A reader asks: How do I know my Nigerian beau is for real?

I received a comment yesterday on this entry, where I asked why some Nigerians in Nigeria are specifically (it would seem) looking for love outside of the country when there are in fact lots of wonderful people right in Naija who could meet anyone’s criteria with respect to age, looks, intelligence, wealth, etc.

Amber in Virginia left the following comment, and I think we Nigerians, especially those of us who have had similar experiences or have some insights they could share, should help her out. Here is her comment (you can read it here in response to the original entry):

Hello, I have recently encountered a very attractive, gentle, kind and loving Nigerian man online. I am living in Virginia, USA and he is currently in Nigeria. I had my suspicions at first so I have taken my time. He immediately started talking about marriage and having a family. He calls me quite often and states he is a cell phone accessory salesman in Nigeria and very hardworking. It’s so hard because he is everything I want in a man. Not long after meeting him he was pushing for me to contact immigration so we could “live happily every after.” I did contact immigration and it is difficult to get him here to me especially if there is romantic connections between the two of us. So immigration suggested my going to Nigeria and then I could petition for a fiance “visa” and we could get married and so forth. But there is no way with my work schedule and son that I can go abroad. And then I took some pictures, hard copies, as he asked and sent them to him. He wanted me to send him money with those pictures so he could get his computer fixed. Well, I wasn’t stupid. I am just searching for answers online to see if maybe he is real or fake. I want to be with someone exactly like him, or the way he describes himself anyway. He is very handsome and I do ofen wonder why he doesn’t find a nice Nigerian woman to be with. By the way I am white. So does that make a difference as to any scams. Please give me some honest advice if it is available. Thank you so much and God bless everyone!!!!

So, how would you respond to Amber? My response is below:

Dear Amber,

First off, kudos to you for being cautious. I truly believe that with online dating one can never be too careful and that it’s important not to let our emotions get the best of us and just get swept up in something that we don’t have all the details about.

I personally would be wary about this guy for the following reasons:

The speed he started talking to you about the future
If I’m not mistaken, this caught you off guard too. Without meeting in person and having that final element of a physical meeting, I would be wary of anyone talking about the future shortly after meeting online (granted, you didn’t say how long you had been talking so perhaps what I’m imagining was only a few weeks or a month might actually be six months or a year of getting to know one another). Either way, in my mind serious future talks should not be happening with an online person until you’ve had the in-person meeting to determine you’re both satisfied with each other in person.

He mentioned immigration
This makes me worry that he might see you as a ticket out of Nigeria. Perhaps you told him that you wanted to live in the USA, perhaps you told him you wanted him to come to the USA and meet you and he knows the only way that can happen is if his papers are in order. But that he brought up immigration makes me suspicious.

I think it shows the extent of your interest in this guy that you considered going to Nigeria to petition for a fiancé’s visa but your work obligations make that impossible at this time. And also, wait a minute: you haven’t met this guy in person to know if you’re compatible! What if the in-person meeting reveals things that aren’t as wonderful as they seem online after you’ve practically told the immigration people in Nigeria that you’re going to marry this guy? What obligations to support him will you have in the USA if he gets here and things go awry?

He asked for money
This is a big red flag. It’s great that he’s shown that he can afford to call you but asking for money from somebody you haven’t even met is a big no-no in my books, especially when it comes to online dating. Don’t feel guilty that he needs the money to fix his computer: as you said he’s a hardworking man, he’ll find a way, and hopefully that “way” involves working hard and saving the required money. Do not send him funds!!!

I am so glad that some flags were raised, enough flags that you decided to look online to get some answers. You’ve completely approached this the right way and I think your “I want to be with someone exactly like him, or the way he describes himself anyway.” is the whole point: until you meet this guy and get to know him face to face, you can’t be sure that anything he’s telling you is true. I don’t believe Nigerian scammers specifically target one race over the other, all they need is someone who’s willing to buy in to their scheme. I don’t think the fact that you’re white or that he’s handsome makes him less likely to really care for you or more likely to scam you.

I personally would not continue this relationship because of the reasons mentioned above, but perhaps I’m being too harsh. Hopefully some other readers will leave comments that might give you a different perspective or at least help you come to a final decision. Please let us know what you end up deciding to do.

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13 thoughts on “A reader asks: How do I know my Nigerian beau is for real?

  1. Amber beware!!! This is classic 419. I know cos I have friends here in Nigeria who run the EXACT same scams. Dont waste your time with this guy (he most probably doesn't look anything like how he describes himself anyway).

    Plus I think his job of cell phone accessory salesman is very likely to be a cover for another con that may yet unravel itself.

    Once again, RUN, Amber RUN!!!!!!!

  2. AMBER RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This guy is a fake mayn…big time…He is defintely not what he says he is..defintiely definitely not

  3. as I read amber's comment "Olu Maintain" kept playing in my mind. No doubt this is a SCAM, I would not repeat everything gng has written, but RUN! RUN!! RUN!!!
    Pls do not send him any money!

  4. There are too many red flags like GNG says. Personally, I would have cut contact with him as soon as he asked for money. You instincts tell u something is not right Amber, please follow your gut!

  5. Amber, I'm so glad you reached out for advice. I'm Nigerian and I won't touch that one with a ten feet pole. Run for you and your child's life as fast as your legs can carry you. Great Advice GNG!!!!

  6. Run… Amber… Run!

    More like hide, like cut him off, totally like block his e-mail, telephone number, name…lol…

  7. Thanks everyone. In my reply to Amber's comment by email, I told her to come here and see what you guys had to say on this matter so here's hoping she comes back and she decides to abandon this guy and continue her search for love.

  8. this is definitely a scam. if he is a phone salesman, y cant he cover the expenses incurred in the repair of his pc. dats my little contribution.

  9. I am tempted to tow a contrary position from u'all and stress the need for objectivity here; the guy may really be into her and most likely be broke too as the 'red flags' suggest. Also he might be like- 'okay she likes me and she is white and, the US will be a nice place to start a family… blah blah, all I am saying is that there's a chance he's sincere…
    Fat chance! lol …ITS A SCAM

  10. Points-on your response to her. But, why does these useless (oops) Nigerian men keep embarassing us?

  11. Chei. Why is this guy disgracing us? He is a disgrace, it is because of people like him that ALL Nigerians are seen as dishonest. My dear Amber, find yourself another man. This one is a lazy, broke, lying nobody!

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