FURTHER DETAILS OF THE SCAM ON SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY.COM
So you have now decided to try and understand a little more about what goes on at SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY site and Russian dating scams in general. First of all let me say that I am no general expert as my experiences have only been with SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY so I am only going to deal with that web site in the following. If you do a bit of research however you will see that there are many different sites that do these kind of scams and some of these are even owned by the same company who owns SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY (you can see the list on the start page)
Below is an example a typical profile page on SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY to introduce you to the way this web site is set up.
There is quite a lot of information there as you can see. For the purpose of exposing this as a scam then there are a few things that stand out however. Please note though, I am not trying to expose an individual scammer here as this would actually play into the hands of SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY because it would imply that some of the profiles there are real. This is not the case as all the profiles you will find on this site are almost certainly scams but some are a lot more obvious than others so don't be fooled by any profile no matter how genuine it looks lacking all the below signs. It is still almost certainly a scam!
First thing to notice is the price you will have to pay per opened letter in the left upper corner. Yes that's right, every time you open one of this lady's letters you pay 15.75 credits which is equivalent to US$ 15.75. This might not seem so much to you now but remember you are likely to receive at least one letter from her a day, sometimes two or more and if you also write with anyone else then you can easily end up parting with in excess of US$ 100 here per day in your initial phase before you start smartening up a bit. The prices vary wildly from US$ 0.5 to US$ 25. It should be pretty obvious to most that if the lady belongs to the more expensive group say above US$ 10 then something is wrong as a woman who is genuinely seeking love would be unlikely accept her letters were that expensive as it would scare away many of her potential chances for finding the man of her dreams. By implication most would then conclude that the women with cheaper letters say below US$ 5 are more likely to be genuinely looking for love. Well, this is unfortunately not so. The different prices are simply part of this web sites effort to cheat you into thinking that you can distinguish between a scammer and a genuine woman and that you will think there indeed are genuine woman on the site. You are therefore just as likely to receive scamming mails from the women with cheaper letters and these profiles generally have other strategies such as gifts, fees for other services, very expensively arranged personal meetings and so on to extract money from you in lieu of income from their letters.
Also in the upper left hand corner you can see the number of votes she has for her profile. in this case it's 1738 votes and although this is a very active lady she still had to work hard for a couple of years to get this many votes. There are no general rules as it all depends on how much they "work" on this site and how popular they are but most ladies here accumulate somewhere between 50-300 votes in one year. However many of the votes appear to come in badges including your own so there is a possibility that this is another completely artificial feature of the profiles to make them seem more realistic.
In the lower left hand corner you can see this lady also has some videos she would like to show you. They each cost US$ 1 to view and of specific interest then you can see the date they were uploaded. At the time of this writing Jan 2015 the oldest video is 1 1/2 year old. So judge for yourself, do you believe a young attractive woman like that would have to hang around on a dating site for more than a year to find her prince charming? Well... probably not. The quality of these videos varies from home made amateur videos made mainly by the free lance scammers to some really professionally produced videos (as on this profile) for some of the most expensive ladies who's letters are likely written by employees of SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY
To the right of the profile picture you will see a percentage number what the site calls a "Trust level" which will be marked either in Green, Amber or Red depending on the level of trust SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY has assigned to an individual profile. Please be assured THIS MEANS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING as some of the worst scammers have trust levels of 100% and are indeed often false profiles run by the agency's employees. This feature is therefore only there to make you think there is some sort of control going on from SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY when in actuality these are just random numbers.
Under the personal details you can also see if the lady has any children. So now you may think that a scammer would not list any children and thus that a lady with children indicated on her profile is more likely to be a genuine woman seeking love etc. but this is not the case. Again, a profile with children listed simply represents one of the types of profiles that are designed to fool you into thinking that there really are some women here who are not scammers.
And then perhaps the most telling of all. This lady is 25 years old and on the right side you can see her age preference being 28-65 years old - REALLY! - yes really as it doesn't really matter to her what your age is as long as she earns her commission every time you open one of her letters. Most of the ladies on SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY have similar apparent "desires for mature men" however some have slightly more realistic age ranges but they are still almost certainly scammers. What you need to understand is that what this web site does really well is to create an illusion for you that there are genuine women on the site in-between the scammers. Most men will be able to recognize that there are some obvious scammers on the site (the web site even acknowledges this itself) but by also providing profiles lacking most or all of these warning flags this web site expertly cons you into thinking that there also are genuine women on the site and more importantly that you are able to tell the difference between a scammer and a real lady with genuine intentions. Well, there are likely not or at least your chance of winning the big prize in the lottery is likely higher than your chances of finding one. Instead these apparently genuine profiles simply cover a different income strategy than to the obvious scammers.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU JOIN THE SINGLE BALTIC LADY WEB SITE
Okay, so let's say you have decided to ignore all my warnings and join anyway. It's easy and the first letters you send are free so why not try this you may think. What happens when you join is that you immediately will start receiving a bunch of letter from very attractive women who are extremely keen to get in contact with you. The first letter you receive from a woman is always free so of cause you open these to have a look. You will find that some of them are very well written, some of them less so but they are all very enthusiastic about starting to write with you. Most men in this situation respond to these letters either out of genuine interest or simply to be polite and it's free but what they are really doing is to set themselves up for the following letters that are all charged to their account.
DIFFERENT KIND OF "LADIES" YOU WILL MEET
There are several different types of lady scammers you might end up writing with. In the following I will go through the three different main types of scammers but there are many variations on this theme that will take too long to cover here. The three types can either be a freelance scammer working for herself (or maybe her boyfriend doing the writing for her) or a specialist who works in the agency's office who will typically pose as multiple women during his or her working hours logging in for a period on one profile and then moving on to the next profile and so on. So how many of the ladies here are freelance scammers and how many of the profiles are run from the agency. It's a difficult question to answer but judging from various signs such as many of the letters being sent in badges and number of identical letters I received from ladies supposedly living in different cities and so on then I would estimate that a significant portion perhaps as much as 50% of the letters you receive are written by employees from the various local offices of SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY. These type of ghost profiles are actually quite attractive for the agency in cases where the lady on the profile pictures doesn't speak or write in English as it is much easier for the agency and the woman if they write/mass copy her letters rather than translating them. In addition to this if the woman does not have internet then it saves her from a trip to the local agency office or the nearest internet cafe.
Some dating agencies in Ukraine and Russia run the bait and switch scam where they use pictures of a model (who often does not know her pictures are being used) and then provide a another person vaguely resembling the model if it comes to a personal meeting. I did not personally encounter this type of scam in SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY and it would appear they have some sort of financial arrangement with the girls on the profiles pictures where they are paid a small percentage of the income on the letters and actually will show up for the meeting but with little or no idea of whom you are.
When you go through the profiles you will see that there are a lot of very young women on the site. These women are typically students who are scamming to make ends meet or to be able to afford the latest iPhone model or similar. There are fewer woman in their mid to late 20ies, I am guessing it is probably because they are married and their husbands are not to keen on them going for regular dinners with strange men. Then as the age progresses beyond 30 you see a slow pickup of women again as they likely got divorced and now are looking for ways to supplement their income.
So here are the three main letter types you are likely to receive if you start writing on the site:
Type 1: The Mass Copy Scammer
This type is the most harmless of lady scammers as they are very obvious. They basically use the "hit and run" tactics to make you part with as much money as possible before being found out. They will write to the highest number of men as they only spend a few seconds on each letter but their success rate on following letters will also be lower as the victim is likely to find out what is going on relatively early in the process. Their letters will typically start with Juicy headlines where the last bit is cut off to try and tempt you to open their letters. For Example:
Will you join me in my fantasy in a bed...
Hello XXXX, I need your help, tell me please? you...
This type of scammer is relentless and will keep on sending you letter after letter no matter what you do i.e. ignore them and don't open their letters or write to them to stop sending you letters. In fact the only way to stop them is to block their profile from writing to you - given the nature of this site it may seem quite surprising to you that such a feature is included here but again as with several of the other features it adds to the apparent legitimacy of the site and thus aids in convincing the man that this is a real dating site. The letters from the mass scammer will often include over the top declarations of eternal love and so on after only a couple of letters have been written between you. Please understand this: She does Not love you, the author (freelance scammer or agency employee) is simply trying to get you to open as many letters as possible.
Type 2: The Intermediate Scammer
The intermediate scammer is basically a mass scammer taking the time to add a couple of personal lines in their letters to you before pasting the mass produced main text body into your letter. There are some variations in the theme as some will add a line or two at the beginning, some in the middle and others at the end of the of the mass copied text.
Type 3: The personal Scammer
This type of scammer is significantly more sophisticated than type 1 & 2 and if you come to this site unprepared then it is far to easy to end up writing with this type for a significant period of time before you understand what is really going on.
She will write very personal letters to you and respond to questions etc in your own letters and it actually can appear there is some sort of personal connection between you but make no mistake, she is in it for the money and when push come to shove i.e. you have a request that will cost her profit such as switching to writing by email then this is revealed very clearly in her response.
Letters from this type of scammer are typically fairly short as she has to spend time writing a personal message to you but in-between there are some of these women who seemingly spend a lot of time writing longer letters to you. In fact you might think this is a lot of effort for very little profit so she must be genuine but remember in Ukraine many people typically earn US$ 100-200 a month on their regular job (and even less with the recent devaluation of the local currency, the hryvnia) so it's an attractive business for the free lance writer and it is also very attractive for SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY having employees doing this type of work on multiple profiles since the salaries in Ukraine are generally very low.
THE PERSONAL EMAIL EXCHANGE
There are two ways of getting a lady's "personal" email on SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY. The first is to open 15 of her paid letters and the second is to pay an upfront fee (at the time of this writing US$50). First of all then it's important to understand that what you pay for is not her real email - i.e. not the one she uses to communicate with her Real friends. Instead what you receive is an email each woman or SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY has specifically set up to deal with the men that have gotten this far in the process.
So you would be forgiven thinking that you can now drop corresponding through the SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY site and switch to email correspondence either by using on-line translators or in the even more obvious cases where your lady has acknowledged that she speaks English. Well... this will not happen. Your lady will insist you keep on using the site using various excuses such as language problems internet access problems etc. and you will be expected to only use her email to exchange pictures and similar. Alternatively in cases where the lady officially speaks English you may just receive a short response to your first email to her often with some excuse that she cannot write with you at the moment due to some problem and then you never hear from her again.
There is one possible exception to this rule as described in the following "THE GIFTS" section below.
Another thing to notice if you start exchanging emails with a lady is where this email is sent from by looking at the embedded IP address. In a number of the cases this IP address showed me that the woman's emails were sent from a completely different city than where she supposedly was living and thus that her profile was likely to be run by a SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY employee from one of their offices.
The SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY site is set up so you can send gifts to your lady. These can consist of items such as flowers, chocolate, massage gift cards, handbags, jewellery, smartphones, IPads and even language courses. The list is endless and each lady's profile has a personalized selection of these options. Common for all of them is that all items are overcharged being 2-4 times as expensive as they would be if you bought them through a regular shop. The web site obviously take their cut of this but the lady also receive her cut of the overcharge in addition to your gift.
Some women will not prompt you to send any gifts but you are of cause expected to do so on birthdays and holidays. Other women will blatantly ask you for specific gifts in their letters. The latter category may actually in rare cases agree to write with you mainly by email but only as long as the expensive gifts keep coming at regular intervals.
You should also understand that in many instances these gifts are often fictive in that the money you have paid is simply split between the lady and the agency and no real gift is actually bought. The web site tries to convince you that this is not the case by sending you pictures of the lady with the gifts which are actually just samples from their inventory which are used for the different ladies in a given city and thus the pictures you receive are merely standard pictures each woman has taken with items from her gift selection that are then recycled again and again when other men buy the same gift.
THE HELPING HAND
The "helping hand" or "woman in distress" scam is sometimes also encountered on SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY but only rarely and always from freelance scammers and by email as this type of scam is not an officially sanctioned scam by SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY simply because the site is left out of the profit chain. The scam is very simple in that the woman will write to you with some kind of problem for example a sick aunt, a broken computer or similar that she desperately needs money for and that only you can help her with.
THE PERSONAL MEETING
For me this was the most revealing part of the SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY experience. I participated in a number of the personal meetings arranged by SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY but only started on this sometime after I had realized what really went on there although I at that time was still under the illusion that some of the women were genuine. It is actually an interesting experience since these meetings are very well choreographed and can best be compared with experimental theater where the audience (You) participate, but let's cover the opening moves first.
So you have now corresponded with "your" lady for a while, things have heated up, the eternal love declarations have been made and so on and so on. You both then agree it's time for that personal meeting. During such a meeting you may end up actually meeting the woman you have corresponded with in case she is a freelance scammer or you may end up meeting the lady you have seen on the profile pictures but whom you have had absolutely no personal contact with prior to the meeting because all her letters were written by an employee of the company that runs the web site. SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY maintains a certain "quality standard" and their ladies who work either as freelancers or are being paid to have their pictures used are actually required to show up for these meetings as long as they have two weeks notice. If they don't show up their profiles are suspended (at least for a period) to maintain a certain credibility. SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY also does not appear to operate the classical Russian bate & switch technique where the woman on the profile pictures is switched out with someone having a slight resemblance for the actual meeting.
Most of Ladies on SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY have listed themselves as not being able to speak English or any other foreign languages even if they actually secretly do. Hence you will need to have an interpreter for the meeting. In cases where they have listed themselves as English speakers they will however also request there is an interpreter present either because they will say they feel their English is not good enough and they don't want any misunderstandings during your meeting or in other cases they will say that they are very nervous and that they would like a third person from the agency to be present to be more comfortable. For most men this sounds quite reasonable on the first meeting and they agree. However if they move as far as a second or any subsequent meeting they will face the same request again and again even if it turns out that the lady's English is perfectly fine, that she was not nervous during the prior meeting or in the rare case you speak Ukrainian or Russian. The reason for the interpreter requirement is threefold. First of all don't forget this is a scam and therefore it is only natural that the woman wants someone with her as she otherwise would feel quite exposed sitting there alone with her mark. Secondly in cases where you have written with an employee instead of the actual woman on the profiles pictures then the latter will typically know nothing or very little of what you or "she" has written and thus the interpreter who seems much better informed is covering for your "date". In many cases I suspect it is the interpreter that is actually the person you have written with. Finally and perhaps most importantly, then the need for an interpreter is income generating both for the interpreter, the woman and for the agency and please do remember generating income is the only thing this web site is really about. At the time of writing the interpreter fee was US$20 per hour which for Ukraine is an exceptionally good hourly salary given the typical Monthly income for ordinary people of US$ 100-200.
When you start arranging a meeting then the Lady will also normally (but not in all cases) suggest you arrange everything through the agency i.e. hotel, other transport perhaps even your flights etc. Again this is an income generating exercise as you will be overcharged for the lot so SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY can maximize it's profit and again the woman will get her cut of this profit. The added expense for such a meeting and the overcharging seems to be particular prevalent in cases where you have written with a scammer that has a low cost to open her letters as the personal meeting and other services then are the main income generators.
So now everything has been arranged, you have traveled to Ukraine or Russia, have arrived at your hotel and are about to go on your first "date". There are some variations on this theme but the common procedure is as follows:
You either get picked up from the hotel by the interpreter or find your own way to the place where your "date" is going to take place. If you get picked up then your date will not be in the car at that time but will arrive later (in some cases much later...) at the restaurant were you have agreed to meet. In case you have gone to the place on your own you will first be met by the interpreter and only after some initial screening by her will your actual date arrive. The waiting time is sometimes also used to get you to go and buy flowers or other gifts for your date before she arrives in case you have not already done so.
Most first "dates" take place in the evenings in restaurants selected for you by your lady, some of these restaurants are quite expensive others less so. Sometimes when you get the bill it appears to have been significanly overcharged other times not. It's a difficult thing to deal with for most men as the items on the bill is in Cyrillic and also I suspect most men are a bit embarrassed to complain about the bill on their first date with their lady present. What has really happened if the bill has been overcharged is simply that your lady and interpreter has made a pre-arrangement with the restaurant to do this and then will return later to pocket the difference
So normally your first date will be limited to having dinner in the restaurant but in some cases you end up moving on to a cafe. What is common for your first date is however that your lady, her interpreter or in some cases both will declare they are very tired, have to go to work early the next day or something similar before midnight where after your first date has ended usually with you paying for their taxi ride home. If you have arranged to visit the same lady over a period of multiple days your subsequent meetings will follow the same well choreographed pattern but with some variations depending on when you meet in the day or evening and in some cases your lady will actually show up at the same time as the interpreter on these subsequent meetings.
So what do these kind of dates actually feel like. Well, I can only speak for myself in this regard but for me they for sure did not feel like any real date I have ever been to. There are variations though and some are even pleasant depending on the personality of your lady and her interpreter. The worst are those where it turns out you have had no prior contact with your date (as you have been writing with a SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY employee) and your date appears to have a completely different personality than the person you have been corresponding with or she doesn't even bother to fake any interest and instead sits and fiddles with her smartphone the entire evening. In these cases it's the job of the interpreter to (sometimes desperately) try to cover these things up for you via the translation and other gimmicks. The types of women you meet at these arranged dates vary a lot from the students simply trying to make ends meet or afford the latest iPhone to real hardcore sociopaths.
Commonly once you understand what is going on the meetings appear to be very well coordinated business meetings where the sole purposes is to milk you for as much money as possible during the date and equally importantly to keep you happy enough to go on writing with your lady once you have returned to your home country again.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU TELL THEM YOU YOU KNOW ARE BEING SCAMMED
I personally did not confront anyone while being face to face as I thought the meetings were already uncomfortable enough! I did however contact one of the ladies via her vk.com account that I had found the same evening after our meeting when I realized I had all the time been corresponding with a SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY employee on the site instead of her as several of the facts she told me during the meeting differed significantly from what she had written to me before and as it was clear she had no recollection of key parts of our prior correspondence ( I speak basic Russian and was therefore able to bypass the interpreter). The result was a three hour message session late at night playing verbal ping pong back and fourth. The woman kept denying the facts, came up with excuses to questions she could find some too while completely ignoring questions she could not explain.The situation was even more bizarre as it was clear from her vk.com account that she already had a boyfriend and her determination to get me to that followup meeting next day was quite extraordinary much like that you will expect see from a timeshare sales person that relentlessly keep on pushing you towards their goal which in her case of cause was her cut from the translation services and the restaurant kickbacks.
The persistent denial even when faced with indisputable proof through facts is actually a time honored technique used throughout the former Soviet Union and used for a great deal of things. A recent high profile example of this technique can currently be seen on a daily basis with regards to the war in the Donbas area when it comes to quarries of Russian involvement in the war in the Donbas where the policy is to flatly deny any Russian involvement no matter what proofs are submitted to the contrary.
I hope the information here has been useful to you and more over that you now know enough to avoid being scammed by one of these sites or at least have enough information to minimize the damage done in case you decide to join one anyway.
I do not claim to know everything that goes on on SINGLE-BALTIC-LADY and if you know any further details that I have not covered here then you are most welcome to contact me so I can improve the site. You can find the contact tab at the top of this page.
In the previous lines I have gone into some detail about the types of women you can meet on this site and how you can be scammed. Since my original contact with this site I have had the opportunity to talk to people who have inside knowledge of dating scams in Ukraine and among them some of the girls involved in these scams. As per the above then there is no doubt that men who chose to frequent the non genuine sites will be subjected to economic exploitation. It is however also clear that there often is a certain duality in this arrangement between the men and women who frequent these sites as some of these men have convinced themselves that they automatically are viewed as rock stars by Ukrainian women just because they are from a Western country and therefore are seeking out beautiful young women in their late teens to early twenties who are 20 years or more younger than themselves. In these cases the attempts of exploitation frankly work in both directions. The rules of relations between men and women are the same in Ukraine as they are anywhere else. If you apply those rules and have realistic expectations in finding a partner in terms of her age, looks and others then I would advice you to do your research and find the genuine sites that are out there for this purpose and chances are you will find what you seek. If you on the other hand are looking for a woman much much younger than yourself with fashion model looks etc etc then I would advice you to think again and adjust your expectations. Failing to do so you might as well continue to use sites such as SBL as what you then seek is merely a fantasy experience rather than a reality and SBL is as good as any of the other scam sites for providing you with such a fantasy as long as you are willing to pay the price of its services.
For further reading to better understand how the dating industry works in Ukraine from all points of view I can recommend the following short account available online:
Odessa Dreams: The Dark Heart of Ukraine's Online Marriage Industry - by Shaun Walker
I have no affiliations with the author
Also seen below is a translated example of a typical brief your woman will receive before her "date" so she can fake some prior knowledge of the you and the letters between the two of you when in reality it was a Single Baltic Lady employee that read and responded to all your letters.
single-baltic-lady.com Dating Scam WARNING!d
This web site has been set up to warn all men against joining single-baltic-lady.com as everything connected with this site is Fake