Sexy Russian scammers would love to break your heart this Valentine’s Day

Apparently, I’m “Mr Dependable”.

At least, that’s what Merle thinks.

She’s chosen me over and above all of the other 3.4 billion men on the planet. How exciting is that just before Valentine’s Day?

Message from Merle

Hello Mr. Dependable!!!

I am Tanya and I am in search of my personal Mr. Dependable? Are you one? Well I hope that you are. Most girls are in search of one.
It is very important for us girls to have someone who is there for you in any situation in life.
I am from Russia and here girls love to have someone who cares, loves and pampers you so that they feel secure and blessed.
Russian girls know to be the loved ones, we understand men to the core and we love make a man feel satisfied in every aspect of family life.
If you long to find one among us or maybe you want to find me itself, join this site where I have registered myself in search of my Mr. Dependable.

Now, normally, I would jump at a chance like this.

However, I’m not sure if Merle is the girl for me.

Firstly, she seems confused about her name. That’s not a good start.

In the email body she calls herself Tanya, but she’s emailed me from an address where she calls herself Merle. I think I’ll call her Merle to avoid any confusion.

But more than that, I’ve also had near-identical approaches from Jordan, Kelsey, Bernice, Noelle, Natasha, Zelma, Kirsten, Bernadette, Deloris, Miriam, Tracie, Cherie Rhoda, Penny, Alba, Marianne, Ilene, Hilary, Melanie, Mayra, Josefa, Tabatha, Lee, Jessica, Sarah, Hilda, Terri, Mona, Nora, Adrienne… and many *many* others.

Sexy Russian spam

All of them claim to be from Russia (although to my uneducated eyes those don’t all appear to be terribly Russian names), and all claiming that they would love to make me feel satisfied in “every aspect of family life.”

Apparently, all I need to do to connect with Merle (or indeed, Candace, Evangeline, Sheryl, Hannah, Adrienne, Rachel, Matilda, Rebecca, Dee, Esther, Cathy or Esmerelda – amongst others…) is click on the link she has helpfully provided.

Now, it’s possible that these ravishing Russian romancers are getting impatient for me to respond, and might have sent you a similar message in the belief that you are also a “Mr Dependable”.

If so, you’re probably interested in what happens if you click on the link.

Never fear, I did it for you.

When I clicked, I found myself taken to a message thread on a forum for fans of the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City video game. Not the kind of place I would normally expect to find the woman of my dreams.

Russian bride forum post

However, the message thread comprised a post by one user, named Marialoppp, and his/her post comprised an embedded image of a Russian dating website. Sure enough, when I clicked on the image I found I was taken via an affiliate link to the dating site itself.

So, what’s going on here?

Well, the bad news is that Merle (and her many friends) probably aren’t interested in having a relationship with you. I know it’s a shock, and there’s no easy way to put it, but whoever is spamming out these messages thinks you’re “Mr Dependable” for one thing only – your propensity for clicking on links, and ultimately bringing them some affiliate cash.

The link could, of course, just as easily lead to a page designed to infect your computer via a zero-day vulnerability, or use social engineering to trick you into downloading malware, or phish credentials or credit card details from you.

Always be wary of unsolicited messages, especially those which appear to be “too good to be true” as they almost always are truly unbelievable.

For more advice around Valentine’s scams be sure to check out Sabrina Pagnotta’s post: Seven unromantic Valentines gifts from a cybercriminal.

Author Graham Cluley, We Live Security

  • Coyote

    “However, I’m not sure if Merle is the girl for me.”
    .. and aren’t you married ? In any case, this is one of those things where out of the blue they contact you and they just happen to have your email address for no real legit reason (certainly they won’t use it for any legit reason)… which means exactly that they are there for their own interest and don’t have (you) in their interest. I’ve seen similar but not around this time of year (thankfully as I describe below)… and I just ignore them, too. I’m sure they’re all disappointed but to be honest they should be thankful (at least thankful for their supposed reason for contacting me; the other I can see why they’d be disappointed – one less victim, after all; I’d rather argue that I already AM a victim by the time the mail arrived at the first mail server (and those servers are also victims – of network resources, logs, and everything else)).

    In any case, I’d rather be more blunt with your title: all spammers, all scammers (often the same) will want to break your heart (more correctly ‘bank’) any time of the year, not this curse of a day coming up (ironically the 14th is my birthday but yet because of the other issue – ‘Valentines Day’ – it makes it difficult to go to restaurants for dinner if they don’t take reservations – hence the curse. oh, all right, I’ll admit it. the curse is also the other meaning of the day; it makes me sick).

  • Gen. Chang

    It’s the Adams family daughter all grown up!

    Seriously though,thanks for being the guinea pig and risking internet life and limb. Thoughs who follow leads like that, deserve what they get. These teasers are like signs for “stay off the grass” or “wet paint,don’t touch” . Some just can’t resist. How to resist social engineering should be part of a school curriculum in computer security best practices. And be mandatory to graduate.

  • One of the YouTube stars I watch – Jonathan Paula – has a monthly show where he cleans out his spam folder inside a virtual environment, clicking all the links and responding to the e-mails and downloading (but rarely executing) any attachments. It’s pretty funny stuff.

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