Russian Romance Scams in 2024: Signs & How to Protect Yourself

By Ruth Jesse

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Visiting a dating site to find love online? There is someone with whom you are in touch on a regular basis. The prospect of having found love with an unknown person adds a certain element of mystery and intrigue too. And we cannot deny that it just adds all the more to the thrill factor of the entire online dating plan. However, do you really know who that person on the other end is?

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This is the reason why online dating is already considered quite sketchy. Especially in comparison to dating someone you meet in real life. Because you can never be too sure about the person or persons on the other side. They may pretend to be someone else, and they may end up scamming you, taking advantage of your naivete and innocence.

While online dating is anyway associated with a lot of risks, it may involve anyone. However, lately, many stories of Russian women scamming people, especially foreigners, on dating sites have been increasingly reported.

The internet is full of stories of Russian dating scams.

Therefore, it is imperative to discuss the signs of such online dating scams. It is so that you can learn how to protect yourself from Russian scammers.





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Discussing Russian Romance Scams

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People from Eastern Europe are generally very good-looking, especially Russian women. Most of the time, they are very homely, not so career-oriented, and love to have children and raise families.

These are some of the traits that make people, especially women from Eastern Europe highly desirable to people from other countries.

Apart from this, there are many reports of Russian men targeting foreign women from other countries too.

The impact of such romance scams is the prevalence of general mistrust towards Russians. Which is wrong. Because not all Russian men and women are fraudsters.

Another factor that is important to consider is the heartbreak and emotional injuries that the victim sustains through any such scam. Because of these factors, we can safely say that the impact of online dating scams can be really devastating for many people.

Having said all this, the need to discuss these issues becomes more important. You may belong to any country, any gender, or any religion. But you can always encounter a Russian scammer, and fall prey to their online scamming. You may lose your trust in the end, besides having a broken heart and a dent in your monetary funds!

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Why Romance Scams Happen From Russia

When we talk about romance scams, the most common reason that comes to mind is the need for money and poverty. The scammers are usually on scavenging hunts for money. They target lonely and desperate people as their victims on online dating sites and apps.

Usually scamming is associated with a need to extort money from a victim. This is one reason why some poor African and Asian countries are especially notorious for such a scam.

However, in the case of Russia, this is not the main reason or the only reason.

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Russia is a pretty rich country. People, especially foreigners think that online fraud is unlikely here. But this is just a false belief based on erroneous judgment. Sadly, that is not the truth as per the reports also.

Another important reason for increasing Russian romance scams is that Russia is technologically pretty advanced. Hacking is quite common there. And so, it becomes easier for Russian men and women to make people fall victim to their romance scam.

Russia is a large country and has many different types of communities living within. It is hard to associate a particular kind of behavior with them all. Because this is going to be generalizing and that is definitely wrong. Not all Russians are scammers, and not all of them search for opportunities to contact people from other parts of the world for such a scam.

So, it is important to keep in mind that scams should not be associated with the vast majority of people in Russia. But that does not mean that you should become completely reckless in trusting a random stranger you meet online.

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Need To Know About Romance Scams

M, Age 37 met A, a 26-year-old Russian woman on a famous online dating app. Going on a short trip to Russia soon, M wanted to know a few Russian women beforehand and A happened to be one of them. In fact, she was the one who started the conversation and was looking for a long-term relationship. After exchanging messages for some time, M found out that A had never been abroad as it was very costly.

When M reached Russia, he asked her to meet in St.Petersburg. But A declined, saying she was in Rostov with her grandmother. M liked her and was under the impression that the feelings were mutual, as A called him “Her Destiny.”

But oddly, she kept on refusing his phone calls. M did not pay much heed to this and naively attributed it to her “shyness.”

On the other hand, was anything but shy! When she gauged how innocent M was, she moved to the next step of her game plan. She then proceeded to ask him for a hefty amount as “gift money” for a new phone. Her reason was that her old phone was not in proper working condition. And so, she could not talk to him with that old phone until she got it fixed.

So, she demanded that if M wanted to talk to her, he would have to do something for her to get her old one fixed or get him a new phone.

Luckily, M saw through this scam. He realized in time that A was probably not even a real Russian woman. She was probably a man, or a couple from Russia trying to make him a victim of their scam.

M did the right thing. He refused to give A any money. When A saw that her plan was being sabotaged, she blocked all the messaging apps and deleted her profile on the dating app where they had met.

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How Do Russian Romance Scams Work

The vast majority of Russian romance scams usually start from online dating sites. The scammers try to move the conversation to texts, calls, etc.

If you encounter someone like that, be watchful for the next step of these scammers. They would want to create a bond with you.

Now, you need to understand how these scammers really function. Most scammers operate by learning your personal information first through various social sites. They would then lie about theirs, or give you completely believable but false information.

If you ever ask to meet them, either you would be rejected or canceled at the last moment. They would spin all types of tales to avoid meeting you in person. And that should strike you odd. A person aiming to build a relationship with you through online dating would ideally not do any such thing. And that is common sense.

Next, in the hopes to get money out of you, these scammers will tell you about their financial problems.

They will tell you sob stories about how they have suddenly been struck by a financial crunch. Or have lost their job. They will try to take advantage of your trust and innocence and will try to make a fool of you.

Like telling you that something has gone wrong in their country, and they need to flee, or they may create just about any kind of story to make you believe them.

If not this, then they may ask you to make travel arrangements for them. They may want you to pay for their visa applications. It would be so that they could come and meet you, whom they claim to be the “love of their life!”

Now, if you do not catch their scam, you may become their victim. You may innocently send them the money they asked for.

And sadly, that will be when you will have the shock of your life. After receiving the money, these scammers will disappear and block you from all the apps.

If you were smart and did not give in to their demands, they would block you from all correspondence. Be it emails, messaging apps, or even the dating site where they targeted you for the first time.

Now, this is exactly the reason why it is advised not to send money to people you haven’t met in real life.

You never know who is out there to get you and make you their next victim.

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The Most Popular Type Of Russian Dating Scams

The most popular type of dating scam is the creation of fake profiles.

Many create a fake profile of a young woman and they use fake pictures, emails, social media accounts, etc. They go as far as they can in order to convince the victims. But they will most likely not show up on the first date or just refuse the idea in the first place, as mentioned before.

The images that they will show you will be of an extremely beautiful young woman. It is to entice you and lure you into their trap. However, this “young woman” that you see in the pictures may not even be a woman. She may not even be a real person! This can totally be a morphed, digitally generated picture.

These scammers target western men and women mostly. Especially people from the US or the UK. And as soon as they achieve their goal, they ghost the victims.

As we stated before, the ultimate goal may be to get money or some type of financial benefit out of the victim. And this can be done by either pressurizing or manipulating them according to their whim.

The “bride-scam:”

This is a common tactic used by many Russian scammers. They may develop a special bond with you over time. Then, they will promise to marry you. When you will ask to meet, they will tell you all types of false stories. They will even ask you for money, or to make travel arrangements for them. They will try to get you to make Visa applications for them, or initiate the green card process.

The rationale behind all of this charade is to give you the impression that you need to bring your “bride” home.

In most cases, men are the victims of this kind of scam. But many times, women also become prey. Many women are lonely, divorced, depressed, or just adventurous. They can easily become a victim of such online scamming easily in the name of love and stability.

No money, but gifts:

In this type of scam, the scammer will ask for gifts instead of money. The gifts may include the latest model phones, gadgets, sponsoring a vacation, luxurious hotel stays, etc.

The scammer may even ask for “gift money” in the pretense to further their relationship with you.

Try not to fall prey to all such schemes!

4 Risk factors of being scammed by a Russian?

Several factors can make you prone to getting scammed on an online dating site or app.

Be watchful of these risk factors and see if they make you a soft target of these online scammers:

1. Being lonely

Needless to say, this is the most important risk factor that can make anyone become prey to scammers.

If you are lonely, you are most likely quite emotionally vulnerable. In your quest to find a meaningful relationship, you may end up on a shady dating site. Or start approaching people without any care and caution.

This is where you will give the sign to the scammers out there that you are available. And so, they will mark you as their next target of online scamming.

2. Divorced/recently broken up?

Breaking up from a relationship takes a toll on the mind and heart. It can make you very vulnerable. And this is what the scammers are looking for. Your vulnerability.

Your heartache may temporarily affect your sound judgment too. And so, it will be easier for you to become a victim of online scamming.

3. Do you have plenty of money? Are you rich?

Many people like to display proof of their financial assets on their social media. While this is a personal choice, it is not a good one.

Some people do this to attract attention too.

Scammers work like scavengers. They are literally going through various profiles. The minute they “smell” money and desperation, they mark that person. They will then collect all kinds of information about that person. And then, contact them under the pretense of dating, to eventually scam them.

4. Going through a mid-life crisis?

People who are in their forties usually become easy prey to online scammers. The reason is that they are going through a mid-life crisis. Their lack of self-esteem needs a boost. And nothing boosts confidence more than a virtual romantic relationship, that too with a younger person. In the digital realm, many lonely and depressed, middle-aged men engage in these kinds of relationships. The reason is their need for self-validation.

If any of the above-mentioned things check with you, then you can be certain that you are at risk of getting scammed.

Might as well take care of it before becoming a victim of such a scam on an online dating site.

8 Important tips on what to look out for with online Russian dating

1. Profile verification

When on an online Russian dating site, be sure to look through the individual’s profile carefully.

2. Verify their images

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Make sure their pictures aren’t scams by doing a reverse image search. This can simply be done through some Google search or some other engines.

3. Check out their behavior pattern

See if they avoid talking about themselves. Do they constantly try to pry information from you? Do they say that they “care” about you very much? And that is why they want to know more and more about you? Do they ask questions about your family, job, wealth status, etc?

4. Make sure to check for inconsistencies

Also, check if their stories are inconsistent. Did they tell you one thing before, and the next time, changed their version? This is a very clear sign of a liar. And you should be able to catch this very easily.

5. Demanding

Be on the lookout for someone who asks you for inappropriate pictures. They may even ask you to share explicit intimate images. You must be wary of sharing any such images with anyone over the digital realm. You never know from where a scammer may get a hand at such pictures of yours. They can then can use them against you, later on, to blackmail or extort money.

6. Search for their profile over social media:

Check if their profile details have been used somewhere else and if they are on social media.

7. Doesn’t want to meet up

If they keep on refusing to meet you or keep on canceling on you, it is a major red flag. They may even refuse to engage in video chatting with you or call you.

However, there is another type of scheme that some scammers may employ. They may try to engage with you in a more personal, intimate manner. Ask for explicit video chatting. However, in many cases, there is a high chance that they may be doing so to win your trust.

This will make you more prone to become a victim of their devious plots later.

8. Moving too fast

If the relationship is getting serious too fast, too quick. If the pace is making you feel troubled or uncomfortable, then perhaps it is time to pause. Re-evaluate everything. Scammers do not usually have a lot of patience. They do not want to wait for long to win your love and affection. So, they may try various things to fasten up things. This may feel like an unnatural progression of events. And if it does not sit well with you, then you need to stop.

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3 Must-Remember ways on how to protect yourself against Russian Romance Scams

Considering all the above-mentioned pointers, you can be certain of how to be careful with online dating.

All you need to do is:

1. Be mindful and vigilant

If you find something odd, then it probably is. Be attentive to your gut instinct.

2. Do not haste

As mentioned before, if things are going too fast, or if the other person is trying to be hasty, pause. This is usually one of the major red flags that you should be mindful of.

3. Do not leak your information

Do not leak any personal information which could possibly harm you, on your profile at any cost. Try not to put yourself at any kind of risk when you are trying to find love online.

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Wrap Up

In this article, we have discussed various aspects that can put you at risk if you are fond of online dating. While you should be careful with anyone you date on a dating app or site, perhaps you should be a little more careful if the other person claims to be from Russia.

Not all digital relationships are wrong. There are many success stories where people have found love through a dating app or site. But the fact that there are many Russian romance scam stories on the internet also should not be undermined. And not be taken lightly at all.

There is one basic thing that you must not forget. Do not sell your trust so easily. You never know the intention of a random stranger you have met online. They may show you their love and care, but you must try not to show your vulnerability to anyone. Especially not someone whom you have never met in person.





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Ruth Jesse

Ruth is a life coach who specialises in relationships and career development. Outside work, she loves writing novels and guides for personal development.

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