I have recently been contacted by two different people about variations on the theme of online dating. Both are worth passing on, to show that Online Dating Fraud comes in many forms, and the unscrupulous will stop at nothing to make money from the vulnerable and unwary.
Fake Match-Making Sites
The first of these variations is of online dating sites that are set up to defraud the person joining the site, by charging them money to connect with potential partners, when the partners are not really available, but paid by the dating site to pretend to be available, to lure partners to stay on the site and pay money for the privilege of contact, and pretend to be able and available to marry.
This was reported to me by David Brunner who claims he was caught on 3 different sites, Natashaclub, HotRussianBrides and Anastasiadate, paying exorbitant fees for each contact letter ($20 each). After speaking to a number of different ladies on Natashaclub he connected with a lady, and after some time talking/connecting, went to Crimea and met her. He fell in love, and on returning home was encouraged to send her gifts and pay for language lessons. He later found that not only were the sites paying the girls a salary to appear to be available for marriage, but that they got bonuses for the gifts that were sent to them. As David describes it, the woman he met did get married, but continues to work at a “find a bride” website.
She is still at the website, trying to get more men to send her money. 95% of the sites in this industry are all scams. They work the same way. They charge the men outrageous rates to “chat” or write emails. They pay the women for the activity of all the men who are writing them. The women are rewarded handsomely when they get men to send gifts. And when the men comes to visit, they switch to translation scams and try to get the men to purchase clothing, etc. Then return it all when the men leave.
Despite talking to the authorities, scam survivor groups, and the industry organisation such as iDate, he has had no success in getting this recognised as another form of Fraud in the industry. I asked David if he thought these unsavory match making companies were ‘pimping’ out the woman. He replies
Oh absolutely, they are pimping women. Publically, they claim they not aware of the women who are married. Privately, they pay agencies in Ukraine who in turn hire women to come to their site. They keep all of these transactions a secret away from the public eye. If the men knew they were paying agencies in Ukraine, men would stop using the services.
Here is a sample ad he provides from a forum in Ukraine.
Wanted unmarried or divorced pretty girls to work in a marriage agency. Age 25-40 years. Work at home: correspondence, chats. There are meetings (at your request)
Intimacy is excluded.
The requirement for the candidates:
– knowledge of the English language or the ability to use an online translator -zhelanie earn -poryadochnost, responsibility, perseverance experience welcome. S / n from $ 100 up to 1500 USD per month (salary depends on your diligence) the receipt of gifts and a free photo session. Communication with the men from the US and Europe, the ability to get married. Questions on firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (after 14:00 to 00:00) 097 154 67 65 Alexander
Good luck to David on his fight to raise this issue. he says he will fight on.
The second variation is Immigration marriage fraud, called “The Game” from
South Africa/Gambia, told to me by Kim Sow who had also been a victim of this herself. She now co-runs a group called Immigration marriage fraud UK, a research, support and campaign group set up to stop the criminal abuse of marriage in cases where one party deceives the other into believing they are in a genuine relationship, for the purpose of obtaining visas (for the UK), and/or money. This organisation was founded by Delene Alouane, in March 2013, and Kim joined last year (the Daily Mail item below is incorrect in this regard and has published a correction). Google each name for more information.
I know this is not unique to the UK, though the prevalence of the men from the south african continent countries to prey on British women, even engaging in multiple marriages (bigamy) for this purpose, as she tells it, seems especially heinous. Here are some references to her story.
Unfortunately marriage for the purpose of getting entry permits/visas, called marriages of convenience when it is a consensual purposeful activity by two parties, are illegal, but known to occur.
When its not consensual, but a deliberate fraud by one party on the other, that is a different thing. It is not especially related to online dating, but is a form of relationship fraud.
In Australia we all know of stories of people getting married, the marriage (or even de facto relationship) lasting a requisite two years, then a separation/divorce where the person who entered the relationship with little or nothing then demands a half share of whatever the other more wealthy person brought to the marriage.
What is difficult to gauge is the pre-meditation of this activity, but on behalf of our friend loosing their hard earned wealth, we remain at times cynical. It would not take much for us to upgrade our assessment to call it marriage fraud, whether immigration is involved or not! The loss experienced would be very similar to that of dating scams, if not at times worse.