They are quite good at appearing honest and innocent, and extremely skilled in conning people out of their money, their virtue and their dignity.
They can also claim they're caring for an elderly parent.
Often, either in the profile or in one of the first messages they'll send, they'll mention they are 'working' in a foreign country.
Women targeting men: Often, the photos will be of incredibly sexy, young and beautiful.
She thinks you're the man of her dreams, even if you're in your 50s, overweight and no longer Mr. The photos can be overly provocative (the con artist wants to get your attention), or sometimes look less suggestive, but very exotic.
Often, the 'young woman' will claim to be finishing her education, or to have a small business or otherwise sound industrious and somewhat educated.
As with the con artists targeting women, these scammers can frequently have well-written profiles rather than the broken language of a few years ago.
Men who get online messages from much younger women should assess whether the goal is financial and whether conning could be the motive.
Certainly, there are successful relationships with age differences in the couple, but the anonymity an online venue provides makes potential victims even less able to evaluate the situation than in person.
The guy looks like he could be in magazine ads; handsome, viral, posed just right - like a professional head shot for a portfolio, which it probably is, and the person in the photo likely doesn't know he's being used to con women.
Naturally, there are indeed some handsome men out there looking for dates, but if you get a flirtatious message from a guy whose profile photo is beyond cute, don't rush in until you assess things a bit.
But since they may already claim to live in another country, poor language isn't always a problem.