Russian Bride Scams

Information about scams has been compiled at the following sites.
Jack Bragg has pages with many photos of scammers: firstdream.com
Many scam reports: womenrussia.com
A site solely about scams: antiscam.net
And another supported by a few agencies: russian-scam.org
The most negative comments: network54.com
Some advice and some paranoia: Scam Alert
Not many reports, but nice presentation: 1st-international.com
How scammers destroyed a penpal site: translating.
Some bitter and funny pages about: Svetlana.
Some pages that link here: RussianWomenAreBetter Severodvinsk Detective Ircha DRW

Non-Scam Experiences with Links to Good Sites

Other Scammers | Am I Getting Scammed? | Fun Links

Now here is my own story. The following women are crooks and here is my evidence.

Natalia Mitina / Natalia Minina / Natalia Mimina.
Severodvinsk, P.O. Box 1.
northsea@severodvinsk.ru
natalia1708@mail.ru
n_brides@list.ru

Ludmila Domashneva / Ludmila Dolmasheva
164900, Russia, Novodvinsk, Novaya street 16.
Arkhangelsk, P.O. Box 282.
Arkhangelsk, Lenina 67.
Arkhangelsk, Komsomolskaya street 97.
northbeauty@mail.ru
north-beauty@mail.ru
nwc_post_2001@mail.ru
nwc_dating@euro.ru
nwc_dating@fromru.com
nwc_2001@rbcmail.ru
office2001@bk.ru
amazing2003@bk.ru

aka Ludmila Gurova? working with Olya Gavrilenko
Arkhangelsk, P.O. Box 52.
severyanochka@inbox.ru
foreign-match@list.ru
Foreign Bride - International Dating Club
Novodvinsk, Novaya street 16.

Svetlana Korostileva

and possibly
Natalia Volkova / Natalia Nikitina
Arkhangelsk, P.O. Box 2.

Mitina and Domashneva have used the following bogus agency names:
Club Alina, North West Club, North Beauty,
1st Line of Love (nataly.ru), East Club (east-club.org),
Amazing Brides (amazing-brides.chat.ru), Amazing Bride - International Dating Club

and maybe:
Severyanochka Ladies Personals, Elite Dating agency

More recent scam letters sent by Ludmila Domashneva have used the names:
Julia Alipatova
Anastasia Lopaskina
Daria Romanova

Updates to the following story - up to January 6, 2004

Natalia Mitina, aka Natalia Minina,
aka Natalia Mimina

Around April, 2000 I wrote to a number of women in eastern Europe whose addresses I got from an agency on the internet. One of these was Natalia Minina in Severodvinsk, Russia. I did not write to anyone else within hundreds of miles. Here are some photos of Natalia Minina.

I received no response from Natalia Minina. The story resumes several months later...

Natalia Volkova?, aka Natalia Nikitina?

On December 23, 2000 I received a letter by email from Natalia Nikitina. The letter was in the form of two GIF files of a scan of a hand-written letter. Nikitina said she lived in Arkhangelsk, which is near Severodvinsk and far from any other major cities. The email came from the address northbeauty@mail.ru. The following two photos of Natalia Nikitina were attached.


Since I had never had any contact with anyone in that part of the world, except for mailing a letter to Natalia Minina, I assumed that the explanation was that Natalia Minina was not interested in me, but she had passed my letter on to the "North Beauty Agency" from which this message originated. I replied to Natalia Nikitina care of the agency's email address. A few days later I received an email message from the agency saying that Nikitina had written to me again, but I would have to start paying for the agency's services to receive the message. However, they did send the following two photos.


This seemed an underhanded way of doing business, but I have spent enough time in the former Soviet Union to know that people are not always clued in to proper ways of doing business and it is not necessarily an indication of dishonesty. Well, I sent the money to the manager of the agency, Ludmila Donashneva, by Western Union, and never heard from Nikitina or the agency again. I know that the money was collected from the Arkhangelsk office, and assuming Western Union followed their own procedures, Ludmila Donashneva had to show identification to collect the money, and she had to provide the money transfer control number that I got when I sent the money and which I told Ludmila Donashneva by email. The money was not collected right away, and I thought maybe I didn't get a response because my email went missing. (I know this happens fairly often when I send email elsewhere in eastern Europe, and I doubt Russia is any better.) Once the money was collected, though, it was clear I'd been scammed.

Agencies' Responses

I believe nataly.ru to be a scam, and I don't think any North Beauty Agency ever really existed. Other than that, I believe the agencies where these women's ads appeared are legitimate, but some women exploit these agencies for illegitimate purposes.

Since I got scammed I have seen the following photos of Natalia Volkova. There were a few remarkable coincidences in the descriptions of Natalia Volkova and Natalia Nikitina, one being that they both live in Severodvinsk. I thought they looked similar, too, but I couldn't be sure it was the same girl.

Natalia Volkova was on the following websites:
http://www.amruss.ru #599 (She has been removed.)
aprettywoman.com #3823 (This site's server is not responding.)

I received the following response from amruss.ru about this girl.
On the 14th of February a customer of our's sent us a message telling us that Natalia rips people off by getting them to send money to another agency which becomes nonexistent after you send the money. After the message, her profile was immediately removed off the webiste. here is the email he received from that agency:

It is a note from marriage agency. Today in morning Natalya Nikitina has
brought the letter and photos for you - the answer to your letter. We are
sending photos with this note. She does not have the access to Internet and
uses the services of our agency. If you want to continue correspondence with
Natalya, you must take services of our agency: to correspond with she by Email.

Our services include:

Sending e-mail messages to/from ladies. Delivery for 1 day - $5 per one
letter with photos to/from lady. If you agree to use this service, you must
make a deposit for $50 (10 letters to/from lady). In this case you will
receive postal address, phone number also and all services will be
free-of-charge for your lady.

If you agree to make a deposit, please, inform us and we shall send you
information about how you can make a payment.

A little about the rules of how our agency works: only men pay the services
of our agency, but only after we shall be sure that girl is validly
interested in corresponding with this man (after two letters from lady). In
case the girl or man stop correspondence for any reason, the man has the
right to correspond free-of-charge with any other girl: in our agency now
are about 120 very beautiful ladies from North Russia (cities: Murmansk,
Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk, Seversk, Narian-Mar, Vologda). We personally
communicate with each of them to be sure of the seriosness of their
intentions. A professional photographer photographes each girl. In the
future we can help you to organize a visit to Russia.

Unfortunately in this moment ours site is in the development stage and you
can not be visited. You can find out more in detail about the services of
our agency and to look at all our ladies on our new site in about two weeks,
we shall send you the invitation.

We shall send Natalya's letter for you as soon as you inform us, that have
made payment.

PS: Natalya is very beautiful and modest girl and Natalya's letter is very
warm.

Best Wishes
Agency North Beauty
The scam message above is the same one I received. It is on other pages about this scam as well.

There was an ad for Natalia Minina as yo9125 on angelika.net. I did not see Natalia Volkova on angelika.net but apparently she was there as well for a while because I received the following message from them when I told them this story:
This girl- Natalya Volkova Removed 15/02/01 by our agent in Russia. She asked people to send money to another agency which becomes non-existent after the money was sent.
Also, Jack Bragg sent me the following response to my question of whether the photos of Natalia Volkova and Natalia Nikitina actually showed the same girl.
I have several documented cases from men about Natalia Nikitina. Without doubt she is a scammer. Some of the other photos you sent me of her where you were not sure if it was her, are indeed her.
There is a whole page devoted to the Natalia Nikitina scam at ecosmosingles.com. And just before I received the message from Jack Bragg, I found the following page at nataly.ru. This page shows the two photos of Natalia Volkova above plus one more, and the name on the page is Natalia Nikitina.
http://www.nataly.ru/a033.htm
As I write this, the links to Natalia Nikitina have been dropped from nataly.ru's catalog, so it is likely that by the time you read this, you will not find photos of Natalia Nikitina/Volkova at this link. But I have made a copy of the page here on my site. The note at the top about where the page originated was added by me.

Compare the text on that page with the following: http://www.russianpearl.com/scripts/profile.asp?id=9429 my copy
Clearly somebody copied somebody else's text. One might assume the site with the topless girl to be more suspect, especially since it is mentioned on the womenrussia.com scam page, but check this out - the text of nataly.ru a005 is the same as all of the following which have photos of a different girl with a different name:
    www.russiansinglesonline.com/russianwomen/1200yana.html,
    www.frww.msk.ru/Y1/81_184me7.htm,
    www.psispace.com/en/album/18-25/1232.htm,
    www.bostonskyclub.com/285.htm.
(I wrote this page in 2001, so don't be surprised that the links do not work any more.)

But I think the best evidence against nataly.ru is that B008, A031, and A053 on that site all have the address P.O. Box 282, Arkhangelsk which was used by Ludmila Donashneva in the Natalia Nikitina scam.

I found a certain piece of evidence that nataly.ru actually belongs to Natalia Minina which I will not describe because I would not rather not let the scammers know about it, and this seems especially strange since Natalia Minina appears in the catalog of nataly.ru as #B002. One of the complaints at womenrussia.com mentions Ludmila Donashneva being a manager of nataly.ru, but when I wrote to the email address of the website nataly.ru (northsea@severodvinsk.ru) I got the following response from Natalia Minina.

I am very glad, that you have decided to take advantage of my services.
Daily new girls come to me. I began to work recently, and majority girls yet
have not received any letter from foreign man, very much wait.  You can send
letter to any lady and start correspondence by your own. Addresses are real
postal-addresses. Usually I don't offer paid services, but if you want I can
offer you email forwarding: sending e-mail messages to/from ladies. Delivery
for 1 day and translation of the messeges to Russian/English language (if it
is required). 1 month membership costs $50
About payment: You can make payment only by following ways:

1. Payment by Western Union

City of reception: Severodvinsk. Name: Natalia Minina.

You should  inform me only the number of Westren Union transfer
(3612512920-for example).
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. Payment by telegraphic transfer:

Please send money in US dollars.
The bank essential elements:

1. The Savings Bank of the Russian Federation, account # 890-0057-610 with
the Bank of New York, SWIFT BIC:  SABRRUMM

2. in favor Arkhangelsk office, account # 30302840500000600400 with the
Savings Bank of the Russian Federation, SWIFT BIC: SABRRUMMAH1

3. Severodvinsk branch # 5494 (corr. acc. 30301840604010654941)

4. The account # 42301840104260000446  Minina Natalia.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. I offer to send the small sums of money - I prefer cash in US dollars for
one reason: we can receive money by the check only through 3 months here -
in envelope(by Express mail: about 3 days or by Register mail: about 7
days). It will be better and more favourable, if you will send payment in an
envelope to address

164521, Russia
Arkhangelsk region
Severodvinsk
P.O. Box 1
Natalia Minina

Best Wishes

The stories about this scam elsewhere on the web mention Natalia Nikitina most prominently, but there is no evidence that that is the real name of the girl in the photos. It seems to me more likely that Natalia Volkova is her real name. There is no evidence that Natalia Volkova was involved in sending the photos and letter by email, or that the letter was written by her. Maybe she knew that when she posed for photos for Ludmila Donashneva that these photos would be used in a scam. Maybe Donashneva gave the girl a share of the profits. Or maybe Donashneva lied to the girl and the girl believed the North Beauty Agency to be genuine and Donashneva got the girl to pose for these photos and wrote and emailed the hand-written letter and photos herself. This is not quite consistent with the comment from angelika.net, but comparing their response with that of amruss.ru, I think the comment from angelika.net may be based on a less-than-thoughtful scam victim making the baseless assumption that if a liar sends him photo of a girl by email that the liar must be the girl in the photo.

I received no response to my email to aprettywoman.com.

A reader of this page reported that Natalia Mitina had an ad on ecosmosingles.com of all places. I verified this and sent them email mentioning this page, but I received no response.

The womenrussia.com page about scams recommends telling Western Union if Western Union is used in a scam against you. The page provides a link to the Western Union site but there is nothing there about reporting fraud. I sent email to one of the addresses on the site (moneytransfer@westernunion.com) and received this response:

If you're suspecting fraud, you should contact your local police department to find out what actions you can take to track the individual. If this was something purchased from the Internet, you can contact the FBI Internet Fraud Complaint center at http://www.iffcfbi.gov. [See the note below.]

If you provide us with all the information of your transfer, we can file a report for our own internal purposes.

Thank you for contacting Western Union.

First of all, the FBI address above is the one that was in the message from Western Union and it is not correct. The correct address is http://www.ifccfbi.gov. The FBI appears much more interested in complaints than Western Union is. Gray Wolf reports a better response from Western Union after complaining to customerservice@westernunion.com.

Western Union's response seems pretty weak to me, but I think it's safe to say that the response you get depends on the message you send. I think the best way to complain (I have not done this) is to write a letter clearly describing the incident and send it by registered mail addressed to "Legal Counsel for Western Union" at the Western Union address on the back of the money transfer receipt. If you don't get a reply in 30 days, or you get a reply that is not satisfactory, send a copy of your complaint to the FBI (or whoever your national police agency is). Also, submit your scam story to the pages mentioned at the top of this page. The FBI isn't likely to pursue a $50 rip-off perpetrated by someone in Russia, but at least an appropriate complaint to Western Union may interfere with the same person getting any more money fraudulently.

The nataly.ru website actually has pretty good design. And it has lots of affiliates - maybe more than any other site I've seen. It is supported by banner advertising by

Friend Finder

and it is affiliated with:

Cupid's Network Affiliate
Russian Women Guide
The Dating Sites Guide
aarens.com
SingleSites Destination
4-Dates - Featured Dating Site
4* Romance Links Affiliate
Brides By Mail Banner Exchange
A Designated Singles Stop
Foreign Women Megasite
Singlelinks.com
TopList
asinglesplace.com
Romance Search
TOP100! The Very Best! Dating Clubs and Marriages agencies.
All Dating Links .com : Directory of Preferred Dating and Singles Sites
Apple Love .com : Links to the Web's Best Dating Sites"
Best Dating Site
dreamdatesuperlinks.com


I have received the following feedback to this story:

I can't tell you much other than an e-mail was sent to me with the same "agency" letter that was sent to you. differences with the mail i was sent being the name,which was "julia745" and two photographs(the ones on your site aren't the pictures i was sent)plus a scanned letter from "julia"..and the payment recipient was the same(L.Domashneva) I was also sent a picture of "Natalia Minina"(around november i think)i was sent the black and white photo and a letter from her "friend"saying that Natalia had seen my picture on the net(funny i don't have a picture on the net) and wanted to write to me.. She told me that Natalia was an english teacher and she'd have internet access in work from february..but until then could i send her a few dollars for her to be able to correspond with me by mail(i can't remember the address but i seem to remember she was supposed to be from severodvinsk. I didn't actually reply to either and deleted the mail sent days after recieving them...


I have also received two reports of Ludmilla Donashneva still running the same scam as recently as March 13, 2001 (and now May 19, 2001) using letters consisting of the same text edited a little differently, this time as plain text email instead of scans of a hand-written letter, and with different photos. Here is the latest edition of the scam material.


Letter 1 (from Natalya)
Dear Mike

Let me introduce myself. My name is Natalya. Probably you will be astonished
a little at receiving this letter. I was born on March 27 in 1977 - now I'm
23, soon will be 24 y.o. - in city Arkhangelsk, which is situated in the
North West of Russia, where I have been living all my life. I speak English
and German a little. Some days ago I came to an International marriage agency
in our town. I want to meet a man from other country for friendship and may
be for marriage in future. My girlfriend has left to England recently through
this agency.

I think it's time to start telling the story about myself. I'm pretty young
lady with dark blonde hair and blue eyes. I'm single, without children. My
height is 166 cm, weight is 52 kg. I have asked to send you my photo with
this letter. I shall finish University and receive higher education this year
- teacher of physics and mathematics. I prepare the protection of the
diploma. I love my profession very much, but I don't want to continue my
career in Russia, unfortunately trade of the school teacher is rather badly
paid.

I'm an intelligent Russian woman. I am communicating, energetic, sincere,
open, caring and tender. I think it will never be boring with me, because all
troubles of family life exist when two people are bored and don;t listen to
the opinions, feelings, anxieties of each other. Most of all I value in
people their moral qualities: intelligence, sense of humour, the beauty of
spirit, thoughts and behaviour.

I dream to meet with a serious man, reliable, faithful, understandable,
tender, who can see a wonderful creature, a friend in a woman. A man who I
can share my life with in good and bad times and give all my love,
tenderness, attention and care. I will close for now. Thank you for reading
my letter. I hope you will not leave it without any attention and will answer
me. It will be interesting to me to find out more about your country, your
family and your life. Please ask me any questions. Send me some your photos.
Write me letter to address of agency: nwc_post_2001@mail.ru Only it is
necessary to write in subject line: for Natalya 247 - it is my individual
number at this agency. Sometimes I shall call and to ask: whether there are
letters for me. They will give your letter to me immediately. Hope to hear
from you soon.

Natalya

Letter 2 (from the agency--Ludmila Domashneva)
Hello Mike

It is a note from marriage agency. Today in morning Natalya 247 has brought
the letter and photo for you - the answer to your letter. We are sending her
letter with this note. She does not have the access to Internet and uses the
services of our agency. If you want to continue correspondence with Natalya,
you must take services of our agency: to correspond with she by Email.

Our services include:

Sending e-mail messages to/from ladies. Delivery for 1 day - $5 per one
letter with photos to/from lady. If you agree to use this service, you must
make a deposit for $50 (10 letters to/from lady). In this case you will
receive postal address, phone number also and all services will be
free-of-charge for your lady.

If you agree to make a deposit, please, inform us and we shall send you
information about how you can make a payment.

A little about the rules of how our agency works: only men pay the services
of our agency, but only after we shall be sure that girl is validly
interested in corresponding with this man (after two letters from lady). In
case the girl or man stop correspondence for any reason, the man has the
right to correspond free-of-charge with any other girl: in our agency now are
about 120 very beautiful ladies from North Russia (cities: Murmansk,
Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk, Seversk, Narian-Mar, Vologda). We personally
communicate with each of them to be sure of the seriosness of their
intentions. A professional photographer photographes each girl. In the future
we can help you to organize a visit to Russia.

Unfortunately in this moment ours site is in the development stage and you
can not be visited. You can find out more in detail about the services of our
agency and to look at all our ladies on our new site in about two weeks, we
shall send you the invitation.

As soon as you inform us, that you have made a payment, we'll receive a
individual Email address for Natalya and inform you about this. After that
you can send another letter for Natalya to her individual address. It will be
more convenient and confidentially. Now she hasn't email address for the
present as come to us recently.


PS: Natalya is very beautiful and modest girl. We offer our apology that
information about the rules of how our agency works was not sent to you with
the first letter from the girl. It has taken place by our mistake. Usually we
warn about payment beforehand.

Best Wishes
North West Club


Letter 3 (from Natalya again)
Dear Mike
 
Thanks for your nice letter. It was very pleasantly for me to know that you
have liked me. I have spent these days in thinking about you! I hope you are
sincere and serious about this because I would like to pursue a relationship
and see where it leads. I have never done anything like this so I have know
idea what the next step is but I do know that I want to know you better and
to meet you after I finish University.
 
Now I prepare my degree work. I shall protect the diploma at the end of April
or in the beginning of May. After that my study will be completed. I plan to
continue the training further beyond Russia. We can meet at the end of
spring. I shall be very glad if you will come in my native city.
 
Some words about my family. I live with the parents while I have not the
brothers and sisters unfortunately, but our family is very friendly and
intelligent. My father works on local TV, he is the professional operator. He
frequently take off me on a videofilm (there can be I can send you the video
about me and my family). My mum is the doctor in children's hospital.
 
To my passions I can concern reading. I always loved the literature: usually
I read Russian classics. Besides, I like to listen to good music, love my
friends, who are dear to me, like interesting conversations with new people.
I enjoy relaxing sound of vawes on the beach and long walks during the
sunset, I like the bright sun and the moody moon, animals and warm spring
wind, to dream and to think:so I love life and try to enjoy every minute of
it, which God gives us.
 
Mike, before our meeting we can find out each other better in our letters. I
want, that you have found out slightly more about me. There is so much to
know about each other as well as the fact that we come from such different
parts of the world. I like my city and my country, all my friends live here
and I enjoy by dialogue with them. In my native city we have white night in
the summer - it is very beautifully. At the night also lightly as well as
day, only sun does not shine. However in winter we have very short day. I
very much love summer, sun and easy clothes. I love to float in warm water.
Except for training I give a lot of time to sports employment. I love
swimming and aerobic and I think, that it will occupy the important place in
my life always. I'm go in for scuba diving during 6 years. Now I'm swimming
only for pleasure and maintenance of the form, and some years back I was
swimming for achievement of sports results, that is it was the daily struggle
with minutes, seconds and with itself. And this sports have learned me to
discipline and persistence, but I am romantic and pensive and the strong
man's shoulder beside is necessary for me. I would like to enjoy life to the
fullest. Life is short and every minute of it is worth living and enjoying.
Also, I like to think and I have many dreams..? One of the dreams is to meet
a wonderful man who will be my best friend and love, with whom I can share
the rest of my life through good and difficult times. I hope, that you will
become this man for me. I also dream to receive good, worthy work in the
future and it to benefit the people.
 
I dream of a meeting with decent and kind foreign man and to remove to his
country. I know that international marriage is special kind of marriage when
the confluence of different cultures and languages is held. It's rather sad
to part with parents and friends. I know that on removing to another country
I will have to change many outlooks and life style. I think we'll discuss
about this more in ours further letters.
 
I always dreamed to learn to speak on English, as it is good, as well as in
Russian. I have fallen in love in English, when I studied at school. I think,
that I can normally read and write on English, but to speak fluently and
easy, the practice is necessary.
 
I'll finish this letter. Write me soon and tell me more about USA, your life,
your family, your work.
 
Natalya

Letter 4 (from Ludmila Domashneva--the hook)
Hello Mike
 
We precisely know, that Natalya is really interested in correspondence with
you. Probably it will be interesting to you: Natalya has written the letters
only to three men. She has received the answer only from two men, but we
know, that she was more is interested in your letter. You can be sure, that
Natalya is very beautiful and good girl.
 
Frequently our clients pay $ 50 one time: after 10 letters man and girl agree
about meeting or prefer to communicate on the phone or girl finds a place in
our city, where it is possible to correspond per Email free of charge. After
you made payment you will a receive postal address, phone number of the girl.
  
Unfortunately while we not accept payments Visa or any other via Internet.
Can be only in month.
 
Method 1: You can make the payment using telegraphic transfer:
 
If you will send money in USD (in USA dollars). The bank essential elements:
------------------------
Bank of New York, NY, USA
SWIFT: IRVT US 3N
Account #890-0086-009 of Moscow Industrial Bank
In favour of North-West Regional Branch, Arkhangelsk, Russia
SWIFT: MINNRUMM748
For further credit of Domashneva Ludmila
Account #42301840200320000811
------------------------
If you will send money in GBP (in English pounds). The bank essential
elements:
------------------------
National Westminster Bank PLC, London, UK
SWIFT: NWBK GB 2L
Account #440/0/04462343 of Moscow Industrial Bank
In favour of North-West Regional Branch, Arkhangelsk, Russia
SWIFT: MINNRUMM748
For further credit of Domashneva Ludmila
Account #42301840200320000811
------------------------
 
Method 2: We offer to send the small sums of money - we prefer cash in US
dollars for one reason: we can receive money by the check only through 3
months here - in envelope(by Express mail: about 3 days or by Register mail:
about 7 days). It will be better and more favourable, if you will send
payment in an envelope with letter for Natalya to address of our agency (you
will receive Natalya's address and phone number also):
 
163061, Russia
Arkhangelsk,
P.O. Box 282
Ludmila Domashneva
 
Method 3: Our agency accepts payments through the worldwide Western Union
system. In order to send payment for the service, you have to go to the
Western Union office nearest to your place, and send money on the name of the
Chief manager of our agency.
Name: Ludmila Domashneva. City of reception: Arkhangelsk.
 
You should fill her name in the field of recipient, and you have to point the
location you send money to. Fill everything in correctly, and don't forget to
get the control number of your money transfer. Then send us the message with
your full name, address (country), the amount of money you've transferred and
the control number(3612512920-for example).
 
You can send letter for Natalya as soon as you inform us, that have made
payment.
 
Best Wishes
 
North West Club

Fotos attached

On May 19, 2001, a reader of this page wrote:
I received the following e-mail this morning. I have no idea how she got my addy. Please note the new addy in the e-mail, as it is different from the one on your scams page.

Thanks for saving me much grief. :)

- Kevin

The email message forwarded by Kevin is exactly the same as the one above, including the first of the two photos above, but it came from a new email address: nwc_dating@euro.ru.
(ignore stormie999@hotmail.com)

The Moral of the Story

At the top of this page I mentioned a few pages devoted to identifying scammers, but after reading quite a few scam stories it seems more important to concentrate on the stories than the identities of the scammers. It seems like there is an endless supply of scammers, but the same scams are used over and over. It's as though there's a book circulating in Russia called How to Use Marriage Agencies to Scam Foreigners. I realise now that the best hint that the Nikitina letter I got was not genuine was that there was nothing in the letter that was specific to me. Versions of this letter sent to two different men are at ecosmosingles.com. They are two scans of the same hand-written letter except for the hand-written name of the recipient digitally pasted into the first line. This is the same letter that I received with my name digitally pasted into the first line.

Positive Comments

I guess firstdream.com was not big enough to interest me when I first saw it, but there's a lot to be said for quality over quantity and I've been impressed by Jack Bragg's interest in my scam story.

The agency from which I originally bought Natalia Minina's address was Cherry Blossoms where she was LZ115. Cherry Blossoms was a little slow to respond to my email about this episode compared with other times I've sent them email, but I did get this response

thanks for letting us know and she will be removed...

Other than the slowness of this response, their service has been good. And in spite of this episode, I think their method of getting ladies' ads results in better quality than most sites. And the most important thing is that Cherry Blossoms is a legitimate agency. After the stories I've read lately, I would be wary of picking any agency at random from the internet. If the agency itself is a scam, you could get strung along for a long time before realising it. Cherry Blossoms is superior to most other agencies in two very important ways: they say when each lady's ad was posted on the site, and they allow you to view the lady's original letter to the agency at a price that is not exorbitant. Their only limitation is that they only show one photo of each lady, with a very small number of exceptions for which they show two photos. On April 24, 2001, I received rather a dumb email message about this article from some salesperson at Cherry Blossoms whom I had not communicated with before. This person said that when they get scam reports, the scammer is removed from the site in minutes. This was not true in the case of the scammer I reported. On June 15, 2001, I had another problem with Cherry Blossoms. They suspended my full-service membership because of a problem billing my credit card, but the automated message they sent me seems to indicate that the problem resulted from a billing error on their part. I have not tried to correct this since I see they have put their prices up recently from $10 a month to $20 a month. It's cheaper if you sign up for longer than a month, but still it's not cheap enough for me to think of it as "almost free" as I did before.

I met a sincere Belarussian lady who advertised on Cherry Blossoms. She told me she advertised on A Foreign Affair as well, so I also have a positive opinion of A Foreign Affair. Their two main problems are that they don't say how old the ads are and they don't show original letters.

Maybe the best option is to advertise yourself in Russia, but I haven't tried this so I can't really say anything about it. I've seen a few ads for this kind of service, but most limit you to writing only a very short description of yourself and what you want, like about 60 words. I don't think that's enough. If I were to try this at all, I would use the service offered by womenrussia.com since it allows you to write the most words about yourself.

I am pleased to report that, perhaps in contradiction of what I just wrote, a reader of this page sent me the following comment with which I obviously cannot argue:
Fortunately for me, I found my wife on a small site 18 months ago without any scamming experiences. Even so it was a lot of work to get where we are today, but worth every bit of it!
I received the following email from R.A.L. on Saturday, June 23, 2001.

Dear Dr. Roy,

     WOW - I received an e-mail with all the same photos of Natalia
that you show on your website, asking for money through Western Union
for continued correspondence.  I KNEW THIS WAS AN ABSOLUTE SCAM
THE MINUTE I RECEIVED IT.  These are desparate times in Russia,
Ukraine and the FSU (former soviet union).  The Scammers are out
in full force - not only the agencies, but also the girls are getting
into the act.  It is said that a listing in European Connections
magazine is worth thousands of dollars to a woman and her family.
I married a great Ukrainian lady, that was all she was advertisied
to be and more (I WAS VERY LUCKY).  BUT...my wife has an acquaintance
in her small city of Kachovka, Ukraine who over the course of 1 1/2
years received over $10,000USD's from 8 to 10 men who wrote her
and gratuitously sent her money (and other gifts).  THIS IS HUGE
MONEY IN UKRAINE.  Actually, the American men who threw money at
this lady were the real fools.  I hope your website will help educate
all those well intentioned but very foolish American men seeking Russian
Wife's to abide by one major rule of engagement:

     NEVER SEND MONEY TO ANY LADY YOU HAVE NOT MET IN PERSON.

     The $50 you send a lady when multiplied by the 10, 20 or maybe 50 other
men also sending money makes this a very profitable venture indeed!

     AMERICAN MEN BEWARE, LOSE YOUR MONEY, GET SCAMMED AND MANY MORE OF
YOUR BRETHEREN WILL POTENTIALLY SUFFER FROM YOUR STUPIDITY!!!

     Thank you Dr. Roy, you are a GREAT MAN for helping to get the message
out!!!

     Best regards, R.A.L.


Updates to this Story - to January 6, 2004

Main Scam Story and Links | Updates to Scam Story
Other Scammers | Am I Getting Scammed?
Recommended Websites | Books About the Russian Bride Experience | Fun Links

My email address is


209281