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Author Topic: Am I heading for a fall?  (Read 16131 times)
Streetwise
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« on: December 06, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

Been corresponding since 3NOV with a girl from Kazan (see earlier post.) I suggested that I would like to visit Russia, to meet her at some point. A few emails later, she seems to recall that I had suggested meeting here (Greece) and had already checked out travel agents, visa requirements etc. As I said before, the travel agency apparently arranges the whole thing. Anyway, she went ahead and made an application for a visa but needs the money for it (80 USD) and for her trip to Moscow, where she must attend an interview at the embassy, by the end of this week. I checked the travel agency website, it does exist and the prices quoted for visas to Greece are indeed 80 USD. I was taken aback a bit, that she went ahead and got the ball rolling without really discussing it with me first. The reality is, if she COULD get the visa and a tourist package from Kazan, it would be a hell of a lot simpler for me than going to Russia. But, but, but...  
 
By way of further background info, she does not have a phone (can't afford it) but as I was keen to speak with her, she apparently purchased a phone card to call me, although I expressed concern as to the cost for her. Anyway, she did phone me, but the language barrier, bad line and time limitation made it impossible to get beyond a few expressions of affection. I should also mention that I asked for her home address, which she sent me by return email.

I have been advised to let her get the visa, and then have her send me a photocopy of it before going any further. Well, I guess 80 bucks won't break me, especially at current exchange rates (sorry dudes!) but does anyone know what it would cost for her to get from Kazan to Moscow and back, for the visa interview? I am assuming we are talking about overnight trains here. I could then contact the embassy to check if the visa is real. By the way, I should also mention that a visa to enter Greece is a lot easier to get than a visa for the USA or for my homeland (UK.) Apart from formalities (photos, forms, flight booking) all they really ask for is proof of funds to cover the intended stay. So it's not impossible that she could get the visa without help from me, although probably I should ask her what she intends to do about proof of funds, if she can't afford a phone.

If this is a scam it is very professional indeed, it has just enough truth about it to seem genuine. She even put her foot down when I suggested Austria instead of Greece (for a skiing trip), as she wanted to see my home, and thought Austria would be as cold as Russia (nice when you can pick and choose, isn't it?) Any scammer with less bottle would have jumped at the suggestion, if they thought it would "close the deal." I have just written her two mail letters to her home address, by registered post, containing some "cryptic" questions. And I have also created a false male profile on the website where we met, I was thinking of writing to her with a false identity to see how she responds. Any other ideas, or similar experiences?  

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WillMc
Guest
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Am I heading for a fall?, posted by Streetwise on Dec 6, 2004

I aggree that it is a gamble.  

I faced the same decision but felt that after many correspondences I would take the risk and I paid for the
plane ticket to meet my girl friend in Cyprus. It was a lovely holiday and we have since met again in Moscow, St. Petersburg, London and Spain.

All of life is risky and what will you really know about the character of the AW you might meet at the singles bar, in the library, or even in church.  

If you feel good about this RW take a chance.  If you continue to have serious doubts, walk away.  

BUT, it's only money for heavens sake and if she is as good as my gal it will be well spent.  

Tomorrow my now fiancee will go to the US Embassy in Moscow for the interview for a K1 Fiancee Visa.

Wish us luck.

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ARTILLARY
Guest
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Am I heading for a fall?, posted by Streetwise on Dec 6, 2004

Streetwise , Sir, I don't quite understand you. You've known this woman for a month. You're the one that suggests meeting in a neutral place, you talk to her and exchange comments of affection, you get her excited about a real meeting, you don't want to travel to Kazan. She checks into what a visa costs and tells you the truth, you're interested in letting a foriegn travel agent arrange documents and travel, and You're suspecting her of a scam? Do you feel you need some sort of guarantee when you write this woman or women? So now you've built up her expectations of you and no doubt you want to balk at all the suggestions you've made to her. Where is her guarantee of you? Allow me to add that you were the one that chose a woman from a place you prefer not to travel to. What do you expect her to do? She even went out and bought a phone card so she could talk to you. Now you want to get cold feet and be suspicious of her. No Sir I don't understand you. It'd be interesting to see exactly what you've said to her.I am new here, but I have several Ukrainian and Russian friends women and men. They are not loaded with money as you well know, so you need to accept the fact that you will have to provide the financial assistance to do all the plans you're suggesting. Possibly the best thing for you to do is go to Kazan and meet her but plan A,B,C would be good for you to. Are you really interested in her or just shopping? Jus stand up and make a commitment about what you want to do first then go see her.
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Streetwise
Guest
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Re: Maybe she's the one headed for a fal..., posted by ARTILLARY on Dec 7, 2004

It is possible that you are quite right, that she is on the level, and for that reason I have given the benefit of the doubt so far. We all want to be romantic and follow our hearts but when you've been on this scene for a while you realise that the pitfalls are out there, and getting hard to find. And the financial (and emotional) stakes can be high. You don't get many clues when things aren't quite right, so you can't afford to miss the ones that are there. Maybe I missed some points on my previous post, so just to recap:

From the moment I mentioned the possibility of meeting to her, I said that I would like to come to Russia. I checked all my emails and not once did I suggest that she come to Greece. There was no possibility of confusion in my messages. So, where and why did she get the notion that she was coming here, and that it was my idea? And what made her start the visa process so quickly without talking it over with me first? What made her assume that I was ready to shell out 1000 bucks on air tickets after one month of letters?

I mentioned on this board that her coming to me would be easier for me; sure it would, if she is genuine and is actually on that plane. But without knowing this for sure, I know there is less chance of getting scammed if I go to Kazan to meet her the first time. That is why I suggested this to her, from the start.    

One of her emails (I think it was number Cool was written in poorer English than the others, and contained information about her that was contradictory to much of what she'd previously told me. She denied all knowledge of that email, and changed her password in case someone had got access to it somehow.

Another of her emails appeared with a different name in the header line, although it was her address. Probably there is a logical explanation, but I'm no expert.  

But the most interesting delelopment came today; bear in mind that she has made her application through a local travel agency, and gave me their details when I asked for them. I telephoned the travel agency this morning, and was able to speak to someone whose English was reasonable. This girl, and her visa application, did not ring any bells at all in that office.  

Beginning to understand me now?

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tim360z
Guest
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Re: Re: Maybe she's the one headed for a..., posted by Streetwise on Dec 7, 2004

You been around the block a couple times.  Here is someone you had 8 emails or so with,  like 2 per week and she decides she is coming to Greece???  Since you never asked her to...she (he) is a bit on the pushy side.  Maybe you could have someone with better Russian skills call the "travel agency" and check things out for you---before you jump either way.

Personally, I am a bit skeptical from everything you have said.  The Russian girls I have known would absolutely NEVER act this way after a few emails.  Smells fishy to me.  Hate to tell you that too. Kazan?  Quite a few "operators" there.  She might even be knowledgeable about Western Union?  Don't forget to email her the control #.

I also hate to tell you that it is just not a good idea to send $$$ to someone you don't know at all.  This is common sense.  And you sure don't know "her".  Do ya?  Anyway its your buck to bet, maybe you'll get lucky?  Cheerio, Tim

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ARTILLARY
Guest
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Re: Re: Maybe she's the one headed for a..., posted by Streetwise on Dec 7, 2004

I think that probably speaks volumes. Then again, if she did'nt have the $80 for the application then it would'nt have been applied for anyway. Street, I'm not savvy to this business since I met my fiancee through friends, but either way you go, there will be expenses. Have you ever been through this before (ie) going to RU or UA to meet a woman? It seems logical to me that you'd want to meet first where she lives and get a feel of where she comes from and the relations she has with her family and friends. I understand there are 1000 ways to go about this but it boils down to what feels right for you. If the red flags pop up so early then buyer beware. Arty
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Streetwise
Guest
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Re: Re: Re: Maybe she's the one headed f..., posted by ARTILLARY on Dec 7, 2004

Yes, been around the track once or twice. I'm under no illusions about the expenses. Count yourself lucky you were able to meet through friends! I actually did pay for a Latvian girl to come over and stay with me several times, but met her on her home ground first. Been to Russia (St Petersburg and Samara,) Belarus (Minsk,) Latvia (Riga,) Ukraine (Kiev, Kharkov, Simferopol, Odessa and Yalta,) Bulgaria (Sofia and Rousse,) Romania (Bucharest, Brasov and Ploiesti.) Speak a few words of Russian, just enough to get into trouble!  

You are right, it's madness to send money to someone you've never even met. And besides, what kind of woman would even want to get on a plane to put herself completely at the mercy of someone she's never met, in a strange country? Why would she take such a gamble, especially when the guy has already offered to come over to meet her at her hometown?  Surely the only sane aproach for both parties is to meet (for the first time at least) in the safety and security of the woman's home environment.

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jamesss
Guest
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Am I heading for a fall?, posted by Streetwise on Dec 6, 2004

This sounds bad, she went ahead without you knowing about it. Why? And the part about seeing the visa before sending more money doesn't work, because she needs the tickets before she gets the visa, or at the same time through the agency. And if she says otherwise, it's a lie.

What is the travel agency you spoke about? Send me an email and I'll help you out.

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Streetwise
Guest
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Re: Am I heading for a fall?, posted by jamesss on Dec 6, 2004

Thanks for that, I have emailed the travel agency details to you. Was thinking of contacting them to check if they have her application for the visa, but better check if THEY are for real, first!

I thought it strange that she could apply for the visa before buying her flight tickets; however, I have been advised by the Greek embassy that they don't actually need to see tickets, they just need to see a flight reservation, which may not necessarily have been paid for yet (Greece is strange like that.) So the remaining mystery is, how does she get around the "proof of funds" problem? Maybe I will soon be getting a request to fax a copy of my bank statement!  

I received another email from her today saying that her best friend had told her to be careful about visiting a strange country, so many bad guys luring women over under false pretences etc, but she was going to trust her instincts and hope I was on the level. If she sensed that I was wavering, it could be a clever way of throwing me off the scent. Anyway, I took it as a cue to tell her that meeting first in Russia would be better for HER peace of mind, and am waiting for her response. Still be interested to see how the travel agency/visa thing checks out though.

Thanks to the other guys also, and yes I will most certainly have a Plan B, C and D lined up before I set foot on Russian soil!

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Albert
Guest
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Am I heading for a fall?, posted by Streetwise on Dec 6, 2004

I would not be sending her money for the visa.  This is just the beginning.  Next will come the trip costs to Moscow. Then comes the much bigger costs of gettting her to Greece.

I have been on vacation with several FSU gals to Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus, etc.  These places don't require a prior visa; except Cyprus does now.  Anyway, I have always either: a) been in the FSU and made the trip with the ladies, or b) arranged to put the flight tickets on my credit card with provision they can't cash in the tickets.

Recently, I went to Turkey with a Ukrainian gal.  We left together from Ukraine.  Had great time, etc., etc.  But even now, after spending total of over 60 days with her, I still would not send her a wad of money for her to pay for another trip to meet me somewhere.  It is just too much of a temptation for them because in many cases its like a year's income to them, something unforseen could come up, etc., etc.

I don't like your idea of the false identity.  Reason being, it doesn't prove too much.  I feel that the gals deserve to be playing the field and searching for alternative matches just like we do.  Right up to the point that we put the engagement ring on the finger.  So a gal could be the perfect match and is very sincere in her interest in you.  Still, I think she might be hedging her bets and replying to other guys, as she has every right to do.  So if she replied to your other identity, I don't think it proves she is insincere in her interest in you.

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Frank O
Guest
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to I wouldn't do it, posted by Albert on Dec 6, 2004

Where did you stay in Turkey & where would you recommend to go? I"ve been trying to go somewhere OUTSIDE of Ukraine but am having much trouble. Would you RECOMMEND Turkey? Did you fly or take a train?
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Albert
Guest
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Where did you stay in Turkey?, posted by Frank O on Dec 6, 2004

I have stayed in Istanbul, Antalya, and Kemer on different trips.
I highly recommend Turkey as a place to visit, and it is particularly well suited to taking a gal from FSU because of ability to buy visa at the airport.

Visa is now $20 for both us and for them.  This is down from $100 for us last year.

I have always flown into Turkey.

There are really fantastic tour package deals available for travel from Ukraine to Turkey.  Round trip air flight (from Kyiv), transfer to hotel, hotel, and virtually 24 hour food for $300-600 (3 star to 5 star) per person for 14 days.  But it is hard to get a deal for someone wanting to arrive directly from USA.  We can get flights only into the cities, but not the tour packages.  The ladies, on the other hand, can get the tour packages with direct flights to southern coastal cities.  But it is harder for them if they use flights only, because then they have to change planes in Istanbul which can be frightening for most of them.

Have your gal check with CAM (in Cyrillic) or SAM travel agency in Ukraine.

Right now, I think most of the tour packages have quit running for the winter from Ukraine to Turkey.  But they are still going for Egypt which is further south.

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Frank O
Guest
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Re: Where did you stay in Turkey?, posted by Albert on Dec 6, 2004

Thanks a lt Albert. I'll be checking into that.
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Bobby Orr
Guest
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Am I heading for a fall?, posted by Streetwise on Dec 6, 2004

I have to agree with Wild Bill on this one 100%.  Just meet her in her home country, along with backup plans.  You could be in for a long miserable vacation if things are not right.  She does not appear to be a scammer to me.
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Frank O
Guest
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2004, 05:00:00 AM »

... in response to Meet her in Moscow or go to Kazan with b..., posted by Bobby Orr on Dec 6, 2004

I agree ALWAYS have a plan B. Even you think she is the one etc. When I went to go meet my wife (before we were engaged) I still had a Plan B although I was more than sure it would work out. NEVER go without a Plan B & have your attitude & ego prepared for ANY possible scenario.
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