Thursday, February 9, 2012

For years Russians have ruled the market of online dating scams along with the Nigerians, Filipinos and Ukrainians. Russian private investigators from Russia PI™ have seen men from the western world loosing it all in the name of a false love relationships and business fraud.  There are many risks in the Baltic region, and although Russian bride scams are the most widely known, business fraud and  investment fraud in the region are also major burdens for foreigners.

Russian women often hide behind their fake profiles on dating and match making sites.  In other cases, it may not be a woman at all behind that beautiful photograph.  Fake businesses often have elaborate and impressive websites, but there may not be any real company.  No company registration, no real office, nothing.  Only a bank account where you can send your money.

Criminals often work from home or a cyber cafĂ©, hiding behind false IP address and proxy servers, creating a complicated scam where you may not even know the person you’re communicating with is based in Russia.  He or she may have a U.S.  or U.K. address and phone number, and have the ID and documents and accent to match.  In short, these criminals are good at what they do.

The modus operandi is usually the same. You are contacted by email or social networking site, and there is romantic interest or a tempting business proposal.  Slowly, the criminal will work to gain your trust.  Once he or she has your trust, you might start to reveal your personal data, and this is where the damage is done.  Soon, you will lose your wallet, or jeopardize your entire company.

Scammers typically have some kind of complication, and need help with fees, processing, shipping or an emergency.  Or, a business scam can be so convincing, that you might send your funds to a lawyer or a China or U.K. or Switzerland bank account, only to find out later that the company didn’t exist.  Romance scammers are professionals and basically know the steps to take and the words to say for you to believe them. Your mind tells you something is not right, but your heart is eager to believe. The investment seems risky, but there is so much to gain… What to do?

When getting involved in internet relationships whether they are romantic, friendships or business it is always wise to check on the person you are getting involved with. Verify all international people and businesses.  There are professional investigation services available in Russia and the Ukraine that will find out the truth for you and will conduct a confidential investigation and verification process by a Russia private investigator.  If something does not feel right, listen to your instincts and contact a professional.  If everything seems perfect, perhaps too perfect, contact a reputable private investigator for a free consultation.  Finally, if there are no red flags but the person you are dealing with resides in Russia, be aware that Easter Europe is a high risk environment, and a complete background check or due diligence is always recommended.

Never send money or personal information to anyone abroad who has not been verified.  Ask for references and be careful about sharing your personal information.  Search Google to see what others are saying about the person or company.  Be skeptical and verify.

Best of luck,

A Hathaway
© 2012 A Hathaway

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