They tell their victims that they are lonely, supporting an orphanage with their own money, needing financial assistance because they can't access their own money in a combat zone, etc.
The money is always sent to a third party to be collected for the scammer.
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 fraud typically involves the scammer acting as if they've quickly fallen for the victim so that when they have the opportunity to ask for money, the victim at that time has become too emotionally involved, and will have deep feelings of guilt if they decline the request for money from the scammer.Victims may be invited to travel to the scammer's country; in some cases the victims arrive with asked-for gift money for family members or bribes for corrupt officials, and then they are beaten and robbed or murdered.A rapidly growing technique scammers are using is to impersonate American military personnel.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.
Per their results, sensitive and less emotionally intelligent people are more likely to be vulnerable to online dating scams.