June 1, 2009 - I was happy to receive a report that famous Winston has settled down in the Philippines, has a baby, and otherwise lives normal and respectable life. His new homepage is http://www.happierabroad.com and his valid e-mail is wwu777us@yahoo.com 

 

 

Yet another report, from Winston, the eternal Russian wife seeker and a lightning rod of petty crime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Swindles Beyond Cyberspace:  Avoiding Russian Scams on Their Turf

 

ďRussians like to group together to scam people.Ē

 

- A well-traveled Lithuanian girl I had a drink with, telling her about the Russian group scams I experienced

 

Introduction

 

Every Russian bride seeker has heard the standard warnings from the online marriage agencies about watching out for scammers asking for money online.  It seems easy enough to protect yourself; simply refuse when the Russian woman you are corresponding with invents a reason to ask for a large amount of funds.  However, once you are off cyberspace and in THEIR territory Ė Russia, Ukraine, or countries of the former Soviet Union Ė you are far more vulnerable than you think, for their ability to scam you is much more effective, lightning-fast, clever, cunning, and highly elaborate, especially when the scammers band together in cahoots to swindle you.  The techniques they utilize are very sophisticated and go far beyond what most Americans are used to back home.

 

Unfortunately, most Russian bride seekers are not prepared for this, as their marriage and travel agencies donít brief them on it.  As a result, they are easy prey for the highly skilled, experienced, conniving opportunists who target and exploit them, often resulting in losses of hundreds of dollars or more.  Therefore, I have created this section to help them.  Here, the seekers can learn from my real life experiences of having been the victim of several highly elaborate Russian group scams.  I have listed all the scam and theft tactics that Iíve seen and experienced in Russia, having spent about a year total there in 12 cities and meeting thousands of people.  They range from the simple pick-pocket and hit and run scams, to the highly elaborate group scams, which are the most efficient, on to police and customs officer scams.  When you are teamed up against, youíre almost certain to get taken in, especially if one of the group is your friend, lover or acquaintance, for your trust in that person serves as their key to the successful execution of the scam.  My own examples which you will read about below will illustrate this.

 

Russian scammers are among the most cunning, calculating, and skilled con artists in the world.  They are highly intellectual people and deep thinkers (hence their world dominance in chess) but some of them use their talents for evil and crime.  And when they have home court advantage, you can be a sitting duck in waiting for some serious foul play, especially if you are alone.  Another thing in this case that works to their advantage is that the foreigner, unfamiliar with his/her cultural environment, will be much less able than a native to recognize when something is fishy or out of place, hence rendering their defenses ineffective.  The scammers and opportunists know this, and know how to use that to their advantages as well.

 

First though, one should become familiarized with the mentality of their enemies.  I have written a long expose on the morbid mentality of opportunistic Russians, which you can read first by clicking here.  As any tactician will tell you, you must learn how the enemy thinks first to effectively counteract them.

 

Here now are the types of scams Iíve experienced, witnessed, or heard about, arranged by category, with a synopsis description under each.  The categories are as follows:

 

  • Simple Hit and Run Scams
  • Highly Skilled Larceny Scams (involving confidence games)
  • Highly Elaborate Teamed Group Scams
  • Police and Customs Officer Scams
  • Russian Women Opportunistic Extractor Scams

 

Note:  If you find that youíve benefited from my experiences here and feel that they will save you from being a victim to such scams and thievery tactics, please consider sending me a small 5 dollar donation by PayPal (www.paypal.com) to help me recover the huge financial losses I incurred from Russian scams that taught me such hard lessons.  My PayPal address is WWu777@aol.com.  Thanks.

 

Simple Hit and Run Scams

 

Pick-pocketing

 

These are the most simple to counter.  Basically, the pick-pocketer singles out a foreigner in a high traffic area by the way he/she dresses, carries himself/herself, looks and behaves.  They usually hang around crowded metro/subway areas, crowded buses, streets, or train stations.  Then they try to inch close to the foreigner and snatch anything they can out of their most accessible pockets.  Sometimes they work in pairs, with one bumping into you to serve as a distracting decoy, while the other tries to pickpocket you at the same time. 

 

To counter this, simply put your wallet in your FRONT POCKET (many tourists in Russia donít even do this), not your back pocket.  Place your passport, credit cards, and most of your cash inside a ďpassport protector beltĒ worn under your shirt, which you can buy in most luggage stores.  Only leave expendable items in your jacket pockets and back pockets.  And please do NOT put your passport in your back pocket or jacket pocket.  That seems like common sense, but you would not believe how many tourists Iíve met in Russia who did just that, and lost their passport, leaving them to go to their countryís embassy to get a temporary one, making getting around much more difficult.  Also, if someone accidentally bumps into you, immediately place your hand over where your wallet is, to guard against a pick-pocketer reaching for it.

 

The Lost Wallet Scam

 

This is a quite common scam which Iíve seen several times.  One person runs past you, dropping a wallet or bundle of cash in front of you, but before you can pick it up, another person does, and offers to split it with you 50/50.  But first, you must follow him to a more secluded area, such as a back alley or behind a building.  There, before he can give you your cut of the prize, the person who lost the wallet or cash finds you both and demands to get it back.  The other person denies having it, so the accuser looks to you.  When you deny it though, he doesnít believe you, and insists on seeing the contents of your pockets.  If he sees cash in your wallet, he may insist that it is his.  And while he argues for it, the other co-conspirator puts the large amount of found cash in your back pocket, leading you to think that if you give him the cash in your wallet, that youíve still made a profit from the lost cash in the hundreds.  If you do, then they take off, leaving you to find out that the cash wad left to you was a fake.  There are several variations of this though.

 

If this happens to you, donít try to argue with the finder of the cash who offers you 50/50 that you know his game plan.  If you do, he will merely be persistent, even going so far as to grab you.  Instead, tell him to go away or fuck off, and then yell for the police, which in Russian is ďmilitsaĒ.  That should scare them away immediately.

 

Leading you into an ambush scam

 

This happened to me once but it failed fortunately.  In the middle of the night, some men approach you on the street, wanting to make friendly acquaintance.  Then they invite you to go somewhere with them, to have fun or meet some girls.  If you, they will try to lead you into a secluded area so they can beat you, knock you unconscious, and steal whatever valuables are on you.

 

If this happens to you, simply tell the men that you are busy, and if they persist, threaten to call the police ďmilitsaĒ with your mobile phone.  But if possible, avoid walking the streets alone at night.  If you arenít with company, take a taxi at night instead.

 

Train compartment mugging

 

This happened to a Dutch backpacker I met in a hostel in Moscow.  He related to me that over a week ago, he boarded a train to China through Siberia.  But when he got inside his compartment, two men entered.  One shut the door, and the other grabbed him from behind, covering his mouth as well.  Then the other assailant choked him into unconsciousness.  When he awoke, his passport belt was gone, along with his passport inside and cash.  Without a passport, the train concierge kicked him off.  Apparently, the two robbers had bribed the concierge to get onto the train to rob him too.  Since then, he has had a difficult time getting another passport and visa arranged for him to board the train to China again.

 

Now, this didnít happen to me, fortunately.  And I would say that such incidents are rare, since I rode Russian trains hundreds of times without anything like that happening.  But here is how I would guard against it.  When boarding a train, if the compartments have sliding doors, do not enter your compartment if no one is in there yet.  Instead, hang out in the hallway until the train starts moving, or until other passengers go into your compartment.  By the way, I heard that in Russia it is legal to carry pepper spray too.

 

Train station platform hold up

 

This happened to a British traveler who got off a train from Siberia to Moscow.  When he arrived with his two female companions, as he walked the platform toward the Kazansky station, someone held him up from behind with a solid object pressed on his back, which supposedly was a gun.  The thug asked him to empty his pockets.  Not wanting to risk getting shot, he complied and lost a lot of valuables, including his British passport.  As a result, he was unable to buy train tickets to St. Petersburg without a valid visa in his passport.

 

Fortunately, this didnít happen to me, but I know the mega Kazansky station complex (off metro station Komsomosky) which comprises a total of three main train stations, serving as a gateway to the rest of the continent.  And as such, it happens to be a seedy area infested with thugs and pick-pocketers.  So itís never been a place Iíve felt comfortable around.  But to guard against it, I would suggest that when getting off the train there, keep a distance from the other people walking by.  If someone comes near you, walk away briskly with your luggage, and if you feel a tap or grab from behind, simply behave as though you are in a rush and didnít notice it, and walk on quickly.  Even if you do get held up, chances are that if you pretend not to understand whatís going on and walk away, they probably wonít shoot you in a crowded public area, since doing so wouldnít accomplish anything for them, since their main objective is to rob for profit, and gunning down someone would require that they run away immediately afterward.  Besides, if they just wanted to shoot you, they could do it without holding you up in the first place.  But donít quote me on that though.  That is simply my assessment.

 

Highly Skilled Larceny Scams (involving confidence games)

 

The inside jacket pocket retrieval scam

 

This happened to me just before I left Moscow.  While sitting in a secluded section of the Time Online internet café underneath the Red Square in the Ahot Marriot mega mall, someone stole my mobile phone by squeezing it out of my inside jacket pocket which was hung over my chair while I was sitting in it.  I didnít think such a feat was possible, because the mobile was deep inside a concealed pocket which I often had trouble getting out.  But it happened nevertheless, or at least itís the most plausible explanation that fit the scenario of my stolen mobile.  You can read the full details about it in my account 2 professional robberies I experienced in Moscow (www.geocities.com/wwu777us/2_Professional_Robberies.htm), under the section ďThe mystery of my stolen mobile phone

 

Before the thief stole it, he tapped me a few times to ask me to watch his stuff while he left momentarily.  Unknown to me at the time, this was a confidence game he was playing with me.  By asking me to watch his stuff, he was in a sense creating a false sense of trust between us, implying that we were a team on the same side.  That led me to lower my guard against him when he made his move to steal whatever valuables I had in my inside jacket pocket, with my back turned.  It was a very sneaky, skilled, and amoral tactic, but worked nevertheless.

 

To protect yourself, I would avoid sitting in secluded section of internet cafes, first of all.  Instead, sit in the main areas below where other patrons and administrators have watch over the area behind you.  Also, since these thieves are skilled at snatching items from even deep pockets, you might want to wear your mobile phone around your neck on lace strings, instead of stowing it in your jacket pocket.  Sometimes that makes it uncomfortable, but it heightens the safety measure.  And finally, if someone asks you to watch their stuff, watch out.  As soon as he returns, leave, for I have heard that such is a common confidence game.

 

The drugging your drink to rob you scam (erasing your memory as well)

 

This happened to a fellow American I met in a hostel and hung out with, which you can also read about in the account 2 professional robberies I experienced in Moscow (www.geocities.com/wwu777us/2_Professional_Robberies.htm).  Basically, these predatory women meet men in bars and nightclub, and while socializing they slip a certain type of drug into their drink which makes them drowsy and blocks their memory as well.  This drug, designed to lower blood pressure, can have lethal effects when mixed with alcohol, and has been used by aggressive con women for years now, as has been reported in the Russian media.  It has also known to be used as a rape drug by men too.  Once under its effects, the con woman then suggests to the man to leave and go to his or her place.  The man usually complies (not surprisingly) and once in secluded quarters, she waits until he dozes off before robbing him of cash and other valuables.  The man, under the influence of the drug, remains drowsy and dazed for about 48 hours, giving the woman plenty of time to do her thing, and if they are in his home, God forbid, she also then has the chance to take anything she wants from there as well.  And when he awakes, his memory, having been inhibited by the drug, doesnít even recall what happened, not even remembering the appearance of the con woman.  However, he usually deduces what happened after finding his cash and valuables gone.

 

Embarrassed to say, I witnessed all of this happening right in front of me to the fellow American I hung out with that night, described in the account above.  Amazingly, though awake and sober, I never noticed the con woman extracting his cash while asleep.  She was so highly skilled and executed it in a flawless manner, using misdirection, angles, and confidence games to quell any possible suspicions from me and the hostel owner as well.  I was completely stunned and speechless when it was discovered what had happened later, right under my nose.  I would highly recommend reading the full account at the link above.  This also happened to one of the managers at an English school I taught at in Moscow, who related a similar story to me.

 

I did manage to get a few photos of this con girl with my mobile phone.  Though they are blurry, I will still try to put them on my Hall of Villains section.

 

I guess the moral of this is to keep your drink away from the Russian women you are meeting in bars and nightclubs, or else donít have a drink around them at all.

 

Highly Elaborate Teamed Group Scams

 

The Negotiator Scam:  Promises of Reconciliation and Sex

Group culprits:  Yanis, Katya, and Yulia

 

Synopsis:

This is the first of two Russian group scams that Iíve been a victim of.  Taking place in Moscowís Izmailovsky Hotel Complex, it was committed against me by my ex-fiancee Katya, her girlfriend Yulia, and a con man we met in a hotel lobby who called himself ďYanisĒ.  Basically, when me and my opportunistic gold digger fiancée were about to break up, Yanis observed the scene and used it to his advantage.  He befriended us both and offered to reconcile us, but not before briefing Katya in private.  Yanis then offered to reconcile me and Katya, promising that if I listened to him, she would sleep with me again that night too.  He told me what I wanted to hear, and even employed a clever confidence game on me.  To demonstrate his powers and solidify my trust in him, he told me to give Katya 200 dollars in cash, promising that it would be returned.  Unknown to me at the time though, he had plotted this out with Katya in advance.  When all happened as he predicted, I was amazed at his ability to predict them, and so he gained my faith in him, setting me up for the big swindle that he would pull on me later.  To further subdue my senses, Yanis took us all to a nightclub to try to get me drunk on vodka.

 

The plot partially succeeded, and would have completely succeeded if not for a stroke of heavenly luck.  What happened though, was an episode of black comedy, culminating in me eventually finding the ďsmoking gunĒ by a stroke of luck or heavenly grace.  You can read the full account from my journals here The Negotiator Scam:  Promises of Reconciliation and Sex (www.geocities.com/wwu777us/The_Negotiator_Scam.htm).  But be warned though, for many who have read it described it as extremely blood-boiling.

 

As to Yuliaís role in the ďnegotiator scamĒ, it is unproven largely speculative, but based on the circumstances, it is highly probable that she was aware of it to some degree, though she denied it (but what do you expect a proven liar to say?)  Her crime in it was one of passiveness, failing to do her ethical obligation to warn her supposed friend, me, of the criminal plot against me.  By nature, Russians seem to like to protect and cover up for other Russians who are attempting to scam or swindle foreigners, hence their highly despised international reputation.  But even before this, Yulia had already committed a barrage of opportunistic acts against me anyway.

 

Photos of Katya and Yulia will be placed in the Hall of Villains section, but Yanisí photos are unavailable since he refused to be photographed (understandably).  Since they got away with their crimes, it is my hope that placing their names and photos there will damage their reputations in the name of truth, hopefully garnering enough collective will and psychic energy against them from all who read about them, to deliver them their karmic consequences.  I say this for it is a well documented fact that prayer and the collective will of a large group of people can affect the molecular structure of physical reality, resulting in the likely manifestation of that intention or wish.  And of course, itís all I can do at this point.

 

The ďPrivate PoliceĒ Scam:  Robbery, Extortion, and Ambush

Group culprits:  Vadim, George, Sergey, two girls from a disco named Ksenia and Irina, and one unknown tall assailant with a black cap

 

Synopsis:

This second group scam against me happened the year following the ďnegotiator scamĒ.  Unfortunately, it involved one of my best friends in Russia, Vadim, who was like a brother to me. (I know, with friends like that, who needs enemies?) The elaborate scheme went as follows.  During my visit to Vadim in Novgorod (3 hours south of St. Petersburg), we brought home two girls from a disco one night, named Ksenia and Irina.  They somehow steal my camcorder and leave.  The next day, Vadim employs a ďprivate police firmĒ to help me recover the video camcorder from the black market, promising almost certain success, but at a cost of 300 dollars.  With no alternative (I would have had to spend that much on a new camcorder anyway), I comply, and that evening, my camcorder is returned to me.  His friend Sergey acted as the policeman, showing me his police badge (probably faked) and even filling out a seemingly real police report while interviewing me.  George, who nicknamed as such due to his ethnicity being Georgian (I donít know his real name), acted as the driver, shuttling Sergey between us and the ďprivate policeĒ firm.

 

After getting my camcorder back, the next day as Vadim walked me out of an internet café through a park at night, I was suddenly led into an arranged ambush he set up for me, as an attacker came out to assault me and attempt to steal my camcorder again, obviously so Vadim could ask me for more money to pay his ďprivate policeĒ firm to retrieve it again.  Fortunately, it failed, thanks to perhaps the angels of grace.  After footsweeping me to the ground and hitting me to try to pry my backpack loose, he gave up after a while and ran away, perhaps fearing that my shouts might attract attention.  But the attack left me slightly bruised and shaken up.  Vadim pretended that it was a random attack on us, and that he didnít know the assailant.  However, the giveaway was that he lied about being hit in the stomach, using it as an excuse for not coming to my aid during the struggle, for I witnessed that the attacker only pushed him aside.  (And even if he was truly struck there, he could have still fought back afterward.)  That was the ďsmoking gunĒ so to speak.  And add to that the improbable fact that a lone attacker would physically assault two men without any weapons, made the set up obvious.

 

That meant that over the course of two days, Vadim, one of my best friends, and his cohorts, committed a total of three crimes against me Ė robbery, extortion, and ambushed assault.  I have never had such wonderful ďfriendsĒ before.  Yet he had the nerve a week later to ask me if he could ďborrowĒ a hundred dollars from me, promising to pay me back later.  Yeah right, Iíd sooner trust the devil than him.  What insatiable greed.  Fortunately, after the ambushed assault, I left soon, before Vadim and his gang could cook up anymore schemes against me.  Living in his home, I was simply a sitting duck for them.

 

The amazing thing about it is that the whole time, Vadim lied about everything, yet he always did it with an honest look.  Outside Russia, I have rarely seen such masterful actors.  Obviously, to be that good, one must be devoid of guilt and conscience.

 

(Note:  It was explained to me recently by a chemical dependency expert that if Vadim had been on drugs, it would explain his sociopathic behavior devoid of conscience.  And perhaps that was the case, as I do remember seeing him smoke marijuana.)

 

You can read the full details of The ďPrivate PoliceĒ Scam at this link:  www.geocities.com/wwu777us/The_Private_Police_Scam.htm.  Taken from my journals, it includes follow up addendums and list member comments.

 

And again, like the ďnegotiator scamĒ, photos of Vadim, George, and Sergey will soon be placed in the Hall of Villains section, for the same reasons I mentioned above.  Unfortunately though, I have no photos of Ksenia and Irina.

 

Summary and preventive measures

 

As you can see, Russian teamed group scams are highly efficient and swift, hitting you before you even know it.  Therefore, they are difficult to anticipate and guard against, especially if one of the conspirators happens to be someone you trust, like a friend or lover.  Often, they are so effective, covering every base, that they donít even leave any red flags or bad signs that you can detect in advance (at least ones that you can recognize) so that you can forsee what will happen, as in the case of the ďprivate policeĒ scam.  Therefore, while in Russia, there is no foolproof way to guard against them.  However, here are some guidelines Iíd suggest.

 

-         Do NOT trust Russians easily, even if they are your friends, acquaintances or lovers, even if you are a naturally trusting person and have never been screwed over before.  Do NOT give them the benefit of the doubt, like you might to people in your own country.  In Russia, people do not even trust each other easily, and there is usually a waiting period of about a year before someone is considered a trustable friend.  Hence also the reason why in almost every public building in Russia, there are security tightly monitoring everyone who comes in, even in supermarkets and cafes.

-         In particular, do NOT befriend young Russian men who are broke and jobless, for they are most likely to scam you or lead you into traps, employing the aid of others who will get their share.  Nothing good will come out of it, and will leave you in unnecessary peril.  This was advised to me by Russians themselves.  But if you have to hang around them, stay in public well lit places, and try to have someone you trust around.

-         If you are dating opportunistic gold digger women, donít stick with them for long.  If your purpose is to use them, then make your deal of sex for money/gifts and then leave soon afterward.  If you hang around them too long, they may find ways to extract more from you and take advantage of you to greater extents.

 

Police and Customs Officer Scams

 

Police Scams

 

I hate to admit that in Russia, even those working as law enforcement are involved in scams, swindles, and bribes.  Although itís pretty ironic that those whose job is to protect you and uphold the law, are also trying to scam you of cash, that nevertheless is what you have to deal with, especially if you are of non-white ethnicity.  This just goes to show the extent of the deeply rooted corruption in Russia.  And in fact, the corruption there is beyond what most Americans can imagine.

 

The Russian policemen, known as ďmilitsaĒ, target foreigners, especially non-white ones, by checking their passports and visas.  While doing so, they look for reasons to declare problems with their visa or registration, to use to ask for bribes.  Sometimes they will make up a reason, even if there is none, knowing that the foreigner probably isnít familiar with all the laws.  Though most common among Moscow militsa, it is now becoming more common in other cities as well.  Ever since the incidents of Chechnyen terrorists hit the country, it gave them an excuse to beef up security even more, allowing the opportunistic militsa more leeway for this.  They walk up to obvious foreigners or even to Russians from out of town, and ask for ďdocumentsĒ (the word in Russian is the same).  They especially like to target Asian tourists for two reasons:  First, if they are Japanese or Korean, they tend to be more compliant and unquestioning of authority, preferring to pay rather than deal with conflict.  Second, they tend to be more likely than blacks or Siberian Russians to have a lot of money to scam from.

 

As a minority, Iíve been approached many times by militsa, having even been hauled to the police station a few times, so here are my suggestions and strategies for dealing with this.

 

-         Try to dress like the Russians around you, emulating them so you donít stand out.  Donít be obvious tourists, and donít wear khaki pants, fanny packs, or have cameras dangling from your neck.  Also try to walk like them and have the same stoic facial expressions.  If you are of white ethnicity, you should be able to blend right in without being noticed as a non-Russian.  However, if you are non-white, you will still be a noticeable foreigner.

-         When walking around areas where Russian militsa are posted (and in Moscow they are posted almost everywhere now), try to walk with a Russian woman, for the militsa rarely stop men in the company of Russian women.  If you are alone, try to scurry up beside a Russian woman walking in the same direction, even a stranger, so that you can appear to be with her.

-         Donít carry too much cash on you.  Try to keep it under 200 dollars, in case you get scammed or robbed successfully.  And if you keep most of it in a passport protector belt tucked underneath your shirt, you can a bribe-seeker that you have too little cash in your wallet to bother with.

-         Keep the registration dates in your passports connected, leaving no more than three day gaps between them.  Otherwise, they can use that as a valid basis to fine you.  The travel agency that arranged your visa should have offices that you can register in.  Also, hotels, hostels, and government registration offices can also register you.  Sometimes, if you pay the hotel a little extra, they will register you for weeks or months.

 

If you are stopped by a Russian militsa to be checked for your passport and visa, here are some strategies for dealing with it.

 

-         If you speak some Russian, donít.  Just pretend that you only speak English.  The militsa usually donít speak English and donít like to try to communicate in it.  Most of the time, they will simply check your ďdocumentsĒ and leave you.  But if they know you speak Russian though, they can use it against you, interrogating you to find loopholes or excuses they can use to find fault with you or your documents, to ask for bribes as penalty fines.  Therefore, itís best to only speak to them in English.

-         If that doesnít work, and they find fault with your documents, try to get on their good side.  Russian militsa are easily amused and entertained.  Say something funny, silly, or corny to lighten them up.  Play buddy with them, compliment them, joke with them, ask if you can pose a photo with them cause you admire their spiffy looking uniform, etc.  If you can get them in a playful mood, they will treat you much better.  At worst, you can even pretend to be gay (call yourself a ďblue manĒ or ďgaluboyĒ in Russian) and come on to them, which will almost always gross them out so they leave you alone.

-         If that doesnít work, and they insist on a cash fine from you, or if they threaten to haul you to the station, then get out pen and paper, and start taking down their police badge number or name.  This shows them that you are not to be messed with, and that you will take action to report him to his authorities if he continues this behavior.  Use this tactic ONLY if you know he doesnít have a valid reason to fine you, otherwise, itís probably better that you donít.  In most cases, it will scare him off, for if his misconduct is reported, itís likely to get him fired.

-         If that fails, then threaten to call your lawyer or the police station.  Tell him you are calling your ďjuristĒ which means lawyer in Russian.  If that doesnít work, then ask to be taken to the police station.

-         If all else fails, and you end up being taken down to the police station, remember this.  a) Technically, if you are taken to the police station, they are required to pay for a translator to come talk to you.  Otherwise, they canít do anything to you if you are charged with a misdemeanor.  So if you wait it out there, they will not be willing to do that and just write you up and let you go.  b)  Usually, the bribe-seeking officer who takes you to the station does not want his police chief to know about this, for he may get in trouble if discovered attempting to get a bribe.  Therefore, he will probably not keep you around for long anyway, and may just mock around at you for a while before letting you go.

-         If they still insist on you paying them a cash fine, tell them that you are broke and have little cash, which you need to use for food and shelter.  Act serious about it, whine and cry if you have to, anything to convince them of it.  After a scuffle, they will usually let you go.  Most of the time, they will not search you for cash.

 

The above should up your chances tremendously of getting off without having to pay a bribe or fine.  Please note though, that you should not quote me verbatim about Russian visa and registration laws, as they are constantly changing and being revised, which is no surprise given the highly volatile state of things in Russia.  What is true one day may be different a few months later.  And this ranges from ice cream flavors, best selling drinks (e.g. whereas Lipton Iced Tea was nonexistent last year, it suddenly fills shelves all over the country this year), to customs laws.

 

Customs Officer Scams

 

The Russian customs officers, posted at airports and at the nationís borders, are also known to scam foreigners and ask for bribes.  As the case is with the militsa above, they also tend to target Asians for the same reasons.  To deal with them, following the same strategies above, keeping in mind several things.

 

-         Remember to keep the registration stamps in your passport connected, leaving less than three days gap between each.  Otherwise, they can use that as a valid basis to fine you.  The travel agency that arranged your visa should have offices that you can register in.  Also, hotels, hostels, and government registration offices can also register you.  Sometimes, if you pay the hotel a little extra, they will register you for weeks or months.

-         Donít carry too much cash on you.  Keep it under a few hundred dollars.  Otherwise, they may try to confiscate it (and have a party with it afterward).

-         Also remember to speak only English, and if you have to, write down their badge numbers or threaten to call your lawyer.  Playing or joking with them though, is usually ineffective, as these customs officers are usually too serious and stoic for that.

-         If you are on a bus or about to take a plane, they will usually not keep you too long to avoid holding up the vehicle or aircraft.

-         If they still insist on you paying them a cash fine, tell them that you are broke and have little cash, which you need to use for food and shelter.  Act serious about it, whine and cry if you have to, anything to convince them of it.  After a scuffle, they will usually let you go.  Most of the time, they will not search you for cash.

 

Finally, it has been reported that in some airports like in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the check in staff may try to scam you by finding problems with your ticket, and asking for a payment fee to fix it.  Since I havenít been in such situations, I donít know if the above strategies for dealing with police and customs officers will work, but having a Russian person travel with you will help, as they will be less likely to pull it on him or her.

 

Russian Women Opportunistic Extractor Scams

 

Through Cyberspace

 

Although the purpose of this article is to guard and inform the foreigners against in person Russian scams on their turf, I should nevertheless address how to deal with the prevalent cyberspace scams.

 

As you might already know, the online Russian scams basically follow the same pattern.  A woman (or man) contacts lonely foreign men through the internet, under the guise of seeking serious love relations, sending him a pretty to gorgeous photo.   Instantaneously, the scammer falls in love with the man, telling him all that he wants to hear, while sending him canned form letters, the same ones sheís mass mailing to many others at the same time.  The purpose of these lovey dovey letters is to make the men fall in love with them, hyping them with emotion, and inhibiting their logic and common sense, so that they are more likely to do what the scammer wants later, which of course, is to send a large amount of funds through Western Union.  The canned form letters usually donít contain answers to any of the manís questions in his letters, which ought to tip off an alarm in him, but he may be so ďin loveĒ and emotionally hyped that he rationalizes that away.  Or sometimes they may answer one of his questions in the beginning, followed by a pasted form letter.

 

When the scammer feels enough time has elapsed between them, he/she pulls the final swindle.  She or he invents a reason that requires money.  It can be anything from a sick mother who needs an operation, to needing one herself, to needing it to get a visa and plane ticket through special connections, so she can come to his country to be with him.  Sometimes, it can also be as mundane as needing money to buy a mobile phone so he can call her, to take the train to meet him in Russia, to fix up the house for him to stay in, to rent an apartment for him when he arrives so they can live together there, or to book a romantic excursion tour when he arrives.  Whatever the reason, they need money, and a lot of it.

 

(Needless to say, itís not possible to purchase a visa to America through the American Embassy.  And no Russian company has that power over the US Embassy, which doesnít accept bribes.  But the scammer hopes you donít know that, and sometimes he or she is right, unfortunately.  There is, I heard, a way to legally obtain US citizenship for half a million dollars though, for the purpose of establishing a business in the US, but thatís beyond the scope of what weíre dealing with here.)

 

Fortunately, most men donít go for this scheme, but these scammers are playing a percentage game, and the few that fall for it provide a handsome income for the scammer.  Hereís some ways you can weed them out early on.

 

-         If in the first few letters, she professes undying love, that is a red flag that you are dealing with a con artist.

-         If she doesnít answer your questions, but sends you canned letters telling you about her life and how much she thinks of you, that is another bad sign.

-         As a test, ask her for her phone number so you can call her.  Most scammers do not give out their phone number, and will make an excuse not to, such as not having a phone.  Although some Russian women really do not have a phone, one with sincere intentions will at least give you the number of a parent or relative where you can leave a message or call her at an appointed time.  Or she will give you the number to the receptionist of the building she lives in.  The point is that if sheís sincere, she will try to meet you halfway.  There are some scammers though, who will be willing to call you.  She or he will have an English speaking co-conspirator call you for a while, sometimes asking you for money too.

-         You can also pay a background research agency in her city to track her down and investigate her, but this tends to be very costly.  And you would need a physical address too, which most scammers wonít give out; another test you can use.

-         If she asks you to send her money for a train or plane ticket to see you, tell her its not necessary and you can just go to her city directly (which is advised anyway so you can see her family and environment)  Besides, a normal Russian woman can find money to ride the train, which is dirt cheap and affordable in most cases.  Or you can just offer to reimburse her when she arrives.  A Russian lady who insists on flying instead is probably a high maintenance princess or gold digger, and you are probably better off without her.  But if you must or can easily afford to pay for her transportation in advance, at least do the following.  Buy the plane/train ticket directly yourself, and arrange to have the company mail the tickets to her.  Most companies will have a refund policy if she doesn't use them, so make sure to inquire about that.  If she doesn't like that idea, preferring cold hard cash instead, that's a suspicious sign.

 

How to deliver karmic justice to a scammer

 

If you find out that this person youíre writing to is a scammer, hereís how you can deliver some karmic justice to her or him.  Tell them that you will send them the money by Western Union, and in fact more than what they asked for to get her ecstatic.  Then give her a fake Western Union tracking number to pick it up.  When they attempt to pick it the next day with extreme excitement and anticipation, they will be hugely disappointed to find that no such money was waiting for them.  Then, when they ask you about it again, tell them that you fixed the problem and it is now ready for them.  When they experience the same huge emotional letdown the next day, repeat the cycle for however long it takes.  The scammer will suffer a lot of emotional anguish, which will be well deserved.  By doing this, you help teach her a lesson that crime doesn't pay, deliver her rightly due karma, and hopefully discourage her from doing this again to other men. 

 

In Person

 

The in person Russian women scams also follow a predictable pattern.  These women, who are opportunistic gold diggers, leeches, and whores, meet foreign men either through marriage agencies and social tours, the internet, or in bars and clubs where foreign men hang out.  Though they pretend to be seeking serious relations, they true intent is to be showered with money, gifts, and fancy dinners.  They tend to pick the most expensive activities and places to go, and are total shameless takers, perceiving money as an aphrodisiac.  They are not ashamed to directly ask for presents, or cash gifts and loans.  And they treat men as cash cows with no regard for their financial needs.  Sometimes, they use mind-control techniques, such as calling the man ďgreedyĒ if he refuses to buy them what they want or spend freely, staring at him with a hypnotic gaze that induces guilt in him.  Unless they are attracted to the man, they will make excuses not to have sex, ranging from her parents being worried about her being out late, to saving sex for marriage, to claiming that she moves slowly.  They will gladly accept sex for money, with the price in inverse proportion to their level of attraction to him.  You can familiarize yourself with their mentality to understand what youíre dealing with, by reading my expose Opportunistic Russian Women:  Their Morbid Mentality Revealed (www.geocities.com/wwu777us/Opportunistic_Russian_Women.htm). 

 

But even among the cautious Russian women who move slowly, the self-respecting ones will not ask you to buy anything for them.  In general, Russian women with sincere intentions who have self-respect and truly like you, will usually do most of the following: 

 

a)      They donít ask you to buy them gifts or give them money, even if you truly are rich.

b)      They donít treat you like a cash cow or bank, but like a person to respect.

c)      They introduce you to their friends and family, rather than conceal you from them.

d)      They arenít preoccupied with where you are taking them or how extravagant your date is going to be.  Instead, they donít care where you go or what you do as long as you are together.

e)      If they canít make a date with you, or are too busy to meet, they will suggest another time they are available, rather than just giving a simple no.

f)        They will be good about keeping even little promises they make, following through on them rather than flaking out on them.

g)      They donít keep making excuses to avoid physical intimacy.  And even if they are the shy cautious type who move slowly, they will at least gradually warm up in a steady progression, regardless of the pace, rather than give you hot/cold treatment.  At the very least, by the second date, she should be willing to take your arm or hold your hand.

 

Now, if you find yourself dating an opportunistic gold digger type of Russian woman, hereís my simple suggestion.  Unless you plan to use them for sex, itís best not to deal with them at all.  If you decide to arrange a sex for money/gifts type of deal with them though, do it early on, for unless you do, if they have it their way, they will attempt to extract from you without giving anything back (unless they find you attractive).  But do so at your own peril though, for they are women without honor, infamous for screwing people over, and may not even keep their part of the bargain, or they may give you shitty ďserviceĒ with no concern for your satisfaction.  And of course, in such deals it is expected that the man do his part of the bargain first, hence he is taking more of the risk than she is by being the first to go out on a limb.

 

Whatever the case, itís best not to hang around them too long, for these are depraved creatures without conscience, dignity, self-respect, values, or morals, and if you hang around them too long, you will be dragged down with them.  All in all, itís just not good for your soul, spirit, pride, dignity, conscience, or self-respect, unless of course you love corruption.  So after the entertainment and pleasure is over, get out while you still can.  Oh and before she leaves your flat or room, donít unlock the door for her until youíve made sure that none of your valuables were stolen, for they are sometimes capable of theft too.

 

If anyone else has any suggested strategies or experiences to share with me about dealing with these types of scams, please let me know at WWu777@aol.com.  Thanks for reading and allowing me to share with you.

 

Sincerely,

Winston

 

Note:  If you find that youíve benefited from my experiences here and feel that they will save you from being a victim to such scams and thievery tactics, please consider sending me a small 5 dollar donation by PayPal (www.paypal.com) to help me recover the huge financial losses I incurred from Russian scams that taught me such hard lessons.  My PayPal address is WWu777@aol.com.  Thanks.

 

 

Winstonís Home Page

 

 

While the technical aspect of types scam and other common crime is described well, I urge the reader to look beyond words to see the type of character who attracted so much trouble upon his head. If you come here to buy what fundamentally is not subject to trade, expect the universe around you to start crumbling. Petty crime is just the first sign that you are sliding down to hell. A gentle warning. I urge you to expend your energy not learning about offences against foreigners but adjusting your values and attitudes in a way that will keep you in a different dimension from thieves and rogues.

- Pasha