A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigned romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud.

The scammer will provide an excuse such as not being able to get an exit visa, or illness of themselves or a family member.

Scammers are very adept at knowing how to "play" their victims - sending love poems, sex games in emails, building up a "loving relationship" with many promises of "one day we will be married".

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.

Often photos of unknown African actresses will be used to lure the victim into believing they are talking to that person.

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.

Victims can be highly traumatized by this and are often very embarrassed and ashamed when they learn they have become a victim of a scam and that the romance was a farce.

In some cases, online dating services are themselves engaged in misrepresentation, displaying profiles which have been fabricated, which use personal information from users who have not agreed to be depicted on the site social accounts, classified sites and even forums to groom new victims.

Falsified passport used in an actual internet romance scam.