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.

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The most common comment of victims who think they have found the love of their life is "I can't believe I was so stupid!

" From internet cafes all over west African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal etc scammers are zeroing in on their prey - singles looking for love online. The Nigerians call them 'maghas' which is slang for gullible white people.

They prefer to use images of white people capitalising on stereotypes and perceptions.

The photos are usually of beautiful people and the quality of the photo is high.

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.

The Nigerian dating scams are often not easy to detect as the scammers are often highly educated, have exceptional patience and they do their homework!

The scammers start by stealing a photo from an internet site.

Stacey is an Army wife of a soldier who joined in 2003.