From Russia Without Love

Internet romance scams are abundant. Lonely and naïve single men and women get caught up in scams thinking they’ve found someone in a foreign country who is going to be their lover. Last week, I had the following email exchange with a 69-year-old man we’ll call Jack, not his real name.

Jack emailed: “I want to know if you think a 69-year-old man and a 30-year-old Russian lady could get along? What do you think of the age difference?”

I replied, “How did you meet her? What is her motivation to be with someone 39-years-older?”

Jack: “I have not met her in person, on the Internet only. She has a visa to come here. I told her my age, she thinks it won’t make a difference. I think she will try to come to California this week.”

I said, “Of course the age gap doesn't matter to her, it's your money she's after. Be careful. She may want to marry you and then she might leave you. Who is paying for her trip?”

Jack: “I paid for most of it. I will not marry her without a pre nuptial agreement. I don’t think she needs my house and what money I have.”

I wrote: “You're joking, right? She may not need your house or money, but she wants it. Are you planning to marry her?”

Jack: “I cannot answer that at this time. She will be here this Saturday if she told me the right scoop; she is to leave Russia Saturday. After I meet her, I can answer that.”

I said, “I get it, she's just going to pop over to Calif. from Russia for a couple of days and you'll just give her a test run? Be warned. She's not coming. She's only trying to take your money and assets.”

Twelve hours later, Jack wrote, “It’s all off. She asked me for $4,000 and I said no way will I send that much money. I like to gamble but this is not a gamble, it’s dumb.”

Jack’s situation wasn’t an age-gap issue, about which he originally asked. It was a romance scam filled with lies and false promises. She has no visa. How could she leave Russia and arrive in California the same day?

It’s unfortunate that Jack is out the $2,000 or so he sent her for plane fare. At least he didn’t send the additional $4,000. He was gullible and foolish. A woman friend said to me, "He got what he deserved for trying to be with someone 39-years-younger."

For insight on Jack’s situation, I asked Maryland resident, John Johnson, who married a woman from Russia, for his opinion.

John said, “There is no way any Russian woman could get here unless Jack submitted paperwork through the INS that is processed at the US Embassy in Russia prior to approval for her visit. They would have to meet there or in a country where she could get a visa before he could submit such paperwork. This is a common tactic women from many foreign countries use to get money from Western men.

“Russian women are not as desperate as many in the West believe. Any age gap more than 20 years is unrealistic. That gap decreases as the man’s age goes higher than 45 or his weight increases beyond 200 lbs. Common sense exists in Russia just as it does here.”

When you think about it, wouldn’t it be a heck of a lot easier if Jack pursued one of the 10 million nice American woman near his age? And he wouldn’t be out $2,000.

Note: Place cursor on the link below to visit the website of a free Yahoo! group website with more than 5,100 members fighting romance scams.

Place cursor here for Romance Scam Group on Yahoo!

Related Issue: Sweetheart Scams

© 2008, Tom Blake

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Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50. He has appeared twice on the "Today Show" and has written more than 500 columns on dating and relationships. His "Single Again" column appears in The Orange County Register in southern California, is read worldwide and is often featured on msn.com. He is a professional speaker. He spoke at the national AARP convention in San Diego in 2002, and will speak at the AARP convention in Chicago this September. His book, Middle Aged and Dating Again, is a humorous account of his first year of dating after his third divorce. His new book, Finding Love After 50: How to begin, where to go, what to do, is hot off the press. To ask a question or receive Tom's free weekly column on middle-age dating and relationships by e-mail, click on www.findingloveafter50.com or E-Mail.

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