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This question already has an answer here:

My girlfriend is Russian. Last night we tried to fly her to the US on a valid tourist visa. She was stopped at DME and told she would be required to have $2700 USD to get back home immediately even though she had a return ticket. She said this was an "unwritten" rule because of the nonsense i keep seeing on CNN , Anybody else know anything? She is literally trapped and scared to death.

marked as duplicate by David Richerby, cHiEf Immigration vIoLaTer, gerrit, Giorgio, Henning Makholm May 31 '17 at 16:50

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    See travel.stackexchange.com/questions/90153/…. Smells like a scam to me. Actually I am willing to bet a few dollars it is a scam either with her involvement as an accomplice or initiator, or her as an unwitting accomplice. Upon reconsideration I'm willing to say emphatically she's lying, sorry. – cHiEf Immigration vIoLaTer May 30 '17 at 22:53
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    How much money did you send her already. How do you know she has a ticket and a visa? How do you know she is trapped and scared? – David Schwartz May 31 '17 at 1:52
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    Have you ever met "your girlfriend" in real life? – Mehrdad May 31 '17 at 4:58
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    @9ilsdx9rvj0lo: Hence the question... – Mehrdad May 31 '17 at 8:29
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    @Harper: Part of the art of this kind of scam is manipulating the victim into believing it's a real relationship and using words like "girlfriend" despite having no actual relationship. – R.. May 31 '17 at 16:36
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I'm very sad to say that this has all the signs of a classic romance scam. How do you know this person? Have you ever met? We've seen several questions with the similar pattern. Here are some resources:

“When you get down to the final stage, there has to be a crisis, some compelling reason why the target should you send the money,” said Holden, founder of Hold Security [full disclosure: Yours Truly is an uncompensated adviser to Holden’s company]. “Usually this is something like the girl is stranded at the airport or needs money to get a travel visa. There has to be some kind of distress situation for this person to be duped into wiring money, which can be anywhere between $200 and $2,000 on average.”

I highly recommend you not send any money or personal information to this person and that you report this to the proper authorities.

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    (+1) If this makes it a bit more convincing, I flew through Domodedovo airport quite a lot of times, and have never seen airline or passport control asking anyone to present any cash. Scam 100%. – George Y. May 30 '17 at 23:07
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    "Whenever I get things like this, I mess with them. I AGREE to send them money via Western Union or Money Gram, and I send them a FAKE claim number. Hey, fair is fair... if they want to try to waste my time, it's only fair that I try to waste theirs! " => definetly the best advice. +1 – Xatenev May 31 '17 at 8:22
  • Your answer is probably correct but it in no way matches the situation described by the OP, namely that that girl is his girlfriend, which implies that they've already met, and more than one time. However, probably the question is wrongly worded and should be edited. – Rg7x gW6a cQ3g May 31 '17 at 13:21
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    @9ilsdx9rvj0lo People can call someone on the internet their "girlfriend" without meeting them. – Yakk May 31 '17 at 13:31
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    @9ilsdx9rvj0lo - since the OP has now had at least 15 hours to correct the assumption of never having met this 'girlfriend', I think it's safe to continue to assume that this is a scam. – brhans May 31 '17 at 14:23
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As a Russian citizen who's been to DME quite a few times and flew to and from the US I can say I've never seen, heard of or suspected any "illegal" briberies taking place at the airport.

There is a certain law that may prevent citizens from leaving the country if they have monetary debts to the state that exceed 10000 RUB, e.g. if they haven't paid taxes or fines in time. See the original text or a google translation of the law. In such case the citizen is indeed required to pay the necessary amount to become legally "clean". However, the payment is made to the bank account of an official entity (whose bank account number is well known and can be verified via the Internet) and cannot be considered bribery. Moreover, you can check your girlfriend's legal status online yourself at any time here and here.

The Russian customs have also been known to do some borderline ridiculous things like singling out travelers and arbitrarily applying some obscure legal clauses that not many people are aware of, such as calling your laptop or handheld console a cryptographic device without a permit, but all those checks were formally "legal" and the detainees were not extorted money from.

Good luck and please take it easy no matter how things go.

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