Are Russian women scammers?

The Principles of Online Dating: How to Recognize a Scammer

By Eve

A man, looking at the skies, cries: "O, God, I need money so much, please let me win the lottery," a second and again, a third time, the man asks God to let him win the lottery. After the third request, a voice from the sky says: "Buy a ticket, idiot!" (old Russian joke.)

Internet dating is one ticket to life's lottery.

Love, Internet Style by David Brooks, The New York Times:

"... now forty million Americans look at online dating sites each month, and we are seeing a revolution in the way people meet and court one another. About a fifth of online daters are married men. Whatever else has changed, men are more likely to be predators looking for sex, while women try to hold back. The online dating world is superficially cynical."

Yes a woman or a man, looking for a soul-mate through the Internet, can become frustrated easily, especially when a sought for is from a different country. People can say anything about themselves on the Internet, but someone, who is serious, can invest the time and thought to sort through the posted profiles of seeking partners. Trusting an inner voice is important, but one should trust people and let them verify their words. Recovering from a personal mistake is painful, but finding someone to trust is delightful.

In fact, the Internet world is only a reflection of real life. The digital life has rules that are similar to the world's analog rules. From early childhood, parents teach their children how to behave outside the home, how to communicate with others, and how to relate to people. Parents model examples of behavior and responsibilities for an improved existence for their children. They teach principles such as politeness, honesty, fairness, carefulness, trustworthiness, and respectfulness. Parents teach their children to trust people, to treat others as they want to be treated, and to think before making decisions that will affect their lives.

Nevertheless, in adulthood, each person revises the principles and chooses categories that reply to his or her conceptions. Different people bring their own ethics to the virtual romance. Cyberspace relations can be as moral as the people involved in them are, neither less nor more. Consequently, internet relationships are at least as powerful as relationships that begin face-to-face. However, many people are better at revealing their true selves through the keyboard than through conversation because the computer screen removes their usual inhibitions.

According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, between four to six thousand American men and foreign women marry each year in the United States. The overwhelming majority that seeks the services of International Marriage Brokers are men. According to other sources, eighty percent of the men, seeking potential wives in Russia, are American.

Russian women play a notably modest role in the politics of their patriarchal Motherland. In everyday existence, however, Russian women must be both wives and family providers. They become well skilled in making day-to-day decisions. If domestic marriage does not work or the women are unable to find suitable partners in Russia, they turn their eyes to the West and advertise on the Internet for partners abroad. Russian women believe that Russian men are now the "weaker gender," they also believe that only western men are strong enough to support a family. Russian women seek sober men who know the meaning of being a man-responsibility, support, and strength. If not careful, Russian women will find many of the same men on the Internet as the women try to escape from in their country.

The vast majority of internet courtships between American men and Russian women work similar to other courtships. If men and women date but they discover their interests or pace of life are incompatible, they stop dating. Since these circumstances between two Americans are commonplace, their stories will not have significant resonance. The men would not think that they were "scammed." However, if such a breakdown happens in a virtual relationship between an American man and a foreign woman, the man can conclude he fell victim to an "immigration scam" and go on to complain on the Internet or to his friends about "grasping Russian women."

"Scam," according Encyclopedia Britannica, is "a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation." This word was rarely used a few years ago, but now "scam" is used frequently in reference to intercultural introductions and even marriages. Thanks to Encyclopedia Britannica, I can now draw a picture of a real scammer.

When I went to Google to find additional information for this assignment, I typed in the keywords, "Russian women, dating, and scam." Then I received a very long list with dozens of websites named differently but with the same theme--a black list of Russian woman scamming in the Internet. I read letters from American men accusing women of being "scammers," and I read women's letters provided by the men. I read for hours. My new view of matchmaking on the Internet made me to change my topic. I cannot ignore the media comments about Russian women when reporters call them "money hunters" and "scammers." I want to enlighten the views that are left in the shade, so I am not going to write about con women. They exist in cyber space as well as in real life. I am concerned about men who are not described well in media releases, even though they play the initial role in international dating.

I am not going to write about con marriage agencies or matchmaking services. They are the most guilty; however, because they are advertising hundreds of false profiles on dating websites, writing false letters to men, and asking about money using names of innocent women. I am not going to write about men who send money to their unmet "girlfriends" and then complain about them not arriving on the set day. These situations are cases for the police and FBI. The process of arresting the real scammers has started in the United States. The following is an example of the use of the Internet to scam innocent victims:

Division Internet Dating Scam Dismantled. On May 13, 2003, FBI arrested Robert L. McCoy and his wife Anna V. Grountovaia on charges of Conspiracy and Wire Fraud. Their arrest was pursuant to an indictment filed by a Federal Grand Jury for operating a fraudulent Russian dating scheme via the Internet.

McCoy and Grountavaia posed as Russian women under various names and posted on-line ads seeking a serious relationship with men. At times, McCoy and Grountavaia would also respond to on-line ads of other men in order to induce them into developing on-line relationships. After the initial contact was established, McCoy and Grountavaia would then send e-mails and contact the victims by telephone to entice the victims into wiring monies to Russia.

In these communications, the indictment alleges that McCoy and Grountavaia, posing as a Russian woman, would claim to belong to an 'agency' that could help facilitate a visit to the victim's home country. Under the guise of this Russian agency, the indictment further alleges that McCoy and Grountavaia sent additional e-mails to the victims, instructing them to wire sums ranging from $1,790 to $1,850, so the agency could process flight arrangements, obtain visas, and secure placements for the Russian woman in student exchange programs. After the victims wired the money, believing the Russian woman would soon arrive, McCoy and Grountavaia would then cease all contact with the victims. (FBI San Diego, California).

Even though the police said the first word, names and faces of dozens of innocent women are still falsely blacklisted on the Internet. Pity the poor women whose profiles are copied from respectable dating sites or marriage agencies and used by con artists. Proving their innocence and cleaning up their respectability on the Internet is almost impossible after somebody places their names and photos on one of those blacklists.

Life is not fair. Going through the blacklists, I saw women's letters that were inoffensive, yet angry men placed the women on a blacklist for revenge. I read the men's letters that were unsubstantiated, and they were the real scam.

Women must realize that cyber space inhabitants are different. Some of the men make me nervous by their disrespectful behavior. As an example, one frequently seen in the Internet kind of men I would name "overcautious." Seeking a foreign wife, some men fear being "scammed" or deceived. They are not sure in anything and do not trust anyone. "Overcautious" men imagine their money and personal security are in danger. They are so concerned about being scammed that they are unwilling to pay the cost of the ticket. Too often, the men visit dating websites, write letters to women, but break the conversation too soon. Each word in a woman's answer is read with scrupulous cautiousness. If these men find words like "money," "wish to see America," she "cannot afford something," the men automatically label her as a "scammer."

A particularly unfair backlash can occur when men scam women. These men have also posted web pages "blacklisting" women. Their scam is soliciting money for the lists of women that they claim are "scammers." If one reads the indictments written by these men, their true intentions as scammers are clear! These men accuse others of the very act that they are most guilty of themselves.

As a result of the rising interest in online dating, the Internet now overflows with websites featuring Russian women who are looking for long-term relationships. Owners of the agencies and managers of the websites describe the women as idealistic wives and women with very modest requirements. The popularity of wives from Russia peaked in nineties, but the interest in Internet dating has been slowing down. People found out that Internet conversation is not a panacea for loneness. Meeting and exchanging letters with somebody in chat rooms creates many mistakes, misunderstandings, and faults. When the number of men disappointed with online dating increased, the Internet provided them with an opportunity to blacklist Russian women. Black lists warn men to do nothing before their agents check a women's background, for a fee, of course. Many of the black lists are website pages that increase their earnings. International marriage brokers lose money on dating pages, but make money blacklisting other women. The blacklists are also scam.

Checking Russian women's criminal background is a fake play because there are no Russian Internet scam laws to break. That record is expected to be clean except for small and not serious discrepancies such as a different address or phone number than the man received possibly because the woman has been registered at parent's apartment but resides in a rented one or the woman is divorced but wrote in her profile "single." The real crime sits in the heads of those who seek to buy love; a detective could not find that type of love. If an old man wants to send money to buy the love of a young girl, he is more than a fool--he is also wrong. This scenario has the same ground as bribes--both are guilty--the one who gives a bribe and the one who takes the bribe. Consequently, paying a detective is easier but not a better way of finding out who the man is dating.

Virtual dating has advantages and disadvantages, but it is not a venture without risks. Perhaps, Internet dating is a little better than going on a traditional "blind date." Consequently, if somebody goes into a relationship with thoughts of "what if it will not work out?" how can he or she develop a commitment? The Internet is overflows with men who are dishonorable men and even dangerous men. These men who are either bored at work, married with a wife and children, and write about love from the first letter to young and naive girls; all the men are just cruising online, wasting women's time and hope. Telling the real men from the fakes can be difficult. All these men such as time-wasters, players, sex addicts, married men looking for a little action on the side, men happy in a solo relationship with themselves, men that take out their anger at women in general are widely presented in the Internet and seek women's attention. Divorced or never-married men fall into a trap of using online dating to deal with loneliness, vent anger, air dirty laundry, and cry about misfortunes. They are the real scammers. Sadly, they do not know what they want, and they do not know their own minds.

Blacklisters try to accuse women of taking money, but they are really complaining because they are too cheap to cover the costs of an internet romance. They are trying to go "Dutch" in an internet relationship where the high value of the dollar makes it less expensive to pay for the translation costs than the cost of flowers and a traditional dinner at a simple restaurant. An old principle says that men cannot go "Dutch" in any serious relationship, whether online or in person. Men who do not pay for a relationship are demonstrating that they will not prove to be good providers, they will not be good husbands, they are the dregs of society, as they look perhaps for a mother--not a wife and family. American women do not choose this kind of infantile man, but his marriage to a foreign woman is not going to work either because the wife-immigrant will not be able to work legally for the first two years. The men are not able be a family's sole provider. Going "Dutch" into dating for men is as unethical as buying love. Important finding the gold middle is important-how to trust and respect a woman met online, how to cover expenses for correspondence, and how to help the woman. If romance becomes intimate the man must know how not to make her fill as if she is purchased. Only seriousness and thoughtfulness help to find the right way and attitude.

Men who do not take their conversation seriously with their online girlfriends are scammers too; they are deceiving themselves. Unsurprisingly no respectable women meeting them in person would have anything to do with such men. A man should be ready to explain his motives. "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." (Benjamin Franklin). First, he must find answers for himself: Why a foreign woman? Why not from the same country? "Some men still believe they can point their finger at any woman (on website) and she must marry him because he paid for her address." (Elena Petrova, Russian Brides Cyber Guide). If a man's predominant motive for marrying is to find a cheap servant, he is a scammer in real life.

If a man is looking for a life partner, not a brainless doll, he has to be ready to search for years. Yes, in cyber space, some women are looking for cash money, not a long term serious relationship. Some women are too quick to say, "Yes," without really knowing to whom they are writing. In the online world, a screening process should start with the first letters.

Dating online is not therapy. Nevertheless, many men and women use chat rooms to solve personal problems. They should see a therapist, find a support group, or confide in good friends. Instead, they sometimes cast for an online pal with hope of finding a savior. Unfortunately, their ads will not have a sign that says, "Caution! Stay away!"

Faces and ads that appear on the computer screen might be false, but behind the ad is a real person. Many problems and mistakes could be prevented if people dating online were more realistic and did not let their fantasy draw a picture of what they wanted instead of what was really there. A person wandering through the Internet must find a real face and decide how close the individual is to his or her ideal.

Although the face of the online dating world looks strange and cynical, human rules and principles still dominate. One should be careful, but keep trying; the winning ticket for the life's lottery may be on next page.

Please, check my website at http://russia-alaska.narod.ru

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