As of 2015, marriage agency and Internet dating fraud are some of the most prevalent scams in Russia. Both scams are confidence games in which the promise of beautiful women is used to extract cash, credit card information and other valuables from interested men. Dating scams typically take place online with the victim never actually meeting the woman he is courting. Other scams include elaborate dating trips and even marriage, after which the wife leaves with whatever she can get.
The mail-order-bride and match-making agency scam has been going on for many years. The scam typically has the prospective bachelor pay for expensive trips to Russia to meet potential wives. Upon choosing his bride, the unsuspecting groom pays for her engagement and wedding rings, marriage visa, travel expenses and wedding. Shortly after arrival in the United States, the bride uses an excuse of a sick relative to extract more money and return to Russia to visit but never returns. Other brides wait out the necessary period and simply leave after receiving full citizenship.
Online dating scams have grown into very large enterprises with fabricated profiles and pictures of beautiful women exchanging love or sexual emails and phone calls, creating elaborate romances for interested men. The interest is usually not real but rather an attempt to elicit money for expenses, gifts, jewelry or travel.