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The U.S. has had its fair share of Russian infiltration, from malware to ransomware scams, and they can now add internet dating scams to their list of successes. Russian internet dating scams are becoming increasingly popular and consist of scammers taking advantage of unsuspecting victims and manipulating them out of thousands of dollars. If you want to know more, keep reading to discover how these scams work and what to do once you become a victim.
Here are some warning signs you should look for if you ever find yourself talking with someone from Russia online.
If someone asks for money or expensive gifts in return for promises of love or marriage, it’s almost certainly a scam. Especially if you haven’t talked to this person for long or have even met them in person. Sure, people meet online, but it’s rare for someone to claim they are in love with you after only a few weeks of online communication.
Scammers may try to get your personal information under the guise of getting to know you better. This could include asking for your full name, address, and phone number before the two of you have even had a chance to meet in person. Be wary if someone asks too many questions that seem intrusive or out-of-place — it could mean they are looking for information they can use against you in a scam later on.
Another red flag is if someone refuses or cannot meet up in person after getting to know each other through messaging services such as email or social media sites like Facebook. While some people prefer talking online for whatever reason, others try to hide something from you and avoid meeting up altogether – which could mean they’re part of an online dating scam.
Dating scammers, or romance scammers, use emotional manipulation to get what they want. They get their victims to believe they genuinely care for them and want to start a life together. To do that, they use the “love bomb” tactic. This means they constantly show affection and attention and push for the relationship to become serious sooner than it should be. This helps to get them to do what they desire. Since victims want to keep the relationship good, they do whatever they can to please their “partner,” so if that means sending them money to ensure they are cared for, they will do it.
If the scam turns into internet blackmail, they will use scare tactics to keep control over their victims. They will threaten to expose their victims to their family, friends, community groups, and even their place of employment. They make their threats as scary as possible to get their victims to do precisely what they say to avoid exposure.
In these dating scams, scammers steal pictures of attractive women from the internet and use them to create fake dating profiles on popular dating apps. The goal is to emotionally manipulate vulnerable victims looking for love into believing they are in a committed relationship or have a chance for a potential marriage. Once their victim is hooked, they will devise a handful of excuses for why they need financial assistance.
Per the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Russia, the scam consists of the following elements:
It’s also important to note that on top of consistently asking for money, these scammers also consistently makeup why they cannot meet in person or even via video chat. There are two ways the scam can end. The scammer can either ghost their victim and completely disappear after receiving the money they wanted, or they can blackmail their victims.
Once a victim feels defeated and loses hope they will ever meet, victims will try to end the relationship. That is when potential blackmail can happen. These scammers will use every intimate and personal detail and content and threaten to expose it online if they don’t receive more money.
Being a victim of an online dating scam can be devastating, and taking action quickly is crucial. For starters, documenting the scam and avoiding giving in to any demands is essential. However, don’t stop there – reporting sextortion to the authorities and seeking the help of a qualified cyber investigator can make a world of difference. Ultimately, it’s essential to let the experts handle it while you focus on your emotional well-being. Be proactive about your online security with strong privacy settings; remember, you’re not alone.
Everyone must stay aware when looking for love online — especially those who may be more vulnerable due to age or inexperience with online relationships — as there are; unfortunately, many out there looking to take advantage of unsuspecting victims by running Russian internet dating scams.
By being aware of warning signs such as requests for money or personal information, unrealistic claims about themselves, and an inability/unwillingness to meet in person, you can help protect yourself from falling victim to these scams and keep yourself safe from harm.
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