Scams in Russia and the Lady Prowlers Guys Need to Watch Out For
Overall, this is a safe place to live, but just like any other big city, there are a few scams in Russia to look out for. Strangely, it’s the guys who get taken advantage of the most here and after several bad experiences of friends and acquaintances, I have gotten together with them and asked for their help to write this post. At least 6 guys I know have been drugged and robbed. Some were beaten and left to fend for themselves to get home only to wake up the next day with no memories and no money. What starts off as an innocent night out seeking fun and adventure can quickly turn sour, and possibly ruin your stay. The good news is that if you know what to watch out for, you will most likely avoid all of this unpleasantness! The following are red flags that they pointed out to be aware of when meeting new people or looking for new places to socialize.
Leave with Friends
ALWAYS arrive at a restaurant or bar with someone you know and trust and leave that place with the same person(s). There have been too many stories from people we know who ended up alone at the end of a night out with friends, and started mingling/drinking with local strangers (usually with a girl) and woke up the next morning with their money stolen, credit cards taken, emptied bank accounts, maxed out credit cards, etc.
Ignore the “Promos”
St. Petersburg has great local bars and restaurants to offer people who are visiting, but at the same time we need to heed certain obvious ‘no-fly zones’.
For instance, there are many people who stand on the street to promote a new bar, pub, or restaurant. While promoting, these people hand out flyers with deals to lure foreigners into their establishments. A very high percentage of these places are predatory ‘strip-tease’ bars, or karaoke bars. Some people, who hand out flyers, are genuinely interested in building a customer base, and the establishments they are promoting are, in fact, worthy of a visit. However, we are speaking about the aggressive promoters that are always standing at the same street corners and archways dotted up and down Nevsky Prospect. If a girl/guy or group of girls/men are walking along Nevsky Prospect, then these promoters will not hesitate to approach you and start talking about the bar or club for which they want to find potential new customers. A simple, ‘No, thanks’, or ‘Nyet, spasibo’ will suffice. These people seem to always be in a good positive mood and are rarely aggressive. In fact, once you say no to them, they will walk away and leave you alone.
There are many people on the streets trying to hand out flyers, but there is no obligation for you to take them.
Don’t Go with Random Girls from the Street
One of my friends noted that the promoters, who hand out flyers, may have a dual purpose – to tip-off girls to approach you and invite you to either go drinking with them or to go to a ‘strip-tease’ bar. Needless to say, this is a bad idea which may have severe consequences. To avoid trouble, simply continue walking and do not pay attention to these girls. It is said that the girls have agreements with certain seedy bars around the city to which they bring foreigners to spend money, or worse, to drug them and empty their bank accounts.
Be Careful on Dating Apps
The dangers, however, are not limited to the two girls prowling Nevsky and the promoters. Scammers have recently appeared on various social media platforms, most notably Tinder, to entice potential victims to go out on a ‘date’. The goal, or idea, remains the same, but the attraction techniques are ones to look out for when chatting with girls. A common trait of these girl-scammers is that their profiles only have one to two photos. Generally, these girls are quite attractive (in the photos…) and are aged between 18 and 23 and they write FIRST! Conversations are succinct and terse, ie ‘let’s meet now / tonight.’ There is no chit chat, or back and forth to get to know each other with these girls. They are only interested in meeting you at that moment. At this point you should delete this girl from your matches list, but if you do proceed to meet this girl, she’ll try to bring you to some dive bar where everything is ridiculously expensive. As you can imagine by now, it only gets worse from here.
With time, these girls may change their names on Tinder to hide their identity.
These details only address a tiny fraction of the great people of St. Petersburg. A tourist may never come across any scams in Russia during his stay, whereas another may have to dodge an array of ill-intended invites into the underworld of the city. Hopefully, this text sheds light on many caveats for those who come to this city and consider themselves more adventurous, or who are more gregarious in the hopes of seeking fun while out and about gallivanting the narrow streets.