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Author Topic: My fears of being scammed  (Read 2934 times)

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Offline Smo0420

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My fears of being scammed
« on: May 10, 2010, 01:08:36 PM »
OK, here's the situation. I have been in regular email contact with a woman named Olen'ka in Ukraine for some months, and I am currently planning a trip for our first visit together.

I met Olen'ka through a FSU dating website called "hotrussianbrides.com." I like her, and she seems to like me, and she has always seemed quite genuine to me, and has never engaged in any "red flag" behavior that would make you think of a scam. And then, I dealt with her agency ...

They have quoted me prices for securing me an apartment, providing for my transportation, and facilitating our meeting. However, when they requested payment, they asked for cash to be sent, in advance, by Western Union to a representative of the agency. The total is nearly $1,000.

My question is whether this is a normal practice in the FSU, and what people's thoughts are on the situation in general. Sending cash by wire sounds awful dodgy to me, and I'm forced to question whether the real plan is to get my cash, and then strand me at the airport in Kiev.

Any comments appreciated ...
Smo

Online andrewfi

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2010, 01:18:42 PM »
HotRussianBrides.com is not going to be the agency providing the service, they just provide the link to the agencies providing the women webcam operatives.

That said HRB have no good reason to steal your money and I am sure they'd not be happy if one of their suppliers did so. The revenues from the webcam girls are likely to make theft from an individual client a risky business as the supplier will lose much more than $1000 if they lose the HRB connection.

BUT is the girl really interested in you? Will she be there when you arrive? Will she have had to go to some other city to care for her dying granny leaving you to pick of the somewhat less hot RUssian brides who are available for dates on the day you arrive?
That is a much harder set of questions to answer. Frankly the only way to answer it is to get on the big silver bird and go say hello!
But, hey! At least you are giving it a go! Most guys do not get as far as you!
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Offline Chris

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2010, 01:24:46 PM »
OK, here's the situation. I have been in regular email contact with a woman named Olen'ka in Ukraine for some months, and I am currently planning a trip for our first visit together.

I met Olen'ka through a FSU dating website called "hotrussianbrides.com." I like her, and she seems to like me, and she has always seemed quite genuine to me, and has never engaged in any "red flag" behavior that would make you think of a scam. And then, I dealt with her agency ...

They have quoted me prices for securing me an apartment, providing for my transportation, and facilitating our meeting. However, when they requested payment, they asked for cash to be sent, in advance, by Western Union to a representative of the agency. The total is nearly $1,000.

My question is whether this is a normal practice in the FSU, and what people's thoughts are on the situation in general. Sending cash by wire sounds awful dodgy to me, and I'm forced to question whether the real plan is to get my cash, and then strand me at the airport in Kiev.

Any comments appreciated ...

Have you spoken to this lady on the phone yet? if not what are you doing even considering booking tickets to go see her, without regular phone contact I wouldn't be buying tickets and booking apartments etc.


Offline skiingandrunning

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2010, 01:48:23 PM »
Quote
However, when they requested payment, they asked for cash to be sent, in advance, by Western Union to a representative of the agency.

Smo0420,

One thing almost everyone will be in agreement with is, "Don't send money".  Listen to what Manny wrote as it's pretty easy to make your own arrangements, so tell them ahead of time you'll be doing this and see if your lady is still interested (plus, one of the many scams is overcharging for travel).  Also, listen to what Adrewfi has to say as the "care for her dying granny" line is more common than a person thinks.  Last piece of good advice is from Chris as you need to speak with her on the phone more than once, hopefully with a direct call to her (maybe with a third party translator you hire) before you sink the dollars into making a trip.  The last thing I'll add is to make sure you have a backup plan, because even with a legit lady, you still might find you have no chemistry when meeting as it's still dating.

Offline Smo0420

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2010, 02:08:26 PM »
Thanks for all the helpful comments, I really appreciate the candor.

Manny, I did follow the link concerning the website, and am now sufficiently frightened :) I must report to you that I have not been in contact with Olen'ka except through the HRB website, though I have provided her with my personal email address (I don't think she has access to a computer outside her agency). You also asked our ages ... I'm 32, and she is listed as 25, which is a rather big difference, I realize.

To those of you who suggested phone contact: Both myself and the lady in question are, shall we say, lingually challenged in terms of pursuing a relationship. So, I've not even attempted phone contact, as I didn't think there was a way to secure translation. Now, some of you have suggested that this is possible, and I will look into that possibility.

As far as being overcharged ... well, I've done some research (though not as much as I will), and it appears that the rates I'm being charged are fairly competative (though they are slightly higher)

Thanks again to all concerned for their sage advice, and for taking the time to help. Any further comments will be similarly appreciated ...
Smo

Offline Olga_Mouse

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2010, 02:29:04 PM »

I'm 32, and she is listed as 25, which is a rather big difference, I realize.


Not a big difference in the eyes of a FSU lady, however  :innocent:


To those of you who suggested phone contact: Both myself and the lady in question are, shall we say, lingually challenged in terms of pursuing a relationship.


BOTH are lingually challenged? How come? You can write English, but you can't speak on the phone?  ???
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Offline Smo0420

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2010, 02:45:30 PM »
Olga_Mouse:

A) Yeah, I'd forgotten about that particular cultural difference ... that is definately a part of Eastern European culture that I'm prepared to wholeheartedly embrace :) Though, I must admit, when I first signed up for that website a couple of 18-year-old girls hit on me and I just could not help but feel dirty about it ... I almost turned myself in to the police :) Seriously, I found myself unable to maintain communication with anyone younger than their mid-20s ... a prime example of we human beings can sometimes become victims of our own culture ...

B) What I had intended to say was that she speaks very little English, while I speak no Ukrainian and about 3 words of Russian that I learned from old Cold War movies :) So, phone contact would require a 3rd party translator, an option I only recently found out was available ...

Smo

Offline RG

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2010, 02:50:03 PM »
I agree with everyone else, very little conflicting advice has been given.  
No experience with HRB, but what Andrew says makes sense - as you're already using them, assuming you've found their accommodation prices competitive, do what makes you happy there, but you should always look at other options, perhaps especially for interpreters.  In the even the girl and you do have some chemistry, the agency may decide they do NOT want her to leave, among other issues such as pricing.  

I would suggest making sure you are indeed talking to "her" and not an agency translator or webcam girl.  It sounds like you may not have even talked or webcammed at this point?  If so, you really need to remedy this ASAP, ideally before purchasing any tickets.  ladagirl, Stirlitz, Ed (all on forum) all provide 3 way phone interpreter services, highly recommended if you don't share a common language.  Additionally, I'm sure any of them could ask her a few questions to get a bit of a "feel" for the girl, as well.

I wouldn't worry at all about that level of age difference;I would worry far more than you may not have even spoken to the girl as of yet directly (or with a 3rd party interpreters help).

Offline AvHdB

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2010, 02:59:15 PM »
I have no expierence with Hot Russian Brides. But $1,000 US dollars is a very large amount of money to meet a woman from the Ukraine. I have just returned from Sumy and meet numerous women. The most that one agency requested was $70 and I refused as it 100% more than the standard fee.

By way of information meeting some 12 + women from one agency who also arranged the apartment and taxi ride of 4 hours cost me just under $ 600,= US. This excludes meals with three women. Not talking with the woman is rather strange. I have yet to meet a Russian or Ukraine woman who bites, some do though bark and growl. Also some mentioned that there will a local agency which is most likely true.

Your age difference is not the problem - the veracity of the agency and woman is.

Please find an expert who can represent your interests. Otherwise perhaps your next post will be how you were scammed. Perhaps as a very first step see if this women has a profile on another site. Start with Love Me also called AFA, than Anastasia, than 1rst International. You might have to create a profile to access and search Anastasia.

On the other side some agencies allow a woman FLUENT in English but with limited computer expierence to maintain there own profile. This means they directly answer the potential men.
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Online shakespear

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2010, 03:20:25 PM »
Please find an expert who can represent your interests. Otherwise perhaps your next post will be how you were scammed. Perhaps as a very first step see if this women has a profile on another site. Start with Love Me also called AFA, than Anastasia, than 1rst International. You might have to create a profile to access and search Anastasia. 

Why not just google her name?  You'd be surprised what you might learn.
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Offline 2tallbill

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My fears of being scammed
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2010, 03:43:02 PM »
My question is whether this is a normal practice in the FSU, and what people's thoughts are on the situation in general. Sending cash by wire sounds awful dodgy to me, and I'm forced to question whether the real plan is to get my cash, and then strand me at the airport in Kiev.

Any comments appreciated ...

Questions
1. How long are you staying?
2. What city are you visiting?

I don't think that HRB will leave you stranded at the airport. I have visited HRB girls / agencies
before and didn't get ripped off. They tend to overcharge but I recommend that you make all
the arrangements yourself, including but not limited to your airport pickup / drop off, translation,
apartment rental, translator / guides, buying or renting a local cell phone etc.

You should send a PM to Stirlitz. He lives in Odessa and has a house in the Crimea.

If you ignore all my advice at your peril don't ignore the translator part. An agency translator
can ruin everything and string you along. You want your translator.

I would also read these threads (note St Pete thread was a trip to meet mostly HRB girls)

My how to thread
http://ruadventures.com/forum/index.php?topic=4390.60

Top ten things to tell a newbie
http://ruadventures.com/forum/index.php?topic=9107.30

The original tablets of Stone
this is a list of DO NOT DO THIS and expect to survive this process
http://ruadventures.com/forum/index.php?topic=3588.0

Here is a trip report I wrote about going WOVO (write one visit one) to
St Pete and things didn't work out so I visited many
http://ruadventures.com/forum/index.php?topic=467.0

This is a trip report wovo again this time to Dnepropetrovsk.
http://ruadventures.com/forum/index.php?topic=5560.0

This is an ongoing odyssey of Don Hollio in his years long quest
to find the future Mrs Don
http://ruadventures.com/forum/index.php?topic=1578.0
FSUW are not for entry level daters. FSUW don't do vague FSUW like a man of action so be a man of action  If you find a promising girl, get your butt on a plane. There are a hundred ways to be successful and a thousand ways to f#ck it up
Kiss the girl, don't ask her first.
Get an apartment not a hotel. DON'T recycle girls

Offline RG

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2010, 03:45:18 PM »
Please find an expert who can represent your interests. Otherwise perhaps your next post will be how you were scammed. Perhaps as a very first step see if this women has a profile on another site. Start with Love Me also called AFA, than Anastasia, than 1rst International. You might have to create a profile to access and search Anastasia. 

Why not just google her name?  You'd be surprised what you might learn.

First name, city and age can also work, but may return significant number of hits depending on the combination.
Do you have her address and/or last name?

Offline 2tallbill

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2010, 03:46:09 PM »
I have no expierence with Hot Russian Brides. But $1,000 US dollars is a very large amount of money to meet a woman from the Ukraine.

I took this to include an apartment. An apartment could easily be half or more of the total.
FSUW are not for entry level daters. FSUW don't do vague FSUW like a man of action so be a man of action  If you find a promising girl, get your butt on a plane. There are a hundred ways to be successful and a thousand ways to f#ck it up
Kiss the girl, don't ask her first.
Get an apartment not a hotel. DON'T recycle girls

Offline BCKev

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2010, 07:25:07 PM »

My question is whether this is a normal practice in the FSU, and what people's thoughts are on the situation in general. Sending cash by wire sounds awful dodgy to me, and I'm forced to question whether the real plan is to get my cash, and then strand me at the airport in Kiev.

Any comments appreciated ...

I would be nervous about sending $1000 to an agency as well. I've never sent money prior to arriving in the city for apartments, transportation or agency introduction fees. However, I have never used an agency to make these arrangements, and usually have someone I know in country take care of the arrangements for me, whether that be a hired hand or wife/girlfriend/friend. I have generally paid for these types of services in advance, face to face. Sending money in advance for your transportation from the airport (assuming someone is to meet you at the airport) and the first night at an apartment would seem reasonable to me.

I suggest you talk with this woman on the phone prior to making a trip. Take a look at these links for more information:
http://ruadventures.com/forum/index.php?topic=11056.msg158562#msg158562
http://ruadventures.com/forum/index.php?topic=11025.0

Which city are you planning on visiting?

Offline BCKev

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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2010, 07:42:22 PM »

If you ignore all my advice at your peril don't ignore the translator part. An agency translator
can ruin everything and string you along. You want your translator.


Like the man said. I feel a lot more comfortable hiring an independent translator.

If you are going to the Dnepropetrovsk area, I can recommend my friend, Larissa Korneeva. She will travel anywhere in Ukraine, but this would incur more expenses.
http://www.interpreterin*Unapproved Link*/






Offline Stirlitz

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Fears of being scammed are quite justified but there is a way
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2010, 03:42:30 AM »
I met Olen'ka through a FSU dating website called "hotrussianbrides.com." I like her, and she seems to like me, and she has always seemed quite genuine to me, and has never engaged in any "red flag" behavior that would make you think of a scam. And then, I dealt with her agency ...

They have quoted me prices for securing me an apartment, providing for my transportation, and facilitating our meeting. However, when they requested payment, they asked for cash to be sent, in advance, by Western Union to a representative of the agency. The total is nearly $1,000.

My question is whether this is a normal practice in the FSU, and what people's thoughts are on the situation in general. Sending cash by wire sounds awful dodgy to me, and I'm forced to question whether the real plan is to get my cash, and then strand me at the airport in Kiev.
Yes this is a normal practice basically and I do not believe that you are going to get stranded while this is not impossible either. However, most likely they want to make more money and avoid being labeled as scammers.

Nevertheless, I believe that this is going to be a waste. There are many kinds of scams ranging from simple visa/tickets to exquisite green card girls who you can actually marry. In cases like yours the girl is used as a dummy to cover agency business and you pay for interpreting, accommodation, transportation and many other activities that you do need… but you actually need them because you are trying to meet a special woman… but if she is a ‘straw’ one do you really need the rest?

HRB is actually notorious for such practices as far as I am concerned.

So I believe that you should make all the arrangements on your own. This would eliminate any straw women who are not interested in you and are only there because the agency gives them a cut from your hefty fees.

This may sound as self-promotion and let it be, but as a third disinterested party I can provide you all that you need to meet a woman. This may not be cheaper but you can be sure that she is not going to profit and if she is still there this means she is interested in you. She may still be interested in the fun that you can provide like taking her out eating, shopping but this is a different story and this is where I can also help.

Further, you need to have other options (women to meet) and in any case you must always have direct contact details of women you are going to meet before you land in Ukraine. Let me stress: not that of their interpreter who will tell you a lot of b/s like she is afraid to meet you on her own but if you read between the lines it is simply the interpreter who wants you to pay them (them two). You don’t need that. However, it is going to be a challenge to obtain direct contact details. But there is always a way and I offer a solution (see my web site for details).

Another example of shameless self-promotion on my part would be to claim that all the agency interpreters are far from being professional and often speak little English so using them will not take you far (but may take you back). You want to use a professional, not an amateur/student.

I'm 32, and she is listed as 25, which is a rather big difference, I realize.
Not at all. My wife is 31, I am 37.
Igor Kalinin
Russian Translator/Interpreter/Guide/Agent for Odessa, the Crimea and the rest of Ukraine
www.odessaguide.net

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Re: Fears of being scammed are quite justified but there is a way
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2010, 04:38:25 AM »
Another example of shameless self-promotion on my part would be to claim that all the agency interpreters are far from being professional and often speak little English so using them will not take you far (but may take you back). You want to use a professional, not an amateur/student.

I can attest this is true. Most agency translators don't know crap about English beyond the hello/goodbyes.

There are of course, exceptions to every rule. (Ladagirl, Khersongirls).
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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2010, 05:18:30 AM »
When I was in Sumy one translator was average one was poor. And two were good. I think the one for Luda was honest but at times she struggled with phrases and expressions.

She had the honesty to say I am not sure how to say something in English to me.

I know three Russian speaking women who are fluent in Dutch in Amsterdam.
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Re: My fears of being scammed
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2010, 05:38:38 AM »

I know three Russian speaking women who are fluent in Dutch in Amsterdam.


I know only one  :loving:
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