Everything is pre-arranged so that the wealthy foreigner pays high amounts of money for accommodation, is taken not to an ordinary public café but to the most costly restaurant (usually some out-of-the-way place priced far above what locals would ever be willing to pay), and is manipulated into making various expensive purchases, including gifts such as electronics and fur coats. The victim leaves just as alone but poorer at the end of the trip.
The merchandise is returned to the vendors, the pro-dater and the various accomplices take in their respective cut of the take.
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.
The scam usually ends when the victim realizes they are being scammed or stops sending money.
The scammer keeps the victim believing that they are sincere, until they are able to build up enough rapport to ask for thousands of dollars to help bring the gold into the victim's country.
The pro-dater differs from the other scams in method of operation; a face-to-face meeting actually does take place in the scammer's country but is devoted solely into manipulating the victim into spending as much money as possible in relatively little time, with little or nothing in return.
The scheme usually involves accomplices, such as an interpreter and a taxi driver, all of which must be paid by the victim at an inflated price.
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.
Upon finding victims, scammers lure them to more private means of communication, (such as providing an e-mail address) to allow for fraud to occur.