Technology and competition for this lucrative market has made a mockery of it.
To the average person, thanks to bad press and other contributing factors, online dating has become somewhat of an un-trusted source for meeting people.
Before you write to me asking about possible Russian dating scams, or post your question here on my site, here's the short answer: Below I'll discuss the categories of Russian dating scams and how they work is a good start to avoiding them, but you can actually avoid them without knowing very much about them by following a few simple guidelines.
I'll summarize here: (1) Shop only on the reputable sites, and (2) "follow the money".
Armed with their fake identity, the scammer proceeds to forge a bond with you.
They often communicate with you for weeks and months so you think you are getting to know them better while it is actually all part of their master plan.
The standard scam story then starts to unfold as your online date suddenly has some sort of emergency in Nigeria or Ghana.
The stories may range from a businessman having an accident while in Nigeria for work to a helpless woman being stranded in Ghana; from asking for charity donations for Africa to a family member having a brain hemorrhage while in Africa.
And it is true that if you enter this pursuit by web searching and selecting random search results you will almost surely encounter scams.
While online dating sites work hard to eliminate scammers from their sites, unfortunately some continue to be very deceptive and get past the fraud checks so it is important to be aware of what a potential scammer might attempt to do.
Nobody wants to be scammed yet most people are not quite sure what to look out for.
Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact.
They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction.