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

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