Tired of looking for love in all the wrong places? Maybe the perfect woman is a mail-order bride. Just don’t ask for free shipping…
: Beware. There are many international marriage broker scams; don't be a fool for love.
Step 1: Have a clean record Have a clean record. The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, passed in 2005, requires mail-order bride agencies to disclose an American suitor’s marital history and criminal background to any potential brides.
TIP: Going outside an agency to find your foreign bride won’t let you subvert this law; men who apply for fiancée visas must disclose their marital and criminal history to the government.
Step 2: Find a reputable agency Find a reputable agency—one that does not control contact between you and a potential bride beyond charging a small fee for the initial introduction.
TIP: Scams in Russia are particularly prevalent. Check www.agencyscams.com if you’re thinking of using a Russian dating agency.
Step 3: Pay attention to dates Check out the 'join date' and/or 'last activity' marker on the women’s profiles. Many agencies don’t bother pulling photos of women who are no longer participating on the site, meaning you’ll be paying for email addresses of women who will never answer you.
Step 4: Double-check photos If there is a particularly beautiful woman on one of the front pages, check a few matchmaking competitors. Many sites feature the same models as bait, with different names.
TIP: Don’t believe an agency that tells you that your pen pal’s account is about to be closed for non-payment of membership dues; the would-be brides join for free.
Step 5: Check out her visa Check out any woman’s claim that she has—or can get—a visa. Do not send money for her visa unless you can confirm with an embassy that she really has one, or at least has applied for one. Visa scams are common.
Step 6: Don’t send money Don’t fall for sob stories from women you’re corresponding with; if they ask for money, that’s usually a red flag that you’re being scammed.
Step 7: Book your own travel If you decide to check out your foreign friend in person, book the trip on your own—not through the agency’s travel service, which usually offers inflated rates.
TIP: Learn some local phrases to really sweep her off her feet.
Step 8: Don’t expect a slave Don’t buy into the myth that mail-order brides are more compliant than American women. These girls may be looking for a better life, but there’s a limit to what they’ll do to get it.
Step 9: Get real Be realistic. If you’re a tubby 55-year-old video store clerk and a gorgeous 19-year-old university student professes to be madly in love with you—well… we don’t have to tell you what she’s really in love with.
FACT: The U.S. Postal Service processes and delivers nearly 703 million pieces of mail per day.