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All types of scams are described in details on Romancescam.
They pretend to be the foreign specialists working in Nigeria or Ghana (usually originally from US and UK, but it may also be Canada, Australia or any other European country).
Women are usually nurses, models, charity or UNICEF workers or antique dealers.
After they establish some lovely correspondence with you, fall in love and maybe even send a couple of cheap presents, they will either: a) be almost on their way to meet you, but something will happen to them: they will get robbed, beaten, get into the hospital, or other misfortune will happen and of course you will be their only contact to ask for financial help, or: b) tell you that their employer pays them with Money Orders or checks, and they can't cash them in Nigeria.
There is also a re-shipping scam, when they will ask you to re-ship goods for them.
These goods are purchased with stolen credit cards.
Nigerian scam comes in many forms: 419 scam, when they offer to transfer millions of dollars into your bank account, or lottery scam, when they tell you that you've won something in some bogus lottery.