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From Russia With Not Much Love....

Friday 22 October 2004

From Russia With Not Much Love....

The Department of Labour’s immigration service is warning New Zealand men looking for Russian female companionship on the internet that if it seems too good to be true then it probably is.

In the last few months, the New Zealand immigration office in Moscow has been contacted by around a dozen Kiwi men who have sent money to Russia to pay for a trip to New Zealand for their new female friend only to discover the woman vanishes once the money arrives in her bank account.

The scam involves Kiwi men being asked to send money so that Russian women they meet over the internet can apply for New Zealand visas and purchase air tickets.

In order to reassure their hopeful beaus, the women often send a copy of their Russian passport. The document often turns out to be an internal passport, held by all Russians but useless for international travel.

The scam has come to light with recent queries to the immigration service in Moscow from Kiwi men concerning the fate of the visa application of their prospective partner. Invariably no visa application had ever been made.

While the service is unable to assist the men recover lost money, it is keen to prevent the situation from occurring by highlighting the fact that applicants do not need to purchase air tickets before they apply for a visa.

“It appears that this version of the con has been going on for some months and New Zealand is one of many countries being targeted by the Russian fraudsters,” says operations manager Anita Reedy.

“We are consequently urging all men involved in an internet relationship of this kind to be very suspicious about sending money to women they have never met. New Zealanders are honest, open and friendly people and sometimes naively expect the rest of the world to be the same. Unfortunately it isn’t.”

ENDS

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