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 (sunlightlady@gmail.com) 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,

Dave

Friday, April 6, 2007

"Hey Boyfriend, can you spare a dime?"

At long last, Maria/Masha/Amanda/Comic-Book-Guy (sunlightlady@gmail.com) 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

Maria
====

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 (sunlightlady@gmail.com)-- 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 now....in this moment......i feel ...a little sleepy....you 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

Maria
====

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 ARussianGirlfriend@TheBentinel.com and I'll get them posted forthwith.

Here are three emails from sunlightlady@gmail.com 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

Maria
====

And...

====
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

Maria


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.

Sincerely

Your Russian friend

Maria
====

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 sunlightlady@gmail.com 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 sexualbeauty@gmail.com)

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:

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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,

Dave
====

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 YouTube.com.

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,

Dave
====

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

Dave.

Sincerely

Your Russian friend

Maria
====

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,

Dave
====

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!

Sincerely

Your friend

Maria

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!

Sincerely

Your friend

Maria
====

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!

Friday, March 9, 2007

I just can't stay ahead of her!

Once again, the lovely Maria (sunlightlady@gmail.com) has managed to get ahead of me on correspondence. One wonders where she finds the time, with her testing and making arrangements to come visit me in my 'town or locality'. Since I've never revealed that to her, I'm sure it makes her task all the harder! And yet she takes the time to write these lengthy emails. What a trooper!

In response to her two most recent emails, I sent the following:

====
Dearest Maria,

I've again been lax in replying to you, haven't I? You passed your test and I sent nary a note, let alone the huge congratulations that you deserve!

It's good to hear you'll be making so much money when you get here. That's a relief, since I have been looking forward to hitting you up for loans, and outright gifts, and was concerned that perhaps you wouldn't be able to come through. Thankfully, that's been avoided.

I've been a little down today. I told you about the recent crushing and subsequent passing of my dog. I was ok with that -- yippy little bastard -- but the ground was very cold and it was hard to dig a hole to drop his corpse in. Ultimately, I broke my best shovel. I'm still pretty upset over it. Have you ever lost a cherished lawn implement?

Well, I'm sure you've got lots of things to do, what with your upcoming move to my town and all, so I'd better let you go. Have a good weekend! (Do they have weekend's in your country?)

Yours in fraud,

Dave
====

Her emails were:

====
Hello Dave!

How are you there? I hope that all is well with you and the weather is not bad also! I'm here feeling well and the weather is good enough! Well, yesterday I passed the test as you know and I celebrated it with my friends. We went to the caf? and drank some bear. Do not worry we didn't celebrate too much. We all know when we have to stop. But I still feel that my head is ailing. Upon the whole it was fun. I wish you were there with me. Ok, enough about..

This morning I went to my agency and I had a conversation there. I was told that as soon as I come to NYC a man from the agency in NYC will meet me in the airport (JFK). Then we will head to the office of the agency where I'll get to know the conditions of the contract, I will confirm the state and the town where I want to go for work and will sign the contract. I was told that the agency in NYC will provide with the apartment until all paperwork will be done. I think I'll stay at NYC for a couple of days. Also I'll get an advance to support myself for the time. They said it will be $5400.00 US dollars which I'll have to repay them in six months. As for the salary I'll be paid, they said it will be $56000.00 in the first year and $70000.00 in the second one. I'll sign the contract for two years, and if everything will be ok I'll try to get the citizenship.

Dave, can you tell me is my salary will be good for America?

Well, I'm sure that I'll have more detailed info later. I'll let you know about it for sure.

You know some of my friends convince me to choose Europe for work since I have an international license and can practice all over the world. They say that Europe is much closer to Russia and we could communicate easily. But I think that it's not a big deal. No matter where I'll work (live). Since all of us have an Internet access a communication becomes not a problem. Besides I think the Europe is not so perspective as America.

Dave, I caught myself on the thought that don't know an American music at all. I don't mean Britney Spears or something like that. I mean if you have a national style of music.. I've heard of country for example. Is there anything else? I'll glad if you will advise me something to listen to. Maybe you'll give me some names and I'll take a look. By the way, I want to ask you if you have any rollercoaster near you. I'd like to visit one someday. We have here something like that. We have an aqua park. It is where you can to swim and to have fun in any time of the year. It's quite expensive but affordable. I have been there some times. Do you have aqua parks there?

Well I have to quit here, because I want to go to the church today. I want to pray there and put a candle. Dave, I'm not sure if I'll be able to write you during weekend, but I'll try to drop you a line at least. I'll wait for your reply!

Sincerely

Your friend

Maria

P.S. I didn't attach pics today, but I'll try to find new pics for you during weekend. I'll be glad to see your new pics!
====

And...

====
Hello Dave!

It's a quick note just to let you know that I passed the test! I got the 100 of correct answers! I am so happy you can't imagine! Throughout a week I'll have all of my documents ready and I'll be able to reserve a ticket to NYC! I'm so excited!

Tomorrow I'll find exactly if your town will be available to choose for work. I hate to keep this short, but I have to rest. It was a crazy hectic day for me.

I'll write to you tomorrow!

Sincerely

Your friend

Maria
====

What a strange scam! Rather than emphasizing her costs, she's bragging about how much money she'll have when she gets here. I'm expecting one of these "Can you lend me $500 for now, and I'll pay you $1000 in three months?" sort of deals. But only time will tell.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

"Show me the money!"

My Russian girlfriend (sunlightlady@gmail.com) is apparently starting to become concerned about money. She doesn't ask for any in this most recent email, but she clearly wants me to know that it's a problem. The good news is -- she's reading my emails! This is obvious from such comments as:

"I can say that I did receive all you sent, do not worry. I have to tell you that I like talking to you very much"


Good to know, as I was afraid some of my rat-n-fly references might have put her off.


And happily, she's NOT sending these emails to every Tom, Dick, and Desperate, as I had previously assumed. No indeed! As she says:

"I want you to know that I'm chatting only with you Dave."

How sweet!

Here is her most recent email:

====
Hello my friend Dave!

How is the weather there? I hope not bad. You know the weather is very mutable this year. We had a lot of thaws this winter. It's abnormal. I think it's maybe a global climate change. Do you think that the climate is changing?

How are you today? Is there something new? Not much new here. I did not write yesterday because I studied for the whole day and I was very tired at the end of the day. Fortunately I have some time today to write. Like I told you before I'll have a test on Thursday. It's tomorrow already! You know we have a rule here: to not study in the day before the test to keep the head fresh. Do you have any rules like that? It would be interesting to know. Maybe any tricks on the tests? Please do not think that I'm going to trick the test commission. It is not my style. It is just my curiosity. Do people in America trick during the test at all?

You know here in Russia tricks are considered like a shame. Ok, enough for that. Dave I'm always glad to receive your letters(pics)! And I can say that I did receive all you sent, do not worry. I have to tell you that I like talking to you very much and I want you to know that I'm chatting only with you Dave. I really hope that we could be friends and you could help me to settle down. I think that you are very honest, loyal, pretty enough. I believe that you have a very kind and warm heart, and all that you wrote was sincerely. It's hard to propose right now but I think we could become more than friends in the future. Of course I'm aware that we have to know each other much better, to meet face to face firstly.

Only time will tell.

As for my agency it's a very reputable organization. They work for five years already and they sent many people not only to America or Canada. They send people to Australia, Europe and even to Japan! I just can't believe that somebody learned Japan language! It is so hard! Did you try it? Of course my agency is not working for free. I have already paid them $1000.00 dollars for the different paperwork like the preparing of foreign passport, visa, and my medic license and etc. If I will pass the test I'll get the international license and I will have to pay $1500.00 dollars else which will be for airfare and to the agency itself for their work. You know it's a lot of money for me; I suppose it's a lot of money even for America. I was told that if everything will go ok, I'll fly to America throughout 2 weeks counting from the day of the test! It will be by March 22! I also hope that your town or area will be acceptable. They told me that they will let me know later.

Dave, I attached a new picture for you. It was made last summer by my friend Katerina. I hope you like it.

Ok, I have to go now. Dave, I'm not sure that I'll be able to write you tomorrow since I'll have a test, but I'll try to drop you a line.

Sincerely

Your friend

Maria
====

And here is my reply:

====
Hi Maria!

Always a pleasure to hear from you. Your letters to me are as corpses to a funeral director!

I don't really buy into the whole "global climate change" idea. I think in reality we all just THINK it's hotter because we're wearing sweaters. One of these days we'll wise up and have a good laugh over the whole thing.

Nothing much new here. I've been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, but who hasn't, right? My dog died yesterday, but he was one of those yippy little irritant dogs so I don't really miss him. Truth be told, I may have contributed to his death. You're a medical worker, do you think stomping on a dog might harm him? What if it was done repeatedly, over the course of a year or two?

The best trick I know for passing a test is to make sure you drink plenty of alcohol beforehand. If you're really stinkin' drunk, you'll do very well. Or perhaps you only feel like you did well. Or perhaps you don't care. I'm pretty drunk right now, so I really don't care. Good luck with it though!

>> I think that you are very honest, loyal, pretty enough.

Thank you for this. I certainly strive to be honest. Well, "strive" may be too strong of a word. And "certainly" is probably not right, either. In fact, I'm not sure "honest" belongs in there. Moving on...

And for the record, I think you're "pretty enough" too.

Listen, if you need money, I'm here for you. Don't let a buck or two prevent you from fulfilling your dream to come to America. Whatever you need -- a nickel, a quarter, even a dollar -- I can take care of it. Just let me know.

I have to go bury my dog now, so I'll let you go.

With profound admiration,

Dave
====

The "I need money" bomb has got to drop soon. She hasn't read any of emails to this point; will she read the ones after she starts asking for cash? We shall see!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Stirring some interest!

It's good to see this blog is having some effect! I see a comment from one person, and I see others on the 'net looking into this scammer. Good, good.

She (sunlightlady@gmail.com) wrote again today -- another middle-of-the-road, like-what-you-like sort of thing. Brilliant stuff, truly.

I replied:
====
My Maria,

I was so excited to get your message today, I thought I might just spit this warm brine all over the library's keyboard! Why, you ask, was I so excited? I WON THE LOTTERY!

Yes, it's true, I am now a millionaire! I can hardly believe it, all that money. I never would've thought I could win. Of course, I hadn't the money to play, but I traded another bum half of my half of a half-sandwich for what he assured me is a winning ticket. He would've cashed it himself, but he couldn't due to his having to appear in court on charges of exposing himself. As it was me that he exposed himself to, and I didn't so much care, I thought we could just drop the whole thing. But the police didn't see it that way.

So all I need to do is make my way to the lottery commission to claim my winnings. Trouble is, it's all the way across town and the bus costs 50 cents. Do you have 50 cents you could send me, so I can get the bus? I'd sure appreciate it. I'd just walk, but with one of my legs mostly devoured by gangrene, it would be an arduous if not impossible journey.

If you're coming soon anyway, perhaps you could just drive me over? The ticket is good for six months, so we have time.

I'm so happy! Oh Maria, I'm rich! I'm rich!

Look forward to hearing from you again!

Yours in dishonesty,

Dave
====

Her email from today follows:

====
Hello Dave!

How have you been there? I hope that all is well with you! I really hope that the weather there not bad as well. How was your weekend? Did you do something fun? As for me I didn't do anything fun. As I wrote you before I'll have a test by this week, which will be on Thursday. So I was sitting at home and trying to study. You know it is very difficult for me in my age to study, but I did it. I'll continue to prepare for the test during this week, so if you'll didn't get a letter from me - do not worry. It means that I'm studying and didn't forget about you Dave. I hope you will wish me luck on my test.

I see that all your letters have come finally. Today I can say with the assurance that I did get all your letters. I'm always glad to see your answers to my questions Dave. Thanks for the answers. I hope that my answers will not disappoint you as well.

I want you to know that I went today to my agency ("Moscow Recruitment Agency" is the name of my agency. They have a branch here in Yarega) and asked them if they can find a work for me in your town or even though in your area. They said that they are not sure for now but it seems to be possible! I was very happy to hear that. It will be a great thing for me to have a familiar in foreign country that can help me to settle down. I'll appreciate if you will tell me about the life in your country, about yours traditions and customs. I do not want to look like a stranger there.

I didn't remember if I told it but I think you might wonder how tall I am and what is my weight. So here it is: My height is 168 centimetres it's about 5'6' and my weight is 55 kilograms it's about 121 pounds. As you know I like sport very much, especially tennis. But I also like hiking and camping. Sometimes I go with my friends to raft on a canoe. Did you try it? Very fun! You know I have friend who persuades me to jump out of an airplane! I'm not ready for this right now, but maybe someday soon I'll venture. Please do not think that I spend all my time for sport. I like to go to the cinema, to the theatre, arts. I like to listen to the music (very different) and to read books. I like many things in different periods of my life as the other people I suppose.

You might guess that Yarega is a very cold town, and I hope to settle down in the warmer place. It doesn't matter if it will dry or rainy place. First of all there must be warmer! In fact I have a dream to save enough money to buy a house near the ocean. I don't think it will happen in the near future, but maybe when I got old I'll be able to afford it. Do you have any dreams like that Dave? Where would you like to live you'd have a chance to choose?

Do you know why I'm sunlightlady? My friends call me so. They know how I like the hot summer sun!

Ok, I do not want to quit here but I have to. It seems that if I have more time I'll write a whole book! Just kidding! I'll write you real soon! I'll prepare a new picture for you and maybe some Russians words!

Sincerely

Your friend

Maria
====

A friend of mine wonders if she's scanning incoming mails for keywords, suggesting offers of help, money, that sort of thing. Hopefully "rich" and "millionaire" will be on her list!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Fast and Furious!


Maria's had some free time on her hands lately, more than me it would seem! She managed to get two emails and another picture off without me saying a word. You can imagine how bad I felt, ignoring her like that. So in response to her two emails, I sent the following:



====
Hi Maria,

You've managed to send me two emails and I have yet to respond. I'm so sorry for leaving you hanging like that. I can tell that you're carefully reading my every word -- I have to say I'm very impressed.

Your English is fine, you have no need to apologize. I was raised by wolves, so English is my second tongue as well. I still think in "wolf", so it's difficult at times to express myself in a non-growling language. There's just no good English equivalent for a long, low growl followed by a quick nip on the shoulder.

It's cold and wet today, and since I have no home, I'm also cold and wet. I'm drawing stares even now here at the public library. People are so judgemental! If I HAD clothes, I'd wear them! They complain, but do they offer me their pants?

I'm so hungry. I haven't eaten in days. It would probably be to my benefit to save my crack and liquor money for food, but what's the point of living without them? I'll manage. If you do come to visit me, please bring some food. And some pants.

I look forward to hearing from you!

With all respect,

Dave
====

Her two most recent emails are copied here below. I should mention again that though her emails are long and tiresome, they serve two purposes here in this blog:
  1. They show what an excellent scam she's pulling. If you read them, you'll see that she manages to seem to be just like me. Or you. Or anybody. She likes what you like, or so it seems. Very artful.
  2. She's sending this same text to many other people. Hopefully they will Google that text, find this blog, and realize they're being scammed.
====
Hello my friend!

How have you been there? I hope that all is well with you and this letter will find you in a good mood! How is the weather there? I hope not bad either! We have a cold weather here but it's a normal temperature for this period. Well I have to admit I'm a little bit worried Dave. I don't know if you received all my letters and if I got all of yours. Please look into your spam folder and maybe you'll find there letters from me or review my previous letters. So if I didn't answer some of your questions please feel free to ask me, ok? Are you receiving my letters daily? Or sometimes you receive nothing? Let me know it ok?
As for my friend Katerina, she saw her doctor lately and the doctor said that she is out of risk. I'm very glad that everything went well for her.
I've got a call today from my agency and they told me that I'll have the test which will confirm my skill in the anesthesiology by next week. You know I'm a little bit nervous. If I'll pass this test I'll have an international license in anesthesiology! I'll be able to practice all over the world!
Dave, I want to make things clear and let you know that as soon as I come to New York I'll sign the contract which will guarantee my employment for two years. Also I'll have the chance to make a choice the place (city) to work in. I will stay in New York for a couple of days and then I'll move out to the city I'll choose. In fact I want to stay in the New World and never come back to Russia. I'd like to get a citizenship in the future. Who knows how everything will turn out? As for the family I think it is also very important for me. If I ever will get married I'd like to continue my work, but I like to cook and clean the house in the free time. I want you to know that I have never used a translator programme to write letters to you. So you can see how good my English is. I write and talk English alike. Will my English be enough to talk easily in America?
Dave, you maybe feel yourself inconvenient for being older than me, but I want to say that I
always did well with the people generally older than me. So please do not worry about it. By the way, as you know my birthday will be by August 10 which makes me Leo. Leo is my astrological sign. What is yours? Do you actually believe in astrology? I'm a little bit interested in it. Are you?
Dave, I want to ask you if you ever crossed your country from ocean to the ocean. As for me I like to travel very much! In fact I have been in many places in Russia. Since I'm coming soon to America I've got a dream: to cross America form cost to cost on the car or even on the bike! I have never ridden a bike and really want to try it! You maybe think that I'm crazy, but if you would ask what I'd like to see in America mostly I'll say America itself! Please do not think that it's a crazy idea, I really like to get to know America from the inside.
Oh, almost forgot, I've just figured out that my phone cannot make an international calls. I can call to the phones if they installed in our town only.. I know it might sounds absurdly, but it is so. I'll try to figure out if I can call from the phone station. I think it will work. Also I've tried to install the Yahoo messenger onto my computer at work, but it does not work.. I'll go tomorrow to talk with the system administrator what was the problem. Hopefully he will help me to understand what went wrong.
And in the end I'd like to give you some Russian words:
Privet! means Hello!
Poka! means Bye!
Devushka means a girl
Droog means a friend.
Ok, I have to go now. I hope to see your reply soon and your thoughts on what I've written.
Sincerely
Yours friend
Maria

P.S. I did not attach a picture today, but I'll do it tomorrow. I'll prepare the most recent picture for you!
====

And finally...

====
Hello my friend Dave! I will be very glad if we could email often to each other, what do you think? I understand that writing email takes time but I'm sure it takes more time for me because my native language is russian and I'm sorry Dave if there are many mistakes in my english. I told you that I will have exam before my coming and I don't know which place to choose. Can you tell me your address Dave? If I will know your address I will ask about possibility for coming close to your location so I could work and live not far from you maybe in the same state or even city. What do you think about it? I hope you understand that I must come in New York city first because there is main office where I will choose the job place. I don't know the places in your country so I don't know where to live and work and I've asked about places where is the best income but they told me that there is no difference because salary is the same in different places it's the rule of contract for workers who come from other countries. I hope you understand. So how is your day? Are you interested in meeting me in real life or all this just for virtual chatting, exchange emails? What do you think about ability for my coming in your state, city? I hope you understand that it's serious question for me and if you will give your answer about it I will be very glad but please be honest Dave because I'm honest and I want to tell you again that I'm interested in knowing and meeting you Dave, I feel that you're good guy Dave, but I'm not sure what is your intent? I want you to know that I will come for working and living in any case and I don't know about how long time I will work and live before I get the citizenship and other things but I will not return back in russia if I will not want it because the government of other countries are interested in people who have good education and who could work for prosperity of country. So I want to live and work for a long time. There are many peculiarities I like in man, it's a self-sufficiency, loyalty, intelligence, mannerliness, generosity, honesty, solicitude. I like when the man is kind, cheerful, attentive. I love the life and health, I love children but I havn't any. I think that children are our future and I remember myself as child and I'm always like a child in my heart. Hope you're too! How's the weather today? Today is cold wind and I feel that the winter comes very soon maybe next week I will see the snow but I'm not sure. Today I have many deeds for my preparation for exam and coming but everything is good and I hope I will do it and I hope the result will be worthy also. I will wait for your email Dave and I will wait your answers to my questions.


P.S. I attached a pic that was taken last summer in the city of Saint-Petersburg. It is a very beautiful city! Have you ever been there? If not I advise you to make it there someday!
====

BTW, I was just kidding about being naked in the library. It was actually a cyber cafe. :-)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I don't think she's reading my emails! ;-)


Maria has written back, and it would seem she's not reading my emails! How rude! She didn't address any of my issues. I was very curious about her views on fly mutilation. *sigh* Oh well, at least she did write:

====
Hello my friend Dave. I'm sorry about the delay again. But there a car accident with my my girlfriend Katerina. She was hit by drunken driver. She was crossing the road and the car throw out her. Fortunately she disposed of light injures. I'm glad that everything went well. She feels much better now.. Ok, enough about it.
How is your day? Lately I watched a TV and there was a proframme about Halloween. I wonder, do you have the holiday which is the most sweet? My favourite holiday is New Year and my birthday. I told already you that my B-Day is on the 10 of August and I will be 29 and I guess it will be not in my country because I will come to your country for living and working. Did you ever heard about working between countries for exchange? People from one country work or study in other country and people from other country work or study in first country. This is program which allow to work and live in country what you want but the education (for working) or direction of education (for studying) required. I want to remind you about my situation. I told you that I will come to north america (united states or canada) for living and working. I hope you remember about it. I'm an anesthetist and I prepare for examination for having job outside my country. There is an agencies in different countries all over the world which work with different agencies in other countries. So agency from my country make all papers for my job and when I'll complete all tests and exam I will come to place in north america.. I will choose the place in agency and will work and live there because employers will give me the financial support provided to the needy and I could live. The exam will be soon and they told me that I will come because many people all over the world do this things and I'm the very good specialist in my speciality. Now I will finish my work in russia and prepare for coming. I guess it will be after 2-3 weeks when I complete all procedures and get all papers for coming. I heard that americans are good people but I know that there are many bad or good persons in any type of nationality and country. I guess that you are Dave is a good guy and I will be very glad to know you better, hope you are too! Now I want to tell you a little more about me and my life. As I told you I live in Yarega city and I was born here also. It's a small town in the Russian province. I live with mother because she is alone and my father passed away as I told you already in my previous email. I have a grandmother also and she is 78. She lives not too far from me and my mother. Her name is Lubov, do you know the meaning of russian word "lubov"? It's "love". Hope I could teach you some russian in the future if you want of course. I like to cook when I'm at home and I can cook many dishes and I hope one day you could taste my borsch (eastern european soup containing beets and cabbage and other ingredients) or my pilaf (middle eastern dish made from seasoned rice with meat or fish). I want to tell you why I decided to become an anesthetist. When I was young and learned in school all pupils think about profession when they finished school, college, university. I decided to become a doctor but when I finished the school I still wanted to be a doctor but there are many professions in medical direction, so I decided to be an anesthetist because the mother of my girlfriend is an anesthetist also and she said that this kind of speciality is very perspective and a good anesthetist could earn much money, could earn more if job will be in developed countries and this speciality is very helpful for people all over the world. So I decided to become an anesthetist and I'm sure it's the right choice. I could do any type of an anesthetist's work and it's very imoprtant because I have the possibility to work in any place and even in europe or north america. I will finish my work after 2 weeks because I will have the examination before my coming. After examination I will buy the ticket to New York for coming to the agency which will give me the job. It will be the place where I will choose the place to work. I'm sure it will be soon. Maybe I could meet you Dave? It will be great! You know, I'm not very good in computer and I have never used the messenger program before, do you know how to use it? If you have any questions please feel free to ask, ok?
Your Russian friend Maria

P.S. I've attached a recent pic for you! I hope you'll like it!
====

I have to admit, I didn't really reply to her email last time, so much as just write about myself. Perhaps she was trying to tell me that *I* was being rude? (Woman are so circuitous!) So I made an effort to reply to her properly this time:

====
Maria!

How nice to hear from you. My boils always shrink a bit whenever you write, from the excitement I'm sure.

Sorry to hear about your friend Katerina. When I drive drunk, I'm always very careful to avoid the roads. I usually drive through people's yards, parks, and graveyards. It takes longer, but I think the added safety is worth it.

I love Halloween! I like to dress like the Statue of Liberty and tell everyone they can huddle with my mass. Most people don't get it, so I rarely get in trouble. Have you ever been in jail?

You'll be 29? That's funny, since I'll be 92 this year. What a pair we'll make! Have you ever changed adult diapers? I ask only out of curiosity...

>> If you have any questions please feel free to ask, ok?

Thank you for this. What's your blood type? Personally, the taste of AB blood puts me off. I hope you're not AB.

Have a great weekend, Maria. I hope you never catch leprosy -- it's a bitch!

Laters,

Dave
====

Think she'll read this one, and reply to it? Golly, I sure hope so. My diapers need changin' like nobody's business!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

NOW I'm havin' fun!

My dear Amanda/Maria/Masha apparently doesn't take "no thanks" for an answer. It was only two days later that she sent me this message:

====
Hi Dave. I'm sorry that I did not answered fast but I thought your reply will be not so fast also. Please tell me do you want to exchange emails often? Everyday? I could email you everyday and tell you more about me. I hope you will tell me about your life and your country also so I want to tell you that if you will write me short notes or few words I want to forestall you Dave that I will appraise your short email as you do not interested. Please be honest with me, please be open and if you feel that you don't want to email me and you are not interested please tell me this thing in this minute when you think about it, ok? I will not take displeasure because it's your choice but I will be very glad if we will continue our talking. I hope your emails will tell me about your life and it will not be short. I want you to know that I hate a lie or an affectation so please no any games or tricks because I'm really serious girl and I'm not looking for senseless chatting, I'm medic and I'm really want to find friend or more because I will come in your country. I know that there are many bad people in this world especially in internet because they believe in their impunity because nobody can't see them. I know that there are many spam and autoemailers in internet so I'm careful. I believe you know about this things. I'm real girl and believe you are real as well and your emails to me will not consist of few words. I've read that there are many criminal persons in internet also, they thieve money, asking for help, sell fakes. I've read in newspaper about this things. The governments of many countries catch this kind of people and put them in jail. I really can't understand why people can't work and earn good money in this world. I hope I will because I'm going to work in country where my speciality valued more than here in russia. I told you that I will come for living and working in my previous email. I know that the people usually live in city or in the country. It's interesting to live in the city but living in the country is more peaceful, so I don't know where is better in your country, please tell me? I will have all papers for it because my education is over and I decided to build my future in good country with good wages. Dave, what do you think about it? I have selection for coming in united states or canada, I have selection in states also. I don't know where I will work but I can choose it. The salary will be approximately the same so I don't know where to come. If we will be more close in future maybe I could come in your city or near your city and we could have possibility to meet, who knows but I guess it's real thing. I don't know anyone from your country and I havn't anyone from my family there so your advises will be very actual for me. I don't know where I will live but I'm sure I will decide. I don't know the date of my trip now because I'm waiting for papers. I will get the visa and many other papers soon and I guess my trip will be after few weeks. It will be great! There are many employers for good specialists in your country and there are many companies which allow to live and work in your country. It's the business and the ability for good living for people all over the world. I'm professional anesthetist and I will use this chance because I want to live. I know that many people all over the world take this way so I will also. So I can live in the place where employers can give me my work. And there are many places in your country. I will choose the place after few weeks and will come for living and working. Now I want to tell you more about me. I'm 28 years old and my birthday is 10 August, so I will be 29 in this year. My height is 168 centimetres it's about 5'6' and my weight is 55 kilograms it's about 121 pounds. My father dead 3 years ago because of cancer, his name was Andrey (my middle name is Andreevna) and he was 59. My mother's name is Svetlana and she is 58. She support me in my choice and she is very good woman! I love my mother. I loved my father. I do believe in God. I'm Christian, russian orthodox. I hav—É no brothers and sisters, I'm the only child in our family. I'm living in Yarega town. It's in Komi region. I attached the map so you can see where is it. I'll attach a new picture of me in my next letter. Actually my pictures were taken by my girlfriends and I have two girlfriends, do you have many friends? I hope you have another one now! Do you know the time difference? I have GMT +3:00 (Moscow time) here. What is your time?
I love pets especially dogs and cats. I like many colours but the blue as sky is my favourite. When I have free time I like to listen to music like eurodance, pop, rock and many other kinds because I'm sure there are many great music in different styles. I have a hobbie also, it's playing in tennis. Do you know Maria Sharapova? She is a russian player and she plays tennis very well. So I play in free time either. Do you know this game? It's my favourite sport also. I like to watch movies and the last I saw "16 blocks". Bruce Willis is the main hero and I like this actor very much. What is your favourite movie and actor/actress? I hope you can understand now that I'm a simple girl, a girl who like the warm weather and warm relations. I had one love in my life but it was not mutual so it's not started like relations.. I have never been married but I hope that it will happen in the future. I don't like russian men alot because they are lazy and drink alot. I do not drink and smoke, I lead healthy style of life. I hope you like my email and I hope you will write me about your life and your thoughts. I will wait for your reply.
Hopefully your new friend Maria.

====

This email is amusing because she's almost like a reverse horoscope. Rather than saying vague things that I'm supposed to say, "Yeah, that's me!" about, she instead says vague things that are supposed to make me say, "Hey, we're compatible! *I* like movies and pop music!"

But by this time, the jig is up. I know she's scamming me, so I figure I'll have some fun with it. I wrote her back:

====
Hi Maria,

I live in a cardboard box behind a grocery store. I use the library for internet access, as well as for the bathroom facilities. Do you have a bathroom where you live?

I enjoy pulling the wings off of flies, then watching them flap the broken stumps. Do you think they wonder why they aren't taking off? I do.

I should tell you, I only have one arm. And it's attached to the small of my back. It makes typing difficult, since I have to face away from the screen and keyboard. I make frequent mistakes. But we all have our bears to cross, wouldn't you agree?

You mention that you're a Christian. What a coincidence! I am a Druid. I find fulfillment in the worship of trees. Particularly oak trees. When I stare at an acorn, I feel as if I'm looking at the very seed of God. Do you feel the same way?

Thank you so much for taking an interest in me. Let me know before you come, so I can make sure my box is neat and tidy, and at least rat-reduced. Rat-free, unfortunately, is not possible.

Sarcastically yours,

Dave
====

Do you think she'll write back? I think she will, as I don't think she (if she exists at all) is reading these emails. I think anyone that writes back goes into a "wrote back" queue and is sent the next dispatch. Eventually, she'll be asking for some money. Will it be entertaining? We shall see!

More on this story as it develops...

The bomb is dropped!



Up to this point in coming to know Amanda/Maria, I didn't know she was from out of town. Out of country, actually. Fully out of continent, and on an entirely different land mass. To this point, I believed as she'd stated in her profile that she lived about a 30 minute drive from me. Today, she revealed the truth:

====
Hi, Dave! It's me Maria. I have to apologize for not writing so long, but it was a crazy hectic week, and finally it is over! How have you been? I guess when someone close in your area you tend to be more open in sharing about yourself because the possibility of meeting seems to be welcoming but I want you to know I'm not close. Even I'm not in united states, I'm a girl from russia and I've the reason to like to get to know you. I don't want to expect that I'll not catch the reply from you because I received your message on my email and decided to write the answer. I had several profiles on different dating sites like yahoo or match but I havn't now because nobody replied to my profiles. So I deleted it and decided to reply for your message, thank you for the message! I want you to know that I'm common girl and I don't like secrecy and other things like urgency or cant. I want you to know what is the reason of my reply is. All my life I live in Russia and I never be outside of and this is the first reason. I learned in several foundations like school ,college, university and I have professional medical education, my speciality is an anesthetist and I've all certificates and patents for this kind of activity. Do you know how much anesthetist earn in Russia? Sometimes about less than ten thousand or roubles and it's about less than three hundreds and seventy american dollars because one dollar is just about twenty seven roubles. It's not so very bad here but I know that other people earn much more because they have job outside of our country. This is the second reason but I have third and it's not less important than previous two reasons. I havn't any boyfriend at this time, I hadn't husband or serious relationship before because I learned and wanted to be professional medic, now it's time for my job and making family but I don't want to have job here in russia. I want to have it in united states because the salary is much bigger and the country is more better and I will have it very soon because I have the license and my request is in progress. I have the contract already. Hope you understand that I will live in united states and I could choose the place where to live because there are many places where I could work. I want to find friends in united states so this is the reason of my email to you. Can I be friend for you? Are you interested in knowing me? Now little more about me. I enjoy going to movies, beach, parks and other places. I feel I am definitely an easy-going, fun, romantic, open-minded, honest, sincere, and loyal girl also. I hate drama and dishonesty. I wanna go slow and take our time and feel assured that the two of us have made the best choice also. Write me back tell what you feel and if you do wanna still connect with me I think we should talk. I'm really glad we managed to match each other. So on average what do you do to pass your free time? I'd love to hear about hobbies of any kind that really capture your interest. Once again I want to tell you that I will come to united states after few weeks or month so we can be friends and maybe meet in future who knows. As I told you before Maria is my real name, you can call me Maria or Masha for short or familiar. You can write me at sunlightlady@gmail.com. I've attached a picture for you! I hope you will like it!
And I'll be glad if you will send me your recent pics as well!
Waiting for your reply asap, Maria.

P.S. If you are not interested in knowing me, please let me know, ok?
====

Now friends and neighbors, I think you'll agree that this is a beautiful young lady. And though you haven't seen me, you can probably guess that she's out of my league. I thought to myself, "This sounds so much like a scam, I can taste it!" After a little google'ing, I found the text of her email to me on another site. Yep, she's running this little scam for several folks.

I decided I didn't want to play. So I wrote back:

====
Hi Maria,

I'm not really looking for "family making" at this stage of my life. I wish you well.

Dave
====

I assumed she'd write me off as a rube that just didn't work out. Apparently, I was wrong. Her next message came only two days later.

Still more teasers, no real message

I waited another week to hear from Amanda, er, um, Maria. Slow is ok with me, but this seems excessively so. And when she did finally write back, it was just:

====
Hi there!
It's me Maria again! How are you? I hope you are well! All weekend I tried to compose a long circumstantial letter to you but the time was short for me and I didn't do it. Today is Tuesday and I have got a lot of work so I can't write much again. It's terrible! But I promise that I'll write you a long letter real soon and will send you my picture! I want you to know that I'm really interested in knowing you.

Well, I have to go. Talk to you later.

Sincerely Maria
====

A "circumstantial" letter? Oh well, I think I mentioned she was hot. So I could overlook... well, pretty much anything. Pretty much. I wrote back:

====
Good morning, Maria!

>> How are you? I hope you are well!

I'm snowed in and working from home, but I'm well for all that. I hope the day finds you happy and warm!

>> Today is Tuesday and I have got a lot of work so I can't
>> write much again. It's terrible!

Thanks for taking the time to jot me a note. It was just what I needed to brighten up this morning!

>> But I promise that I'll write you a long letter real
>> soon and will send you my picture!

That will be wonderful, I look forward to it!

>> I want you to know that I'm really interested in knowing you.

Thank you! The feeling is mutual.

Back to work for me. I'll send this on as soon as I can. My internet connection here at home is acting up. So next time it comes up for a minute or more, I'll send this off.

Have a good day,

Dave
====

So the pattern is that she sends me a little nothing of a note, and I -- like Pavlov's Dog -- drool all over it and send her lots more back. Happily, her next letter came much sooner that usual.

At last, she writes back!

After a week has passed, I assume my new found friend Amanda has moved on to greener pastures. But no! She finally wrote back! She wrote:

====
Hi there!
I checked my mailbox lately and found out that you wrote me. I have to apologize, but I can't remember who you are and where did you get my e-mail address. From the other side I must admit that I'm quite intrigued and I want to know about you more! I want you to know that my real name is Maria. I never use my real name in the Internet, because I think it is safer to use a nickname. Do you use a nickname? I'll appreciate if you will tell me your real name, since I've told you mine.

Well I'll quit here. I'll wait for your reply with impatience.

Sinserely Maria
====

So, though her spelling and grammar are in question, it would seem that the ball is rolling. Cool! I wrote back:

====
Hi Maria,

I apologize for the tardiness of this reply. Life always seems to happen when you have other plans, eh? ;-)

>> I have to apologize, but I can't remember who you are and where
>> did you get my e-mail address.

You wrote me a nice note on Yahoo Personals, in which you included your email address.

>> From the other side I must admit
>> that I'm quite intrigued and I want to know about you more!

There's not all that much to tell, really. I'm funny, and I make my way thru life on that. I own -- but no longer write for -- a news satire web site called The Bentinel, http://TheBentinel.com You can get half an idea of my personality from the articles there. That spawned a book "88% of Americans Are Abnormal", available at Amazon.com. (Used copies are going for $0.01, if that gives you any idea of how "successful" the book venture was -- LOL!) And I took my first shot at stand up comedy last week at an open mic event. It went really well, I was as happy as I can ever remember being. Much of the time of this past week has been spent going over my act and trying to beef up the stuff that didn't work that well.

Needless to say, writing books that don't sell and doing stand up comedy for free doesn't pay the bills. I'm a computer programmer by trade.

I have very eclectic musical tastes, which is a nice way of saying I like a few dozen songs ever made. I own maybe 150 mp3's and I add one or two to that every month or so. Yeah, musically speaking, I don't get around much. :-)

I'm a realistic humanist. I'm largely comprised of whatever information I can find -- whether I like it or not -- and whatever humor I can find in it.

And you? What would you want me to know about you? What defines you?

>> I want you to know that my real name is Maria. I never use my real
>> name in the Internet, because I think it is safer to use a
>> nickname. Do you use a nickname?

Thanks for sharing your real name with me. No, I don't use a nickname. I'm Dave. My memory's never been what it used to be, so trying to keep track of aliases is well outside of my abilities.

>> Well I'll quit here. I'll wait for your reply with impatience.

Ah, and then I wait nearly a week to reply. Nice opening gambit... real smooth.. :-)

Hope you had a great weekend, talk to you later!

Dave
====

So things are moving slowly, which is fine with me. She seems nice enough, though her word choice is suggesting English isn't her first language. Not that I care, but it doesn't seem in sync with what her profile had suggested. Again, a week would pass before I heard from her again.

So I have a Russian Girlfriend!

Well, ok. Not really. But I'm meant to think I do!

A pretty young woman named Amanda sent me a message on Yahoo Personals. Her profile said she lived quite near me. This is what she wrote:

====
Hello, Dave! Are you real? I'm interested in knowing you hope you're too. Can you send me your recent pic I'll be waiting. Here is my email sunlightlady@gmail.com.
====

I was intrigued. Largely because she was hot. But also because she asked, "Are you real?" Wow, a compliment from a pretty girl! I'm set!

So I wrote back:

====
Hey Amanda,

Thanks for writing! [Gee, I didn't sound desperate or anything, do I?]

>> Are you real?

LOL! I hope this was meant as a compliment, 'cause I sure took it as one!
:-)

>> Can you send me your recent pic

I wish I could! The pic that's up on my profile is not too old, but it's not too good either. I don't have a digital camera or camera phone, so I'm a bit out of luck on the sending-you-a-pic score. I'm not wildly unattractive, not fat, not balding, no missing/extra limbs or anything like that. I think I'd qualify as average.

I look forward to getting to know you!

Take care,

Dave


====

It would be over a week before I heard from her again...