The Online Love Search: Nigerian-Romance-Scam

On: May 18, 2011
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About ibtisam omer
Hi and hello I am twenty three years old and for the past four years I have studied sociology and media studies in three different places: Stockholm, UK and Hong Kong. I graduated at the University of Essex in July and after that spent a few weeks interning at Global Grind in NY. Now I am here at the UvA and Im just about exploring the fundamentals of my degree, so far so nice. Other than this I was born and raised in Stockholm Sweden , to Eritrean parents. Stockholm being an immensly integrated city, I grew up enjoying a diverse cultral atmosphere. I travel a lot , I eat even more and I love social netwoking platforms; its beauty lays in the opportunity it gives people to exploit a public space introducing individual self projections. ibtisam


Hi And i thank you for this service. I got cault in a scam. i had a good friend that was aware of this site. but i aready tracked the money threw western union that was suposed to go to russia but had gone to uragway. I didnt loose alot but learned alot! So Keep up the good work and i hope that you can save someone else from learning the lesson i did.
Martin (Canada)

It is the sad truth and fact that when combining money, emotions and anonymity fraud becomes nothing less than expected.  In the online dating industry this is of course a common issue, men and women (mainly men) find themselves being deceived and plain outright hustled. The likelihood of finding yourself courting a swindler can be argued as greater when dating online, this because of the level of anonymity that can be maintained online.  There are different types of dating-deceptions some less incriminating actions and those that involve actual monetary theft. A minor offence would be that of someone lying about their identity, such as using a fake profile image, lies about weight, occupation and perhaps age. It is although to some extent common for both men and women to stretch the truth regarding their weight(women predominantly) and height (men).Users are encouraged to be honest and sincere when registering for a membership suggesting that such honesty will result in more suitable matches. Such “stretching-of- truths” are usually detected at a stage where one can still chose to terminate the communication or relationship. These lies commonly serve as the foundation of other greater scale frauds, which brings me to the grand-theft- of- romance.

In an article from the site the act of such deceit is mentioned as the “Sweetheart Swindle” which generally refers to the practice of fake profiles being set up louring users to pursue contact, instigating a relationship which leads to an attempt at fraud. Also in the same article, Sally Greenberg Executive Director, of the National Consumers League gives advice on how to recognise the hustler when she is coming your way, most primarily Greenberg stresses that such fraudsters are very patient and will most commonly be the ones to initiate contact with you. The most general warnings issued out by the sites themselves encourages users to be wary of anyone asking them for money…yes this would seem sensible. Why would anyone ask you for money be for you have even met?  Well I would like to draw a reminder to the fact that users are more prone to empathetic behaviour as they are eager in pursuing a romance. I  am not claiming that online daters are so desperate that they will do anything, but there is a level of ignorance regarding the safety and dangers that is prevalent amongst daters, primarily because online dating is not as openly discussed as perhaps offline dating. The fraudsters rapidly detect the vulnerabilities of other users and exploit the fact that they might be lonesome or gullible.

So who are they and how does one recognise them?  Scammers can work individually but also in group, and they are commonly people whom practice other forms of fraud, this type of fraud is merely another branch of thievery and organised crime. According to website, the most common origin of these scams are West African countries, mainly Nigeria and is referred to as Nigerian Romance Scams. The second largest group of such scams derives from Eastern Europe.

“Nice to meet you! Please allow me to introduce myself to you. I come from Russia and I am 26 years old. I grew up in a happy and harmonious family. Therefore my character is extravert, outgoing, kind, responsible and confident. And I have many hobbies, such as travelling, singing, dance, reading, sports and so on. In my eyes, the world is full of beautiful things and I love the world as I love my life. If you are interested, please leave message or contact me by email, [email address removed]. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.”

There are several websites dedicated to raise awareness about online dating scams, and one website with a very thorough contribution to this, is a site named The entire site is filled with useful tools and advice for how to detect scams and even recognise previously accused scammers. With a database that allows you to enter the username of the potential fraudster , you can search to see if this alleged “Russian model looking for a long-term loving relationship” really isn’t a middle aged Nigerian man sitting in a tight office space  with a group of other scammers forging love interests. You can browse scammers by website, age, name, country and city. The alternatives are many including IP checks, and even photos and letters can be uploaded for a search through the database, in this case the pictures and texts are scanned to see if anyone has previously used the same material, which is a very common occurrence. It is truly an interesting site and judging by the extensive list of testimonials, the service is appreciated by many and for some of them it is an absolute necessity and has been a life saver for when dating online. provides a long list of attributes for when detecting a possible scam. Here are some which I found the most resourceful:

  • In her profile it is stated she is form the US, Canada and so on, but when you receive a letter it is clearly from a different country..hint hint.
  • She has amazing photos and looks like a model, the woman in the picture probably is a model, the lady you are in contact with is most likely not.
  • The letters you receive have very poor writing, seemingly generic and do not necessary seem like a reply to your own letter. It isn’t, the letter has been pre-written and reused.
  • She gets your name wrong, or hardly mentions it.
  • She falls in love with you almost immediately and wants to exchange personal email addresses. She is trying to get you to leave the communication spaces provided by the dating site, so that there are less chances of the scam being discovered.
  • She begins to ask you for money, for many different purposes; in order to visit you, for you to visit her, mother is allegedly ill and she wants to take up language classes in your native language.
  • Asks you to go onto a human verification site, in which you will have to provide personal information from your address to your bank account details. Now she/he/they have the information too.
  • She is getting more desperate and threatens to terminate contact if she doesn’t receive any money, when this happens you should very much recognise the scam. Finding love has never been known to be easy, but following some of these steps might remove some bumps off the way.

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