Last week I went to see The Big Short movie, which was excellent, by the way — it totally deserved the Oscar nomination for the best film (Brad Pitt is one of the producers and also playing a small supporting role), the best supporting actor for Christian Bale and the best director for Adam McCay. It also got nominations for the best editing and best adapted screenplay, 5 in total.
If you have not seen it yet, go and try to catch it in theatres, you will enjoy it and learn a thing or three.
“The Big Short” Fraud Is Like Mail Order Brides Scams
As I had been savouring the film, I couldn’t help but think about the parallels between the mortgage securities fraud that pushed America into the recession of 2007 and the PPL (pay per letter) dating sites and their way of operation.
In fact, there is hardly anyone who tried the PPL (paid chat) dating with Ukrainian and Russian women and still believes it is 100% legit.
Just dig an inch and you will discover a plethora of stories how people spent thousands of dollars chatting to sweet Russian mail order brides (or Ukrainian single ladies) and then realized it was all a fake front, and they were obviously conversing with a professional letter writer (a “typing slave”) and not with the girl from photos.
The fact that “girls” from PPL sites try to grab guys on free dating sites and then move them to “pay per message” scheme on another site proves that they work exactly the same as all dating scammers. Not being upfront from the start is a typical predatory practice.
Wanting To Believe The Unbelievable
The same way in the movie anyone with an ounce of intelligence could see potential problems with mortgage securities but they kept pushing the idea that they were 100 legit and reliable. Not even the regulators wanted to know anything about the fraud, even when shown the proof.
Steve Carrel’s hero says a profound phrase in the movie along the lines that never in the history of humanity fraud has worked. Not even once.
The whole system of creating “securities” out of bundled mortgages led to banks being more interested in making money on these “new instruments” than to actually giving mortgages to people who could pay them.
This is why the USA economy suffered a huge shock when the party inevitably stopped, and lots of people found themselves without chairs.
Young Russian Mail Order Brides for Old Men Are Unreal
The system of PPL started with paying money to local agents for translations of each letter, and ended up with the same agents hiring girls to pose as “brides” for photos and employing other people to type messages.
It could not end up any different: If you create a system prone to abuse, there will be abuse.
The PPL system made it unprofitable for agents when girls had been finding relationships (she would quickly disappear and they couldn’t make money on her), but lucrative to have women who were not interested in finding a foreign husband but only interested in free money.
In this way, the agent doesn’t need to bother with selecting the right candidates for the woman, the ones that she would actually like, but is only concerned with getting as many permanent suitors for the profile as possible — and keeping them hooked.
It means that for the woman it didn’t matter who the letters were sent to: She wasn’t going to have a relationship with these guys anyway.
So, letter writers started sending messages to anyone… everyone who logged into the site. 20, 30, 40 years older — what’s the difference? As long as he is ready to pay for communication.
You believe that these pretty young girls dream to escape Ukraine and marry a guy who could be their grandfather? You really think it’s possible and probable?
I had messages from people who were totally convinced that it was OK for him being 62 to “date” a 25-year-old Ukrainian girl.
Of course! “She” was the one who contacted him. She is just desperate to immigrate, he tells to himself.
No, guys: The trick is in the real money that you are paying for “communication”. That’s all that is real in this scheme.
This is why it’s so easy to get dozens of messages from “pretty mail order brides” on PPL sites with any bogus profile.
This is the comment I received on the article about job ads of Ukrainian marriages agencies from the user who lived in Odessa for 2 years, had a real-life (not virtual) Ukrainian girlfriend there, and conversed with many locals constantly:
The same thing a young woman from Odessa wrote describing life in her city. It is the secret that’s no secret to anyone living there. But somehow, foreign men “dating” gorgeous Ukrainian girls find it hard to comprehend.
It’s not a date: It’s a pay-per-hour extraction of money from you for “translations”. If you are soft-hearted, you may be also scammed for gifts and shopping.
But truth to be told, thinking that a 25-year-old model is indeed in love with a 62-year-old is rather rosy. (You probably never thought so: You thought she was so desperate to immigrate and escape poverty that she would do anything.)
Well, trying to take advantage of other people’s misfortune can only lead to you being exploited. Unless you fit the criteria of a man who is able to marry a woman 25 years younger, all the money you have paid may be totally wasted and you have been simply scammed.
And this whole setup came about from the PPL scheme designed to make as much money as possible from every single suitor. Why the PPL sites don’t disclose the fact that they are paying commissions to agents for each communication? This would make it much more transparent to unsuspecting men, who are being taken advantage of.
The Big Fall
The same thing happened with American mortgages: Banks were not as much making money on interest and repayments, as on sale of bundled mortgages as “securities” — they needed to issue as many mortgages as possible and stopped checking them, started to close their eyes on what was really going on.
The brokers, who were getting giant commissions on mortgages they managed to issue, were fiddling with applications just to get them approved. They didn’t care if the people could actually pay the loan instalments or even had a job. Mortgage defaults skyrocketed.
Of course, this couldn’t go on forever. It came down with a huge flop!
- In The Big Short movie the disaster unfolded when the level of mortgage defaults went over 8%.
- In today’s Russian Mail Order Brides setup the catastrophe may strike when the level of credit card chargeback goes over 5% — and this is totally probable, with just a couple of media outlets picking up on the massive fraud in “paid chat” (PPL) Russian dating sites and running stories.
Now, I am curious:
- How long will it take for the PPL system to fall? It’s been operating for over 10 years.
- How substantial will be the devastation? Lumosity has been fined 2 million dollars for deceptive advertising about “brain training” by the Federal Trade Commission protecting American consumers.
- How all the guys who ever paid a dime to a PPL site will feel about themselves, when they are told that this all was one big setup? Some of them spent years and up to 200 thousand dollars chasing the dream offered by PPL sites.
In the movie, the value of investment funds who bet against the mortgage securities loaded with fraud went up over 400%, making them billions of dollars in profits.
The ones who saw the writing on the wall were rewarded handsomely.
However, in the case of PPL dating industry, the size of which is only around 100-200 million dollars a year (billions over the last decade), the largest concern is not the money but time.
- Thinking of all the men who spent months or even years using PPL systems in hopes to find that one “real” girl who would become their partner for life, who is going to compensate their expenditure?
- Who is going to reimburse these men for the years of lonely life that they were convicted to by the organizers of PPL schemes?
- Who will help them to pick themselves up out of the abyss and find strength to seek real love?
Who Profits from Mail Order Brides
By the way, the players that profited from the fall of the USA housing market were not any different from the players who made millions by packaging subprime mortgages as “securities” — they were simply smarter. They, too, profited from the system that extracted money out of the pockets of people who actually earned it.
It is the same players who were selling and re-selling packaged mortgage securities that invested in the PPL model of Russian (Ukrainian) Mail Order Brides. They just don’t care, as long as the little guy on the ground pays. They are extracting money from the pockets of the same everyday Americans, Australians, Europeans who create the national GDP.
Just as much as brokers cared about people taking mortgages they couldn’t possibly pay, the investors in the PPL scheme are hardly concerned about the life and relationships of people whose money they collect.
(Bear it in mind when complaining about the Ukrainian girls who pretend to be mail order brides in order to earn a living. It is not them who organized the PPL scheme and takes the largest profits.)
The Big Short film doesn’t end on an optimistic note.
The crooks who were responsible for the fraudulent scheme barely got a slap on the wrist. The organizers went back to their banquets and high lifestyle, and the poor misled people who took mortgages seduced by the hype were left to pick up pieces of their chattered lives.
The Big Short Prediction
To all the guys who are still using PPL (paid chat) “Russian mail order brides” sites, go and see the movie. When the crash comes down, it comes down hard.
No matter what the organizers of the scheme are telling you, it’s not 100% legit.
The probability of all these chats and messages from pretty girls that you are getting on PPL sites being 100% real is: Zero (0).
Go watch The Big Short.