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Case Studies :

Case Study #1: Alina Popova

A Scam Check was ordered for Alina Popova, age 29. A full address was provided, consisting of a city name, street name, and house and apartment numbers. A phone number was also provided.

Throughout the duration of the Scam Check, we could not reach Alina Popova over the phone number that had been provided.

Our next step was to personally visit the address. Upon arrival at the address, our agent immediately saw that it was the location of a construction site. The previous building had been demolished 3 years prior, and, according to the billboard, completion of the new building was set for February 2008.

We reported our findings back to the client, who confronted Alina Popova about it. He told her that the flower delivery couriers were unable to locate her at the address she had provided. She insisted that she had gotten the house and apartment numbers mixed up.

Our second check was carried out as a continuation of the client’s original order for no extra charge.

The new address was that of a one-story mini-market, which contained no apartments. Irregardless, we asked the management of the shop if an Alina Popova was an employee there. The manager promised to check the store’s employment records. 10 minutes later, she came back and said that no one with the last name ‘Popova’ works, or ever has worked, for their mini-market.

The Scam Check order was completed, citing Alina Popova as a scammer.

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Case Study #2: Elena Vladimirovna Vodkina

The client had been corresponding with Elena for over 3 months. They talked on a daily basis via chat programs, and even had telephone conversations once a week (she called him). A full residential address was provided for a Scam Check. No phone number was provided however, as Elena said she did not own a phone.

During our first visit, no one was at home. We had, at this point, established that the address was real. We now needed to verify that the registered resident was Elena Vodkina. We left a florist business card with a contact number (the phone operator would not identify it as belonging to Russian Scam Check), and a note asking Elena to get back to us so we may agree on a convenient time of delivery.

After a day and a half, Elena had not called us, so we decided to make a second attempt and visit the given address.

This time a middle-aged man opened the door. He said that there was no one called Elena Vladimirovna Vodkina living in that apartment, and that he lived there alone with his elderly parents. He also said that they often got visits from couriers and florists trying to find Elena at that address. They received a lot of mail in their mailbox from people they didn’t know, again addressed to Elena Vladimirovna Vodkina.

This was a classic case of a scammer providing a false address to the victim, and not knowing (or caring) that there are people actually present at that address.

We reported back to the client with our findings, and closed the case, citing Elena Vladimirovna Vodkina as a scammer.

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Case Study #3: Anastasia Olegovna Elkina

We were given some information about Anastasia Olegovna Elkina prior to the Scam Check. She had told the client that she was a school teacher in Kirov, Russia and that she lived alone in a one-bedroom apartment. The client had not heard from her in 3 weeks, and started growing concerned. She was not responding to his emails, despite the fact that nothing had occurred to them or their relationship. In the client’s words, their last few conversations were optimistic. He also admitted that he had seen some red flags, and felt that at times she seemed ‘too good to be true’.

When we first arrived at her address, we immediately noticed that Anastasia’s name was NOT on the doorbell. Instead, the name ‘Sedoy’ was written on it. The door was answered by a middle-aged woman who presented herself as ‘Ludmilla’.

She said that she had very recently moved in, and that she had the previous owner’s (Anastasia Olegovna Elkina’s) new address, which she left in case someone was not aware of her moving. The new address was only couple of kilometers away.

We visited the newly provided address and found a visibly surprised Anastasia there. We explained that we were there to deliver a rose from ‘John Smith’ (name has been changed to protect identity), and take a photo of her as part of the delivery service. She allowed herself to be photographed, and then explained the reason she had been absent – she had to urgently move (for personal reasons), and for some time did not have access to an Internet connection. She said she wanted to write to the client through an Internet café, but, almost immediately, she suffered a loss in the family, and was since busy with that, as well as her job. She passed on her apologies to the client through us, and promised to write to him soon.

Upon delivery of the rose, her passport was checked, and we were able to verify that the name matched, and that she was now officially registered at the new address.

Per Anastasia's permission we took a digital picture of her, receiving a rose and sent it to our client with our findings.

The Scam Check was closed as completed, citing Anastasia Olegovna Elkina as a non-scammer.

Please, note that in such case there is no guarantee that the suspect is not a scammer: all we report is our findings on address verification, person validation and ID check.

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