They also tend to target middle-aged people looking for stable relationships.
The rationale is that this type of person is likely to be more desperate, gullible and financially stable.
Then they convince their soul mates to bank them into their bank account and then wire them the money via Western Union.
A slight twist is is when the scammer pretends to live in the same country as the victim, and once a relationship has developed, then advise they are required to go to a west African country on an assignment.
Some of the sophisticated scammers send cheap presents such as flowers or candy [from stolen credit cards] to capture the hearts of lonely women. They either advise that their employer pays them with Money Orders and they can't cash them in Nigeria or are having trouble cashing them.
They also use many aliases, emails, photos, gender, age and sexual orientation in order to cast their net to catch as many victims as possible.
Often the scammers use attractive female photo profiles because lots of men will respond to an attractive woman's personal ad based on the photo alone.
However sooner or later, the vulnerable hearts receive requests that will ultimately lead to financial losses and heartbreak.