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Internet dating  scammers: how to protect yourself…Do not be surprised… Scams and online crime is a problem in Russia too.

First of all I say there is a lot of honest girls out there. But we can not eliminate the chance of your being attacked by typical scammer aiming to your bank account or just a little cash.

I will tell you a little story which was shared by a man, victim of Ukrainian scammer. The middle aged New Yorker met this girl online and talk to her for a while. Skype was not popular back then and I believe they did not even talked on the phone.  However, sometime later he felt ready to visit his Ukranian girl. She said that she rented an apartment for him (which obviously was overpriced). He stayed in that apartment alone for the whole time. She was visiting him from time to time to take him out for dinner,

shopping (which he paid for). The rest of the time he was staying in the  flat by himself wondering why he was accepted that coldly. He certainly started to fear for his life or wellbeing. Fortunately  he returned back home safely but disappointed and frightened  - clearly he has been used in a scheme of milking for cash.

Sign up for essential tips for online dating from the experience of those who seek soulmate in internet! May come pretty handy!

So, the basic antiscam plan should have following points:

    1. Read the emails from girl attentively, watch for inconsistency and mixed facts.
    2. Ask to call her or Skype (latter is better), at least you will make sure you talk to the girl, not a big dude.

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  1. Ask to see her passport (there is external and internal passports). Internal passport is national ID and carries purely Cyrillic symbols. As for external passport, it is in English, so you will be able to read this. Not everybody in Russia has external passport as it is for travelling overseas only, but if your girl is serious about marring a foreigner she should have one or being ready to request it. The processing time may be long (honestly up to 4 months) but once it is issued you may verify the identity of your Russian bride.
  2. Are you ready to go to  Russia and meet your princess? I recommend organizing a trip independently to eliminate the possibility of scam. For example, book the hotel in her town on internet. Apply for visa in Russian visa center. Purchase your own ticket and have your hotel arrange the transportation from the airport. She may meet you at the airport and ride along in your shuttle to the place of your accommodation.  Make this trip not only about her, but enjoyable sightseeing as well, thus if she turns out to be a scammer or does not show up at all, you still have something to do, but if not you will make sightseeing together and get acquainted better.
  3. If she comes to see you, purchase the ticket for her. If she is financially stable, you two may arrange the trip being paid out of her own pocket and then you reimburse the expenses. In this case you protect yourself but she is in a vulnerable position. She may scrap her savings together just to come and see you but if you are not serious about the relationship or refuse to pay the expense she is a victim. So, please be responsible and reasonable.

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