Typically, business scam operations begin with an unsolicited communication (usually by email) from an unknown individual who describes a situation that promises quick financial gain, often by the transfer of a large sum of money or valuables out of West Africa.The perpetrators of these scams often claim to be victims of various western African conflicts (notably refugees from Sierra Leone) or relatives of present or former political leaders.American citizens are encouraged to walk away from a criminal confrontation no matter the material cost.
To avoid theft, it is advisable to avoid walking alone in isolated areas or on beaches, particularly at night, lock doors and close their windows when driving, and avoid public transportation.
To minimize inconvenience in the event of theft, carry copies, rather than originals, of passports and other identification documents.
Carry a credit card only if it will be used soon, rather than carrying it as a routine practice.
American citizens are encouraged to use common sense and situational awareness to ensure personal safety and to reduce the risk of becoming a crime victim.
Other variations include apparently legitimate business deals requiring advance payments on contracts and offers to sell gold at a very low price.
In the last case, the seller may present real gold to be verified then substitute fake gold and disappear with the payment.
The only way to avoid an online romance scam is to be aware of their occurrences and also to know how to spot them before they begin.
Thousands of American citizens travel to Senegal each year and most experience an enriching and incident-free trip.
For additional information, the Department of State's brochure, Advance Fee Business Scams is available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at
Dating Scams In a typical personal scam, the scammer typically meets the American citizen online and quickly develops a romantic relationship.
Many variations of these scams exist, all with the principal goal of soliciting money from the American citizen.