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In the first few letters the scammer will say what a good woman she is and how hard life is in Russia.
Her monthly salary is only a few hundred dollars, all Russian men are drunks and maybe her family died in a tragic accident or they are ill and in need of surgery.
This is a growing trend: in the 2015-16 financial year losses were about 0,000.
This ploy also relies on the stereotypical assumption that all Russian and Eastern European women want to move to or visit America, Canada, the UK or Australia which simply isn't the case.
With many people catching on to this scam, the scammers have “improvised” their story a little.
Scammers operate from countries with low per capita income and even if a scam takes months to pay out it is worthwhile for them, even for just a few hundred dollars.
Scammers use services like Western Union because it is all but impossible to track the recipient of the money which can be picked up anywhere in the world.
They do not ask for money for a ticket or visa but instead send you a scanned visa as “proof”.