Scam scenarios

Standard scenario

Its the most common scam. Scammer tries to keep up a regular correspondence, but all letters you receive contain only general content and there is no concrete information in them. After changing a few letters the scammer begins urgently to ask for money to cover expenses for using the Internet, foreign language courses, driving courses, webcam, camera, laptop, solving any kind of problems (lost her salary, money stolen, phone broken, to pay the rent or repairs, to pay hotel bill, to buy a return ticket home from another city/country, is arrested for drunken driving etc.). It will continue like this until you send money. As soon as you stop sending your money, the scammer disappears.

Translation scenario

This usually takes place on a dating sit and involves a girl who could easily pass as a model. Men will either write to her first or "she" initiates the contact, and correspondence starts. In the beginning several pre-written letters with general information are used, and then:
1. "She" writes that she does not speak any foreign languages and uses the services of some agency for translation, and now has financial difficulties, asking you to pay for the services of this agency, because "she" really likes you and is very interested in continuing the correspondence.
2. Or, after several letters from "her", you suddenly receive a letter from an agency telling you that: "We would like to inform you that we have stopped your correspondence with Miss (scammer name). We apologize for this situation! As you know Miss (scammer name) is our client, yesterday the balance on her account ended, we informed her about this situation. Miss (scammer name) was very upset, because right now she hasn't the possibility to refresh it. For us doesn't matter, who will fill the account. So if you are interested and wish to help your lady, we can send you our price-list."
The correspondence will continue until you pay. Once you stop paying, the "girl" loses all interest in you and disappears. As a rule, stolen pictures are used and the girl, writing letters to you, does not exist.

Travel Scenario 1 (she wants to visit you)

This can be the most expensive kind of scam. For wheedling money out of you, a scammer has to invest a lot of effort into worming herself into your confidence. The matter isn't limited to a few letters with general information. As a rule, you will receive letters regularly. They are individual and detailed. You will begin to feel that she spends a lot of time at her computer corresponding with you. As she pays more attention to you and her letters become more romantic, you begin to feel more attracted to her. In this kind of scenario you won't be suspicious of the scammer and her shallow requests as in the Standard Scenario above. She will keep up her romantic correspondence until she feels you are ready to pay. In this case you will receive a letter with the following content: suddenly she has 2 weeks of holidays and she can visit you; her acquaintances or relatives working in a tourist firm can help her buy a cheap tour at that very moment to come visit you; her foreign passport will soon expire and it's a big problem to get a new one and that's why she can only come to visit you right now or she doesn't know when she can come another time and so on. The scammer will then ask you for money to help buy a visa, tickets or insurance, etc. After all, this isn't the time to be slow and you will need to send "her" the money immediately. As soon as the money is received, in half of all cases, the scammer disappears. The other half continues to develop the scenario because you're already caught. You continue to receive tender letters with detailed accounts about official registration of her documents - and the next stage of the scam begins. Visa problems occur and she needs more money; visa can only be received in another city so she needs more money to buy tickets (or pay for living expenses and food) to go to this city to get the visa; Perhaps only expensive tickets are available and this means additional expenses; her money has been stolen; or she must show cash at customs and so on. It will continue until you send money. As soon as you stop sending her money, the scammer disappears.

Travel Scenario 2 (you want to travel to her)

These kinds of scenario are rarely used and, as a rule, only after you have been corresponding for a short time and insist on visiting her in her home city. You'll receive information from her that she's very happy you are coming to visit and she's waiting impatiently to meet you but there's a big problem with the hotel and you have to pay for it in cash beforehand to guarantee your room. Or, she's ready to organize your visit for you (transfer, hotel, cultural program, translator and so on) and you have to pay for it in cash. As soon as the money is received, the scammer disappears, leaving you with only her name and her e-mail address or postal address (usually fake or belonging to someone else unrelated to the scammer). Or she lives in a small city but wants to meet you in a big city or the capital of her country, and of course, she needs money to come from her home town to meet you.

Illness Scenario

It's one of the most frequently used kinds of scenario. As in "Travel Scenario 1", the scammer needs to gain your trust. She writes letters thoroughly and sends them regularly; they are full of happiness that she has found a real gentleman, the man of her dreams in you. You also feel attracted to her and you begin to mull over plans for your future together. But suddenly you'll receive information from her that she (her children, her parents, relatives) are ill and she needs money for an operation or/and for expensive medicine. And as it is a question of life or death (there's no money to pay for it) she appeals to you for help. As soon as money is received, the scammer disappears.

Money orders

She tells you that her employer pays her with a money order, and she can't cash it in this country. She will send you the money order and ask you to deposit it into your bank account and then wire the money to her via Western Union. Usually she says to keep some money for your trouble. Of course, the money order is no good, and not even worth the paper its printed on. If you cash it or deposit it into your account, it will come back after a few weeks as fraudulent and you will be responsible for paying back the money to the bank and sometimes even charged for passing a counterfeit instrument.

419 advanced fee fraud

First the scammer contacts their victim via a dating site, then the victim receives emails from pseudo-Nigerian authorities saying that the victim's new girlfriend has large sums of money (gold or diamonds) and that she needs a bank account in the victims country to launder said large sum of money, generally many millions of dollars. She offers the victim the "opportunity" to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that the scammer is trying to transfer illegally out of the country. The victim is encouraged to send information to the scammer, such as blank letterhead stationery, bank name and account numbers and other identifying information using a facsimile number provided in the letter. Some of these letters have also been received via E-mail through the Internet. The scheme relies on convincing a willing victim, who has demonstrated a "propensity for larceny" by responding to the invitation, to send money to the scammer in several installments of increasing amounts for a variety of reasons. Payment of taxes, bribes to government officials, and legal fees are often described in great detail with the promise that all expenses will be reimbursed as soon as the funds are spirited out. In actuality, the millions of dollars do not exist and the victim eventually ends up with nothing but loss. Once the victim stops sending money, the perpetrators have been known to use the personal information and checks that they received to impersonate the victim, draining bank accounts and credit card balances until the victim's assets are taken in their entirety. While such an invitation impresses most law-abiding citizens as nothing more than a laughable hoax, millions of dollars in losses are caused by these schemes annually. Some victims have been lured to Nigeria, where they have been imprisoned against their will, in addition to losing large sums of money.

Mirage Scenario

Usually, scam agencies use this scenario, with websites frequently located on free hosts. Such agencies exist only for a few months before changing their name and/or host. On the pages of such agencies there are profiles for false women with photos, which were taken from elsewhere on the Internet. As a rule they are photos of beautiful models. Using this scenario, a scam agency wants to sell the contact information of these fake women. In other cases, a man gets this information from the agency, the information is worthless and nothing more than a lie. This scenario is often used by scam agencies to place the data of fake women in the databases of well known dating services. Men begin to correspond but in return they receive a suggestion of paying for Internet costs, translator's service, etc. for these fake women.