Scammers usually get the photos used in Nigerian dating scams by stealing them from modeling websites, reports WatchForScams.com. Photos are also taken from profiles posted on dating sites. Scammers generally use high quality images of attractive white people to create false profiles on Internet dating sites.
False profiles of both genders are created across a range of ages and sexual orientations to appeal to as many victims as possible. Counterfeit profiles posted on online dating and social networking sites usually target middle-aged people who are looking for stable relationships, based on the scammers' assumption that such people are most likely to be not only financially secure but also desperate for a relationship and therefore gullible.
In the Nigerian dating scam, impostors pretend to be foreign specialists from North American or European countries temporarily working in Nigeria or another African country, or who must travel there on a work assignment from the victim's own country. Once an online relationship is established, they claim that they are being paid in money orders that cannot be cashed in Africa and ask the victim for help.
Counterfeit money orders are then mailed to the victims, who are asked to deposit these into their own accounts and to wire the money back to Nigeria. The victims shortly discover that the money orders were counterfeit, and that they have not only been defrauded and humiliated, but may also themselves be liable to fraud charges for having deposited the bogus money orders.