With more and more people joining and using online dating sites (and more and more sites popping up to serve them), there is a growing amount of information available regarding online scams and the fraudsters behind them. One of the most documented scams (and yet continuously difficult to stop) derives from Russia and Ukraine.
Here then are some telltale signs and preferred methods of common online dating scams, Russian style.
The perfect photo
The profiles of a Russian scammer will rarely have a low quality photograph, so be on the look out for any Russian based profile with a photograph that seems almost too perfect. Fraudulent profiles will often use photographs of Russian celebrities or models, though they have also been known to hire women for private photo sessions. Be careful, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Scamglish: the language of cash
As most online dating scams originate from foreign countries, fraudulent profiles are usually written in poor, broken English. Russian scams continue this trend, however they do offer a few idiosyncratic twists that can help you spot them. First, be very cautious if it seems like a Russian single’s profile is written in the form of an introductory email. This is usually a sign of a pre-written template being used by a group. Secondly, be very careful if you see sentences like, “I the sensitive girl,” “I the nice person”, or anything to do with the word “structure”. These are translation mistakes that most Russian scammers make.
Visas and airline tickets
The most common method Russian scammers use to solicit money is based on traveling. Putting on the charm and making you believe they love you, they will make you believe that the only thing separating you from the love of your life is a simple airline ticket, or worse, an American visa. No matter how attractive, funny or easy-going a person may seem, do not agree to pay for their travel expenses. If they really wanted to meet you, they would have tried to find a way to get there on their own.
Using one of their telltale signs to their advantage, Russian scammers will often pretend to feel ashamed and embarrassed with the difficulties they have in English. They will then try to make it seem as if this difficulty is a great impediment to a promising, and globe crossing relationship. Whatever a supposed single tells you, never offer or agree to pay for a person’s English classes. Not only will they never actually study the language, but you will probably never even hear from them again.
Room and board
Another common Russian tactic is to build a decent rapport with a good-hearted single, gain some trust and then tell them they are moments away from being evicted. Do not offer to help, no matter how heartfelt the plea. Remember, you’re using an online dating site to meet your perfect match, not to help pay someone’s rent. Do not fall for it.
The cost of communication
Scammers will often try to make you think that they will soon be unable to pay for their Internet connection, or cell phone. The idea is that if they have done their job properly in attracting you, you will want to pay to continue talking to them. Don’t believe it for a moment.
The sick mother
What would a scammer be with the old “sick mother” routine? Like scammers from all over the world (with those from Asia at the forefront) Russians fraudsters are not above pretending their mother (or father) is deathly ill and in need of medical assistance. Do not, under any circumstances, offer to help someone who describes this sort of story to you. You are not online to finance surgeries and medical care.
While Russian scams are among the most well known of the online dating frauds, it does not mean that every member from that region of the world is worthy of suspicion. Exercising caution, and keeping some of these methods in mind will help you pick out the good from the bad. Be safe, and have fun.