Russian Brides Internet Dating Scams
The U.S. Embassy receives reports almost every day of fraud committed against U.S. citizens by Internet correspondents professing love and romantic interest. Typically, the Russian correspondent asks the U.S. citizen to send money or credit card information for living expenses, travel expenses, or "visa costs." The anonymity of the Internet means that the U.S. citizen cannot be sure of the real name, age, marital status, nationality, or even gender of the correspondent. The U.S. Embassy has received many reports of citizens losing thousands of dollars through such scams. American citizens are advised never to send money to anyone they have not met in person.
The internet dating scams include some common elements:
- Misrepresentation about the costs and requirements of a U.S. visa,
- Claims that they must buy airline tickets only in Russia,
- Use of professional models' photos gleaned from internet web sites,
- Sudden financial hurdles to leaving Russia,
- Requests to send money only through a specific company,
- A scan of a (usually fraudulent) U.S. visa to prove intent to travel.
Please keep in mind that, while the U.S. Embassy in Moscow does not have the authorization to initiate investigations of these scams, the Fraud Prevention Unit can verify the authenticity of any U.S. visa via e-mail at FPMM@state.gov. In addition, complete and authoritative information on applying for a U.S. visa is available on the Department of State's webpage on Visa Information for Temporary Visitors.
The list of fake online dating sites. Check this list to stay safe.
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