Scammers are very adept at knowing how to "play" their victims - sending love poems, sex games in emails, building up a "loving relationship" with many promises of "one day we will be married".Often photos of unknown African actresses will be used to lure the victim into believing they are talking to that person.Letters are exchanged between the scammer and victim until the scammer feels they have groomed the victim enough to ask for money.This might be for requests for gas money or bus and airplane tickets to travel to visit the victim, medical expenses, education expenses etc.The scheme usually involves accomplices, such as an interpreter and a taxi driver, all of which must be paid by the victim at an inflated price.Everything is pre-arranged so that the wealthy foreigner pays high amounts of money for accommodation, is taken not to an ordinary public café but to the most costly restaurant (usually some out-of-the-way place priced far above what locals would ever be willing to pay), and is manipulated into making various expensive purchases, including gifts such as electronics and fur coats. The victim leaves just as alone but poorer at the end of the trip.The merchandise is returned to the vendors, the pro-dater and the various accomplices take in their respective cut of the take.
The money is always sent to a third party to be collected for the scammer.
Some scammers may also use Bitcoin as an alternative payment method.
Sensitive people are more vulnerable to online dating scams, based on a study conducted by the British Psychological Society.
Sometimes the third party is real, sometimes fictitious.
Funds sent by Western Union and Money Gram do not have to be claimed by anyone showing identification if the sender sends money using a secret pass phrase and response ,and can be picked up anywhere in the world.
Victims can be highly traumatized by this and are often very embarrassed and ashamed when they learn they have become a victim of a scam and that the romance was a farce.