How do I convince someone that this is a BAD IDEA?

One of the guys at work has been going through an extremely messy, awkward, and painful separation from his de facto partner of some seven years.

He’s not taking it well, and it’s gotten to the point where it’s affecting his work and he’s drinking too much (he’s never shown up late for work or called in sick unreasonably or anything like that, though), and he’s quite obviously depressed. The store manager and I have done everything we can to help him (including referring him to the company’s free counselling service, provided by an independent firm).

It’s very frustrating for everyone, and the story got a lot sadder this morning when he came into work all excited and telling us that he’d received a really long (and wholly unsolicited) E-mail from young woman in Russia who lived in a small village with her mum and sister and wanted a better life and opportunities…

Yes, I see your eyebrows raising in doubt much the same as mine did.

Anyway, it turns out that this poor chap actually replied to this E-mail. I tried explaining to him that it was, at best, spam, and at worst- well, had he seen Birthday Girl? He hadn’t? Then he had best sally forth unto the local House of Pre-Recorded Digital Video Disc Rental and rectify that forthwith.

It gets worse. He got a reply to his reply today. I’ve just spent 25 minutes on the phone trying to convince him this whole thing is a scam, con, or generally not something he wants to be involved in. This woman says that she’s now leaving her small village to travel to Moscow, where the introduction agency will finalise the necessary paperwork to allow her to travel to Australia.

I’ve told him repeatedly that the next stage of this will be the “I need money to pay for (insert fees), please help me”. “That’s OK” he says. “I don’t have any money”. :smack:

To cut a long story very short, I’m banging my head against a wall here trying to convince him that the best thing he can do is just delete the E-mails and not think about them anymore, and that responding to them is just going to turn out badly for him in the long run.

Now, I’m prepared to accept that there may be an attractive Russian woman out there who’s decided to find a Western Husband by sending out a non-specific E-mail to a massive list of E-mail addresses, but my Bullshit Alarm is sounding… I’m at a loss at to how to adequately explain to this bloke how important it is that he just walk away right now and give the matter no further thought.

Any ideas or suggestions that don’t involve “playing along”? I know some people just can’t be told, but any tips or advice would me most appreciated…

I’d check into your local BBB as well as any fraud watches that you know of locally.
There are also a lot of online sources of information about this stuff: here’s a couple for starters: http://www.womenrussia.com/blacklist.htm
http://www.worldpress.org/Europe/2111.cfm
http://scam.russian-women.net/
And here’s the FAQ from the US Embassy in Moscow
http://www.usembassy.ru/consular/acs.php?record_id=datingscam

Even with all the facts in the world, the bloke might not be swayed from this unless he replies to any “I need money” email, with a “Sorry, love, I’ve got none” response. Hopefully, the sharks, if there are any, back off then.

Hope he doesn’t get himself into debt over this.

The only thing you can do is be more ex[;icit, if possible. If before you said things like, “You should really think twice about this…”; now you should say, “this is totally fuckin’ nuts. You are being scammed and you are too depressed and horny to get it.”

If you have already been as explicit as possible, then you have done all you can.

The other thing you can do is provide him a checklist about how the scam works. Then, as the “woman” (no evidence it’s a single person as opposed to a group, or a female at all) continues down the scam path, you can point out to him that she’s following the standard protocol.

But people generally believe what they want to believe, evidence notwithstanding. And my personal opinion is that my job, as a friend, is to point out the problem in advance, but then to be there when it all falls apart. But if he’s decided she’s the bee’s knees, not much you can do about it.

There’s a book about surviving divorce called “Crazy Time”. It captures much of this sort of thing. Some of us find our way through it all by doing things like this. Planning to be the voice of reason and still be around after the thousands he borrows disappears might be the best option, if you like him and value his work. He’ll very likely wake up some day and still have many of the things you liked about him. But if you don’t think he’s worth it, well, then, so be it. You certainly made an effort.

Tell him to Google “russia online scam” or “romance online scam”.

Poor guy.

I agree. My older brother went down this path right after his divorce. Luckily my sister brought him to his senses before he lost any money. Now he is a pretty good skeptic about it. I understand from my younger brother that my older brother recently got an email out of the blue from a girl in Nigeria and he sent a pretty scathing response :slight_smile: So I do think people can adjust.

Oprah had a show on scams this past Friday. The one you described above sounds very familiar.

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