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Tinder Scams - St Petersburg

Barcelona, Spain
8 posts
Tinder Scams - St Petersburg

Hi,

I am just emailing you to let you know about Tinder scams in Saint Petersburg, Russia, so that you can inform your readers so that they don't suffer the same financial expenditure I did!

Basically, I met a woman on Tinder back in June who I was chatting with for some time and then I arranged to meet her on Nevsky Avenue for a drink one evening. She took me to a place called the Secret Service Pub on Nevsky Avenue 53. I immediately grew suspicious upon entering this bar as it was only around 7pm and the place was quiet yet it had 1 or 2 security guys on the door, plus my instinct was telling me that the staff there knew my "Date" without any of them actually acknowledging each other, and in addition there were a couple of attractive girls sat at the bar alone. Even though I had these instincts, I still stayed as I had never heard of people being scammed in this way in Russia, or anywhere else for that matter and I am very well travelled. Anyway, the Date kept wanting to go into a separate closed off Karaoke area of the venue which I wasn't too keen on as I had not even had a drink yet that day, and when the menu arrived to order she wanted to order a bottle of wine that was priced around £80 and some kind of meat tray which again seemed somewhat overpriced after the meat tray arrived as it was very basic, however I had not been in Russia too long at that point so I was not aware of what the prices for things should generally be also. I refused to pay for the wine and asked her to order another drink instead, so she opted for a cocktail (which I did not see the price of) and the meat tray, whilst I order a reasonably priced beer for myself. I was getting a bad feeling about the bar still, so I told her I wanted to go somewhere else midway through my first drink, however she was quite insistent that she wanted to stay in this bar. I managed to persuade her to leave after a while, and when presented with the bill it came to something like $80 which I thought was highly excessive but which I felt I had to pay as we had consumed the items. After checking the reviews of this bar on Google some time after, it was clear other people had had a similar experience to me and that this bar was clearly a scam bar. Anyway, after leaving that bar, the Date wanted to go to another bar just a few doors up from the Secret Service Pub, which again looked quite empty and ominous so I refused and instead we carried on walking up the road until I found a bar that was quite busy and looked safe. She was reluctant to go in, but I managed to persuade her saying we would just go to this bar for a couple of drinks. Anyway, when we got in there her attitude completely changed and she began constantly playing with her phone, and after 15 or so minutes two of her friends showed up and I then even get a worse feeling about events and made my excuses and left.

So after a couple more drinks on my own, I went back onto Tinder and started chatting with another girl who, quite quickly, agreed to meet me that night. I had had a few drinks by this stage so I wasn't thinking straight, as there should have been alarm bells ringing as it was around 10pm at that point on a week day night (not the weekend) and she agreed to meet me after not such a substantial degree of conversation. Anyway, she asked if she could bring a friend, which I didn't mind, and then also asked if I would pay her taxi, which when I asked her how much, she quoted something in the region of £12. Going on UK rates, I didn't think £12 was too much so I agreed to pay it, however after later learning the taxi rates in Saint Petersburg I know that £12 is highly excessive and that taxi's do not cost that much even if you are going from the centre to the airport. Anyway, when my second "Date" showed, her and her friend seemed really nice and I did not have any suspicions this time around. They asked me if I liked Karaoke and so off we all went to a Karaoke bar (which was called Granada Bar on Stremyannaya Ul. 4 according to my credit card receipts from the night). So when we entered this place the girls wanted to order a bottle of champagne, which again seemed highly overpriced (around 5,000 Russian Rubles from memory), however I agreed to pay for just the one bottle to start things off with the intention of then going on to something cheaper as I was well aware of the expensive pricing. But after the first bottle, the waitress kept coming back and I kept ordering this clearly overpriced champagne, even though I was well aware from the first bottle that it was overpriced, which leads me to believe that the waitress must have put something in my drink to make me more suggestive to keep paying for such low quality overpriced champagne (or one of the two girls put something in my drink, either way it was apparent afterwards that both the two girls and the venue were in on this deceptive scam), and the venue even charged an excessive amount for each Karaoke song (I have been to quite a few Karaoke bars around the world and have never been charged per song for Karaoke) and also charged excessive prices for Sheisha, which again I knew was highly overpriced yet I kept paying which leads me further to believe that I was drugged in some way. You were even allowed to smoke cigarettes sat at your seat in this Karaoke bar, which should have raised alarm bells also given that smoking in bars appears to be banned at all the other bars I have been to in Saint Petersburg previous to this bar. Anyway, I cannot remember leaving the bar at the end of the night, however counting my credit card receipts up the next day including the money I took out with me that night, I spent a total in the region of $1,500 (in hindsight it was very stupid to take credit cards out with me that night but I was hungover from the previous night and not thinking straight). The bizarre thing was, that second Date was messaging me the next day asking if I wanted to go out again with her! When I questioned the pricing from the night before she said that was "normal", however we all know that type of spending on a night out is not "normal" for most people! Again, after checking the reviews of this Karaoke bar on google other people have had the same type of scam experience at that place.

Anyway, in summary, I did not report any of this to the police as there did not seem any point as I would not be able to claim such "theft" on my travel insurance and, as I am sure you know, the police have a reputation for being very corrupt in Russia.

60 replies to this topic
Moscow, Russia
Level Contributor
408 posts
33 reviews
1. Re: Tinder Scams - St Petersburg

You must have been really desperate to get laid throwing away all this money away.

Also, most parts of this story do not sound like scam. You can find wines and champaignes for these prices in many places and pay-per song is not uncommon. 12 for taxi is also fair if she was coming from a distant part of the city. 1500 for the night is a lot, but there are expensive places where you can do it easily without any scams.

> yet I kept paying which leads me further to believe that I was drugged in some way

no, you just wanted some girls, and wanted to buy and impress them with your money, admit it

I mean, you don't have to pay 1500 USD to get laid, dude.

You can do it for free.

>the police have a reputation for being very corrupt in Russia

many of them are, but there is not even any crime in what you described here

Moscow, Russia
Level Contributor
408 posts
33 reviews
2. Re: Tinder Scams - St Petersburg

To sum it up - you just found gold diggers who took you to expensive places and you paid happily wanting to get laid. Then you got too drunk and passed out, end of story. I doubt UK police would find any crime in that either.

Moscow Oblast...
Level Contributor
386 posts
38 reviews
3. Re: Tinder Scams - St Petersburg

The first Tinder girl was not enough, so you invited another one (even two). Soooo... you asked for it, you got it.

St. Petersburg...
Level Contributor
571 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: Tinder Scams - St Petersburg

A while ago, the man couldn't stop paying. Now, he can't stop sending 'tinder scam' posts - there're three of them already. Expect more to come... J

Edited: 14 November 2017, 21:56
London, United...
Level Contributor
1,649 posts
14 reviews
5. Re: Tinder Scams - St Petersburg

Unfortunately, this appears to be quite common. Even apparently educated and cultured people can behave in similar ways. A concertmaster/accompanist by the name of Maria Titova, has used her position to scam decent people, and not by attracting them to night clubs.

The vast majority of Russian people are honest and decent, but there is an element which has different moral standards and codes. Whilst your experience is not endemic or exclusive to St.Petersburg, using a cultural icon such as the Mariinsky, is in a different class.

Moscow, Russia
Level Contributor
12,406 posts
223 reviews
6. Re: Tinder Scams - St Petersburg

> A while ago, the man couldn't stop paying. Now, he can't stop sending 'tinder scam' posts

Sometimes incontinence takes curious forms...

Holt, Missouri
Level Contributor
622 posts
60 reviews
7. Re: Tinder Scams - St Petersburg

It's hard to feel much sympathy for the original poster, but, in fairness, there's a useful takeaway here: people who go abroad in search of cheap sex should know that there's a whole underworld just waiting for them, intent on relieving them of every last penny they've got.

So think twice.

8. Re: Tinder Scams - St Petersburg

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Removed on: 15 November 2017, 14:05
 
New York
Destination Expert
for Moscow
Level Contributor
4,294 posts
40 reviews
9. Re: Tinder Scams - St Petersburg

This sounds like a "clip joint". Unfortunately it is not illegal to charge inflated prices to a customer who is willing to pay them.

Barcelona, Spain
8 posts
10. Re: Tinder Scams - St Petersburg

Actually you are talking nonsense.

The drinks were highly inflated compared to other places I went with local friends after this event. Yes drinks can be expensive in some upmarket places like in any other city, however this was hardly an upmarket place that I visited.

The taxi fare was also over inflated as it cost less than half of that fare to get a taxi from the centre of SPB to the airport with Uber. Also, the girls came in the taxi very quickly after chatting with them, so they were hardly living too far away.

Reading the other reviews of this place on google, it confirms other experiences of this place that it is indeed a clip joint, and clearly the girls I was with were in on it.

And no I did not want to "impress" the girls as you say - they were not the hottest and I had no need to "impress" them as you say, plus I was also not working at the time and therefore did not have that kind of money to simply throw away.

And yes you are correct, this would not be considered a crime unless I could prove I was drugged, which would be very difficult to do.

Given your post, it sounds like you are probably involved in these scams too somehow given your silly and unhelpful views. I have travelled all over the world and experienced all different kinds of nightlife and I know when a scam is a scam - in addition, further research online now confirms this is a common scam in SPB that I encountered.

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