They often pretend to be foreign specialists [from the US, UK or Canada, but can be any European country]temporarily working in Nigeria or other African country.
A slight twist is is when the scammer pretends to live in the same country as the victim, and once a relationship has developed, then advise they are required to go to a west African country on an assignment.
The scammers start by stealing a photo from an internet site.
They prefer to use images of white people capitalising on stereotypes and perceptions.
" From internet cafes all over west African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal etc scammers are zeroing in on their prey - singles looking for love online. The Nigerians call them 'maghas' which is slang for gullible white people.
The scammers spend their day trolling the dating sites and chat rooms for contact emails, and then send off thousands of fraudulent letters and emails awaiting the victim's replies.
The Nigerian dating scams target the lonely and vulnerable.
Then they convince their soul mates to bank them into their bank account and then wire them the money via Western Union.Often the scammers use attractive female photo profiles because lots of men will respond to an attractive woman's personal ad based on the photo alone.They also tend to target middle-aged people looking for stable relationships.The rationale is that this type of person is likely to be more desperate, gullible and financially stable.They then post ads with fake profiles on online dating sites .