“Detectives” wait for bait on a forum

Today, I finally got a taste of a fake forum for finding missing people. I spent some time last night researching information for Russians who are looking for family in the U.S.A. I posted information I found on ancestry.com for one post and asked the age of a missing person for another.

This was a big no-no, according to the administrator. I got a nasty e-mail message this morning:  “By the rules of our forum, you need to align research with the administration. Who are you? You can help in the U.S.? Tell us about yourself or your posts will be deleted as spam.”

So I responded: “I do not understand what I’m doing wrong. I have an account on ancestry.com. I was just searching for information on ancestry.com. I am an ordinary person. I help people for fun.” She replied: “On our forum there are rules, which we recommend to stick to.”

By morning, my two replies on the forum were gone. I have yet to find rules on this forum that members cannot post helpful information for those looking for missing people. The truth is the moderators of this forum based in Russia use the website to find work for their friends who are “detectives.” Moderators also post replies that private messages have been sent. Why aren’t these messages posted in the forum? Aren’t forums for the exchange of information?

Some responses of moderators actually have real information but way too many responses are referrals to a “detective service”. One “detective” wrote he took a lady’s case before she even knew about it. The woman seeking help said she could not afford such work. The “detective” wrote work already began and money had been spent already. She said politely said sorry and probably regrets ever posting on the forum.

So I decided if I am going to help people on this forum, I will send them private messages instead. I sent a few people some helpful information. One Russian man responded with such joy. The last private message he received on the forum was an offer of detective services for $2,000 to find a relative in the U.S.A.

There is not one reason why it would cost $2,000 to find someone who lives in the U.S.A. There are so many records and resources online that the chances of finding someone in the U.S.A. are very good. But people in the former USSR or other former communist countries probably do not know about how much information is free and accessible on Americans.

I am not naming the fraudulent forum so I can continue helping the members. I don’t want the moderators to know what I am doing.

It is heartbreaking to see Russians scam their own people. There are scam artists in every country. But the sting is more painful in Russia. Has it been enough that millions of Russians were starved to death and imprisoned for no reason by the communist government, terrorized in the Nazi invasion of World War II and frightened to trust their own family, friends, neighbors and co-workers during communist times? Now that the Iron Curtain is dust, greedy Russians are scamming their own people who are looking for their long, lost family.

I hope to help more people avoid these scams by writing my next post on how to find long, lost family in the USA for free or dirt cheap.

6 thoughts on ““Detectives” wait for bait on a forum

  1. great post…and sadly unfortunate how some people, agencies and alas, governments have the audacity to extort such high prices for simple searches.
    kudos to you for standing by a sense of integrity.

  2. I appreciate all the help I can get. My grandparents are from Russia but changed their name upon arrival in the USA. Sooooooooo, whatever someone can help me with is appreciated. They took the name Swatez. My mom was born en-route in Glasgow, Scotland.

    1. I saw some records on ancestry.com. Have you contacted Canadian archives for their records? What else do you know about the family? Have you contacted Glasgow archives for your mother’s birth record?

    1. No, I haven’t heard this problem on Ancestry yet. It is another forum. Any forum where it seems everyone is being referred to professional researchers and no one can offer free info should be used carefully.

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