Anti-Scam Guide - Avoid fake Russian Brides and Russian Dating Scams
Some time ago there was a big article in Wall Street Journal about identity theft which is one of the fastest growing crimes in US. With major credit card companies and banks one would wonder why these companies have not created effective policies to protect their clients from fraud. Scam, very much like identity theft in US, is one of the fastest growing crimes in Russian dating industry. With all the technological advances it is increasingly difficult to identify scammers. We believe that irrespective of which Internet dating company you use to meet your date, the single most effective way to protect yourself from scam and fraud is to build awareness, use common sense and follow a set of simple rules.
While we do have advanced anti-scam measures in place which are based on technical analysis as well as telephone verifications of high-risk members, these measures cannot provide full protection against scam and fraud. Please be informed that we do not endorse all members. Loversplanet.com does not make any representations as to any individual member. It is your responsibility to determine whether to form any relationship with those members you get in contact with on our website. Loversplanet.com cannot be held responsible for any outcome that may result from use of our online dating service. We therefore require all our members NOT TO SEND ANY MONEY to anyone they meet on Loversplanet.com or affiliated websites. If in doubt, please contact Customer Care.
Signs of scam
- The lady comes from one of these risk locations: Joshkar-Ola (Yoshkar-Ola) and Mari El Republic, Kazan, Cheboksary, Gomel. If you are communicating with a lady from one of these locations you should take extra caution.
- The lady insists or strongly suggests that she wants to visit you and not visa versa. A good test is to advise your lady that you are willing to come to Russia even if you are not going to. Will she be happy with this? For scammer this would mean that no money is to be sent.
- Never send any money to anyone you meet online. Please note, that the fact that you have had communication with someone for weeks or even months doesn't mean that the person is legitimate. Some scammers can carry out communication for several months.
- The most common weapons used by scammers are travel visas and tickets. Often they suggest that they need to pay for a visa to "a friend at the embassy". Usually these arrangements do not happen. You should only consider legitimate ways of obtaining visas either through a reputable travel agency or a personal invitation by you, which would cost approximately USD 50-100 (a reputable travel agent usually includes the visa processing fees in the price of the travel package). For more information on travel visas to US please visit US Department of State website.
- A lot times scammers use bogus travel agencies. Usually these agencies do not even exist. Below are some common signs of a bogus travel agency:
- Travel agent does not accept credit cards - since we are no longer living in stone age most reputable travel agents accept major credit cards. If you pay by credit card you are more protected and therefore scammers will insist on other ways to pay.
- The most common "other ways to pay" are bank wires and Western Union. Both are very difficult to deal with in terms of tracing back a fraudulent payment.
- A bank in Latvia is usually given for the purposes of wire transactions. Avoid dealing with these banks because they have poor reputation internationally. And please remember you are dealing with a travel agent in Russia not Latvia!
- Watch out for simple things like: does the travel agent have a website? What kind of email address are they using? Does the email match the website address? Most scammers do not set up websites of bogus travel agencies - it is easier for them to find someone who does not have a basic knowledge of this information. Some bogus agencies can have a website. In any case always use a licensed travel agent which you can verify.
- All travel agencies in Russia, as in most other countries, require a license. Make sure the travel agency you are dealing with has a license. Even if an agency has a license it is still a good idea to follow all the advice given above. The license can only be trusted if confirmed by an appropriate government authority.
- Very often scammers will try to make you feel uncomfortable about you being extra cautious, asking for additional information or insisting on using a reputable travel agent. A sincere lady will understand this and is unlikely to put any pressure on you or object to anything.
IF ANY OF THE ABOVE IS TRUE IN YOUR SITUATION YOU MAY BE DEALING WITH A SCAMMER. INFORM THE DATING SERVICE PROVIDER. DO NOT SEND MONEY.
If you do wish to proceed with travel arrangements, we strongly recommend that you deal with a verified licensed travel agent preferably based in your country. A lot of major cities in US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand and many other countries have Russian travel agents. When you deal with these agents you have more protection than in Russia especially if you pay by a credit card.
If you are dealing with a reputable licensed travel agency in Russia, Request the agency to obtain a copy of your lady's passport before making any arrangements. It is also a good idea to make all arrangements with an option to cancel at any time.
It is possible to carry out a background check of any lady you are communicating with. A background check includes services such as checking whether the name and address of the person in question exists in official records; whether any criminal proceedings have been issued against the person and some other services. We do advise our members to watch out for common signs of scam. In most cases you can avoid costly background checks by using common sense. At Loversplanet.com we do our best to screen out scammers with various means including phone interviews. Please be advised, however, that we do not carry out background checks on any members who post ads on our network.
Please always contact the dating service provider if you have any doubt or require further assistance.
Loversplanet.com has a very clear policy on scammers. We verify all suspicious profiles as identified by a complex scoring-system in the same way Insurance companies evaluate risk. While phone verification cannot provide 100% guarantee that the person in question is not a scammer, our experience shows that in most cases it is very effective. Please note, however, that Loversplanet.com does not carry out criminal background checks on its users. All users of the service are advised to take appropriate safety measures to increase awareness of possible risks associated with dating.