Their profile picture doesn't quite match their age. They might look older and younger than their claimed age.
- Their profile may be in perfect English but subsequent messages are littered with bad grammar, misspellings, capital letters in the wrong places, and excessive use of exclamation marks.
- They use inspirational quotes and messages lifted from the internet. Try copying and pasting messages and Googling their words of wisdom or declarations of love.
- They are often religious.
- They often claim to be a widow, widower who lost their spouse in a tragedy such as car accident or a plane crash.
- Usually, they are American or English, working abroad sometimes in Nigeria on oil rig, as an engineer or in a professional capacity.
- They are a single parent with a teenage child, usually a daughter. The "daughter" will also message and text the victim to build up trust.
- They prefer to use Instant Messaging but may also have English or US telephone numbers. One blogger married to a Nigerian claimed scammers had girlfriends, wives, or friends living in England who would buy English phone number for them and pay the bills.
- The relationship moves fast, with declarations of love, marriage proposals and a promise to visit coming in quick succession.
- They need cash fast. Maybe they suffer a tragedy: their child is in hospital, they have been involved in an accident in a foreign country and need money to settle out of court; they have been robbed. Sometimes it is less dramatic: they can't access their bank account / cash their wage cheque so could you advance them a little.
(HK Edition 09/22/2010 page6)