Pseudocide – A Novel Scammer Technique to Conclude a Relationship Scam

Pseudocide, or faked death, is a tactic where a person pretends to be dead or disappeared when, in fact, they are not. This is about people who didn’t intend to die. Why do people commit pseudocide? They simply decided that a fake death would free them from old debts, punishment, or dangers. Sometimes, this is an attempt at self-promotion or a way to start over with a clean slate. But most often, the motive is money or the desire to break off a relationship.

This can be accomplished through various deceptive practices, such as leaving behind fake evidence of one’s death, such as a fake body, identification, or suicide note.

Role pseudocide in Russian women romance scams

In Russian romance scams, pseudocide is used to get rid of the victim. This misleads the victim and exacerbates problems for the deceived individuals. This tactic allows Russian dating scammers to harm their victims emotionally and financially while giving them more freedom to operate. Also, possibly, pseudocide is a way to set the stage for another scam related to that death.

Scammers hiding behind the profiles of Russian, Kazakhstan or Ukrainian women often create fake emergencies in romance scams, such as car accidents, kidnappings, being injured in war zones, and more. So it’s surprising that they haven’t used this approach before.

If the scammers’ plot was related to a life-threatening situation, then to complete the scam, a third party contacts the victim to inform them that the fake person has died from illness, accident, or other cause. The person making the notification is likely another member of the scam team.

Examples of pseudocide in scams

We have already seen several situations where pseudocide was used to organize subsequent fraud:

  • Standard funeral expenses arise once a death is announced, and the victim is then asked to pay for them.
  • When a fictitious person is abroad after death, there are costs associated with transporting their body back to their home country.
  • An inheritance situation may arise, and the victim is expected to receive their money, but specific fees and expenses are involved.
  • Often, in such scenarios, there is a minor child, in which case the victim is asked to pay for his or her care in the orphanage – food, clothing, medical care, and so on.

Everything that usually arises after losing a loved one becomes a new way for scammers to get additional money from the victim.

What makes pseudocide so effective

We inhabit a complex world where death is a daily occurrence, and businesses rise and fall—a natural aspect of life.

Several factors contribute to our instinctive acceptance of death’s finality:

  • Death is a universal human experience ingrained in our awareness as a natural part of existence.
  • Its sudden and unforeseen nature can make it challenging to process, leaving little room for doubt about its irreversibility.
  • Rituals and traditions when someone dies help people cope with their grief, making them feel like death is final.
  • While the cause of death may raise suspicions, the concept of death itself typically doesn’t provoke skepticism.

Personal beliefs about life after death also affect how people see death. Those who believe in an afterlife may view death as a transition, while others see it as the end. Ultimately, upon hearing of someone’s passing, our immediate response is mourning and acceptance, rarely questioning its authenticity.

Is it illegal to fake death?

Pseudocide, the act of faking one’s death, is indeed deemed illegal across most jurisdictions due to its potential for serious legal repercussions, including charges of fraud, identity theft, and providing false information. Those caught attempting pseudocide may face significant legal penalties. Since scammers inherently engage in fraudulent activities, the illegality of pseudocide should not be surprising.


In short, as scammers use pseudocide in their tricks, it’s crucial to avoid becoming their victim. However, victims often underestimate the likelihood of being targeted. Individuals must educate themselves about these crimes to recognize and avoid falling prey to scams or fraud. Moreover, it is essential to approach any monetary requests skeptically, verify all information thoroughly and refrain from blind trust.