RUSSIA EXPERIENCE AND VOLUNTEERING
SVEZHY VETER Travel Agency
426008 Izhevsk Karla Marxa 288a
mail: 426033 Izhevsk
p.o.box 2040 Russia
tel: +7 (3412) 450037, 613080
+7 909 064 69 95 Contact us
Below are some of the stories of the visitors who one way or another had experiences related to Russian scam business.
I got an email from a beautiful Russian lady, two weeks ago. She told the usual stuff about her self & a few sad stories. I told her about me & what I was looking for, of coarse she wanted the same. After a week she told me how much she loved me & that I was her dream guy. She then asked for money for a plane ticket. I was very suspicious & put her off. I have learnt a lot about Russia in a week. I told her no money & that I would come to Russia. She told me I can't because her Parents haven't agreed to see me & that she can only see me in my country, how stupid. Anyway I said she was a scammer & that was that, I got a nasty email to prove it. Good luck guys, please don't send any money.. Zane
Sent: April 27, 2004
Another section of my guide:
Although Russian people are extremely friendly, playful, and uninhibited, there are certain people you should be wary of. These include scammers and guys who are up to no good. You have to be careful and use yours street smarts when dealing with them, since they may use tricks that you aren't accustomed to back in the states, especially if you're from the suburbs rather than the inner cities of New York or Chicago. Some of these people are professionals who make their living off of scams, so they are going to be good at it, utilizing very polished slick moves. There are the subtle scammers such as the pickpocketers mentioned above, and there are the more elaborate scammers as well.
An example of a more elaborate scam is what's known as the “lost wallet scam” in which two people collaborate to swindle you. It goes like this. While walking through a crowded street or station, a guy runs or walks quickly past you and drops a wallet or money bag containing a thick wad of big bills. Just before you pick it up (hopefully to return it to him lol), another guy beats you to it, and then tells you he will split the cash with you 50/50. But he prefers to do it in secret and out of public so as not to arouse suspicion. So he motions to you to follow him to somewhere secluded. Once you do, just as he is about to split the money with you, the other guy who lost his wallet/money bag comes back and demands his money back. The other scammer denies having it, so the accuser goes after you. This time though, he won't let you go unless you show him the contents of your wallet and pockets. When you do, he demands the cash you have. At this point, the other guy with the lost wallet or money bag slips the wad of bills into your back pocket. At this point, it is presumed that the cash you originally had is less than what's in the wad, so you are supposed to give the accuser some of your cash to get rid of him, thinking that you a lot more cash in the wad that was just passed to you, hence a huge profit. Once you do, some scuffle happens between the two men that cause them to go out of sight. Unfortunately though, the wad of bills passed to you is a fake, so you were had. There are different variations of this scam, but that's the general gist of it.
When I faced this scam though, I did a foolish thing and went along with it out of curiosity and greed (seeing that thick wad of thousand rouble bills inhibited my judgement at the time), knowing that it was suspicious. It was obvious that the guys were acting out emotions. But when I was cornered in a secluded area out of public, that's when I struggled to break free. I only had a few dollars on me at the time though, so there was nothing for them to scam, and I wasn't going to let them have my credit cards. So I called them on their scheme, and eventually they gave up and let me go without any further confrontation. I was lucky, but it's best not to take any chances, cause things could have became more violent than it did. I guess the intense sensation of greed by the sight of the thick wad of thousand rouble bills is meant to paralyze your judgement.
Here is a general rule to follow when guys you don't know approach you. If he is friendly to the point of aggressively persisting that you go somewhere with him, not taking no for an answer, then that should arouse your suspicion. If he tries too hard to be your buddy, telling you how wonderful you are, how much you should trust him, etc. you should be on your guard. Do NOT go into any dark abandoned places or alleys that a guy you don't know asks you to. Most likely, he is luring you into a trap if he insists that you go somewhere with him that will be out of public. Once you say no to him, he may persist and not take no for an answer. At that point, you have to be firm and start ignoring him. I have had this happen to me before.
Sent: January 2, 2003
I was in russia for 2 months in the summer. there wre a couple of incidents right at the start and the end of my stay. apart from that, i never faced any problems with anyone. i even used to ask the militia for directions, without having absolutely no skills in russian, and it never was a problem. but when i landed, i had to pay 300 roubles at the customs for a reason that i couldn't make out. and after arriving at the railway station at moscow, back from novgorod, i was stopped by a couple of militia for document check. everything was perfect, but still had to pay 50 roubles to get my passport back. apart from these 2 incidents, the whole trip was pretty safe. but being an asian, i took care not to stay out in Moscow beyond 11pm.
Sent: January 2, 2003
by the way, i've a wonderful girlfriend from russia. my advice to anyone is - don't believe in anyone before meeting personally. and its better to get out of moscow.
Internet Dating. Warning!
More and more people now are using the Internet as a way of meeting and getting to know each other.
The world does grow smaller but, to our greatest regret, hardly any freer from scams and those trying to benefit from the situations where almost anybody can pretend to be the one he or she wants others to think he or she is.
This is particularly true when it comes to Internet Dating. We certainly can not vouch for the rest of the world, but we do know it happens in approximately 10% with the people involved in the Internet contacts with ladies from Russia and the other few former Soviet republics comprising the CIS now.
Not that everyone should become totally paranoiac about scams and minor similar cases of dishonesty on the Internet, related to dating, but we strongly recommend you to remember that:
The Internet Dates or your Contacts from Russia or CIS may occasionally try (after 5 or 8 letters exchanged) to request money from you under the pretext of the necessity of:
Please remember not ALL of those requests are genuine!
If you have doubts about your Internet Date, or you would like to see examples of scams often used by those badly-intended, check http://www.womenrussia.com/ for the Black List of the names, e-mails and addresses, of those who one way or another have been involved in scamming their Internet Dates.
But whatever your worries or concerns, do remember, please, it is only those 10% scam activists, who make Internet Dating miserable for the other ninety. Try to see through this and and think twice before you say something angry or full of disbelief to your contact. Do not hurt them with your unsubstantiated doubts unless you are 100% certain. They will appreciate this.
Sent: February 27, 2002
I live in Canada, I met this girl called Lidiya Rybachenko, that is 25 years old with an architecture degree and she says she works in the city where she currently lives as an engineer. She lives in Severodvinsk, in the Archangelsk region, on the North sea. She said her city will not allow any visitors from the outside, so she will have to meet me in teh US or Canada and that she needs about US $ 1500, plus travel pocket money. I sent her the money and never heard from her again. We have corresponded for about one month by email: email@example.com (this is the email she used) and also chatting on Yahoo Messenger. She was online almost 12 hours a day, which I thought was suspicious at first, but she said the winter where she lives is long and there is only one hour of daylight every 24 hours, so she stays online a lot between her work shifts. She apparently uses an Internet Cafe to write me and chat with me. I basically got robbed and scammed, she never came and I am out of the money, but I more pissed off at the emotional state this put me in. It was not the money. Folks, don't even think about sending money to this girl. She uses Western Union as a way to receive payment and apparently uses a real ID to pick up the money in Russia. I am including some picture she had sent me. I met her on this website called www.matchdoctor.com (her user name is lidiya102). Once she gets what she wants, she disappears. Her English skills and smarts combined can fool anyone. I belive there is a netwrok of these girls in an apartment there. She uses the following two addresses:
Here's a scam, I know of.
You go to some antique bazaar in Moscow or St. Petersburg and find some brilliant bit of pre-1945 Soviet nicknack or Orthodox icon that will be a great conversation piece in your place back home. But you're a savvy tourist and know that the Russians don't allow pre-1945 memorabilia to be exported. "No problem" the stall manageress says. "I have some special waiver forms. If you pay this extra fee you won't have any problems at Customs." "Great" you say, suddenly behaving in a much less savvy way, "sign me up."
Cut to Customs at the airport. "You can't take this with you. This item can't be exported," the Customs guy says. You flash the 'waiver form' you paid for. He looks at it like its the worthless piece of paper that it is and tells you that its worthless, your non-exportable nicknacks get expropriated by the Customs guy and you fly home knowing that you were scammed. The Customs guys go back to the very same antique bazaar and sell the item back to the same woman at a healthy discount. And it all goes round and round. The Russians call this capitalism. Because the Russians still haven't differentiated between screwing people over and scamming money from them, and capitalism, where people make free exchanges of goods, services and money based on full disclosure.
One scam that I keep running into every time is when you are at the bank or the exchange point, trying to trade in your money for the rubles. More likely than not, you will be approached by a person offering you a better exchange rate than the bank's. It is possible that this offer is legitimate (technically, this interaction can be benificial for both -- you and the offerer) but I would not recommend engaging in it unless you are a local and can analyse the situation. The person can easily give you a wrong (significantly smaller) sum for your bucks (or whatever it is that you're trying to exchange) or simply run off without giving you anything at all.
I really can't think of anything in Russia that would constitute a scam. I haven't been ripped off in Russia yet, although I've heard of other people who have had difficulty. I suppose one item of interest might be when the militia are checking documents (usually on or around Red Square). They have been known to tell people that they didn't register in time and are required to pay an on the spot fine to the officer(s). To be frank with you, and perhaps you'll agree with me, Russia isn't a land full of con artists..... unlike Romania.
This past April I entered St. Petersburg from Paris and proceeded through customs. I filled out my declaration and attempted to have it stamped but was waved through with a stern "NO" from the customs agent. I did not argue, being in this new unknown land and proceeded on my trip.
When exiting the country I was asked for my declaration and the stamp. "NO" stamp, open your bags, where is your money. Where is the rest of your money. Do you have any more money. There is a problem with your travelers checks. After searching all my luggage and clothing for about an hour, I was given back my passport, travelers checks and cash, LESS $100.00, for the fine!
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