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.
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.
Sometimes the scammer purchases goods with stolen credit cards but have trouble getting them delivered as many US merchants are now wary of shipping to Nigeria.If you think you are being scammed, go to this site and browse all the photos to see if the person you are communicating has a photo on this site. However they also use photos taken from profiles of other people on dating sites, so remember that the photos that scammers use are not photos of themselves - they are photos of innocent victims.They also use many aliases, emails, photos, gender, age and sexual orientation in order to cast their net to catch as many victims as possible.The reasons for needing the money will sound plausible.Regardless of the series of mishaps, the end result is the same - the cyber soul mate is asked to send money!