There are some signs, which should alert you: but meantime do not leave in paranoia!
The woman herself does not wish to give you her postal address. She sends email via free-of-charge electronic mail (the most popular in Russia are mail.ru and yandex.ru). A problem with these electronic addresses is that it is impossible to identify the girl (or guy). So be prepared, your "soulmate" may disappear without leaving any traces.
Russian girl gives you the "address", specifying the Post Office Box number, instead of her personal postal address. Be cautious, the girl can disappear without leaving any traces.
The woman writes in the first email to you that all Russian men drink too much. Excuse me. This is a bunch of bull. Not all Russian men are boozers, but probably those from her own social circle. I am originally from Russia, and none (none!) of my family, friends, collegues "drink too much". Imagine, if I was raised in the US in the trailer park, probably all men around me would be the drug addicts. That doesn't speak bad of men in general, but of the woman herself. If this is the type of men from her own social circle, it is her own hard case. If any American woman write in her message that "she is looking for soulmate online because every man around her is a drug addict" what would you think about such woman? Another proof that scammers are not intelligent people. I never saw any normal Russian woman writing something like that in her messages or emails. Anyhow, when you see that about Russian men, it is an sign of scam.
If a Russian woman sends you pictures, pay attention: does she look such as a 'real' person? Most real women do not have enough money to pay for costly studio-shots done. Ask yourself this: why is she mentioning how poor she is when she can afford to have her hair and make-up done for a costly photo-shoot? Also beware for naked or tempting photos. Most Russian women with unadulterated intentions wouldn't do something that extreme. Many swindlers will not hesitate just copy the professional photos of famous Russian actresses.
Excessively gentle messages at the very beginning of your correspondence. For example if she calls you "Darling” or signs her first messages to you "from Russian with love".
Indefinite messages with no or few questions about you. She may write very loving messages about how much she needs you, misses and loves you, so far doesn't seem interested in you personally. A Russian woman severely bearing in mind marriage will evidently have serious questions.
The woman is completely not interested in your work and your incomes. It can seem self-contradictory firstly: you can tell yourself, that she is interested only in your inner world and not in your standard of living. Actually, a swindler just does not wish certain serious relations with you and wants only to draw a maximum amount of money in a minimum amount of time. Opposite to the genuine woman who will not leave Russia and her family not being confident, that the man with whom she is going to live, will provide the financial security of their future family.
Your questions are never or seldom answered. A genuine Russian girl will understand that you have questions about her, and try to reply. A scammer might not even read your message.
Her messages may seems like "mold" messages. If she is a scammer, they are form messages. They are generally sent out in order - reply #1, reply #2, reply #3 etc. If she is working on many men at once, you may even receive emails addressed to someone else. Her messages may become progressively sexual. Her photos may become progressively more tempting. This is a common theme throughout the varying dishonest dating schemes.
Allusions about how costly Internet cafes are. This is all delirium, senseless delirium! That could only have been during 1990s but not now! Also, you should know that most Russian, Ukrainian, FSU women don't use Internet cafes for their correspondence. The majority of real girls will have Internet access at home, or at work. So if they claim that Internet costing them $50 or $100 per month, you need to be suspicious. In almost every Russian city, Internet access costs very cheap. The cheater may ask you about sending small amounts of money regularly to pay for other different expenses - for example, English language courses to manage a preferably communication with you etc. Once you stop sending money, the "woman" is vanishing. The average monthly wage in Russia is near $100-150 USD, so such "small amounts of money" that you sent to her could be in fact a godsend for "the woman".
A tragedy happened and money is urgently necessary. This is the most common fraud used. It generally comes up after she's corresponded with you for awhile. The plot could be almost anything: a member of the family is a victim of some terrible accident – for example, one of her parents got hit by a bulldozer and could die unless a pricey surgery operation is performed; her cash was stolen, the rent is due and she could be evicted and end up on the streets. There are endless forms to this subject but usually it is a seriously sick person in her family (mother, father) and he or she can only be rescued, if you send money to pay for the medical care. You shouldn't fall for this unless you've met the Russian woman and her family personally, or otherwise know the story could be truth.
Her messages are more special and also make a hallucination, that strong feelings are created between you and the woman. After approximately 7-10 messages "the Russian girl" has the opportunity to come in your home country and that a great (by local standards) sum of money is needed. She is burning with desire and she wants to meet with you as soon as possible. But she needs money for the visa and tickets, or hotel stay while waiting to obtain the visa. While it is possible for Russian women to obtain a tourist visa to visit your country, it would be quite difficult. A certain earnings level must be met and there are many limitations. While it's less trouble for a Russian or Ukrainian citizen to visit other countries within the FSU, this remains one of the most common scams. Most real women from the FSU would prefer that you visited them in their home country, where they could be in habitual surroundings and introduce you to their family.
Unfortunately, some scammers know of these warning signs and how to avoid arousing suspicion. Please be patient. A loving and faithful relationship takes time to build, and scammers will get uneasy. They wait for the easier prey (especially for those men who seem to be new at meeting Russian women online). I encourage you to write me about any suspicions you might have, or any topics we haven't discussed. You may also visit Russianwomen.expert and write your comments.