is very busy and could devote only a short time to you, in particular meeting you at restaurants or bars only;

Will be reluctant to discuss your future together, and make serious plans;

Will have sex with you on the first date, but won’t kiss you on the lips or will accept sex passively (remember “Pretty woman”? )

Also, I wish to assure you that if your Russian friend will be willing to have sex with you on the first date, it does not prove anything. She may really like you, or she may just believe that it is the only way to get abroad.

One more point: on our Women’s forum we discussed if any of our women were really “in love” when they agreed to marry their husbands, 95% admitted that they were not in love. Some said that they developed love and respect throughout their life with their spouses. Those, few who replied that they did fall in love before the marriage, were met with distrust and disbelief. Many said that it is impossible to fall in love with a stranger whom you met on-line. Surely, many (if not all) of these women assured their future husbands that they were “in love” before the marriage. This is something to think about! 

There is a lot to consider in developing any relationship. Of course, it’s nice to be very positive and open to the possibilities, but in order to avoid great disappointment afterwards, I would advice you to use your judgment, insight and maturity when arriving at this crucial step in your relationships.“

 

Here are other tell-tale signs of genuine interest or love, based on my experience.  They apply to meeting Russian women in person from online, having a reasonable time of correspondence with.  (For those of you experienced in the below situations, let me know if your experiences concur.)

 

1)  If you have corresponded with a woman for at least a while through letters, photos, and phone calls, but she tells you later that she doesn't know if it will work out or not, or that you have to meet before she decides, or if she says something like "I can't say if I will love you or not without meeting you first", then usually it won't work out.  Chances are, when you meet, she will decide that she doesn't have feelings for you or that you are not the right person for her.  I say this because usually if the woman will love her foreign male prospect, she will know so BEFORE meeting him and tell him so, without having to express doubt, ambivalence or second thoughts.  In my case, the one relationship I had which began online and became serious later worked out this way.  She knew she loved me long before we met during our correspondence.

 

That's the pattern I’ve seen with meetings from online relationships.  The ones that work usually have the woman knowing beforehand that he was her man, and she was in love with him.  Usually, their intuition is good enough to know this before having to meet to test the vibes.  But if they have to resort to practical common sense and say that they aren't sure until they meet you, or are already having doubts, it’s a bad sign for she is lacking the intuitive sense that she will have feelings for you.  In such case, though they don't want to make a choice either way yet, the likelihood is that there won't be enough chemistry for romance, love, or attraction when you meet, if she has to be that overly practical about it.

 

2)  If a Russian woman you come to visit puts you in a hotel or directs you to one, it's not a good sign if you've already been corresponding for a while.  The reasons are because a) it's impersonal and makes you feel like you are on some kind of business trip, having to deal with hotel staff and security everyday, and b) it shows that she has little or no emotional investment in you and is too lazy to go through the trouble of arranging something better and more personable for you and her.  Furthermore, it shows that you are low on her list of priorities and that you are just something that casually came up for her whom she will fit around her schedule, rather than someone important.  And it indicates an attitude from her that, "It's his problem.  Let him deal with it at his expense."

 

On the other hand, a Russian woman who really cares about you and values a serious relationship with you will either arrange a flat for you, a room in a flat, accommodations in her home, or some combination of the above.  She will prefer getting a flat for both you and her to stay together, to allow real relations to develop in a more natural setting, if you are truly valuable to her.  Otherwise, if she always takes you out and then drops you off at your hotel without even joining you in your room, then it’s an indicator that she’s not that into or her intentions are more platonic.

 

Those are things to consider.

 

Now, if you find yourself dating an opportunistic gold digger type of Russian woman, here’s my simple suggestion.  Unless you plan to use them for sex, it’s best not to deal with them at all.  If you decide to arrange a sex for money/gifts type of deal with them though, do it early on, for unless you do, if they have it their way, they will attempt to extract from you without giving anything back (unless they find you attractive).  But do so at your own peril though, for they are women without honor, infamous for screwing people over, and may not even keep their part of the bargain, or they may give you shitty “service” with no concern for your satisfaction.  And of course, in such deals it is expected that the man do his part of the bargain first, hence he is taking more of the risk than she is by being the first to go out on a limb.

 

Whatever the case, it’s best not to hang around them too long, for these are depraved creatures without conscience, dignity, self-respect, values, or morals, and if you hang around them too long, you will be dragged down with them.  All in all, it’s just not good for your soul, spirit, pride, dignity, conscience, or self-respect, unless of course you love corruption.  So after the entertainment and pleasure is over, get out while you still can.  Oh and before she leaves your flat or room, don’t unlock the door for her until you’ve made sure that none of your valuables were stolen, for they are sometimes capable of theft too.

 

Conclusion

 

Well that’s it.  Have fun if you’re in Russia but just stay safe and exercise good common sense.  Remember that not everyone who talks to you is your friend, so don’t trust too easily.  As a rule of thumb, if someone is too pushy about something, then that’s a big warning sign. 

 

In spite of all the dangers of being scammed in Russia and other opportunistic parts of the world, some are irresistibly and morbidly drawn to it, such as this Dutch traveler who related to me:

 

I prefer the Russian jungle to the American Disney World. I
want to live! Russian passion, intrigue, misery, hope and despair, tears
and kisses, EMOTION! I think you understand. Even though (I got) almost kicked
to death, you always feel this desire to go back, and challenge fate.“

 

If anyone else has any suggested strategies or experiences to share with me about dealing with these types of scams, please let me know at [email protected].  Thanks for reading and allowing me to share with you.

 

Sincerely,

Winston

 

 

Note:  If you’ve benefited from the info here and feel that they will save you from being a victim to the scams described, please consider getting my Ebook Package to help me recover the financial losses I incurred from these Russian scams. Thanks.

 

 

 

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