This scam is the most depressingly heartless fraud around and is most often associated with dating or 'introduction' sites such as Russian or Thai relationship sites or just Lonely Hearts columns. In one form the advertiser is a genuine person but is only interested in 'gold-digging'.
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Some victims have been invited to visit Kiev or Moscow (after paying money to help 'facilitate' the visit of course). There are expensive dinners and theatre visits – at the victim's cost of course) often made worse by the fact that they MUST use an expensive designated 24 hour-available chauffeur/interpreter (the real boyfriend?
) Sometimes the big request is made during the visit; sometimes many visits are made but at some point BIG money is requested.
This may be to buy/rent a property at which the victim can meet them on future visits, the current apartment being totally unsuitable of course.
At the very least the victim is supporting the lifestyle of someone with no intention of a continuing relationship.
In this case the advertiser/lonely heart is completely fictitious.
Often first attracted by photographs taken from a modelling website, the victim is sucked into an email conversation which becomes more personal as time goes on.
Everything is normal for a while as the fraudster builds up confidence but things gradually change.
The demands continue until the victim runs out of money.
One reported case stated that the Kiev-based lady involved was known to be in active correspondence with 11 others and had a visitors schedule that "looked like a Eurostar Timetable ".