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 .
Or the alternative is to say their wallet has been stolen, hotel owner holding their passport, custom officials need to be bribed, new plane tickets are needed, they have been victimized and put in jail and need money to bribe their way out, or they need money for an operation etc.
They also lurk in chat rooms and social networking sites as well as Christian and other religious-based dating sites.
They then spend months chatting up and luring their naive targets with online intimacy.
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They are often told to keep some of the money for their trouble [which helps to build trust and also helps make them an accessory to the crime! After a few weeks the bank will advise the Money Orders are fraudulent and then the victim is responsible for paying the money back to the bank, and in some cases face charges of passing counterfeit instrument.