Overseas Marriage Agency Scams: Baltic Bridezillas And Egregious Grooms
It seems that in the twenty first century, finding a partner couldn’t be more complex. In the past, in the days prior to the internet, you would expect to meet someone you would eventually marry through your social circle, work or when you went out, so most likely you would partner up with someone living close by. Even if the services of a dating agency were called upon, the chances were you would again find a partner within your geographical area; finding someone in another country was virtually unheard of.
However, fast forward and with the internet and social networking, it’s a completely different game. Anyone has the potential to meet someone anywhere; even on the other side of the world. Agencies that arrange overseas marriages have also sprung up. However, are these companies all that they appear to be?
The rise of the overseas marriage agency
It might come as a surprise, but the concept of agencies that arrange marriages between people living in different countries is not exactly new. As long ago as the nineteenth century, women living in the Eastern states would have their names listed in the hope that a man living in the West would select them to be their wife.
Move on to the twentieth century and instead it was women in less economically developed countries, especially those from Southeast Asia or parts of Eastern Europe, looking to become someone’s bride elsewhere.
At present an overseas marriage agency can be categorized in one of two ways. Firstly, it may be run as an online venture, seeking to allow potential partners to get in touch with each other by way of e-mails or an instant messaging service. After this initial dialogue, letters and photos will follow if they hit it off; obviously the final stage is to meet in person. However, the other type of agency arranges group tours of a particular country, taking men or women to organized events where they can mix socially with people, providing them with the opportunity to meet a partner.
An article by NBC News Today indicates that the practice of meeting an overseas partner over the internet is showing an upward trend. Although many companies are fully above board and are fairly successful in matching partners, there is a far darker side, with dangers of overseas marriage a real possibility.
The pitfalls and problems of overseas marriage agencies
There are plenty of examples of chilling and even frightening stories of the consequences that can unravel when you use an unscrupulous overseas marriage agency theft at the very least and at worst to become involved in a murder case.
A prime example of someone vulnerable is an individual approaching their later years who, after a lengthy marriage has been widowed or divorced; they certainly don’t wish to experience their remaining years alone. They stumble across an internet site that promises them the opportunity to get to know potential partners who are not just physically appealing, but younger and from all over the world. They are flattered that someone is showing an interest in them again, asking about their life; they truly believe that the charming man or women that they have struck up a relationship with is genuinely showing an interest. They then hear that this attractive stranger is in a grave financial situation; they urgently need money as a family member has suddenly been taken ill and require treatment, which they currently can’t afford. If only they could borrow some money, it would only have to be a few hundred dollars, as this would make a huge difference to the chance of recovery of their mother/sister/uncle. The understanding person that they are and having fallen in love, there’s no doubt about it, they’ll more than happily lend them the requested sum of money. However, this isn’t the end of the monetary exchange. Only the next month, their beautiful partner is now unable to find the money to settle their internet bill; they just can’t imagine not being able to continue these lines of communication, so could they now send them a check to pay this bill please? Wanting to maintain their relationship, a check is speedily sent off. However, after that, they hear no more from the seemingly wonderful younger person. It slowly begins to dawn on them that they were unfortunately taken in by a con artist.
This situation is not uncommon and those committing the offence are usually referred to as dating scammers. They work through agencies that arrange overseas marriages, on the surface posing as looking for a partner themselves, but the truth is that they are only looking to swindle money out of the vulnerable people they meet online. As their venture progresses, they use ever more crafty ways to obtain money deceptively. This isn’t just restricted to relationships when they are still at the stage of being conducted over the internet; they continue to commit this form of fraud once their trusting partner brings them to their own country. Stories on marriageagencyscams.com regales many stories of shocking scenarios where women and men returned with their partner with the sole purpose of taking everything they own; alternatively they have been serially unfaithful to them.
The dangers for the mail order brides/grooms
However, it is not just financial scams that occur. Those wishing to act as the mail order bride or groom also place themselves at risk when they offer themselves for this opportunity. This is exemplified by the case of Anastasia King, a young resident of Kyrgyzstan. At just eighteen years of age she was signed up to a company supplying mail order brides when she was put in contact with Indle King, a thirty eight year old Seattle man. Perhaps alarm bells should have begun ringing at this early stage though, as he had already divorced his first two mail order brides. However, the two were married, but after just two years their relationship fell apart. Without the money to pay for yet another divorce, with the help of one of his tenants, they murdered her in cold blood and disposed of her body in a shallow grave. The pair were discovered, leading to conviction and imprisonment.
This is not an isolated incident though. Reports by abc news and The New York Times indicate that women who travel to countries to be someone’s brides will often face abuse and torture when things don’t go to plan. As a result of these horrific incidents, the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act was put into place in 2003; this serves to provide protection for women entering as a mail order bride or through an arrangement with a marriage agency abroad.
Tips on avoiding being scammed
If these stories have not put you off using a marriage agency based abroad, there are a few easy steps you can take to prevent falling prey to scams. It doesn’t matter how genuine someone you become acquainted with through these appears, or what their story, never give them any money, big or small; remain very cautious of doing so even after you have met. When choosing an agency, also exercise caution. Avoid one based in just one country, especially if they can only provide a phone number and email address rather than an address. Look for one that has offices in the United States, the UK and Europe to play it safe.