Friday, April 20, 2007

What's The Sound of One Hand Scamming?

It appears our whirlwind romance has -- as they always do -- come to an end. It was a fun ride, wasn't it guys? Maria ( was an inarticulate, unresponsive, but quite lovely woman. She has sadly fallen silent.

No more will we hear her hints at impending financial woes, no longer will we be assured we're 'the only one she's chatting with', and we are lesser men for it.

Fare well, Dear Amanda/Maria/Masha/Comic-Book-Guy! May the few dollars you've scammed from the more naive than we allow you to live to scam another day!

From the bottom of my heart -- perhaps even reaching into the upper part of my gall bladder,


Friday, April 6, 2007

"Hey Boyfriend, can you spare a dime?"

At long last, Maria/Masha/Amanda/Comic-Book-Guy ( has FINALLY hit someone up for cash! We all knew it was coming, but the anticipation was becoming too much to bear. Thank you, Dear Scammer, for providing that much-needed relief!

News broke in a comment from loyal reader and my close, personal friend "anonymous":

Hello honey!

How are you doing? I hope everything is going well for you. The weather here has become good at last.

My mother is feeling well and her doctor said that she is recovering pretty fast. I'm very glad that everything goes well for her. My aunt Vera is feeling good too. She lives in our apartment now and will take care of my mother in the nearest future since I'm leaving to NYC. I hope that friend Katerina will help my mother also.

Well, I tried to find more money yesterday, but it seems that I took off all money from my relatives and friends already. I also tried to formalize a loan to my aunt Vera, but since she is a pensioner and does not have appropriate income to get such loan I was refused again. I started to feel that the things will not work out for me, but I decided to go to my agency and ask them if I could get an advance ($5400) which I'll get in NYC here in Yarega. But I was disappointed again. I was told that I'll get my advance as soon as I'll sign the contract. When I'll sign the contract I'll get this money in cash or they could be deposited into my account which I'll have to open. I was absolutely upset Dave. I asked in the agency if I could get a loan but do not tell in the bank that I'm leaving to NYC. And I was told that when I'll pass the registration in the airport I'll be check out completely - they will check my documents, baggage and my credit history! And if I have a debt I'll not be allowed for boarding. They showed the simple example:

Let's imagine that somebody got a loan of $100000.00 dollars (or more) and fly away. In this case the bank has no possibility or law to return the money back. Dave, I have to confess - I made a mistake. I was asked before the operation: "who will pay the bill after the surgery". And I told them that I will. I have never expected that it will so expensive. I was told that it will be much cheaper. So I signed the paper where I'm figuring like a payer. What a fool I am! But what I have to do? What did you do if you will be on my place?

I suppose you will do the same Dave. I do not know how it is accepted there but here in Russia it is very common when the children help their parents especially if they are pensioners. Dave, please do not blame me too much; I know that I did stupid thing. I learned my lesson well. But I do not know what to do now. My agency said they can wait 3 weeks and then my work place could be occupied by another employer. I know it could look weird but it seems that you are my last hope. I know for sure that I will not earn $970 dollars in 3 weeks, it's impossible.. Dave, could you help me with money somehow? It will be not a gift! I want to borrow the money from you. I swear I'll repay the money back to you as soon as I come to NYC and get my advance. I believe I can send the money from NYC to you somehow, or I could repay the money when we'll meet. Please believe me Dave, I'm not going to deceive you! I have no reason to do so. My new life is waiting for me in America and I hope YOU are waiting for me too! Please let me now if you could help me. And if you could I'll give the information on how you could help me, ok. Please do not think that I push you to do it. If you can't I'll understand then. I know that many people in America live from check to check and maybe you have your own problems that need your attention. But I hope you will help me Dave. Maybe when we meet we will laugh at this together, but for now I really need a support. Well I have to close now. I'll try to find out something, maybe the situation is not as bad as it seems! I'll keep you informed!

I'll wait for your reply anxiously!

With Deep Affection for You!

Your Russian g/friend


Ya gotta love this: "Dave, could you help me with money somehow? It will be not a gift! I want to borrow the money from you. I swear I'll repay the money back to you as soon as I come to NYC and get my advance."

She's been SO honest up to this point, how can any of us resist helping this poor little elf?

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Equal Opportunity Scammer

Maria ( good-hearted soul that she is -- does not discriminate when it comes to scamming. As borne out in the many comments received so far, she's scamming guys all over the country. I've heard from folks in California, and there are comments from Ohio and Michigan and Texas. The only thing she's interested in, it seems, is gender and age; We're all apparently older than her, and we're all male.

Some of you have posted her emails to you in the comments, thank you for that. I'll leave those there rather than post them again here. I have one new email from her that a reader sent me, I'll post it at the bottom.

One person reported that he got in late on the scam, so she sent him a "starter" message similar to the one she initially sent me. The one she sent him read:

well......what can i say........right this moment......i feel ...a little know....;););)

can you remember me where did you get my email....and where we meet and stufs like that.......couse i have memory like gold fish espacialy when i am sleepy....;););)

bye bye

You know those sleepy goldfish -- renowned for their lack of memory!

I've also been sent several new pictures, which I've posted here. Still no idea where this is all going, she has yet to ask anyone for money! Surely she isn't doing this just for kicks? We shall see...

And here is the latest letter from her that I've seen, dated 3/31/2007. She again makes it sound like she will be coming to the states soon. And she hints heavily that she will be needing money, but still doesn't ask for any. It makes me wonder if the scam is to wait until you OFFER money, then accept it, hoping that this will get her out of any fraud charges. I don't think it would work legally, but I can see someone thinking this way.

Hello my friend Erik!

Can you believe it is already Friday again! How fast the time is running! How are you my friend? How is everything? I hope that all is well there! I didn't have a chance to write you yesterday. I got some problems that I had to resolve. Fortunately I resolved them already! So everything is fine here. I went to my mother to the hospital to see how she is and found her in a good mood and condition! I talked to her doctor and he said that everything is going well and my mother will be released by next week on Wednesday! It is so good! In fact to stay at the hospital is not cheap so it will be good if she will be able to continue her recovery at home.

My aunt Vera told me to not worry and to get ready for the trip. She will take care of my mother. My aunt is already retired and has enough time to help me and my mother. I'm so thankful to her! It is so important and gratefully to have folks who can help you when you got a problem. Do you agree with me Erik? Do you have such people near you? I hope you do!

Well, I hope to reserve a flight on April 6th. Then, as I was told, I'll spend two or three days in NYC where I'll sign the contract and some other papers. My agency will provide me with the place to live. And then I'll head to your area Erik. I still do not know if it will be your town or it will be a suburb of your town. I'll try to find out it for sure by Monday.

By the way! I found out that to get a driver license will be not very difficult there, is it right? I'm sure I'll have to buy a car. Can you advise me what kind of car I could/should buy there? What are the car's prices? Please let me know. What kind of car do you have Erik?

I also want to ask what airline I should choose to fly to the NYC. I see that I can choose Delta, American Airlines, Lufthansa and Aeroflot. Have you flight with these companies? It seems that the Aeroflot will be the cheapest option for me.

Do you have any plans for the weekend? As for me I do not still. I'll be waiting for a medical bill. They said that I might get it by Sunday. Can you imagine they send bills during weekend?! They definitely know how to spoil the mood.

Erik, I have no a picture for you today, but I think I'll find a new one for you during the weekend.

Well, I'll close here. I hope that I'll drop you a line by Sunday.

You are very special to me!

With Deep Affection for You!

Your Russian g/friend


Isn't that "g/friend" crap cute? Monster...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Living vicariously through you

Yes, it seems that Maria has dumped me. However, through the kindness of strangers, I am still able to enjoy her words. Thank you, all of you, for dropping by and leaving her latest emails in the comments section. I will repost them here, in case someone is RSS'ing the blog and not catching the comments. It seems that several folks have gotten wise to her only after seeing her emails here, so the more the merrier.

Likewise, I will post any photos of her that you happen to get sent. Just email them to me at and I'll get them posted forthwith.

Here are three emails from that users have posted:

Hello my friend Scott!

How have you been? I hope you are well! I know I promised to write you yesterday but I was not able. I went to my mother to see how she is feeling and I spent the whole evening with her. I hope this not bothers you. I talked to her doctor and he said that the original diagnosis is confirmed. Indeed my mother has a first stage of breast cancer and will need a medical operation. Her doctor said that it is very good that the cancer was detected so early. It gives us a hope that everything will be good.

I was told that the operation will be by Monday. My mother will be prepared for the operation. She will pass the special course, which means a lot of different vitamins and other preparations. I'm trying to hold on and not to be very nervous, because the doctor said this operation is not very intricate. I hope so. As an anesthetist I wanted to perform an anesthesia myself, but I was refused, because I'm a relative. Fortunately we have enough good specialists here to perform an anesthesia. So I believe everything will be ok. I was told also that if everything will be ok with my mother after the surgery she will be released from the hospital in 5 days. As soon as she will be released I'll reserve a ticket to NYC! I do believe we'll have a good luck!

Well, I looked into the prices to rent an apartment and I think I'll rent one. I think it will be quite affordable for me. Scott, I really want to date with you when I come. I think we should get to know each other exclusively! I want to believe that we could be more than friends. Tell me, do you want it too? I hope you do. Maybe within some months (weeks!) we'll live under the same roof. Who knows! Only time will tell. Maybe one day we could dance a waltz together! Do you know how to dance waltz? You definitely have to know it! It is very easy. I like to dance very much. I even studied how to dance when I was a young girl. It was so long ago that I forgot everything I studied but waltz! I studied rumba, cha-cha-cha and others Latinos dances. Waltz I'll remember forever. So get ready for the dance Scott!

Well the weather here is frowning behind the window. It seems that the rain with the snow will come soon. It means that it would be better for me run to home. Actually we don't have many rains here, but the snowfall is a very frequent fact.

Well it's time for me to quit here. I'm not sure if I'll write you during the weekend but I'll try it for sure. Maybe I'll find new picture for you, who know! Anyway, I wish you to have a great weekend Scott!

With great affection!

Your Russian friend



Hello my friend [insert your name here]!

How are you there? How is the weather? I hope that all is well there! I'm fine and the weather here is great! A real spring has come here! Streams are everywhere! Birds are signing and even the faces are smiling frequently! As far as weather everything is well here. Unfortunately I have no very good news about my mother. She is feeling better now, but the doctor still didn't find out what happened to her. He said that it is very similar to breast cancer. He told me that he will take one more medical test to make sure that it is a cancer. He said that it is very important to identify the cancer on the early stage. So tomorrow we'll know for sure what that is. My mother is an aged woman, she is already 58 years old, and that is why she needs a good care. She is now in the hospital where I am working. So I'll do my best to take care of her.

I went yesterday to my agency and told them again that I need some time to take care of my mother.. They said that it will be no problem, but I have to resolve all my problems in 3 weeks. After this period they can't promise me anything. They can find someone other to send for work in America and my place can be occupied. I think that I'll have enough time to resolve everything! So I have my flight postponed.

Tomorrow we'll figure out what happened to my mother and I'll know how much time I'll need and reserve a flight. I'll let you know the date of my departure for sure, do not worry! After the couple of days that I have to spend in NYC I'll set out to your town. I wonder what the best way to reach your town is. Flying? Driving? Bus? Train? Please let me know. I've just understood that I've never given you my address!

I do not think it will be very useful, but in any case, just so you know:
Country: Russia
Region: Komi region
Town: Yarega
Pushkina street building # 12 apt. # 5

I'll be glad if you sent me yours address so I'll know for sure, and will tell it in the agency!

As you know I have two surgeries yesterday and it was not easy. I performed an anesthesia. Fortunately all went well, as usual. But I was pretty tired. I spent all day in a tension. Today I have some time to rest. That's great!

I heard that blond ladies are popular in America. Is it right? I heard that some ladies even colour their hair to look like a blond! I'm in fact naturally blond and never colour my hair. Oh! Did I ever tell what my favourite flowers are? They are asters, peony and roses of course! Maybe, one day, you could present me a flower!

Well it's time for me to quit. I'll write you tomorrow.

With great affection!

Your Russian friend


P.S. I've attached a new picture for you! This picture was edited at the photo studio. I made it for you specially! I hope you'll like it!

Hopefully I'll get a copy of that picture to add to the blog. Lastly...

Hello Erik!

How are you? I hope you are well. I'm fine too. It's just a quick note for you Erik. I want to let you know that I can't write much today. I stayed for a duty today at the hospital. Actually it's not my responsibility to stay at the hospital for the night, but the doctor on duty can't work today.

Something happened with him so I replace him tonight. I didn't see if you sent me a message or not, but I'll check my mailbox tomorrow morning. Please keep writing to me even if I didn't write, ok. Well, I have to go. Till then Erik.


Your Russian friend


You wanna bet that "Maria" is actually a fat, bald guy living in his parent's basement, using the scam to fund his quest to own every issue of "The Hulk" comic book? I think it's likely...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Has she dumped me?

As the hours turn into days, and the days approach a week, I have to begin to accept that my dear, dear Russian beauty, the sweet aka Maria has dumped me. I have not heard from her since the 15th, and others report that they have received more messages from her. (Someone mentioned that she may also be using the email address

Why ever would she have turned her back on me? Perhaps because I was giving her the finger the whole time in my replies, and she only just started reading them to see who was offering money? Yeah, that was probably it. :-)

So apparently this is the end of the line for me. It was a fun ride. I wish I'd been around to see the money requests. If you're getting emails from her, please keep me up to date with your comments and let me know how the whole thing progresses.

Here is what I assume will be my final note to her:

My Dearest Maria,

It's been nearly a week since I've heard from you, while all of my friends that you've been emailing report that you've written to them. Have I done something wrong? Have you decided that we're not right for each other, though all of the others ARE right for you?

Well, I suppose that what I want most is for you to be happy. And if your happiness means dumping me in favor of all of those other guys you're emailing, then so be it. But when you get to the U.S., know that my cardboard home is always open to you. (Bring your own blanket though!)

Fare well, my love!

Insincerely and finally yours,


Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it, and always remember --

If it seems too good to be true,
somebody's scamming you! ;-)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Key to a Good Scam: Consistency

Today's picture looked familiar, so I glanced back at her other pics. Yes, she's wearing the same outfit here as in another pic. I checked her letters and sure enough, she claims both of them were taken last summer. I just can't get over how well done, how thoroughly planned this scam is.

In reply to this most recent note, I wrote:

Greetings Maria,

Though my phlegm still taunts me, your words today are as the softest, lotion-infused tissue!

I have to admit, with being sick, I'm not up to chatting at the moment. I feel all gummy-headed, like the feeling you get from drinking Sterno or huffing WD-40. So this letter will be short, I hope you understand.

Thank you for the picture you sent. In it, you remind me of Mandy from the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. Do you watch cartoons? I think you'd relate to that character. Perhaps you'll look it up on

Well, the librarian is starting to complain about my smell again, so I suppose security will be escorting me out soon. I better bring this to a close.

Have a good day!

Your faithless friend,


And her letter from today:

Hello Dave!

How are you there my friend? I hope you are well! I also hope the weather there is not gloomy and the sun is shining over you! Here we have a gloomy weather but it is warm enough. I feel good and get ready for the trip. I'm still working but I think I'll stop to work by next week. My boss is not very happy that I'm leaving, but there is nothing he can do with it.

As far as my schedule when I come to NYC, I'm still not sure how exactly it will be. I was told that I'll be met by a man from the agency. He will help me to reach the office. I hope that I'll be able to go out to sightsee. I'm not sure if I'll have a chance to see NYC further. Dave,

As soon as I come to your town I'd like to make acquaintance with it. I hope you will help me. Will you be my guide? Please do not refuse me! Oh! By the way I went yesterday to the shop and took a look at that beautiful sky blue dress! It was wonderful! I was ready to buy it but I decided to save my money before my trip. You know it was very hard for me. My friend Katerina told that I could buy a new dress in America, for example in NYC! Do you know how much does it cost to buy a dress or something for women? Maybe you know some respectable shops? Let me know. I want to look well there. I think that Russia has become more and more westernized as far as fashion, but can you tell me am I look like an American woman or not. How does American woman wear? I'd be interested to know.

Dave, you maybe remember that I wanted to play guitar yesterday. And I did it. It seems that I played much better earlier, but still not bad. I think you'll like my play. In fact I play acoustic guitar. To be honest, yesterday I snapped the first string. I was disappointed but not very much. I wish I could buy a new guitar for myself there. I hope it will be not very expensive.

I write you a letter again from the internet cafe. I can't write from my work right now. I was told that our computers were infected by a "worm" and the internet was disconnected. Hopefully it will be switch on soon. It is not very comfortable to go to the internet cafe everyday. It causes me to go to bed late but I like to do it earlier. I also like to get up early. What about you?

I have some new Russian words for you Dave! Here they are:
Beautiful will be for "Krasivaya"
Kiss "Potselui"
Smile "Ulybka"
Joke "Shutka"

I also attached a picture for you. It was taken in the summer last year. I hope you like it.

Well, it is already late and I have to go to home. I need to get up early tomorrow. Till tomorrow



Your Russian friend


I wonder if she knows the Russian word for "fraud"? ;-)

Only a week to go!

I just can't seem to keep up with her. I may have to face the fact that she's more "into" this relationship than I am. Of course, she's expecting to get some cash out of the deal and I'm just having fun. So I can understand her being somewhat more motivated. Interestingly, it seems we are getting to the point of it all. She's a few times said that March 22nd is the date she'll be coming to the U.S., so it's reasonably going to be in the next week or so that she'll be asking for a little cash. We shall see!

Here is my most recent reply to her:
My Distant Darling,

I'm sad to report that I'm not feeling well at all. I'm actually sick; a cold or flu, I suppose. It's not surprising, given that I live in a cardboard box and eat out of garbage cans. But it's still unpleasant, for all that.

>> I've heard that piercing or tattoos are very popular in America. Is this a truth?

Yes, piercings and tattoos are very popular these days. You'll want to get the standard "L" tattoo on your forehead, of course. After that, perhaps you'll want to go with a pierced elbow, or even a pierced lung. They only show up on x-rays, but they are SO cool when they do. It's funny to watch the x-ray techs when they see it. Get one that looks like a melanoma, it'll keep the doctors on their toes.

I'm sorry that you have again gotten ahead of me on our communications. I'll try to do better in the future. Perhaps if you sent me some money, I could write more often? Just a thought.

Take care, enjoy your trip, I look forward to seeing you!

Your fraudulent friend,


And her two most recent emails:

Hello my faraway friend!

How are you there Dave? Are you feeling well? I hope that you are in good health! I start to feel better. I drank two big cups of tea yesterday and got a rest. It helped me much. Today the weather here is good, the sun is shining but we can get snow in the evening like we got yesterday. You maybe saw it in the picture I sent you yesterday.

Dave, I went today to my agency and I was told that I will be able to choose a location near you! It might be not your town but somewhere very close! As soon as all of my documents will be ready I'll reserve a flight. As I stated before I think it will be by March 22. I'm so excited and nervous at the same time! I have never traveled so far before! I just don't know will wait for me there. My mom and my other relatives are also very nervous about my trip, but they are all trying to hold me on and to help me to get ready for the trip.

Dave, maybe you can give me some advises. What should I take with myself, how to behave. I do not bringing any personal stuff - just clothing. What should I take else? Please let me know your thoughts.

By the way, I want to ask you Dave. I've heard that piercing or tattoos are very popular in America. Is this a truth? A year ago I wanted to make a tattoo on my hip, but I didn't venture. But I still have one hobby. I maybe never told you before and it is because I have a very little time for it right now. I play guitar a little bit Dave! I have never played very well and it seems that I completely forgot how to play for now. I'll try to play something this evening. Maybe something will remember. But before I'll go home I want to go to the shop.

My friend Katerina told me that she saw a very beautiful dress. Also she said that the dress was blue as a sky! As I wrote you before it is my favourite colour. So I can remain standing, I have to take a look on it.

Dave, I wanted to call you, but it seems to be quite expensive to make a call to you. Since I have no a phone that will be able to receive an international calls I think that if I'll call you from NYC it will be ok. But anyway I'll try to find a cheap way to call you from Russia.

Dave, I have to say that I start to feel some kind of affection towards you.. Your letters brighten my days. Keep them coming!

It's time for me to quit. Till tomorrow Dave!


Your friend


P.S. I want to ask you to not send large size pics or video. Make them as much small I do my pics, ok? It could take much time to download them and it is quit expensive.. Please be sure to make them not larger then 50kb, ok? I hope you understand.

You gotta love her coming after me for the size of the files I've been sending her! Since I haven't sent her any at all, I suppose this is just a friendly reminder?

The other email:

Hello my friend Dave!

It is always wonderful to receive messages from you! How have you been? How was your weekend? Did you have anything fun? I hope that all is well with you and weather is good there! We have a quite warm weather here. The temperature is about 0C, and the sun is shining here. This weekend I have some time to rest. As you know I passed the test and it gave me some hard times. Fortunately it is over now and I can start to prepare for my trip. Too bad that I'll set out to NYC alone. In fact there is another girl here who set out for work but into Europe. She wants to work in Germany because she learned German language and can't speak English..

I want to ask you Dave: Is everybody there eating fast food? I watched TV lately and there was a programme about USA and Canada. It was a story about how people feed there. They said that the fast food is very popular there. Is it so? I must admit that fast food here is becoming popular too. I think it's not very healthy to eat such food. What do you think about it? Do you eat fast food? As for me I did taste the hamburgers and the others, it is tasty enough, but not healthy though. I prefer to eat salads, some sort of soups, porridges. I like to drink coffee, tea and juice. What kind of food do you prefer Dave?

I went today to my agency and repeat them my wish to work somewhere in your area. They told me that they will give me the answer tomorrow. So Dave, I think we should cross the fingers and wait till tomorrow. I really hope that the answer will be positive! Also I'm going to call you as soon as I come to NYC! I was told that I'll have an internet and phone access there! That's great! Oh! By the way, have I ever told you my last name? I can't remember it. In any case my full name is Maria Icturova. So you know now.

Well I have to go now. Actually I caught a cold during weekend and feel not good now. So I hate to quit here but I need to go to the bed and get a rest. I've attached a new picture for you! I've met with my friend Katerina in the street an hour ago and I've asked her to shoot me and she gladly agreed. So you have my recent pic Dave!


Your friend


Short and sweet for both of these letters. And we find out her full name: Maria Icturova

I can't wait to see what the money request is going to look like -- the suspense is killing me!