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Email scams are probably the most prevalent method of Russian scammers. Other times they contact you out of the blue via direct email.
An email scam is simply a case where some volume operation (could be a man or a woman, and may be in Russia, Ukraine, Nigeria, or New Jersey) contacts you by email, engages you in communication, and eventually attempts to bait you into sending money. Often they will post very appealing profiles on Match.com, POF.com, or a Russian dating site like Ukraine or Russian and receive many thousands of responses.
I have a friend in the travel agency who can get a tourist visa for me to visit you, but I need 0 for the visa and 00 for the airfare. ..." BUT BE AWARE OF A NEW TREND AMONG RUSSIAN SCAMMERS: It is becoming increasingly popular for Russian scammers to disarm your suspicions by talking about plans to come see you in your country, but INSIST on covering all their own expenses for the visit, even if you offer. Sometime, usually immediately prior to her trip to come see you, she will run into some unavoidable cash flow crisis.
You can't help but think "Gosh, how could this be a scam if she is paying for the trip? Or, another similar recent favorite is for Russian scammers to claim that they ALREADY have their visa and will be coming to your country and that they just need to choose the city...
Russian scammers post pictures and profiles of beautiful Russian women.
She may continue the dialog immediately after you exchange contact information, OR you may never see another message from her, but days, weeks, or months later you will start getting very generic emails from various Russian women you've never seen claiming they saw your profile at a dating agency and want to get to know you.She/he commonly states that the money's needed to help resolve a family tragedy, arrange for a trip to your country.The copy of a fraudulent visa is attached to prove good intention.But however it is that the dialog starts, the direct/email scam is nearly always done through "free media" (email, Skype, and/or some other instant messaging tool), not through "Pay-Per-Letter" services (more on that kind of scam at Agency Scams). She will sound like she's more and more in love with you with each passing email.You are her special man, and she's stopped writing all other men from the site, told her family and friends all about you, etc., etc., etc.