… Elena, a bona fide Ukraine dating scammer…
Of all of the topics that I’ve written about on the subject of dating Eastern European Women, the topic that I’m most often asked about are my own personal dating experiences. How long did it take for me to find Alana? How many women did I meet? Did I have any romances or relationships with other EE (Eastern European) Women? Was I ever scammed?
If you’ve read this blog, then you know that I’ve been scammed. And I consider myself rather lucky. I only spent about $500 in membership fees to a scam site and probably about another $1k – $2k dating scammer women. I met a lot of men who spent into the tens of thousands of dollars.
There is a wise old saying that says “Learn from your mistakes.” I would suggest that there is an even better and wiser course of action: “Learn from the mistakes of others.”
If we were all wildebeests in Africa and we were about to cross an open field that you knew (from past experience) was full of lions, would you find a different way? Of course. And if you watched one wildebeest begin to cross and then get devoured by lions, would you follow? Of course not. Not only is it a good idea to learn from our mistakes, but in some cases (like getting eaten by a lion), it makes more sense to learn from the mistakes of others.
With this in mind, I am writing this post so that those of you that are in a similar position (or will be in the future) – you can learn from my mistakes.
Some years ago, about the time I started writing this blog, I had a membership at an EE dating website that was – well, lets say “less than honest.” I was on my way to Ukraine to visit for a few weeks and I posted my profile, a few photos, a description of myself and an announcement that I was coming and wanted to meet my future wife. Of the dozens and dozens (and dozens) of women that “replied” to my post, one was Elena (featured here).
I looked at Elena’s photos and as you can see, she is quite beautiful. She wrote that she was attracted to my appearance and that she was very much looking forward to my visit.
Needless to say, I was quite excited.
Hindsight being 20/20, I’ve learned a LOT about what constitutes a legitimate EE dating profile. The first 7 photos in this post are the photos that she had listed in her “profile.” What should stand out is that none of them are candid shots. None are taken by her family, colleagues at work, none taken by grandma and none in “regular” clothes in “regular” places. These are all professional style model photos. This girl is either trying to get a job as a model or she paid to have these photos taken for the express purpose of scamming Western Men. Or, she doesn’t exist at all and these photos were stolen from a modeling agency or website. In the case of our profiled scammer Elena, she was in fact a real woman and these are her photos. I did meet and date her (or so I thought). I believe that we had 4 or 5 meetings and in “dating” her I gained a PhD in EE scammers.
I had my first date with Elena and it was delightful. She was very attentive to everything I said and she had a coy if not submissive demeanor that made her seem even more appealing. I remember when we went to a sushi restaurant, she made sure to pour some soy sauce into my little dipping bowl before pouring some for herself. She asked about my university ring that I proudly wore and she seemed to hang on every detail as I described my work and travels.
Our date went on and on for about 3 or 4 hours. At its conclusion, I paid our interpreter (Elena didn’t speak English) and we made plans to meet again. The prices for interpreters have gone up to about $15-20 per hour but back in 2009 I was paying about $10 per hour. While the cost of living in Ukraine may be cheap, eating at Sushi restaurants in the city center is NOT cheap. The bill was perhaps $80 or $90. After paying the translator, I was out about $120.
If a woman like Elena works as a receptionist or secretary, she maybe will earn $300-$500 per month working 40 hours a week, 4 weeks a month. I just paid the interpreter $40. From what I will later come to learn is that the two women would split the commission between them. About $20 for 4 hours of work. Not bad if you can pick up two or three dates on Saturday or Sunday each week. Besides getting a nice meal and some drinks, a woman and her interpreter can make $100 or $200 per weekend.
I noticed, on our first “date” that neither woman was in any hurry to finish up. They seemed so interested in everything I said. Of course, they are getting paid to listen.
It was much the same on the second date. No rush. Take your time. And the third date I became suspicious. Elena was always eager to set the next date, usually a day or two later.
I watched and I listened with ever growing suspicion. And by the fourth date I realized something was amiss. I didn’t tell either woman that I could speak and understand some Russian and after one date, Elena excused herself to take a call and I listened in. While I can’t say with 100% certainty, it sounded like she was talking to a boyfriend or a husband and she was inquiring how her son was doing. On our final date, I asked if she had any children from previous relationships and she said “no.”
On our third date Elena and her interpreter took me on a walking tour of Odessa. They showed me all of the tourist sites and famous bridges and landmarks. She and I posed for photos together as if we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Looking back on it, it all seemed quite normal. But with full hindsight, there were so many warning signs. I just wasn’t keen to them.
Of course, the walking tour conveniently ended at a luxurious restaurant. Elena told me that it was a new restaurant and she had never eaten there before. “Could we have lunch there?” I agreed and the bill wasn’t cheap.
Bite me once, shame on you. Bite me twice? Never.
I learned my lesson and never repeated.
After our 4th or 5th date, I suggested to Elena that we should have a date without the interpreter. Just she and I; perhaps we could use Google Translate on my iPhone to communicate. Maybe we could have a date centered more around feelings and chemistry and less about talking. She smiled and said that this was a great idea and we made a date for two days later.
Later that afternoon, I received this text:
“I am only looking for a serious man, not someone who plays games. I do not wish to see you again.”
I chalked up the whole experience to a life lesson and moved on. Later, I was a bit curious and Google searched her and found her personal profile on a Russian Facebook style website. You can see the photos she shows to friends and family are quite different than the photos above that were on the dating website. If you’re looking at profiles online, you want iPhone selfie photos, photos at family events or a snapshot taken by a girlfriend at a local park, something like this:
I certainly don’t want this post to sound like sour grapes. I’m not complaining that I was scammed. Sure, shame on these ladies for running this scam but it takes a willing sucker for any scam to work. And in this case, I was the sucker. My best advice would be to “step outside” of the situation and try to analyze it impartially. When you’re with a beautiful woman who pays attention to you, this isn’t always easy. In the case of Elena and her interpreter, they were consummate pros. They knew exactly how to apply just enough pressure and insistence without going overboard. I fancy myself a sharp guy but it was even hard for me to figure it out. It took 4 or 5 dates but then I saw that some things just didn’t add up.
You really really have to look at the situation critically. And only then, will you see if the woman is romantically interested. If, date after date, it comes off like a meeting with your tax accountant, you’ll know that something is amiss.
In the photo below, you can see Elena and her scammer interpreter. I can only laugh at myself now as I see that their smiles aren’t, “What a great guy, we’re so glad to be on the town with him,” but were instead, “How long can we string this sucker along? Keep smiling, so long as he’s paying.”
I truly believe that there is someone out there for everyone. In the case of Eastern Europe, yes, I truly believe that there is a special woman that God on this planet just for you. She will make you happier than you can ever imagine. I speak from experience: Alana has made me the happiest man alive.
To avoid getting scammed you must:
* Only go with a reputable agency. Dating through sites like Anastasiadate.com will only lead to sorrow and expense.
* Only date English-speaking women unless you speak Russian. It is hard enough to read emotions through an interpreter; even harder at $20 per hour.
* Watch for subtle signs: a woman who is interested in you will be happy to walk in the park and chat. Sure, you should take her to dinner at dinner time. But be wary of attempts to order the $200 bottle of champagne from the restaurant.
* If you do become romantically involved with a woman, read read read her body language. Do you feel like she’s “just tolerating” your touch or can she barely keep her hands off of you? If the former, run, don’t walk away. If the later, enjoy it and be doubly sure that you are compatible to spend the next 50 years together.
* Does she excuse herself to take phone calls or act in other suspicious ways? This is a bad sign. Does she bring along her sister or best friend to meet you? This is a good sign. A woman won’t introduce you to ANYONE SHE KNOWS if she’s scamming you. I’m sure that Elena’s parents and old classmates don’t know she’s a dating scammer. If she insists at meeting in “out of the way places,” this is also a red flag.
* Trust your gut instinct. If it feels wrong, it probably is.
Good luck on your search!
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