For about as long as Russian and Ukrainian online dating has been around, major money scams have existed with people being baited into sending scammers money or allowing them access to their financial information.
Even though many websites such as dating blogs, forums, matchmaking and dating agencies try and put warnings out about what kind of information should be shared and safe ways to contact Russian and Ukrainian ladies, scammers still manage to trick their victims.
Maybe you were even once a victim and you didn’t want to tell anyone for fear you’d be looked down on for falling for the scanner’s tactics. You’re far from alone though because every year thousands of Western men are victims of Russian and Ukrainian online dating scams.
Who Tends To Be The Most Targeted Victims?
According to an FBI report that was released recently, a good many victims of online dating scams tend to be middle-aged men who have quite a bit of money. But they’re far from limited to that demographic as there have been stories of older women and younger millennials who’ve fallen victims to scammers as well.
The bottom line is anyone trying online dating is always vulnerable to a scam once they’ve started trusting the scammer and feeling that they need to help them when they seem to be in trouble.
Who Are The Scammers?
Online dating scammers come from all over the world, and while places in Russia, Ukraine, Asia (e.g. Indonesia, Thailand) and Africa (e.g. Nigeria, South Africa or Ghana) seem to be among the top hotbeds for scammers, they exist everywhere including in the US, UK and Canada.
The online dating scammers have usually mastered the art of posing as either a very attractive woman (kind of super models), or a handsome man with the looks of Brad Pitt. What draws people to a relationship with the scammers is that they’ll often seem very easy to talk to and seem very interested in the victim, so the victim unsuspectingly walks very far into the trap.
The Scammer’s Pictures
Pictures are usually the first things that get Russian online dating scammers’ victims falling for them. It used to be a common trend for a scammer to grab photos of a celebrity or supermodel for a fake profile, and in some cases they still do.
But as most people have come to recognize those kind of photos are fake, scammers have also gotten smarter and now tend to go out and copy more normal-looking photos of Ukrainian brides and use those to lure people in.
One thing that’s usually noticeable with scammers is they can have broken English and sometimes not understand quite what you’re saying. Usually they’ll copy what they’re typing into an online automated translator and hope that they’re able to talk smoothly to their victim.
But don’t be fooled by Russian and Ukrainian romance scammers who have learned how to speak English quite well and understand everything you type.
The Scammer’s Usual Methods
Russian and Ukrainian dating scammers have all kinds of methods for getting the victim’s money from fraudulent check cashing activities, to money orders and many other easy grabs they make.
Usually they will claim that something has happened to them and they’re in a situation they can’t get out of without their victim’s money. Usually they’ve spoken in normal conversations with the victim leading up to this. It gets to a point where the victim believes what they’re saying and doesn’t realize what’s happened until after they’ve been scammed.
Another method the scammer may use is blackmail that usually comes after having several intimate photo or video exchange sessions with the victim. The scammer will demand the victim give them money or they will threaten to send videos they recorded of the victim to the victim’s friends or employer.
The scammer may be only bluffing, but the victim believes them and complies. The FBI says they believe the reports they get of these incidents only touch the surface of what’s going on because most victims are too afraid to tell people what happened to them.
How To Avoid Becoming A Victim Of A Scam
While Russian and Ukrainian romance scammers can be good at hiding among legitimate online profiles, you don’t have to become a victim of one. There are several tips you should follow to make sure you keep your money in your wallet.
1. If someone’s profile looks more attractive than usual and their interest in you seems too good to be true, it probably is.
2. If they don’t talk like they’re from where they say they are, they probably aren’t.
3. You probably shouldn’t engage in intimate picture or video chat unless you’ve verified that the person you’re talking to is who they say they are.
4. Most importantly, never under any circumstances should you give out money to anyone you only know online, even if what they’re saying seems to be true. There’s just too much of a possibility they’re scamming you.
What is your experience with Russian / Ukrainian online dating scam?