Some romance scammers seek out a niche of various fetishes where they will find an obscure fetish and they will make the victim think that if they pay for the scammer's plane ticket, they will get to live out a sexual fantasy of theirs by having the scammer come to them to have sex.
The scammers also like to entice victims to perform sexual acts on webcam.
The deception can be obvious to observers – for example, the photo on this passport does not comply with regulations for size or pose – but these signs are often ignored by willing victims.
Letters are exchanged between the scammer and victim until the scammer feels they have groomed the victim enough to ask for money.
They then record their victims, play back the recorded images or videos to them and then extort money to prevent them from sending the recordings to friends, family, employers, often discovered via social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter etc.
The pro-dater differs from the other scams in method of operation; a face-to-face meeting actually does take place in the scammer's country but is devoted solely into manipulating the victim into spending as much money as possible in relatively little time, with little or nothing in return.
The victim contacts the scammer to ask what happened.
Upon finding victims, scammers lure them to more private means of communication, (such as providing an e-mail address) to allow for fraud to occur.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.Scammers prefer to use the images, names and profiles of soldiers as this usually inspires confidence, trust and admiration in their female victims.Also because military public relations often posts information on soldiers without mentioning their families or personal lives, images are stolen from these websites by organized internet crime gangs often operating out of Nigeria or Ghana.Unlike a gold digger, who marries for money, a pro-dater is not necessarily single or available in real life.Another variation is that the scammer insists they need to marry in order to inherit millions of dollars of gold left by a father, uncle, or grandfather.The scammer keeps the victim believing that they are sincere, until they are able to build up enough rapport to ask for thousands of dollars to help bring the gold into the victim's country.The scammer will offer to fly to the victim's country to prove that they are a real person. However, when the victim goes to meet the scammer they never show up.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.