Is Olesya (Lesya) Grigoryeva (Yoshkar Ola / Volzhsk) & Western Union the Russian scammer?
She appeared in our database from 2007-03-22
, financial damage US $ 250
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Olesya (Lesya) Grigoryeva (Yoshkar Ola / Volzhsk) & Western Union
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Olesya (Lesya) Grigoryeva (Yoshkar Ola / Volzhsk) & Western Union Part 1: Olesya GrigoryevaI had been writing with Lesya for 2 months email@example.com . Our letters were quite normal, talking about things in general, everyday lives etc. She had told me she lived in the village of Volzhsk, about the smell from the paper factory, how she walked to work across the wheat field etc. etc.etc. On 03 December she wrote about a possibility we could meet with each other for New Year and on 12 December asking me to phone her about this subject. On 14 December I phoned whereas she explained to me that she had a distant relative Olga, married and living in London and with Olgas parents was travelling to London for New Year. To test the water I asked her if she needed me to help with her airfare, no, this was a special deal whereas 3 tickets were little more in cost than 2 tickets and her parents had helped her. On 19 December Lesya wrote to me that her travel date was 28 December, they were going to Moscow for final papers, she would be back home again on the Sunday 22 December at 10 a.m. and could I phone her that afternoon which I subsequently did. In the conversation she was really excited, she had her visa so I asked more about her arrangement which because they were unusual led me to believe somewhat they were genuine. She would be flying to Frankfurt, Germany on 28 December arriving 1520 hours and then travelling by train to London arriving very late that night or early the next morning and she would be leaving London again at 1700 hours on 02 January, everything seemed in place and we both looked forward to seeing each other. The next day, 23 December Lesya wrote to me asking that I phone her urgently because she needed to talk to me. I phoned and Lesya explained the travel agency had told her she needed money to show UK immigration she could support herself. She had asked others but they could not assist her and I was her last chance, she explained she had some savings but needed $200 to top her up. Now, whilst not typical, this had signs of a scam, at this time I was working away from home without internet access to do any investigations etc. Thinking about it long and hard things came out 60/40 in her favour and whilst taking a 40% risk I subsequently decided to Western Union $250 advising Lesya of this on 24 December. Whilst if one never sends money one can never be scammed, I had previously never doubted anything she had told me about herself because she had had nothing to gain, however that situation had now changed, I was doubting her and during 25/26 December I established the following from my investigations:She speaks practically perfect English. I had been wondering how a village girl, who having left school some 10 years ago had had the opportunity(s) to practice her English. When talking about Western Union she guessed Yoshkar Ola would be the nearest pick-up point to herself despite Cheboksary and Kazan both being closer, I arranged for the pick-up from Cheboksary. She claimed the properties in her village did not have addresses (I had wanted to send her a card), the internet lists many postal addresses in Volzhsk and it also lists the area telephone code of 83631 however the phone number I had been calling her on was +7 8362 632141, 8362 is the area code for Yoshkar Ola. I had asked her more than once in which area of London her friend lived but she never answered this question. She claimed to be arriving in Frankfurt from Moscow at 1520 hours on 28 December however neither Aeroflot, Lufthansa or any other connections from Moscow had a flight arriving at that time. And, a couple of weeks previously she had written about only window shopping because she did not have much money but now she had savings of some $300. All in all what had been my 40% of doubt was now 90%, on the afternoon of 26 December the money transfer had remained uncollected so I cancelled it. Western Union confirmed the cancellation and the money would be re-credited to my card in a few days time.The next morning Lesya phoned me, she was just leaving home for Moscow and she would phone me again upon arrival in London. 2 hours and 43 minutes after this phone call Lesya collected the $250 from Western Union. She never phoned upon arrival in London because she didnt travel, on 29 December she answered her telephone in Yoshkar Ola.Part 2: Western UnionAs already stated I cancelled the money transfer on the afternoon of 26 December however Western Union phoned me on the afternoon of 27 December to say that despite my cancellation WU Russia had still allowed the money to be collected. Having offered to allow me to speak with a supervisor the supervisor subsequently declined to speak with me. Western Union claim that having cancelled, their procedure is to amend the country of collection from Russia back to UK, thereafter the money is re-credited to my card. Having amended the transfer they guess the clerk in Russia failed to notice this amendment and issued the money regardless. Western Union say they are now investigating internally! Having detected and thwarted a scammer I was subsequently thwarted by Western Union. To send a (telephone transaction) transfer by WU involves answering numerous security questions and being on either your home or work phone, you cannot do it from a mobile or any other phone. Whilst I can accept such procedures protect my interests I cannot accept their subsequent amateurism. WU are currently declining to comment regarding my refund however they WILL comment, through the courts if necessary!
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