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(by Elena Garrett, RD Owner)

Every day I am receiving letters telling us that an active scammer has been identified and asking us to arrest the scammer while the scammer is "on the move".

I would like to address some of the most frequent requests and questions:

1. Catch this scammer!

The only way to really catch the scammers is to have Russian/Ukrainian police to identify them and file criminal charges them. Neither you nor any private entity can catch a scammer, regardless of how you define the word "catch."

How can you facilitate the process of catching the scammer? The answer depends on whether or not you sent the scammer any money.

If you already sent the money to the scammer, then you will need to file a proper complaint with Russian police (click on the link to read more).

If you did not send the scammer any money, then you are not technically a victim,  cannot file a complaint. But you can still send some information to Russian police, although n 90% of the cases, they probably won't be able to use it efficiently (because Internet scams are so anonymous in nature). 

For them to be able to use the information you would need to provide:

1) your identification (a copy of your passport, or driving license)

2) the scammer's LAST name and first name. If you do not have the scammer's last name, do not bother reporting. Drag your conversation with the scammer along for long enough to get the scammers' last name information.

3) the  email headers from every letter you received from the scammer. If you do not have the headers, your information won't be very useful.

4) the list of money requests the scammer made. If the scammer did not request any money from you so far, do not bother reporting yet -  just drag your conversation with the scammer along for long enough to get the scammers' money request letter.

5) all the falsified documents (passports, visas, tickets) that they scammer provided

6) references to specific similarities (letters? pictures? IPs? same fake ID used?) between this scammer and other scammers found on the internet

7) best thing to have is the scammer's bank account.

You till need write a letter to police with a summary of the information that you have about the scammer, an explanation of each piece of evidencets that this person is a scammer, and a clearly  formulated request for police to look into this situation. 

You will need to translate your letter to police into Russian. It is better to use human translator because the Internet translations are usually barely intelligible. If you cannot find a human translator who would translate you letter to police for free, then please send an letter in your native language, plus a computer translation of your letter. You will need to sign and date your letter. 

Address where to send the letter and the evidence:

MVD of Russian Federation, "OTDEL K"

Zhitnaya ul. d. 16

Moscow 119049


"Otdel K" is a specialized division of Russian police that deals specifically with computer crimes. Their phone numbers: +7 (495) 222-34-01; +7 (495) 222-46-16.


P.S. Do not send them 300 photos of the scammer. Photos are of the least importance to them. The email headers, the bank accounts, the false documents, and the full names of individual involved will likely be of only interest to them. Do not expect your scammer to be arrested on that evidence. If you did not send any money, no crime was committed, so no prosecution will follow. Police will merely file this information away in some database.


2. Catch the scammer when she comes to pick up the money!

Western Union sting operations may sound to you like the best way to catch the scammers! Well, I will have to disappoint you. They are not.

Why not? 


Mainly, because there is no reason to Russian police to get involved - unless there is an ongoing criminal case against the scammer AND the judge issued a warrant. You can't point fingers at Russian citizen standing in line at the Western Union office and ask them to be arrested simply because you desire to see them in jail. Russian police has no legal ground to arrest anyone based only on your accusation. Proper complaint needs to be filed. Police need to review the complaint and decide whether to open an investigation. Sufficient investigative research would need to be performed to ensure that a crime indeed was committed. Decision would need to be made whether there is sufficient evidence for filing criminal charges. If yes, then a request for a permission to arrest would need to be obtained. This entire process is likely to take 4-8 months. So, not, you cannot call up Russian police and ask them to be ready by Wednesday to pick up your scammer at Western Union.

Most importantly, there is no need for a Western Union sting operation. If police investigates the case, the scammers' passport information will be requested from Western Union records. Police will then decide what to do with the obtained information. They may visit the scammer and have a talk, they may put him or her under surveillance for a while to find out whether there are other members of the scam group that can be located via surveillance, they may put a tap on the scammer's phone, etc. Arresting someone right away is not necessarily the most effective strategy for prosecuting the case.


3. I want to help you catch this criminal!

Have you already sent money to the scammer? 

Unless you already sent money to the scammer, your help will be very limited. As I have said, only police can arrest the criminals, and unless you lost money due to scam you are not a victim yet as far as police is concerned.

However, here is what you can do:

- keep the scammer occupied for as long as possible (pretend that you are falling for her scam)

- ask the scammer to provide you with scanned copies of her passports (both Russian and international passports), visa and tickets (send all those documents to me, by the way!)

- ask the scammer to provide you with bank account information for the money transfer. Insist that you will not send any money by Western Union or MoneyGram, as those services are not secure.

- submit the scammer's information to all black lists, anti-scam web site and anti-scam forums you can. Publicity is the scammer's main enemy

- tell as many people in your community as possible about Russian dating scam

- if you have access to mass media, ask local news paper, radio or tv stations to issue warnings about Russian dating scam and the warning signs. Most people fall for the scam because they were not aware that they could be in danger when corresponding with a lady from FSU. If they have known that, they would probably never loose their money.



Other article you might find interesting:

Russian Dating Scam: How Does It Work? What Are The Warning Signs?

I Have Been Scammed - What Do I Do Now?

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