The subject lines often read something similar to "From the desk of Mr [name]" or even "Your assistance is solicited".
While the stories may vary slightly, the general plot then talks of a person (usually a corrupt government employee) who has come across a large sum of money and needs your assistance to get the funds out of the country.
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The standard scam story then starts to unfold as your online date suddenly has some sort of emergency in Nigeria or Ghana.
The stories may range from a businessman having an accident while in Nigeria for work to a helpless woman being stranded in Ghana; from asking for charity donations for Africa to a family member having a brain hemorrhage while in Africa.
Variations of these include them needing surgery they can’t afford, treatment for their son’s brain tumor or you may even get a call from someone pretending to be a doctor telling you your partner has been in a serious accident and you need to send money so they can start treatment.
Sometimes, the scams are long and stretched out with the scammers attempting to get as much money out of you as possible by cooking up a variety of medical complications.
Armed with their fake identity, the scammer proceeds to forge a bond with you.
They often communicate with you for weeks and months so you think you are getting to know them better while it is actually all part of their master plan.
Instead of asking you to send them money for their ticket, they will instead send you scanned copies of a ticket to convince you they are genuine and are really coming to visit you.
They do not ask for money to buy the ticket or even for visa expenses… However, there is usually a last minute glitch and they will request you to send them a large amount of money without which the trip will be impossible.
Nigeria and Ghana are notorious for their scammers and hence most people probably wouldn’t pursue a relationship with someone from one of these countries.
These scammers are well aware of this and therefore often pretend to be from the USA/ UK/ Australia/ Canada or some other Western country.
This is a common ploy used by Russian and Filipino scammers to rob you off your money.