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Investigator John Harper heads his firm’s Eastern European investigations team and answers a few questions about the challenges of due diligence in the former Soviet sphere.Harper is lead investigator for Russia PI™—a wholly owned subsidiary of Wymoo International, a Florida-based professional private investigation company specializing in international background checks and due diligence.We work in over 100 countries, and Russia and Ukraine rank among the top highest risk countries in the world for dating scams. K., Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.) In this region, we’re seeing internet- and tech-savvy internet criminals working with beautiful women (or their photos) to scam foreigners in the U. In Russia and Ukraine, online dating and matchmaking are popular industries.(Other high-risk countries include Malaysia, Philippines, Romania, Colombia, U. There are lots of foreign men seeking relationships and possible marriage with women in Russia and the Ukraine, which means that many relationships start via the internet, usually via an online dating or social networking site, or local matchmaking site based out of one of these countries.
In general, criminal activity is higher in many developing countries, which is why we hire former law enforcement and military professionals.
Eventually, the subject will ask for financial assistance, steal the victim’s identity, or use private photos and personal data as blackmail.
In many cases, we find that men are behind the most elaborate scams; but it’s an equal opportunity crime, and many fraudulent marriage agencies are also involved.
We have contacts at most government agencies, we speak the language, and we have our eyes and ears on the ground in the local area to uncover evidence for our clients.
Searching public records is of limited value even in countries like the U. In Russia and the Ukraine (and nearly all developing countries), searching public records is typically of little value and in many cases must be done manually.Scammers target the vulnerable—widows and widowers, the elderly, the lonely and isolated.They ask their marks to send money for travel expenses, steal their identities, or even, occasionally, convince them to commit crimes.Harper manages the firm’s investigations for Eastern Europe, including Russia, the Ukraine and Romania—”three countries in the region where we see the highest risk for fraud and scam activity,” he says. Petersburg and Kiev and conduct due diligence, background checks, surveillance, and asset searches in both countries.