Welcome to any newcomers who find this thread, for Christ's sake.. READ THIS!
...and save yourself a lot of homework and/or potential grief
SOME GENERAL INFO ABOUT RUSSIAN GIRLS, AND HOW TO SPOT RUSSIAN DATING SCAMMERS:
The vast majority of Russian dating scammers are not women at all, but actually men, mostly working in small gangs in or around Yoshkar Ola, in Mari El republic, sometimes in Chuvashia. It's virtually guaranteed that the girls in these scam pics aren't involved because the scammers steal their pics from the internet or pay unsuspecting friends for them, or buy and exchange them on scammer websites. (Once a scammer even admitted to me that he stole all his pics from army-of-brides.com and mamba.ru ).
Most scammers are VERY lazy and looking for quick cash. They use email extractor programs to get your mail addresses (if you don't have a profile on a dating site, that is)...
and copied form mails and spam programs on automatic reply, very often the BAT!, which can personalize small parts of each letter.
They mostly won't read your letters until after the money letter because they don't have time, ie because they're scamming, or trying to scam, as many guys as they can (economies of scale).....and also because they're semi-literate losers who can't speak much English anyway. IN OTHER WORDS, you can write any crap in your replies and they won't react, they're only interested when they're curious to know if you've taken the bait after the money letter. A girl is only involved either occasionally to phone a guy up, especially if he's suspicious, or to pick up the loot at Western Union, with a false ID of course!
More recently, the majority of Russian scammers have started using proxy servers or forged IPs to hide their locations so ALL YOU REALLY NEED TO DO IS TRACE THEIR IP ADDRESS!
If, by any chance, you don't believe any of this, please read: http://www.cheboksa..mers.html
So....if several or more of the following scam signs apply to your Boris (the beautiful Russian 'girl' that is supposedly writing to you), resist the temptation to help 'the poor girl' by sending her money. You're really writing to a sleazy Russian guy sitting in a smoky room in Yoshkar Ola, with a bunch of other sleazy guys spamming indiscriminately on laptops .
# 'girl' writes to you first on a dating site...especially a free one (or an email appears out of nowhere in your mailbox). Real Russian girls are rarely so bold as to write to you first. (unless you're obviously very attractive or rich :))) They will often reply to your mails, but rarely take the initiative. It's the man who does the chasing in Russia. Plus, if they're looking for a partner, they generally prefer him to be Russian speaking and live in Russia. Much more convenient!
# doesn't answer direct questions (sometimes factual mistakes in the letter). Her replies should be exactly that...replies...however short they are.
# girl's much too young for you (or too good to be true/looks like a model/porno star)....although I have noticed a recent tendency for some scammers to use photos of slightly 'less attractive' girls as well.
# girl has some far-fetched excuses for you not visiting her in Russia (criminal city, not the Russian custom, terrorism, it's her dream to come to your country, etc). ALL BULLSHIT!! Actually, the normal way to meet a Russian girl is to visit her in her city first. Russian TV is full of documentaries about Russian girls who have emigrated and got murdered, abandoned, etcetc. They should usually want to meet you first before they gallivant off to your country.
# scammers rarely have children, but most of the real Russian women I've ever met on the internet did (except for Moscow career girls). It's often the reason that they're looking for a partner.
# photos are too revealing (can't be a respectable girl). Respectability is very important to most Russian women (especially Moscow career girls). They're hardly likely to send a half-naked photo to a virtual stranger on the internet. Think about it!
# most of the pics are old and a little bit faded with a curiously grainy quality that soon becomes quite easy to recognise (overuse?). Again a scammer admitted to me that low-quality photos are a key factor in his scamming. I found this curious because a serious Russian girl who's looking for a partner very often saves up and goes to a professional to have a studio set done (often corny ones posing with a chair etc), and/or borrows a digicam at least (dates should also be on the photos you receive). My fiancée did it. Russian girls aren't all that poor anymore, and if they seriously want to leave Russia, they know that posting cheap pics will only attract cheap guys.
# GIRL CLAIMS NOT TO HAVE A MOBILE PHONE. Very unlikely!!! fer f***'s sake.....do you know a single girl without a mobile phone? Even poor Russian girls can't do without one, they're much cheaper than in Europe and a Megafon telephone card doesn't cost that much either. You should be able to call her whenever you want. On the other hand, not having a landline or a desktop/laptop is very common.
# very long rambling/ecstatic form letters with a strange format, punctation and layout written in scamlish. (world's worst Babelfish translation)
# writes long letters everyday in English. How does she have time to write those long letters if she's working? And if she doesn't have a job, how can she afford a computer + internet connection? Even Internet cafés are relatively expensive in Russia. Anyway, most Russians outside Moscow can hardly speak a word of English. (What's the point of finding a girl you can't communicate with, at least on a basic level?) PLUS.. if she can't speak English, why does she have a non-cyrillic email account like gmail or yahoo? Most real Russians use mail.ru, yandex.ru or inbox.ru....though hotmail and yahoo are acceptable if she'll chat with you on messenger (preferably with a webcam).
# falls in 'love' very quickly. Don't let your ego, kind heart, loneliness or lust pull the wool over your eyes. She doesn't really know you. You could be an axe murderer for all she knows. As I mentioned, Russian TV is full of documentaries about Russian girls who have emigrated and got murdered, abandoned, etcetc.
# uses a proxy server to hide his/her location, ie a SOCKS server / GPRS Internet. if you can't trace 'her' IP, it's 100% scam.
THE FIRST THING YOU SHOULD DO IS TRACE HER IP ADDRESS. In fact, it's the only thing you need to do really.
MOST IMPORTANT...if you get this far:
# she asks for money for a tourist 'visa' and/or maybe tickets, ignoring the fact that IT'S VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR A SINGLE, POOR RUSSIAN GIRL TO GET A TOURIST VISA TO A WESTERN COUNTRY!
Most Russian girls outside Moscow and St Petersburg are quite poor, and immigration control would consider them an overstay risk. They would never let be let into your country without a healthy bank account.
She can get a SPONSORED visa with your help, but then she needs a personal letter of invitation from you, a copy of your passport, a proof of your residence in your home country, a completed sponsor's application form (also from you)....not including the documents that she has to fill in herself. She also needs a job in Russia, a letter from her employer and insurance. All of these documents she has to drop off at your national embassy in Moscow WITH PREPAID TICKETS and wait about 10 working days. These are the rules for the Schengen countries anyway...the USA and Canada are almost as, if not more, complicated. Anyway, a normal TOURIST visa + travel costs + hotel rooms would set her back 2000+ US dollars for a trip to the US. She should be asking you for a lot of money! Why should it be so easy for a gorgeous sexy Russian girl just to jump on a plane and fall into bed with you? Anyway, no respectable Russian girl would ask directly for money, but might accept some if you insisted.
NB...you should check your national embassy website in Moscow for visa prices and procedures.
There are many variations on the scams, some quite slight. Some scammers claim to have a visa already and need money for tickets, a last-minute medical examination, etcetc. Some claim that their mother needs an operation, etcetc. A few more patient and professional scammers will take months before they hit you with the money letter (though if you follow my tips, you should be able to spot the scammers before then). There are even a few real girls scamming, and professional gold-diggers (mostly in the Ukraine). One or two of them are very bold, and not even afraid to use their true identities. These scammers are harder to spot, and there is no easy way to identify them, all you can do is use your instincts and common sense, and DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
and, of course, a golden rule: DON'T SEND MONEY...unless you're 100% sure she's real.
Another ground rule: if you are looking for a Russian wife/partner, you must be prepared to travel to Russia to meet her. You also need to behave generously towards her; after all, you need to prove that you can support here (and her kids) if she migrates to your country. But if she turns out to be a professional gold-digger, which has never happened to me personally or anyone I know (but I know it does happen), you should try to be philosophical and treat it as an exotic trip to a foreign country, have fun anyway, and try not to waste too much money on her.
There are actually hundreds of perfectly nice Russian girls in Russia but you have to be prepared to go and get them. Chercher la femme. It certainly worked for me.