Things that indicate your Russian romance email is a scam.

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Gentle Giant

Giant Admin for a Day
Staff member
At the beginning, please note that this is not an exhaustive list of things that indicate a romance scam. These are indicators which we have seen over the years which suggest a scam. The list will probably always change some.

If you have read about how to identify a scam email (which is here) then in addition to things like bad grammar, poor spelling, even poorer punctuation, etc. these are some other indications that your "sweetheart" is only going to bring you grief.

Also, if you find yourself in a romance scam or you think that it might be a scam you might want to check out Help! I'm in a scam and I don't know how to get out! at

1. I am from Yoshkar-Ola, (Йошка́р-Ола́; Mari: Йошкар-Ола) Mari El Republic, Russia
Which may be a true statement but while "she" may have nice pictures the person sending you the emails works from a script and that person is probably male. Yoshkar-Ola is a big red flag.

2. This is my picture...
...and they look like professional model shots. In fact, they probably are. That's because the scammer has stolen them off some website and recycled them for a romance scam format. In other cases, especially with the Russians, a woman may pose for a complete photo set and she might even be paid for them but she probably isn't getting royalty fees.


A lot of confusion about Russian scams makes for a lot of writing but here are a few tips. Remember most of this can be web searched if you know what to search.

Photographs are not important when someone wants to know if they are dealing with a Russian scammer. web search a few choice sentences from the scripts. scripts have been known to be 20 years old, the reason for the age? they work for scammers it might even be their only legacy to the world wide web, so as the saying goes if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Photos: Russian criminals have sets of photos of girls professionally taken and sold to scammers, that too has been going on for 10 years at least, it is a criminal business. Do you communicate with the girl in the photo ?
No you talk to a scammer who uses a set of photos.
Part of a deal with the girl in the photo can be that she will include photos of herself holding a plain white card. sometimes the girl is in communication with the person sending mail and will fill in the card .sometimes it is just plain old Photoshop photo editing software.

Origin of mail: Searching the origin of emails (where an email is sent from) There are billions of people who do not know how to find and read headers. Why is reading headers important?
1) You can see if they are living where they say they do, important for obvious reasons.
2) You can see if 'Bat mailer' is used .
3) You can see if their machine is hiding behind a proxy. Why would anyone hide behind a proxy? because the person would rather you do not find out where they live in the world. web search how to see headers and how to read the header.

If someone is online looking for love or affection and they do not know how to use the computer to find where mail is coming from they are in danger from people who use and abuse the emotions of others for gain.

Mail: Sending mail with photos using automated message sending software is a Russian scammer trademark. they send thousands of scripts and register at thousands of date sites ,automating the process saves time.

Scripts: People new to Russian scammers call these emails. They are pre-written scripts and the only time Russian scammers do not use scripts is when someone is about to send money, then they steer the scam personally. sometimes you will get a polite reply when you call them a scammer,sometimes just another script because thats how the auto mail sending ' Bat mailer 'works. Turned on it sends mail and photos in reply to your mail .Turned off the scammer replies personally.

De Master Yoda

We are receiving a lot of indications of increased scamming from REPUBLIC OF MARI EL in Russia and LUGANSK in Ukraine. Lugansk also specializes in "Translation" scams.

Any contact from Ladies looking for husbands from either of these areas are most likely to be scammers.

Any contact by anyone from these areas should raise a large red flag and it would be smart to do some research on the person via Google.

If you have been contacted by anyone from these areas please feel free to ask us about them.
Although the pictures are very attractive of these girls, they are fake or stolen and in most cases you are not in communication with nice looking Natasha but with Big hairy Boris as most of these communications are with MALE scammers using girls photos to scam with.

English speaking girls are sometimes employed as "bell girls" who phone victims pretending to be the girl in your emails.

Some of these dating scammers work in "gangs", with 15 to 25 guys involved in a scam.
They can range in age and seniority from young new guys 16 to 18 yrs old to seasoned western union jockeys 26 to 30 years old, generally operating from a private residence instead of an office to avoid the tax inspectors who would see any office rental and investigate.
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