Are Dating Site Scams Taking Advantage of the War in Ukraine?

Florence Williamson
3 min readSep 10, 2023
two hands showcasing a blue balloon with a sign that says ‘no war’
Photo by Victor Katikov on Pexels

Ukraine has always been popular for people who wish to try their luck in international dating. Apparently, there’s just something special about the idea of an Eastern European lover.

But as the war between Ukraine and Russia rages on, this reputation has pushed operators of dating site scams to exploit the conflict for their own illegal purposes. Not only are the Ukrainian people in danger of the physical threat that the war continues to bring, their plight and their faces are now also being used to deceive people online.

The Hero Complex Bait

They say love and war are two sides of the same coin.

For those who deal in internet fraud and dating site scams, this idea is not just compelling, it’s also very easy to weaponize.

Romantics and hopeful singles who fancy themselves as modern heroes can be manipulated into thinking that they can save the people who struggled as a result of the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Scam operators can then pose as refugees looking for love and asylum, and if someone isn’t careful, they can fall for it hook, like, and sinker.

So the next time you meet someone online who’s claiming to be from Ukraine and searching for the one who’ll save them and sweep them off their feet, take a step back and make sure you’re not walking straight into the trap of contemporary dating site scams.

The Military Man Approach

If men are susceptible to the idea of rescuing a beautiful lady in distress, then women are also just as vulnerable to the idea of an affair with a man in uniform.

Since dating site scams need to justify their strategies for extorting money, impersonating a member of the military is a good reason for all the things that they need to excuse, like the inability to meet their targets in person and the need for international financial transactions.

So if your online date claims that they can’t do a video call because they’re living in a military base in the middle of an active war, you need to start getting suspicious. And if they start asking for money because resources are scarce wherever they are? Well, you probably need to get gone.

The Buzzword Strategy

People who want to find love will often be on the lookout for opportunities to meet their destined match.

For those trying out online dating, the word “Ukraine” attached to ads for international dating services can make them all the more attractive, and this is what dating site scams will be banking on.

Suddenly, your inbox can be flooded by emails with subject lines that promote things like “Beautiful Ukrainian Women” or “Singles From Ukraine Looking for Love.” While messaging like these can be actual promos from legitimate dating sites and agencies, they can just as easily be utilized by operators of dating site scams searching for easy prey.

Some things remain true: Ukraine’s acclaim as a haven for international romance has helped countless people discover true love, and despite the war, plenty of dating and marriage agencies still offer reliable services that everyone can avail of.

You just need to be extra careful when you transact with these companies and platforms, because dating site scams will take advantage of anything and everything they can get their hands on.

Unfortunately for Ukraine, this includes the very real conflict that has made it harder to remember that the country used to be more than just the epicenter of war — that it used to be a sanctuary for lovers, once upon a time.