Is Her Sister Dating a Scammer?

Woman with question mark on blackboard


Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Shawninco

Comment: Hey Moxie, I could use some sage input here. It’s pertaining to my little sister (she’s 28) in San Diego. Although she’s prone to “I got a man syndrome” and drops off the planet when she gets in a relationship, she’s made some real strides to balance communication and being present with her family and her boyfriend. I’m proud of her for it. However, she broke up with her boyfriend after a few difficult months and she’s eyeing some new guy…. I think.

She met him through Christian Mingle. According to her:
He’s this conservative Russian guy who’s been talking to her for months.
He’s about 33 or 34.
He’s saving himself for marriage.
He lives in Seattle and is happy to meet her.
She plans on doing some activities with him in public places and doesn’t plan on having sex with him.

I can’t tell if she’s looking to seriously date him or if she just wants a fun emotional fling (not sure if that’s a thing.) Either way, I’m concerned for her. This loosely reminds me of the letter about a woman going to visit a guy in Boston. I showed my sister the letter and she read it with an “of course; that’s common sense” attitude to your response. Needless to say, she didn’t see any parallels.

We’ve truly come a long way as siblings in communicating. My number one goal here is to encourage her to think critically in this situation without engendering defensiveness on her part.

Do you have any suggestions:
Questions that I can ask her that would get her thinking?
Should I stay out of it and encourage her adventurousness?
Suggestions on how to make this as safe for her as possible?
Directions to which I could point her that are much more local?

I’m all ears.

Thanks in advance
Age: 30
City: Denver
State: CO’

I’m not really sure there’s anything you can do to stop your sister from doing what she wants to do. Sometimes you have to know when to step back and let people make their own mistakes. Of course, you don’t want to not speak up just in case your sister could be putting herself in a dangerous situation, either.

The reason she read that post you showed her and she shrugged and said, “Of course. Derp” is because she thinks her situation is different. She probably thinks that because she met this guy on a Christian website that he’s far more morally balanced than other guys. Hah. ChristianMingle is scam central, for one. For two, can we think of any bigger hypocrites in this country than Christian right wingers? So, I guess your best course of action is to show her the ways he’s not different.

I’ve already said countless times that people willing to travel hundreds of miles for a stranger are either players or lunatics of some kind. They’re doing it for a reason. Seattle is a big place. This guy shouldn’t have to leave his home city to meet women. That fact that he does means something is off. Add in the fact that he’s a 34 year old virgin saving himself for marriage and Christian and you’ve got some serious red flags.

I don’t get the point of even meeting with this guy if no sex is on the table. I get why a guy would travel for sex. I don’t get why a guy would travel for a day or two at a space museum or amusement park. Only somebody desperate for a relationship would do this. If that isn’t enough evidence to convince your sister something isn’t right, I don’t know what is.



Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)


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15 Responses to “Is Her Sister Dating a Scammer?”

  1. D. Says:

    Sometimes you just have to let someone screw up, and hope that they don’t screw up so catastrophically as to seriously hurt themselves.

    But yeah, this sounds like a serious scam.

    • KK Says:

      LET someone screw up? If someone wants to do something, they will do it. I think it’s more that you have to let yourself accept that someone you care about is about to make a mistake.

  2. BTownGirl Says:

    The most benign explanation here I think would be that he’s desperate because most people aren’t going to date someone if there’s no sex, BUT…do they not have celibate Christians closer to where he lives? If I were you (I have a younger brother who’s a lovable screw-up, so I know from whence I speak), I would give her a serious talking-to about sticking to public places and not revealing any major personal information. Also, if you want to send her any “That Time Josh Duggar Beat Up A Porn Star” articles, I’m down with that too.

  3. KK Says:

    Well. He said he’s 34 and saving himself for marriage. He might have had a lot of sex before, and now wants to remain celibate before marriage.

    This does seem…odd. And also very strange that he would TELL her about saving himself before marriage. I mean, what if they meet and there’s nothing between them?

    Aside from all that, I understand getting into a long-distance relationship. I don’t understand seeking one out.

    I say tell your sister to be careful. At the same time, if she’s really into this guy, what you, or anyone, tell her won’t make a bit of difference. Just ask her, as a favor to you, that she not give him any money, tell him where she lives, or meet anywhere but public places. And make sure she gives you his contact information, and tells you where she meets him.

    • Katie Says:

      Agree with the above about making sure she’s safe. If she’s going to screw up and meet the guy, there’s little you can do to prevent her from meeting him (aside from something crazy like handcuffing her to a chair so she can’t leave, which is not advised). But you can make sure she knows how to be safe in the situation, so once she realizes what a creep he is, she can turn around, go home, never talk/hear from/see him again, and not having any undue consequences.

  4. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    There’s no reason to panic. Like any catfish worth its salt, this “guy” will undoubtedly find a last minute reason to, regretfully, reschedule the meeting. Who wants odds?

    • Dave Says:

      Bingo. One of my siblings, years ago got “involved” with a lady online when he was young and foolish. Eventually their odd emotional relationship became the most important thing in his life. They would have long, long talks on the phone, many emails and she’d also send him letters, cards and boxes of sweets and gifts. I remember my parents telling me about it and I thought they were exaggerating until they showed me all of this crap in his room one time when he was still living at home. I was shocked, to say the least.

      Since I was the only one in the family with any experience with online dating I tried to talk to him about how no one you talk to online could ever be a real possibility until a face to face happens. Brick wall. This lady had some deep emotional meat hooks in my brother and nothing we could do would change his mind. She’d get him all worked up about finally meeting…she was going to get on a plane, pick him up…plan some kind of romantic get away…and then…whoops…her dog was sick, she was sick…her mum was in the hospital…or one of many numerous excuses would come up. And she always had an excuse…always.

      At times my brother reached out to me for help…and while part of him knew it was all a fantasy and that he was being strung along…some part of him desperately craved the attention and he couldn’t let go. This dysfunctional mess went on for several years…and OP if you are reading this…as much as you care about your sibling (like I did then and still do now)…sometimes you have to take a step back and let them learn their lesson the hard way.

      My brother finally did see the light and cut all ties with his fantasy world lover, thank Joe Pesci. And today he’s in a very stable and loving relationship so again…sometimes you have to just take a step back…and believe me, I know this isn’t easy. They may fall down a few times…but as long as they get back up and become a better person for it, they’ll be okay.

  5. Jaclyn Says:

    One more question – you mentioned he is Russian. Is he a citizen of the us? I’d imagine someone looking for a green card marriage would be willing to travel really far to meet women if he senses they are vulnerable. Plus the whole no sex until marriage thing will really put pressure to move a relationship along.

  6. fuzzilla Says:

    **ChristianMingle is scam central, for one.**

    Do you have stats on this? I’m not doubting you, just fascinated. “It’s God’s will that you [insert whatever scumbaggy things guys say to women on dating sites].” Yeesh.

    • Kokopelli Says:

      I don’t have the aforementioned stats, however, real-life church is a predator’s paradise, so anecdotally, it’s not a stretch to imagine the online version of same is 10x worse. I know it doesn’t help, but it’s fun to think about it. LOL

  7. Sandra Says:

    Sounds like a fake profile / con artist of someone who will try to hit her up for money.

  8. jake Says:

    At this point, I would encourage Congress to pass a law forbidding all online dating sites as part of its powers to regulate interstate commerce.

  9. Kokopelli Says:

    OP: I really like your letter. Your concern about your concern for your sis shows a self-awareness that is uncommon. Moxie is correct. You will probably have to step back and let your sis experience the fallout for herself. I trust you will be there for her and that when you are, you won’t be condescending and will show the same compassionate concern as expressed in your letter. Good luck.

  10. Speed Says:

    Do I think this guy is a scammer? Yes. Even so, I’m not sure about why all the hate on this thread for “Christians” and “churches” which are “full of predators.” Anyone who’s done any volunteer work, in everything from elder care to prison education to language classes for immigrants to village work in Africa and Central America, will find a heavy representation of Christians. I’m not sure at all, either that the “progressive/atheistic” elements of America are full of perfectly moral people who’ve never put a foot wrong.

  11. BostonRobin Says:

    They been communicating online for months and he lives hundreds (thousands?) of miles apart. That’s all you need to put this guy on a Nope Rocket. Russian, Christian Mingle, saving himself for marriage (LOLOLOL), those are all just icing on the cake. Definitely more “nope” material. But most of all, anyone who can’t or won’t meet you within a week or so is nothing but trouble. That’s Online Dating 101!

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